Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour
The Doctor crashes the TARDIS and destroys his sonic screwdriver forcing him to use just his still forming brain to save the Earth.
It’s been two years since “Doctor Who” aired regular episodes on a weekly basis but it’s finally back with a new Doctor, new companion and new show runner giving “The Eleventh Hour” the feel of a pilot episode.
Resuming from where the show left off in “The End of Time Part 2” the TARDIS is on fire and the Doctor (Matt Smith) is still undergoing his transformation leaving him a little off balance. He finds himself outside the house of a girl named Amelia Pond who asks him to fix a crack in her wall. The crack turns out to be more than that as it leads to a prison where apparently Prisoner Zero has escaped from. In an attempt to fix the TARDIS the Doctor claims that he’ll be back in 5 minutes but ends up returning 12 years later finding kissagram Amy Pond (Karen Gillian) instead of the little girl he expected. He realizes that Prisoner Zero has been hiding in a room blocked by a perception filter in Amy’s house. Prisoner Zero’s guards have followed the Doctor to the future and threaten to destroy the Earth in an effort to destroy the prisoner. Prisoner Zero begins taking the form of several hospital coma victims to disguise itself. When it takes the form of Amy and the Doctor themselves, the Doctor manages to convince Amy to dream of Prisoner Zero’s actual appearance leading the guards right to it and allowing its capture. A new TARDIS shows up and the Doctor tests it out without realizing he’s been gone another two years. Amy decides to go with him despite her wedding being scheduled for the following day.
By this point I had almost forgotten what it was like to have an episode of “Doctor Who” that wasn’t incredibly over dramatic. With Russel T. Davies and David Tennant both leaving after last year’s series of specials; Davies made very sure that every episode had that dramatic, everyone is going to die feeling and it got to be a bit much in my opinion. I missed the campy humour that “Doctor Who” and particularly Tennant’s Doctor did so well. Thankfully it’s coming back here with the start of the new series. Steven Moffat, the new head writer (though he’s written several episodes of the show in the past), brings a lighter tone to “The Eleventh Hour” while challenged with the task of introducing an entirely new set of characters to the series.
The actual plot of “The Eleventh Hour” is not really anything special. It’s meant more as a means to give us plenty of time to get to know the new Doctor and his new companion. This is the first time since the pilot episode of the reimagined “Doctor Who” that a new companion and a new Doctor have begun at the same time and thus a lot of introductions are necessary. Basically an alien prisoner escapes and the other aliens that captured him want him back even if they have to destroy Earth to get him. The giant snake of Prisoner Zero and its giant eye wardens were bland and did little to threaten Earth besides saying that they would destroy it. I do have to wonder why Prisoner Zero chose to stay in Amy’s house doing nothing for 12 years though. After all, if it had gone somewhere else, its wardens would likely have never found it at all.
Either way, “The Eleventh Hour” is meant more as a set up for the characters. Matt Smith as the new Doctor is entertaining. He’s still sporting some of Tennant’s qualities, as would be expected since he just transformed, but he comes off in a unique way as well. As for Karen Gillian’s Amy Pond, it could go either way for me at this point. She seems interesting enough and stands her ground with the Doctor well. Though she idolized him as a child she isn’t overly eager to trust him upon his return. I doubt she’ll be as outspoken as Donna was but she may be on the right track. On the other hand I could see it being all too easy for the writers to fall into the trap of writing another companion desperately in love with the Doctor and we’ve been there a few too many times before.
All in all, “The Eleventh Hour” makes for an exciting start to the new season. The decision to leave Steven Moffat in charge of the show after Russel T. Davies departure was one I was looking forward to since the moment it was announced and hopefully it won’t disappoint. His first episode, “The Eleventh Hour” manages to bring back the campy humour and sci-fi without being overly corny or dramatic.