The Woman Who Fell to Earth

When Jodie Whittaker was announced as the new Doctor, I was thrilled. However, my excitement had more to do with the new showrunner than the casting of the first female Doctor.

While I adored Steven Moffat’s Dr. Who episodes during the Eccleston/Tennant eras, the majority of his episodes when he was the showrunner fell flat for me. It felt to me like he was more interested in showing how much cleverer he was than the viewers, rather than creating complete, compelling stories.

And while Chris Chibnall’s previous Dr. Who stories never gave me any “punch the air” moments, I enjoyed his work on Torchwood (Adrift was an outstanding and very poignant episode).

I was pleased to see (or not see) that there were almost no spoilers for the new season. I really wanted to come into each episode with no foreknowledge.

Of course, it was released that there would be no opening titles or theme for Jodie’s first episode.

Oh….wait…..is this the start of the episode?

So….

The Good:

  • The worldwide simulcast was awesome!
  • It looks beautiful. The filming style and picture quality are great.
  • A cop as a TV companion! I’d forgotten that it was something I thought they should actually do (especially after the Amy Pond “fake-out” [Oooh….you got us again, Moffat!]).
  • I adored Grace….but wait….why hasn’t it been revealed that she’s one of the new companions?
  • The Doctor’s team feels like a team. Actually planning an investigation using all of her friends’ skills hasn’t really happened since Boom Town.
  • The funeral was unexpected. Not something you would typically see in a Dr. Who episode. It helped make the characters seem real.

The Bad:

  • No opening credits or title sequence.  Come on! Really????
  • BBC America: You really don’t want us to see those end credits, do you?
  • No TARDIS.
  • THEY KILLED OFF GRACE!

The Indifferent:

  • The Doctor’s crash landing was a blink and you’ll miss it moment. I think she also should have said something like “It’s a good thing I was already regenerating….or else I might have had to regenerate again.”
  • It had a very Torchwood feel.  Not sure if it was the filming style, the amount of scenes set at night, or the size of the regular case. Wasn’t good or bad, just something I felt.
  • Smaller scale story than what Davies typically did. Felt like it was handled better than a Moffat small-scale story.

Takeaways:

I’ve really digging the relationship between the Doctor and her team. It feels very natural. I also like the fact that she’s actually treating them like a team rather than them just observing or wandering into trouble on their own.

However….it doesn’t quite feel like Dr. Who to me (yet). I think the BBC made a major misstep by NOT having an opening title sequence for the episode. That, plus the lack of the TARDIS in the episode, didn’t really cement Jodie as The Doctor for me. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop watching, though.