Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour (Series 05, Episode 01) Review

Doctor Who Logo - 2010 Version
What’s It About?

A still regenerating Doctor finds crashes in an ordinary village to discover a rather odd crack in the fabric of Space-Time. With the TARDIS out of action and the Sonic Screwdriver on the blink, he’s left with just his wits to save the Earth from Prisoner Zero and the Atraxi …

Review It

New Team, New Who and a late review, due to Wibbley-Wobbley, Timey-Wimey … Stuff. And in the same way – this is both the first episode of series five and series thirty-one.

Steven Moffat has really gone for the New Producer revamp approach here, with everything changing. The new logo looks great against the stormy Time Vortex. And this from someone who was convinced the new logo was rubbish up until 18:20 on 02 Feb 2010. The new theme arrangement also captures this stormy feel which ties into the theme introduced in the episode of “cracks in time” – presumably caused by naughty Mr. Tennant before his regeneration or the even naughtier Mr Rassilon. The short “intro” arrangement has yet to grow on me as it seems to lack the familiar overtones of the Who theme but the full version (available here) is quite compelling.

Blimey – a whole paragraph and we’ve not got past the titles yet. So with a quick cry of “Geronimo!” (Do we NEED a catch phrase?) Here we go:

Enough of Russell’s formula remains for the series to be worn like the comfortable favourite gloves that it should be, from the Familiar opening shot of the Earth in space to the crazy careening CG TARDIS. Even Matt Smith’s initial dialogue has a certain Davies/Tennant about it that makes this episode seem like a true tranisition from one production team to the next.

Matt Smith’s Doctor trying to work out his new body was written and played to perfection and Amelia / Amy Pond (both the young girl and the young woman) were both excellent companion material. Amy’s “family” of Rory, Jeff and Jeff’s gran were also a delight throughout their appearances in the episode, which centered mainly around this central core of cast and the sleepy village they inhabit.

The plot itself manages to be both small scale and world-threatening at the same time with the prisoner marauding through a small village and a the local hospital, while it’s erstwhile prison guards (the Atraxi) threaten the planet itself in their search for the escapee. The climactic stand off in the episode was set up nicely, narrowly avoiding the neat “I’m going to press this and everything will be fine!” that has been the bane of many a grand plot in the past. This final scene is when we truly see the Eleventh Incarnation of the Doctor truly come into his own.

And the niggles?

For me, the scene where the Doctor tries to work out what he’s missed seemed a bit incongrouous, particularly with the camera shutter sound effect. The scene was meant to show The Time Lord working out what he’d missed. To my mind, any view of the surroundings should have been from his linear walk up the street, gathering peripheral information, not an all-encompasing tracking shot of the whole area. That said, the scene worked within it’s own context and didn’t detract from the story. Other than that, there are a couple of minor, minor continuity issues (the jacket and bow tie came from where? and some equally minor logic issues (I’m not going to get THAT retentive here though!) but the episode definitely stands as one of the finest pieces of Family TV – pitched at just the right level of humour, darkness, adultness and innocence.

Overall this was the finest season opener we’ve been treated to since the Series’ re-launch in 2005 and it’s left me eager for more Who with a new excitement and eagerness.

Rate It: 4.5 / 5.
Dry Slaps: 0.
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

One comment

  1. Red Five /

    Not a fan at all of the new Doctor. Face palmed so much throughout the episode that I was tickling my spinal cord. Wasn’t going to watch this series at all, but gave them the benefit of the doubt and did…wish I hadn’t! I am not saying that D.T should still be here (this isn’t Utopia and dreams rarely fill out), but it is a sad day when M.S comes out as the best actor to take on the new role.

    A lot of people I have been talking with found this episode brilliant, even older fans like the new guy. Fair play to them, I wouldn;t try to sway anybody’s opinion, I just found it a crass attempt. Lacking script and acting abilities and general appeal.

%d bloggers like this: