Sunday 24 August 2014

Doctor Who Series 8 premiere: The Doctor is In

By Courtney Lockhart

I have to admit- this time last year I was a very disappointed Whovian.

I was at a friend's cottage desperately checking my twitter to discover who was going to replace Matt Smith in the iconic roll of The Doctor.  When they announced Peter Capaldi- I was upset.  Because of my obsession familiarity with Torchwood, where Capaldi had portrayed major series 3 antagonist John Frobisher,  I felt it would be impossible for an actor already strongly associated with a signifigant character to  shift to being the main character of the universe.  In my mind it was  like Tom Hardy being named the next Batman.  I was predicting a series 8 that I would suffer through to support the show but not necessarily enjoy.

Today I am happy to admit that I was completely wrong.

The series 8 premiere, written by show runner Steven Moffat, was moving, entertaining and action packed.  Regeneration has temporarily fried The Doctor's brain. Not only is he trying to figure out his new body and personality, but he can't decide whether to trust his friends to help him. The regeneration confusion leads to a great deal of the episode's humour and amuses in a way that doesn't distract from the main conflict.

Capaldi's doctor is finding a place in my heart. I'm a 10th doctor girl and the introduction to Twelve strongly reminded me of how I felt after watching The Christmas Invasion.  He's a complete 180 from Matt Smith with the exception of still being able to  rock those amazing speeches that Moffat gives The Doctor.  I'm also wondering if " Shut up!" is going to be the new Geronimo?

The supporting crew in this episode, Strax, Vastra, Jenny and Clara- or as the doctor refers to them at first: Grumpy, the green one, the not green one and the one that asks all the questions- were a joy to watch. The 'give Team Vastra their own show'  contingent in the fandom will be louder than ever after this one. They  handle both sides of the regeneration angst argument brilliantly. This episode also gave me a very Sherlock vibe in that a lot of the supporting dialogue seemed to be the writers attempt to verify that they are listening to the fans.

The episode passes the group viewing test with flying colours. We all had  different levels of familiarity with the Whoniverse and were all highly entertained. There are easter eggs galore and little things that I'm sure will mean more in the future, but for those watching who aren't as fluent in Who it is still a great introductory piece.  The best part is, for the first time since series 5 we will get all twelve episodes in one go, no breaks!

Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 9pm on Space, You'll be able to meet previous Who stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvil  at Fan Expo this month. Matt Smith and a special mystery Whovian guest will be appearing at Montreal Comiccon in September.

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy.

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