I caught the debut of Matt Smith (the new Doctor on Doctor Who) on On Demand yesterday. (I love On Demand, BTW. I do wonder, though, why every On Demand program I’ve used has an outright user-hostile interface, but I imagine within a few years some entrepeneurial lass or lad will correct that and do quite well for themselves. In the meantime I puzzle over mysteries such as why some Doctor Who episodes show up under “Primetime on Demand” and others under “BBC America On Demand.”)
But I digress. The eleventh Doctor. I think I’m quite fond of him. More importantly, I’m quite fond of Doctor Who under Steven Moffat’s leadership. After only one episode, I already feel more confidence in the writing. It has that slightly hokey feel that Doctor Who should have, but manages to never cross into severe eye-rolling territory, as Russell T. Davies was known to do now and again. The regeneration was well-done, and there was a lovely dash of Moffat horror thrown in throughout. It also seems like Moffat is going to play around more with the time-travelling complexities, which strikes me as a fun way to explore the character. “Oh, I said 5 minutes and it turned out to be 12 years? Oops!” Vintage Doctor.
As for young Mr. Smith, I enjoyed his performance quite a lot, which is impressive considering my recently developed but still emotionally significant secret crush on David Tennant. Smith is drawing a bit on Tennant but he’s doing his own thing, too. He has just the right mix of cockiness, world-weary wisdom, adventurousness, and just-barely-beneath-the-surface timelord-y angst. And I believed he was the Doctor pretty much from his first moment on screen, which, as Moffat said, is ultimately the only test that counts. There were a few moments now and then where his youth came through in a way that felt like it was due more to Smith’s own youthful uncertainty than to the Doctor’s timeless exuberance, but they really were only a few moments, and I’m sure Smith is only going to get better as he grows into the role. Also, love the outfit. Bowties and suspenders are definitely due for a comeback.
And Amy Pond seems promising as a new companion. Proactive and sharp and a bit different from the ones we’ve seen before. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season has in store for us…