Sunday, 24 August 2014

Doctor Who New Series

Hello Everyone, 

On Saturday I watched the new Series 8 Episode 1 Doctor Who episode with the outing of Peter Capaldi as the new doctor. This was the make or break episode that would either send people running for the hills, never again to watch the show, or leave them hankering for more. So I was prepared to judge this episode very quickly if it didn't live up to my expectations. I didn't read anything about it before I saw it so it was completely fresh and new to me, with no bias.

Well, I loved it. I knew Peter Capaldi would be a good doctor, and he hit the ground running. His doctor was more complex and less obviously comic than Matt Smith's was at the beginning. You never quite knew what he was going to do next, even though he was the doctor, and all the expectations that it brings. He seemed to be trying to find out who he was, rather than knowing exactly what sort of man he was meant to be. When he was walking through the alley, muttering to himself, he was the madman with the box, but a deeper sort of madman, not the happy-go-lucky one Smith had been. There was a little bit of all the Doctors in the episode, almost as if he was going through his memory banks and finding out all that he had been. I was hoping for a darker doctor, a bit like Christopher Eccleston's, which I got a little bit of, but not a lot. I think we will see more of the darker Doctor in future episodes as the Doctor was not really considered too much this episode. In fact, it was more about Clara than the Doctor.

Clara needed to know that he still was the Doctor and she seemed less capable of handling the regeneration idea than the only other recent companion who saw him regenerate: Rose (I can't count the Classic Whos yet as I haven't seen all of them). Either way, Clara wasn't coping well with the new face of the Doctor, apparently because he looked older. Now, most people would judge Clara for this kind of reaction (which she was, by Madam Vastra) but I think it represented the struggle that most people would have when faced with someone who regenerates and changes their face. The face is such an intrinsic part of someone's personality, and for it to change so completely would test anyone. In finding it difficult to accept this change, Clara became more relatable to me than perhaps Rose was when Tennant started. Moffat used the character of Clara well by using her to call us all out on wanting a Doctor that was similar to both Smith, Tennant and Eccleston, young and attractive. In doing this, he created a more three dimensional character that reflected the audience's reactions to Capaldi's casting.

I look forward to seeing the relationship dynamic between the Doctor and Clara. I am looking forward to a different kind of relationship rather than the flirty, euphemism-filled, almost desperate companions that we have had in the past. I liked the previous companions, but almost always hated the romantic, unrequited love undertone to their relationships with the Doctor. The only one that didn't was Donna Noble, and it was a better dynamic. She wanted to see world, not just follow the Doctor. In doing that, she helped him heal and grow. I hope the relationship with the current Doctor and Clara becomes a similar one, although with it's own ups and downs and nuances.

For the most part, the plot was superlative to the episode. You needed it to give some background to what the characters were doing, but it could have been anything. I enjoyed the subtle points of Moffat's writing with the slight references to past adventures, past companions and past Doctors. The best reference had to be about Capaldi's past character in Doctor Who. He played Caecilius in the Fires of Pompei, when Tennant was the Doctor. The idea that the Doctor gets some say in his faces, or that his faces are only ones from his memories is one that the fans will discuss for quite a while, unless Moffat decides to make a definitive decision, which I hope he doesn't. I love a little debate and theory in Doctor Who, it's almost as enjoyable as the show itself. That said, the end of the show provided enough debate to keep me going for a while. Who is the mysterious Missy, the 'girlfriend of the doctor'? Where is Paradise? And did the clockwork droid jump from the escape pod, or was he pushed?