Written by Louie Fecou
At the time of writing we have found ourselves in the first quarter of Peter Capaldi’s last series of Doctor Who. Question is, how’s it looking so far?
Well fans of Who seem so far to be mourning the Doc already, even though he’s here till the end of the year, but the good news seems to be that the first few episodes have had a good reception from fans and critics alike, unusual for Doctor Who.
Episode one cheekily titled The Pilot, gave us a fresh start in many ways. The Doctor is lecturing away his days while being charged mysteriously with guarding The Vault, a Mcguffin that seems set to drive the series to it’s conclusion. We also meet the amazing Pearl Mackie playing new companion Bill, and that’s where the show has really triumphed. Bill is honest, fun and endearing. There’s great chemistry between Mackie and Capaldi, and there’s no back story or continuity for new viewers to worry about. The Pilot is a great introduction for the show, and the action continues straight into episode 2 Smile.
Smile, by Frank Cottrell-Boyce was another strong episode with striking location filming in Valencia and terrific robots that speak emoji. It was an episode that seemed to cause the most anxiety for fans, as Boyce had penned a previous Who story, In The Forest Of The Night, that upset fandom almost universally. The good news here though was he delivered a clever satirical story with some great moments, despite a rather rushed ending.
Episode 3 completes the Who formula, of present day,future and past, taking Bill and The Doctor to London during the last great frost fair. Under the Thames is a giant fish thing that is being fed human beings to provide the villain of the piece with fuel that can burn under water and run an interstellar space craft, or something. It didn’t really matter because this episode was once again an incredible achievement from all involved. Costumes, sets, acting, script and music were perfect and once again Bill’s interactions with The Doctor, were poignant and believable.
So a great first quarter for Doctor Who. We have had 3 strong episodes, some terrific moments and an arc that is engaging, simple to follow and is keeping forums and comment sections busy. Capaldi has hit the ground running with his new companion, and they are both a joy to watch together. The effects have been great and even Matt Lucas has managed to become endearing and likable on screen, even though he has had barely 10 minutes of screen time so far, something that looks set to be addressed in future episodes.
Can Doctor Who keep this high standard up? Time will tell in a few weeks when we have a look back at the next quarter.