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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews The Doctor Who Season 11 Premiere!

October 7th, 2018 by Todd Black Comments

Ever since it was revealed that Peter Capaldi (my personal favorite Doctor…for now) was going to be leaving Doctor Who, the question next was…who will be next? Then it was revealed that Jodie Whittaker would be the first (in-canon) female Doctor, and the world went nuts. Some thought it was a great thing, and long overdue. Others thought that it was a “social justice thing” that only happened because of the “changing world”. But as all Whovians know, it’s not about the casting, it’s how much they grab our attention when they debut in their first episode. To which I say, Jodie Whittaker is off to a great start.

“The Woman Who Fell To Earth” was a very nice twist on certain Doctor Who tropes of the last few regenerations. And not just because of the Doctor being female. For as a certain BBC host noted after the episode, “everything is new”, and that’s very true. Not since Smith’s arrival have we had such a clean reset, and it really works here. For not only did the Doctor shine, but her three (yes, three) new companions did too.

One of the things I personally liked the best about this episode was that the Doctor literally hit the ground running…er…stumbling around a train…you know what I mean. Unlike “Deep Breath” (which I honestly had a lot of issues with), it didn’t focus on the regeneration as much as past ones did. Instead, it went right into the problem at hand. Which was an electric tentacle-like monster and an armored warrior. You know, Doctor Who stuff.

First and foremost, I want to openly and emphatically praise Jodie Whittaker. For while Capaldi is my favorite Doctor, his first season was rather mixed for me. It seemed like it took him a while to get the material he deserved to be his own Doctor. With Whittaker though, she took the material she had and made the absolute best of it. I’m affectionately calling her the “Best Friend Doctor”, because she talks and acts like your best friend. A great example of this was when she first met Yaz, who is a probationary officer, Yaz wanted to report something, but the Doctor calmly and wisely talked to her about why that would be a bad idea. She didn’t belittle, or antagonize, she just said the facts with a kind smile and got her to understand what was really happening. That’s really awesome.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s feisty when she needs to be, but above all else…she’s your friend who wants to help you no matter what. I find that deeply appealing, and while many other Doctor’s have been “friends”, I think Whittaker can take it in a more personal way. And not in a “relationship” way but like a “BFF” way. You dig?

Now, obviously, the Doctor is nothing without her Companions, and I love how we got all three in the first episode (unlike previous versions which start out with one at times then add another and so on), and thankfully, they’re all different! Ryan is a quiet yet confident young man who is trying to be strong even though he has a somewhat crippling genetic condition. Graham is an experienced man, and is Ryan’s stepgrandfather, and is doing his best to be there for him. Then there’s Yaz (my favorite of the bunch at present, but they’re all good!), who is trying to prove she can be as good as anyone else (sounds familiar…), and yet is constantly getting weighed down.

While some might be put off by the “ease” of which they are adapting to the situation dealt to them, I find it oddly believable. There’s denial at first, but then as they see more, they know they need to trust the person who is making the most sense…even if she’s speaking “nonsense”.

And all of this is rooted of Whittaker’s energy and ability to make every situation fun and special. From making a “custom” Sonic Screwdriver (Swiss Army Knife?), to thinking of a plan as she’s climbing a crane, and more. It’s all a lot of fun.

The “monster of the week” has a few nice twists, and I’ll honestly admit I thought that some things would go one way, but they went another. We got to meet a new species of alien, and hints that we could see them again.

There are some “down” moments. There is a death that is teased rather heavily, and it’s fairly obvious who dies. But it does bring them together more in a way, so I can let it slide a little.

In the end though, “The Woman Who Fell To Earth” is a great start to what I think might be a truly spectacular season of Doctor Who. You know…if they survive the cliffhanger that is…

4.5 out of 5 nerds

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!