The first episode with Peter Capaldi as Dr Who has received a mixed reaction. I’m not surprised.
First off, people are naturally inclined to stay with what they know and love. So Peter Capaldi coming in as the new Doctor disrupts that nice comfortable cosiness.
However, Steven Moffat has done the same thing with the new Dr Who as he did with the third series of Sherlock. He enriched the characters and made them more, as we say in the fiction trade, 3-D. When you get a 2-D character, viewers tend to put their own wish list of characterisation on the actors. So when they come along with a more developed character, naturally some viewers are disappointed.
Now the first part, when Dr Who is getting to grips with his new body is probably the most confusing for a lot of people. There were quite a few references to previous episodes. If, like me, you don’t know them, then it can come out as a jumble rather than a witty lively script. However, I twigged that something clever was going on when the Dr in his bed was translating what the dinosaur was saying. So I let things be, and waited to see where the episode would take us. And yes, it improved.
Some have complained that the ending was long and drawn out. Well that phone hanging out of the phone box way way back when always bothered me. But now I have the answer. It was the Matt Smith Doctor ringing Clara to ask to be nice to his next regeneration… which means the Matt Smith Doctor must have known he was going to regenerate, which in turn would add to the confidence of the Matt Smith Doctor, which is why he was such a jokey, light-hearted type of Doctor.
I actually watched the first ever episode of Doctor Who with William Hartnell as the Doctor (yes I know it shows up my age). He was more irascible and serious than quite a few of his later regenerations. In fact, the jokey silliness really took hold with the Simon Baker Doctor Who. So in a sense Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who is for me a walk down memory lane to what the first three Doctors were like, and a welcome one at that. I’m looking forward to the series to see how it all turns out…