A new era has begun…and it is good.
While the episode was not one of Stephen Moffat’s best, It was an enjoyable start to the Matt Smith era.
You never know quite what you are going to get with a first story for a new Doctor. Patrick Troughton had a tough start, facing the Daleks. I believe the Daleks were used to attract the viewers, after all, this was a brand new Doctor. No getting another actor in and pretending it was the same character, this was a characteristic that would enable the show to continue for so long. The Daleks were in subdued mood in this story ~ eerily repeating “I am your servant” while the humans on the planet Vulcan conspire in various plots. Of course, the Daleks where planning their own takeover bid. Alas, this is one of the many episodes to have been wiped, with only a few clips surviving. The next story for a new Doctor had a number of similarities with “The Eleventh Hour”. Not least of which is the setting of a hospital, and the hospital acting as the source for the Doctor’s new wardrobe. There is also a spot of vehicle theft in both (although I hope that the new Doctor doesn’t decide to build his own fire-engine). Jon Pertwee also introduce colour into Doctor Who, and, because of one of the seemingly endless BBC strikes, his first story was shot entirely on film. In both episode, the TARDIS is not functioning, in “Spearhead from Space” it was due to the Time Lords exiling him to earth at the end of the War Games, in “The Eleventh Hour”, it is as a result of the tenth Doctor’s regeneration causing the TARDIS to suffer sever damage.
And so to the new TARDIS, I really like it, it feels spacious in a way that the previous new Who TARDIS didn’t. As lovely as it was (and it was), it seemed to be comfortable as a vehicle but not as a home.
Back to first stories, the fourth Doctor started out by starring in his own remake of King Kong with a giant robot instead of a gorilla and Sarah Jane as the apple of the robot’s eye. The next first story saw the Doctor looking for a place to recover after his regeneration and finds himself a stick of celery. The sixth Doctor’s first story was recently voted as the worst story EVER by readers of Doctor Who magazine, following the story that was voted the number 1 story (the fifth Doctor’s finale, “The Caves Of Androzani” penned by the same writer who wrote “Spearhead from Space”, Robert Holmes). I really don’t recall much about the seventh Doctor’s debut, only that it involved Sylvester McCoy having to don Colin Baker’s garish outfit and wear a curly wig. The tv movie featuring Paul McGann was a strange choice for a first Doctor story where the regeneration starts about 20 minutes into the story. For a proposed reboot of the series, this was just one of many mistakes made in what could have been a promising start to a new series.
I was looking forward to this episode and it was reminiscent to how I felt before the airing of “Rose”, the 9th Doctor’s debut. The anticipation was incredible and it was great to see Doctor Who on the screens once more. The 10th Doctor’s debut was a Christmas special (the first since the 1960’s) and due to other commitments that kept me away from the tv, I was unable to see it live.
And there you have it. The good Doctor is back on our screens once more, and I for one, can’t wait to see more.