Monday, April 19, 2010

My approval goes up to Eleven

Ooh, flashy light.

Say, how about this new "Doctor Who" fella? I like him! And, despite only having one episode to base this opinion on, I'm feeling pretty good about the new Moffat era of "Who"-dom.

Yes, I decided to be a good, honest, law-abiding American citizen and wait until this past Saturday to watch "The Eleventh Hour" on BBC America. It was totally worth the wait. Even my husband, who swore he would hate it just to show his allegiance to Tennant, was won over by the end of the episode.

I really loved the whole hour and will go out on a limb here and say I thought it was the best Doctor debut episode in all of new "Who" -- and I say this as a huge fan of Tennant's "Christmas Invasion." I thought "Eleventh Hour" was a rich, heartfelt, full story that went a long way toward establishing the differences between Ten and Eleven.

Right from the start, Matt Smith just owns the Eleventh Doctor. He's quirky and mad and funny in a dry, sophisticated gentleman way. He exudes a maturity that's in full keeping with a 900 plus year old time lord and goes way beyond what I would have expected from a 26 year old actor. His scenes with a young Amy were beautifully done. It wasn't cutesy or schmaltzy or any of the other horrible adjectives you could apply to a scene about a poor abandoned girl and a mysterious alien. Instead, it was sweet and touching...and hilarious. And I got honest-to-goodness teary-eyed when poor little Amy sat down on her suitcase to wait for the Doctor. It touched on every disappointing moment any child has ever suffered through.

Speaking of Amy, I like the grown-up version. I'm not quite 100 percent sold on Karen Gillan the way I am with Smith, but she's got a great energy and a terrific chemistry with Smith. And on my husband's behalf, I'm supposed to say she's hot, too.

I'm liking the new TARDIS too and sincerely hoping we'll actually get to see the swimming pool. And the library. And the library in the swimming pool.

Overall, I give this episode a solid A, and I can't wait for next week.

So what did you guys think?


emily said...

I'm a fan of Eleven. I am also *not* a law-abiding American citizen so I've seen the first three episodes so far. Smith has totally won me over. I'm not quite so thrilled with Amy Pond, but we'll see.

Michele said...

I love Amy almost as much as wee Amelia.

Amy is fey and fierce and even more headstrong than Donna was. I'm dying to see what Moffat does with her and the relationships between her, Eleven, Rory and [Spoiler]!

And your hubby's quite right about Karen being hot - and I say this as a straight girl. You wouldn't believe how uptight the British tabloids are getting about Amy's short skirts - which is hysterical from the PoV of a fan of pre-2005 Who who remembers Leela's outrageously skimpy outfit, not to mention Liz's and Jo's short skirts, Peri's cleavage (and bikini) and even Zoe's sparkly catsuit-clad bum!

Nikki said...

Also non-law abiding, so 3 eps in, and I think my take is 180ยบ from yours. I LOVE Amy - she's a great, wholly formed companion with a character all her own. Eleven, on the other hand... just hasn't won me over yet. Not that I dislike him, it's just a few things that are putting me off.

He seems very angry most of the time - telling people to shut up constantly as one example. Plus I don't think he's a very convincing speaker when he's trying to be, well, convincing. There's a "blah, blah, blah, and I am the Doctor!" speech in the third episode that, coming from Tennant would have been one of those "my god, now you've done it" kind of moments and when he delivered it, it had all the import of a 3rd grader reading the Gettysburg Address.

I don't know. I'm still giving him time. But at least Amy's a solid YES.

Nikki said...

Oh, and... What's up with the wood grain on the TARDIS?? They couldn't afford a primer coat?

Kathe said...

I have to agree with Nikki, LOVE Amy and I think I will love Smith, but I'm not sure yet. I've seen all 3 eps and the husband and I are wondering if they are just going to rehash ALL the previous foes for this season? I hope they would have something more original. I have a much harder time understanding what Smith is saying, 9 and 10 were much better delivering the lines, but I think for Smith that will come with experience.

I'm still watching and keeping an open mind, I want to love it and hope it gets even better!

Michele said...

Kathe, Matt's delivery of lines is frequently gabbled - I thought David T spoke fast, but he was still always clear.

But it really doesn't help that the sound mix this season is completely wonky! (A friend who's a media student thought it was just her being over-critical, but I assured her that it's not, I've noticed it too.)

Quilt Monkey said...

Just saw the first episode and I'm still on the fence about 11. I was the same way with 10 when he first arrived, and ended up loving him. I'm pretty confident that I'll like 11 as well - I just need another episode or two...

KT said...

I agree -- I'm totally won over by Eleven. And while Amy is growing on me (quickly) I was actually sorry to trade wee Amelia for grown-up Amy, which is not usually my reaction to child characters on TV. The beginning scenes with the crack in the wall and the crazy food and the beautifully odd understanding between the little girl and the nutty alien were just fantastic.

Feel free to check out my review of this ep over at Raked. :)

Mindy said...

I was utterly, totally surprised by the fact that I liked Matt Smith, let alone by the fact that I liked him a LOT. Completely taken aback. I can see him only improving as the time passes.

Anonymous said...

I have been law abiding (so far), and so have only seen the Eleventh Hour. I was quite impressed by the Doctor and by Amelia/Amy. (She's very bossy, isn't she?) I thought Matt Smith captured the Doctor's manic energy very well.

Cara King said...

I've only seen the first ep as well, and I did like it. It always takes me a while to deal with changes, so I'll know better in a few weeks how I'm really liking our new Doctor!

I do agree with Kathe that I can't always make out what our new Doctor is saying... I replayed some bits three or four times and still couldn't figure out what the words were!


crone51 said...

I am law abiding ( only because I need the closed captioning as I am a tad hard of hearing and believe me I would have heard next to nothing Smith said without the CC) and I love it. Loved him, loved her, loved the new tardis. Looking forward to it all.

Anonymous said...

Okay -- empirically, I appreciated Matt Smith. He is handling the part well, he's got a great energy. The script seems to be pulled off well as well -- technically all the elements are in place, and I can tell that things will do well.

...But deep down, I think my heart still just belongs to David Tennant. I don't DISLIKE Matt Smith -- in fact, I can see that he's doing very very well -- but I just miss David Tennant too much to jump all the way into "I love it."

But that's just my own hangup and shouldn't be used as a yardstick.

Chelsa said...

Glad I'm not the only one not completely sold on Amy (yet). I don't hate Amy, but I don't love her either. I hope I'll like her as the season progresses.

I had to watch the first episode a couple of times before I started to like Eleven. However, Ten was my doctor, so I'll always love DT more.

I like the new TARDIS, but not the new sonic screwdriver. It looks too clunky.

Angel said...

I loved Eleven within the first five minutes. I think part of it may be that Ten was never MY Doctor - Nine was my Doctor, and I didn't buy the stuff between Ten & Rose and then saw the rest of the episodes out of order as they came to hand. So, you know, I was ready for someone other than Tennant. Not to say that I didn't like David Tennant, I did, and he was brilliant, but Matt Smith is also brilliant and I am finally over Nine enough to love a new Doctor. I think Ten was a great bridge between Nine and Eleven... I recognize that this puts me in the minority, though.

Amy said...

Love 11, love Amy. I actually really like Smith's delivery of his lines, and only once or twice had trouble understanding him. And in some cases when his delivery doesn't quite get the attention that Eccleston or Tennant would have received I appreciated it as someone whose outward appearance doesn't get the attention or respect I often deserve - so that's my own experience playing into it. Part of my love of Amy is because it's pretty awesome to have the Doctor saying my name, but I really like her spunk and imagination. At first her prettiness was distracting (she's so pretty it's hard to get past it! That hair! Those legs!) but I really enjoy her character - both her bossiness and her knack for reading the Doctor have completely won me over.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Brit and have seen all three episodes legitimately on British TV! But I promise, no spoilers.

I love Amy. Bolshy and brassy, and like Donna she's helping the Doctor keep in touch with what it means to be human.

I remain undecided about Matt Smith. On the plus side, he's bringing an eccentricity to the part we haven't seen since Tom Baker. On the minus side, sometimes he seems to be trying too hard to be David Tennant. And maybe I'm showing my age (I'm just about old enough to remember Jon Pertwee as The Doctor) but he's far too young. I'm starting to suspect the BBC have got it into their heads only geeky boys watch Dr Who and they are trying to bring in the more mainstream young women by casting good-looking young men in the part. Seems to be selling out somewhat.

But, I remain open to persuasion. We'll have to see how the series develops.

Meg said...

I bring a new perspective as this is the fisrt doctor I've watched (save a few random episodes of 10- I know, I know, I really shouldn't even call myself a true nerd!) but I LOVE this guy!! One episode in and i am hooked. He has a fantastic energy that I cannot wait to see more of!!!!

Tracy said...

I happened to be in Britain when the new Who premiered ... which worked out well since I already knew that I would be away from home on the 17th with no access to BBC America to catch the premiere here.

It was rather funny ... I double-checked with the hotel desk when we arrived that the TV in my room had BBC1. My traveling companion thought the whole thing was rather funny and whispered to the clerk "she doesn't want to miss the new Doctor Who!" in a very conspiratorial fashion. She just raised an eyebrow and said "Of course she does, sir" before turning to me and finishing with "6:20 on BBC1 AND HD".

I liked both Eleven and Amy in the episode. I don't love either as yet. Smith did a fine job and brought his own unique quirks to things. It will be interesting to see which stay around.

I was quite relieved to like the new Doctor. I remember when Peter Davison's tenure ended and Colin Baker became the Sixth Doctor. I hated the new Doctor from the first episode and pretty much most of the stuff that John Nathan-Turner dreamed up after that point as well. Given that I have plenty of concerns over what Moffat will do as executive producer, I am relieved that so far at least I recognize the character as an extension of Ten and the other Doctors before him. In time, I expect him to become his own man but thank heaven he didn't start out the episode by oh, attempting to strangle someone or anything!

I thought there were lots of echoes of the reboot's first few episodes here ... the confusion over the time between the Doctor's appearances, the cheesy effects, the orphaned (or semi-orphaned) companion, the boyfriend who doesn't quite cut it. Probably a little more interesting a back story to Amy's meeting with the Doctor than Rose's, though.

For those of you who have seen the original BSG series ... did you flash to the crystalline entity when you first saw the Atraxi? [Looks pretty similar sans eyeball.] The 1970s BSG effects were better but, hey, this is Doctor Who. One fully expects to see mostly cheesy effects with the occasional good sprinkled in.

I also found the new theme ... odd. There almost seemed to be cues to the X-Files theme in there.

Sarah Eleanor said...

Just wanted to say-that if you are a law-abiding citizen of the US of A and you don't have BBC America you can get this season of Dr. Who on on Amazon on Demand.
That's how I watched this episode. Each episode is three dollars and it allows you to download them to your computer for the purchase-which sadly takes a SUPER LONG TIME, but you can watch them online instantly with the on demand.

I'm off to eat a happy apple now.

Anonymous said...

Torch, that's a flashy torch! :D

Don't have BBC America (only BBC World).

Yes, I just cried manly tears.


peculiarbison said...

I agree with your review for the first episode of this season.

However, as I am neither an American (I is Canada,eh) nor a law abiding citizen (I live on the edge and rarely buckle my seatbelt) ... I have seen every episode this season online.

With that said, I am a little apprehensive about the new doctor and companion. I won't give anything away, but I feel like there's something lacking with this new doctor that I can't quite put my finger on.

He's likable and quirky, however, I'm still on the fence about him. The first episode properly did him justice and I was excited. But with each passing episode, I've begun to feel steady disappointment

I loved Eccleston and then I super loved David Tennant off the bat. I thought it would be the same from Smith, but I guess he's going to take some warming up to.

review on Amy Pond: she's alright.

Distinction Escorts said...

Boring, boring, boring. I was willing to give them a couple of episodes to warm up, but having seen three now it just gets more tedious as it goes along. It also becomes more apparent that Smith desperately wants to be Tennant, and comes off as a poor imitation, rather than establishing his own style.
Nice to see an assistant who isn't afraid to make fun of the Doctor though.

Sarah said...

I LOVE David Tennant but I think Matt Smith is better than I thought he'd be. I don't mind that his character is 'not that different' - I wouldn't want a huge change right now. He does seem happier though, in general. The last few (or rather many) episodes with Tennant's character were overwhelmingly morose IMHO. Tennant just did such an amazing job conveying that emotion. Anway, I look forward to seeing what Matt Smith (and his bow-tie) have in store but I'm not sure I'll ever find him quite as hot as David Tennant.

Red said...

I've only seen the first 2 eps on BBCA but so far I'm really liking Amy. It has the potential to be my next fave sci fi show, now that Caprica's on hiatus.

Gaile said...

sorry but i don't like either of them. I watched 4 episodes, trying to keep an open mind, especially as I loved Moffat's other episodes. And I am left less than pleased. Matt is annoying, the episodes are thin on plot and seem just less rich than those under Davies, and frankly, Amy annoys the crap out of me with her twitching and ridiculously stilted walk. And can we puh-lease give the girl some clothes that fit her less than adorable figure? I've tried. I really have. But they all feel like a cheap imitation of the original(s), watered down and recycled.

Anonymous said...

matt is ok but I just don't see the Doctor in him.Amy is a bit of a flirt, but she is a very interesting companion to the Doctor

Chantelle said...

I have to admit, I am definitely not a law-abiding american... I have the entire 5th season AND this year's christmas special on my iTunes. And have had it (except the christmas special, of course) for 6 months. Trust me, it's worth it. SO good...