Fortunately, for all of us who live outside of the UK, there are many different ways to stay tuned to BBC’s Doctor Who without a cumbersome (and rather depressing) delay. In short, the internet. Good ol’ World Wide Web, the answer to almost everything — except perhaps the question why in Dickens The Doctor suddenly had a craving for fish fingers and custard. Anyway, it’s Easter, and possibly the best Easter ever. Well — maybe the second best — well, depends on how great next year’s Easter episode’s going to be. Speaking of “well” as a way of correcting yourself (boy, David Tennant really nailed his Doctor’s mannerisms): Matt Smith’s Doctor hasn’t quite let go of the legendary “What? … What?…. WHAT?!” And why would he? Timey-whimey.
Ah, I’m rambling. Do forgive me. It’s just, I got up this morning, grinning from one ear to the other, not because it’s Easter, I mean, I love Easter, the chocolate, and the new book(s) that I get (simply because my parents use every single celebratory excuse to satisfy my life-long craving for new reading); but this morning, I knew another reason entirely: Series 5, Episode One, The Eleventh Hour. Available for impatient viewers outside of the BBC’s web broadcasting range, at least.. half-way.. legal. Ahem. Anyway. I just got done watching it and I feel like I’m on a sugar high. A really bad one. Except it’s not a sugar high. It’s a Doctor high. A really, really bad one. I was hopping in my chair with excitement when I turned on my laptop, and I pretty much stayed that way for the next full hour. Except for those moments when I was too engrossed (or grossed out, as it was) by what played out on the screen to stay, well, hopping.
We’d already seen Ten regenerate into Eleven at the end of the last series’ The End of Time, so the fact that he actually has ten fingers, legs, girly hair, and that he’s still not ginger (well, Amy’s ginger, so get over yourself, Time Lord) didn’t come as a surprise. Just… all the rest did. The new title sequence — I was glad that at least most of the howling Weeeee-eeeeee-oooooo! was retained –, the crash landing right into a garden shed (well done!), the crack in Amy’s wall, and Prisoner Zero. Not to mention the complete and utter disintegration of Amy’s kitchen (“You’re Scottish, fry something!”). Bad, bad beans. Why apples, anyway, within the first 15 hours of regeneration, hm? Perhaps that was a nod to the Nine/Ten regeneration, The Christmas Invasion, where a surprised Ten fished an apple out of Jackie Tyler’s sort-of-boyfriend’s dressing gown. Anyway. I liked the sequence during the confrontation between the Doctor and the Atraxi (that eye! Sheesh…), where all the past ten Doctors appeared, in answer to the question, what happened to all of those who tried to attack the Earth. Again, a trip down memory lane to Ten’s words to the Sycorax: “It. Is. Defended.” Now, bugger off, if you please.
Nothing new, this time: The I’ll-just-be-five-minutes thing still isn’t going that well at first try after regeneration, is it? First, Rose was gone for twelve months instead of hours, and now, he lets Amy wait and wait and wait for twelve/fourteen years. Right until the night before her wedding. And still, she just went with him, probably supposing the TARDIS would get it done for him next time. Right. And she refused to turn her back on the Doctor’s backside when stripped stark naked in his effort to find decent clothes to save the world in (“Shoot me, I kept the clothes!”). Right. She made Rory, her “sort-of-boyfriend” dress up as him when they were little? Oh, and did I forget to mention she ran off with him the night before her wedding? Closet romantics, anyone? (Oh, and Moffat, if you give us another Doomsday, I will be very miffed! ;))
Speaking of the Doctor’s physique and subsequent, erm, speculations: MaryAnn Johanson, a NYC-based TV and movie blogger made of pure awesome, considered in her posts about Doctor Who series the place romance and physical attraction gained in the 2005+ series in contrast to the old shows. Well, we don’t know about the “handholding porn” in the 2010 series (yet), but if Amy’s — a kissogram! — obvious reaction and the Doctor’s casual, even if slightly bewildered, reaction to Jeff’s internet habits — “Blimey! Get a girlfriend, Jeff!” — are any indication, I dare say that approach has grown yet more confident. Let alone his first words at seeing the new TARDIS interior: “You sexy thing!” Apart from the fact that I nearly fell off my chair at that one, I am not complaining.
Something else I’m definitely not complaining about: Matt Smith and the direction he’s taking the Doctor personality-wise and on the search for new, brilliant catch-phrases. He’s fast, he’s got a gob, he’s expressive in a way that lets his Doctor feel a variety of emotions all at once while pushing himself to figure out a problem (well, in a tight spot, you simply don’t have the time to sort it all out one by one, do you; especially when even he doesn’t really know who he is); let’s face it, he’s cute, and he bloody knows what he’s doing. Many people on the internet complained about David-oh-yes-he’s-great-Tennant’s decision to step down, about how boyish and young Mr. Smith looks, and how he wouldn’t be able to carry the weight of the role — I think The Eleventh Hour emphatically showed that he’s every bit as clever and, therefore, worthy as his Doctor’s 900+ years. And I’ve never imagined the Doctor could threaten someone so soundly — “Basically…. run.” — and bop up and down on his feet like an excited little lad.
Oh, and of course: Prisoner Zero, the Villain Alien of the Week, looked dutifully disgusting. Another ‘of course’: the first somber prophecy made to the Doctor: “Silence will fall.” Oooh, what might that be? As it is, the universe is cracked, the skin is creaking (reminds me a bit of Cassandra, really… Ha, just imagine the universe shrieking “Moisturize me, moisturize me!”)
And: Cue the official institution of Crackwatch!
More about The Doctor:
Next episode: The Beast Below.