Doctor Who: Does the New Doctor Stick the Landing?

Categories: Doctor Who

A major spoiler is revealed, so click away if you want to avoid that.

Let's get this out in the open at the beginning; Peter Capaldi is already an amazing Doctor. He is literally the best possible candidate to embody the classic and rebooted series and take it into its second 50 years of life. It is impossible not to see what made Tom Baker's first several seasons so memorable in Capaldi's mannerisms, but there is also that iron edge of Eccleston's that captured a new audience. In Capaldi's Doctor there is little fault.

Little, but not none.

Of all the post-regeneration episodes I would say that "Deep Breath" does the worst job of introducing us to who the new Doctor is. There's none of the quiet strength of Troughton in "Power of the Daleks", or the tenderness seen in "The Eleventh Hour". I would argue that even McGann's movie is a better how-do-you-do to the new bloke than "Deep Breath".

First of all, they spend entirely too much time on the confused shenanigans following the regeneration. Capaldi stumbles around compellingly, but with incredible silliness far longer than is necessary. Tennant got more done asleep than Capaldi gets to do in terms of total running time.

Even when he's up and about there's still a hesitancy to really commit to a new incarnation. Half of his lines sound like they could have come right out of Smith's mouth, making you wonder what the point was in even switching them. Only in the last act does the Twelfth Doctor stand tall on his own as a new man.

On the plus side is Clara, who is finally getting some real character development outside of being last season' living MacGuffin. I've heard a rumor that Steven Moffat really wanted the Victorian era Clara seen in "The Snowmen" to be the proper traveling companion, and that the BBC forced a modern day Clara on him.

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Capaldi is fantastic.  But I totally get what you are saying about the seasonal arc being more of a hinderance on a show like Who than a show like say Lost or Game of Thrones.  I get the feeling Moffat is increasingly trying to pull a Joss Wheadon Buffy The Vampire Slayer move where there are self contained episodes but it's all building towards the climax with whoever is this season's big bad.

That only worked with Who once.  That was season three when RTD kept dropping hints about the UK Prime Minister (really the Master) sparsely in episodes that were more like self contained movies (what I miss about the RTD era the most).  Moffat feels the need to devote so much episode time to his seasonal arc that he takes away time to flesh out the narrative and characterization in his standalones.  He needs to fix that.


That wasn’t a normal regeneration. He was at the end of his regenerations, about to die, and got pumped full of raw unfiltered regeneration energy from Gallifrey itself.

Thats why he blew out molten regen-energy, and thats why he was confused longer than the others.

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