The Thirteenth Doctor’s Debut is a suspenseful mix of old and new ideas, all brought together in a thrilling 45-minute episode.
I have a confession to make. I was, for the better part of a decade, a Whovian through and through. I was happily part of the fandom, owned boxsets, keychains and even my own replica Sonic Screwdriver (that was also a pen).
But as Steven Moffat’s reign over the show continued, I got sick and tired of the Deus Machina plot-points, his consistently terrible writing of women and just general obnoxiousness, and quit watching the show regularly, vowing that I wouldn’t watch it until Moffat left.
So, now, with Chris Chibnall in the producer’s chair, I decided to give the show a new chance – especially with the very first ‘female’ doctor.
And it was good. Really good in fact – I’m looking forward to seeing how the series goes from here.
Suspense is definitely the aim of the game in this episode, leaving the audience and the characters just as much in the dark as each other – and it works – towards the end of the episode, I was literally on the edge of my seat.
Jodie’s Doctor has an infectious enthusiasm
That’s not to say it’s without humour – it’s not laugh-out-loud, but it fits with the episode, avoiding mood-whiplash (unlike Avengers 4).
I really love Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. She has an infectious enthusiasm, a little bit reminiscent of David Tennant’s 10th incarnation. Her regeneration process from Tennant’s, which was a nice nostalgic touch in there. I also really love her look – they haven’t tried to make her look really feminine, but they haven’t totally shied away from femininity either – and I really want her earring cuff.
I was worried when it was announced that former show composer Murray Gold was leaving, as his music really helped to bring an extra level to the series. But I needn’t have worried – new composer Segun Akinola has done a cracking job.
That’s not to say the new episode is perfect. New ‘friend’ Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole)’s accent is a bit dodgy for someone who supposedly grew up in Yorkshire, but he’s likeable despite that, especially towards the end of the episode.
And then there’s another character related issue, which you can probably work out just from watching any of promotional material, given the lack of the character in it. It maybe wasn’t the best step, given the overwhelmingly white former cast – Mickey, Martha and Bill are sadly in a minority, but I can only shudder to think how Moffat would have handled the character’s death.
And despite that, the new series is still hugely diverse for Who – aside from new companions Yaz and Ryan, the upcoming guest stars revealed in the end credits promo look to be the most colourful I’ve ever seen. (Also, Alan Cumming!).
Oh and the behind-the-scenes cast reflect the new diversity as well – the creative team for the new series includes Malorie Blackman (the first ever black writer for the show), Vinay Patel, two female directors, and two female writers – that’s more diversity in ten episodes than Moffat managed in seven years.
All in all, The Woman Who Fell to Earth is a fresh take on the Doctor Who mythos, and I’m ready to see where the adventure takes us.
To quote the show’s own publicity – “it’s about time”.