Well, the new season of Dr Who premiered last night, complete with new Doctor Peter Capaldi. The verdict at our house? Overall, a resounding “meh”.
Baby Duck thought it was great, but his logic works like this: I love Dr Who. This was Dr Who. Therefore I loved it.
The Carnivore, about halfway through the episode, said: “If this was my first ever episode of Dr Who, I’d never watch it again.” Ouch.
I’m keeping an open mind about Peter Capaldi. He spent a lot of this first episode dazed and demented from his regeneration, so we don’t have a clear handle yet on how he’s going to play the role. There were some amusing one-liners and a great rant that give me hope I may one day come to accept the loss of Matt Smith (sob).
But the writers did him no favours, with a pretty ho-hum episode. It started off quite promising, with the Tardis arriving in Victorian London inside a time-travelling T-rex, which then chucked it up into the Thames.
Cool! You can’t get a much more dramatic entry than that. Plus, what’s not to love about a dinosaur in Victorian London? I was intrigued to see where they were going with this.
Sadly, the answer was “nowhere”. The dinosaur played no more part in a story that dragged its way through many not-very-exciting conversations to arrive at last at a mildly interesting cyborg plot.
The whole dinosaur thing reminded me very much of how the advice to “start your story with action” is sometimes misinterpreted by beginning writers. It can’t just be action for its own sake, and it mustn’t be action that has nothing to do with the bulk of the story which follows. No high speed car chases that turn out to be dreams, or murder scenes which are actually something being watched on TV by the main character.
No dinosaurs which have nothing to do with the rest of the plot.
The writers of Dr Who are definitely not beginners, which makes it all the more surprising. Let’s hope the rest of the season only has surprises of the good kind.
Did you watch it? What did you think?