Episode 1 – THE ELEVENTH HOUR

This was as big a leap as the show had taken since Rose. There was a brand new Doctor, brand new companion and brand new show runner. Steven Moffat had taken over from Russell T. Davies and his first script wasn’t what we’d been used to with Moffat in the past, but it was still very good. It started with a bang as we saw the new Doctor cling on to the bottom of the TARDIS as it flew through London and was about to crash. There was a slight issue with that scene though. As the TARDIS went on to crash in a young Amelia Pond’s garden, that made it 1996. We saw the Millenium Dome in that sequence, and work hadn’t began on that until 2003, it’s not a big deal but it should’ve been edited out of the shot. I liked the Doctor landing and meeting a young Amelia Pond, it was unexpected and something that’d never been done before. Matt Smith’s first few scenes in this episode were great as he showed off how regeneration can affect him in the following few hours. Prisoner Zero never posed too much threat and despite the Atraxi threatening to incinerate the planet, I never felt as though anyone was in too much danger throughout the episode. It wasn’t the usual spooky villian that Moffat usually invented. However the Doctor’s speech after he called back the Atraxi was phenomenally well written and performed and was by far the best scene of the episode. It silenced all of the doubters of this new and younger Doctor, especially those so gutted after David Tennant’s departure. Matt Smith stamped his authority on the part right from the start which was crucial. The eleventh Doctor was also provided with a fantastic theme from Murray Gold, which played through this speech and throughout most dramatic moments of the series. I really liked the new design of the TARDIS too, it suited the bizarre persona of this incarnation. Although the plot was quite basic and the Atraxi and Prisoner Zero weren’t very threatening enemies, this was still a great episode to kick off a new era of the show in style. 8/10

EPISODE 2 – THE BEAST BELOW

Steven Moffat himself claimed that this is his worst script for the show. I don’t think it’s his worst, but it’s not great. Like episode one, there never seems to be much threat, and although the Smilers were well designed they didn’t physically do enough to scare viewers. The Queen was a character who I didn’t really understand. There was a strange build up to her identity being revealed which I didn’t get, she wasn’t a mysterious character at all. Also, despite this story being set 2000 years in the future, she’s still the Queen. Did we really need to see all of her sass and hear her say “I’m the bloody Queen”. It just made it unbelievable that she was actually the Queen and she just seemed to me like a normal civilian helping the Doctor. Matt Smith’s performance was once again very good. We never really saw this incarnation at the Doctor’s darkest like we did with the tenth, but there were still some flashes. When he discovered what was making the ship fly and delivered the line “Nobody human has anything to say to me today”, it was the first time we saw him angry and it was a great moment. The concept that this space whale was being tortured to fly the ship and keep all of the humans on board alive was thought provoking and clever. I’m glad Amy resolved this as it’s important for a companion to prove themselves as being useful early on in their tenure. However the way she solved the problem was a bit flukey as she couldn’t have guaranteed she was correct. The storyline to this episode was well thought up, but there should’ve been more action and more of a threat. 5/10

Episode 3 – VICTORY OF THE DALEKS

Remember at school when you were given the first part of a story and you had to finish it off? That is what this episode reminds me of. For the first twenty or so minutes, this episode was written perfectly by Mark Gatiss. It could’ve easily been a modern classic. But it was as if he just smoked a giant spliff halfway through and completely lost his mind. Multi-coloured Daleks? Daleks outwitted by a jammie dodger? Deactivating a bomb by thinking of a girl? Spitfires in outer space? I know Doctor Who is a far fetched show but the second half to this episode was ridiculous. Winston Churchill was portrayed excellently in this episode, he was consistent throughout. The design of the World War II Daleks also was stunning and they were truly chilling when they exterminated the two soldiers. The exchanges between the Dalek and the Doctor when the Dalek was still maintaining it was there to serve him was an outstanding scene. Matt Smith’s portrayal of such extreme rage against his most hated enemy was magnificent to see as everyone else looked on confusedly. But then the WWII Daleks transported back to their ship and we were given the ridiculously designed Paradigm Daleks. Although their lighting up of London in the middle of the night during WWII was a dark and evil move, it was hard to take them seriously just because of their downright silly look. The fact the Daleks had turned Bracewell into a bomb was also spooky. But how on Earth could he deactivate it just by thinking of a girl he used to like? It just made the Daleks’ weaponry seem futile and weak. And although the Spitfires in space shooting the Dalek ship was beautiful on the eye, it just didn’t make sense. Writers should make things make sense, and just throwing a word in to make the plot valid is lazy. In this case, Bracewell’s “gravity bubbles” were just a cheap reason that allowed the Spitfires to fly in space. The Daleks created Bracewell, so if they needed gravity bubbles they’d have taken them with them. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have given Bracewell the capacity or permission to create them. It’s a shame this episode deteriorated so rapidly because the Daleks did show signs of true menace and the first half was excellent. 5/10

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