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Thirteenth Doctor - First Season - Thoughts? (SPOILERS WELCOME)

So, the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who was just simulcast around the globe. (If you missed it, BBC America's showing it multiple times for the rest of the day - I'm not sure about BBC.) In any case, what were your thoughts?

(By the way, if you missed it in the thread title, SPOILERS ARE WELCOME.)

I thought Jodie did a fine job in the episode and it seems like she'll be a good Doctor. She had some great lines ("Empty pockets? I hate empty pockets!") and did a good job in the role thus far. Of course, the first episode of any new regeneration of the Doctor tends to be a bit wonky, as the new personality hasn't entirely kicked in yet. It'll be interesting to see how she plays the role once the regeneration has time to finish in its entirety.

As for the story, it seemed kind of "just okay." Not the most exciting of plotlines - kind of a watered-down "Predator," really, with a less interesting alien. And there were a few bits that seemed contrived, like the Doctor whipping up a new sonic screwdriver from scratch. (I know there was alien technology there in that garage, but still.) Also, I was led to believe these were going to be 10 standalone episodes, so ending it on a cliffhanger like that was kind of jarring - added by the fact that on the original broadcast on BBC America at least, we didn't get a set of closing credits, just the shot of the Doctor and her three new "accidental" companions (although apparently they're just going to be referred to as "friends" now) hanging out in space, then a commercial break, and then a discussion panel that made me wonder if the episode was really over or not. Apparently it was. Not really my idea of "standalone."

So, my overall impressions: kind of a weak story line, but a strong first impression by the new Doctor. I have high hopes for the season; after all, Peter Capaldi was a great Doctor but he was burdened with some sub-par story lines as well (and a few that were just outright terrible).

Johnathan
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I never like the new Doctor amnesia stuff. But she was great. She's closest to Tennant, if I were to compare her to previous Doctors, but I'm sure she'll put her own solid stamp on it soon enough.

Loved the old school 60s/70s style theme tune. Still not sold on Bradley Walsh.
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
It was no The Eleventh Hour, but neither was it a Twin Dilemma, so that's good. It was an alright opening and I really like the new Doctor.

Was that really the first time we've seen a sonic screwdriver built from scratch?

The spoon! :p

Her delight at being told she's a woman. And "Does this suit me?" :D
 

Aeson

Adventurer
Yes spoilers below.

Going in I kept hoping she was chosen because she was the best person for the role, and not some random name drawn from a fez of only actresses. Hard to be sure she is the right one without knowing who else was in the running.
So far none of them are annoying. Donna and Nardol (sp?) being the base line for annoying IMO. The alien hunter could have left the mask on. Would have been much cooler and mysterious. When he took it off, I wasn't shocked, but disappointed. I was amused by her build montage, then it didn't work just right, kinda like her. To me it was a nice analog. Each Doctor has their own. I think this is the first time seeing a Doctor fashion one. Once she was finished, it fizzled, like her.

I was pleased with it over all. She made a grand entrance. There was humor. There was a touch of the feels when Grace died. Some action. The Doctor makes a speech at the alien. Doctor saves the day. Had everything expected from Doctor Who.
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
The alien hunter could have left the mask on. Would have been much cooler and mysterious. When he took it off, I wasn't shocked, but disappointed.
Now that you say that, yeah, you're right. Since we're doing Predator the un-masking has a pretty high bar to get over.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The initial new-Doctor monsters are always a bit throw-away.

Eccleston -- wheelie bins and a puddle of ooze

Tennant -- pyjamas, sleeps all episode, then sword fighting an alien leader (the best of the intros, I guess)

Smith -- a big eyeball who runs away when he says who he is

Capaldi -- I can't even remember!

Whittaker -- alien with teeth in his face

I'm not fond of the amnesia/confusion thing they usually do. The initial episode is always a throwaway villain, confusion, speech, end.

Can't wait to see her settle into the role. She's off to a great start. I really enjoyed her performance, and she sold me as the Doctor.
 

Aeson

Adventurer
Wasn't Capaldi running around like a Mad Scot? Madame Vastra doing most of the heavy lifting and a T Rex stomping around London?
 

I don't mind the confusion because it's a new body and at this point roughly 98% of the fan base would be wanting some sort of explanation or a handwave of some sort if it were done any other way.

It will be fun to watch her grow into the role even if she STILL isn't ginger lol
 


carrot

Explorer
Whittaker was fine, but I'm not entirely sold on the "friends" - the most interesting one was killed off!

It was a pretty "meh" intro episode, but I've missed the old-skool cliff-hangers, so it was nice to see one again! It'll be interesting to see how this develops.
 

Janx

Hero
We watched in the BBC America thing last night. Don't recall seeing any theme music, like they skipped or cut it for their special stuff.

I hate to sound all picky, but I had time to process.

The hunter is a Tooth Fairy, we just got the legend wrong. :)

The women in my viewing party came to the conclusion that the new Sonic, looks...stimulating.

Why was there a tangle-monster at the crane? They'd zapped and drained the first one. Then it (or another) shows up and Grace gets killed while zapping it, and it's wasn't clear what danger it actually presented.

If the Doctor removed the collar bone bombs, then why did Grace think hers was going to go off a screen cut later?

What happened to Karl after the Doctor said "You had no right to do that."

What kind of warrior race sends out hunters to hunt the lamest prey? What kind of test is that?

We actually enjoyed the episode, but parts seemed choppy or poorly explained (like the 2nd tentacle ball, and bombs).
 

HawaiiSteveO

Explorer
Little exposition happy during exchanges with bad guy, otherwise thought it was great . JW is fantastic and I can’t wait to see what’s up this time around.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Was that really the first time we've seen a sonic screwdriver built from scratch?

Yes. In fact, when we see the War Doctor, it is very specifically a plot point that through all the other regenerations and changes, the sonic screwdriver is the *same* item, same internal hardware and software in a new casing.

It is likely a highly symbolic point. We have new people producing, new people writing, new people directing a new Doctor with new Companions. Also note that at least for the first season, we are told we won't be seeing any of the monsters or nemeses of the past.
 


Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
My wife watched and was happy that they decided not to step on any of the cultural landmines "because this Doctor is a woman!". Let her be the Doctor and it will go fine.

Finding her new wardrobe was a highlight of veiled references to previous Doctors' attire.

(Neither of us have seen Predator, so we didn't recognize that plotline reference.)

We can finally understand what the Doctor is saying! Capaldi tended to mumble or "think out loud to himself" and the sound crew never did adjust for that.
 



First episodes are tricky. I'd rate Whittaker's high.

The introduction of Eccleston and Tennant were all about Rose with the Doctor just being in the background.
Capaldi was running around dealing with more bodypart-stealing clockwork robots. Which worked thematically, as it was all about if you replace all your bodyparts a dozen times are you still the same person?
Smith's is the high water mark, as he has to save the world while relying just on himself with no TARDIS or screwdriver or resources. And the transition image of all the Doctors was neat.

This episode did an excellent job of introducing four new characters and the Doctor without focusing solely on one character. We learned rapid fire what Ryan and Yas and Graham's stories are while also having the Doctor at the front and giving a speech about changing while being true to yourself. It handled a lot very elegantly.


I like how they jumped right in and let the show build without a title sequence. But I wished they'd have ended with the title sequence.
Especially in place of the boring and masturbatory long, long list of upcoming guest stars. Yaaaaawn. I have never cared about guest stars. This isn’t The Simpsons; they don’t need to trick people into watching with the promise of some celeb or name. That was lame.


Given she wasn't a "companion", I saw the death of Nan coming, and was preemptively sad. Especially as it didn’t seem to have any impact on the story. She just rushes in to help and dies, but her victory seems unnecessary.

I quite like how the group gets pulled together at the end. It sets up the fun story of trying to get them home, which is a regular theme of classic Doctor Who that we haven’t seen recently. Very Ian and Barbara, Tegan, or even arguably Peri or Ace. Which is fun and adds a neat dynamic to the stories, which is a nice change from the presentation of travelling with the Doctor as this addictive lifestyle we've seen in the last few incarnations.
(I've always seen travelling in the TARDIS as being like backpacking across Europe. It's fun and thrilling, but eventually you just want to return home and settle down.)

I also like how the TARDIS didn’t just magic back at the end, and had to be hunted for. (But I'm jonesing to see interior. I hope we retain a more mechanical inside and don't get a return to the junkyard design.) I wonder how long they can keep the Doctor away from their TARDIS.

The alien was unremarkable. Gross, but not very memorable. And the hook of the super cold alien that can kill with a touch wasn’t played up nearly enough. That could have been much more interesting, with frost forming where he walked (especially when he entered a puddle). Most of the time they were just generic black armour dude running around in an underlit area.


And, as I have said elsewhere, I wish the Doctor had a collared shirt. The current look is too casual and too much like a costume. The Doctor works best when they look more anachronistic and less wearing a funny suit to be weird. They looked so much better in Doctor Twelves' rags than the T-shirt and ridiculously short pants.
 

Awww. But I am jonesing for some EXTERMINATE! Battle cries. Say it isn't so Umbran!
I'm okay with all new monsters for a bit. I don't think they need to jump into having Cybermen and Daleks right away. That can come later.
The Third Doctor went two years with all new monsters.
 

MarkB

Legend
I downloaded the episode on iPlayer. When it opened with the fake Youtube blog, I spent the first ten seconds trying to work out how to re-maximise the window.
 

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