Tonight on BBC America, at 9 PM Eastern, Chinny McBigHair steps out of the TARDIS for the first time--with some mighty big shoes to fill. Is he up to the job? Early reviews say yes, but I continue to remain cautious in my optimism.
Though I approached tonight's season premiere of Doctor Who with cautious optimism, I was secretly certain I would hate it. And I did hate the new opening credits sequence and logo--got a bit of a lightning fetish there, Moffat?--but I was wrong about the rest. I liked it. In fact, I liked it a lot.
It was weird hearing dialogue that David Tennant would say coming out of someone else's mouth, but as a lifelong Doctor Who fan you'd think I'd be used to these transitions by now. Regardless, Matt Smith (no longer to be referred to by me as Chinny McBigHair) did a great job. He may have clowned around a bit too much, but that's actually not so unusual for any new Doctor's first episode. I was worried about his youth, and to be honest, his bow tie, but with this one episode I think he proved himself a worthy actor in the role. I'm excited to see where this will go, especially once he finds his own unique voice.
New companion Amy Pond has more depth and maturity than I'd expected from the promo pictures where she looks about sixteen years old, not to mention a compelling touch of heartbreak (love those little Doctor dolls!). The new TARDIS layout is going to take some getting used to, though (also loved the mention of the swimming pool, previously seen for the first and last time in the 1978 serial "The Invasion of Time," wherein Leela took a relaxing swim fully clothed and, later, more than one Sontaran took an accidental dunk during their storming of the TARDIS).
In terms of story, "The Eleventh Hour" wasn't all that special, though it did have some wonderful little Steven Moffat moments of both fear (a room in a house no one has noticed before) and heroics (the Doctor telling off the Atraxi; the completely artificial but narratively important countdown to disaster). If I'm excited to see where Matt Smith takes the role, I'm even more excited to see where Moffat takes the series.
They also showed the faces of all the previous Doctors, something I always love when they do!
So yes, I'm excited about the new series, and the new Doctor. Color me surprised!