Initial thoughts on the new series of Doctor Who after the first two episodes

I’m trying to figure out my feelings about the new Doctor Who episodes (I listened to the audio description since I’m unable to watch due to my neck). I did think the plots were rather poor, especially ‘Space Babies’, and I was left thinking ‘have I missed something here?’ in ‘The Devil’s Chord’ but some other problems seem to be emerging already.

This new 15th Doctor is meant to be the “healed” Doctor due to the bi-generation that occurred instead of regeneration. David Tennant’s Doctor was left to finally stop and do the work of healing. As a result of this work on himself, the 15th Doctor is meant to be all better, healed, without all the pain, without a dark side. I think that they’ve rather shot themselves in the foot with this, if they stay true to it. It might land them without as interesting a Doctor. Is someone without flaws, who is happy and grinning all the time, going to be compelling enough? It’s too early to judge the 15th Doctor on that count though. His character might develop beautifully or might regress to old, more interesting, habits.

But I think that the key weakness was the companion Ruby. She seems to be of the Clara and Amy mould – a generic perky, feisty young woman – nothing interesting or different about her, no substance, depth or personality. Is she there just to look pretty and have a vague mystery about her origins? What worked so brilliantly with the 10th/14th Doctor and Donna Noble pairing was that they were equals in strength of personality and Donna was so distinctive. Their interactions were magic. Catherine Tate could also do both comedy and drama equally well; she could have you laughing one moment and really moved the next, with very touching, tender moments. There were hilarious scenes, like in the Adipose episode where the Doctor and Donna catch sight of each other through some windows and start mouthing/miming to each other (you would have to see it to understand!). Donna also tempered the Doctor’s harsh side and could pull him back if he went too far. If this new Doctor is all healed, no harshness, all heart, what’s the purpose of the companion, except to be present as an audience to the new Doctor? The Doctor and companion are too similar; she’s not bringing anything different to the equation. They both appear to be all heart, all energy. I hope that we get to see the Doctor’s more cerebral, clever, quick-thinking side.

It’s so early to judge though. I hope that all of this is proved wrong, that the characters will develop in depth and that the brilliance of the show will return.

As a side note, I wish that they had made a full musical episode of Doctor Who and then normal service resumed (like ‘Once More With Feeling’ in Buffy the Vampire Slayer or ‘The Song in your Heart’ in Once Upon a Time), instead of having random songs sprinkled over several episodes (the Goblin song and then ‘Always a Twist at the End’ in The Devil’s Chord episode). A full musical episode would have been great fun and The Maestro would have been the perfect opportunity for it.

I didn’t like the breaking of the fourth wall either, with another wink to the camera. Overall, beforehand I had been excited but it was anti-climactic and I was left a bit disappointed and underwhelmed. I’m hopeful for improvement though! Maybe Russell T Davies raised my expectations too high with the excellence of ‘The Star Beast’ and ‘The Giggle’.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Initial thoughts on the new series of Doctor Who after the first two episodes”

  1. Just watched both episodes and I don’t think we’ll be back for episode 3. I admire your detailed analysis Jenny, but I can’t see Doctor Who getting out of the pit it has been sinking into for too many years. Sadly it reminds me of the final years of Doctor Who original and the only solution then was to rest it for a couple of decades.

    So disappointed in Russell T D, even he seems unable to drag it out of the mire. It is simply unwatchable ☹️

    Good points: none
    bad points: plot, actors, everything
    Summary: Lite, brite and trite.

    Reply
    • I had such high expectations of RTD after how much I loved ‘The Star Beast’ and to a certain extent ‘The Giggle’. It’s why I’m still hopeful; he’s proven that he’s capable of brilliance with Doctor Who both in the past and present.

      Maybe the current actors are too young…

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  2. I mostly agree Jenny. The filming felt more ‘cinematic’ and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It didn’t seem intimate as TV can be. I really liked the Christmas episode, that seemed to have more about it. It might be that Ruby’s mum is just generally awesome!

    The idea of the space babies was interesting and “Chekov’s Tissue” was clever but the whole creation of the snot-monster felt very contrived.

    I preferred The Devil’s Chord, although I really don’t know why it needed to be the Beatles and Cilla. I didn’t think they brought anything to the plot – or really resembled any of them in the slightlest!

    They totally should have gone full in on the musical option. The end sqeuence was really fun, but felt like it was from a completely different show, let alone episode – more like a Children in Need spot.

    I do like the new Doctor. There’s some joy about this version. Bringing back some fun to things. However, so far Ruby seems to be Clara ‘lite’. Get Ruby’s mum as the companion and now you’re talking! Also, is this the fastest ever ‘reveal to the family’ ever? One trip and the TARDIS is in your kitchen?!

    The bits I’ve seen fo next week have me hopeful. It needs more than ‘snot-monster’ and ‘big campy baddie’…

    Reply
    • I don’t know why it was talking space babies that was the thing that messed with my suspension of disbelief and took me out of being immersed in the story! Aliens and monsters don’t usually have that effect. But with talking babies…my brain went ‘nope’. 😆

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  3. I watched todays episode with the doctors disappearance, the 73 yards business and didn’t have a clue so googled it.I had thought woman at distance may be herself or her mother. It was very weak plot which took ages to develop. Missed the doctor in it. No monsters or aliens and must be cheap budget compared to some. Where are the daleks, cyber men ,danger and such? The doctor’s assistant is ok but I like David Tennant best as a doctor although this Doctor is fun but needs a few quirks.More intrigue, more tension and more monsters needed please.

    Reply
    • Also I had no idea what was going on in episode 3 and where the day has gone. They appear together in episode 4 ?? No explanation ??

      Reply

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