Doctor Who: ‘The Eleventh Hour’ Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by

doctor who premier Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour Review & Discussion

With the announcement of David Tennant leaving Doctor Who, fans feverishly awaited news on who would replace one of the best Doctors ever to grace the screen. On January 3, 2009 the identity of the new Time Lord was revealed. Matt Smith, a somewhat unknown actor, was tapped to become the eleventh iteration of everyone’s favorite duel-hearted time traveler.

At the age of 26, he is the youngest actor ever to portray the iconic character created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber and Donald Wilson more than 50 years ago. Following the announcement, fans, rightfully so, where initially quite weary. “How could anyone replace David Tennant,” they said. But, as the premiere grew near and more footage was released, those same weary fans became… let’s say, cautiously optimistic. And, for Doctor Who fans, that’s as good as it gets.

In “The Eleventh Hour,” we not only get to see Matt Smith as The Doctor, but also Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, the new companion, and Stephen Moffat’s debut as the new executive producer and head writer of the series.

Is Matt Smith really “the” Doctor? How will Karen Gillan compare to the former companions? Will Stephen Moffat be able to fill the proverbial shoes of Russell T. Davies?

Review

It takes but mere moments for Moffat’s presences to be felt. Toppling through time and space, the TARDIS, under the control of the newly regenerated Matt Smith, crashes into the garden of a young Amelia Pond. Young Pond, played the cousin of Karen Gillan, has bigger things to worry about than some time traveler. You see, she has a crack in her bedroom wall.

doctor who eleventh hour young pond Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour Review & Discussion

A crack, while seemingly innocent in our world, takes on a new life under Moffat’s pen. The crack is not a mere crack in the wall, but in time and space itself. “Prisoner Zero has escaped” can be heard, with the help of an empty glass, through the breach. As the Doctor wields his sonic screwdriver to close it, something, or someone, unnoticeably escapes.

With the appearance of another problem solved, The Doctor promises young Pond that he’ll return in five minutes. With a broken TARDIS, five minutes turns into twelve years where we’ve got a grown up Pond still living with the alien that escaped oh so long ago.

It’s wonderful approach to introduce not only this week’s antagonist, but also the series new companion, with a slightly different name, Amy Pond.

A New Companion

Pond, played by Karen Gillan), is a brilliant companion. While easily one of the most beautiful companions, Pond also has one of the best personalities – one that would make Donna Noble proud. Some women may swoon at a time traveler in their presence, but Pond is still angry from being left so many years ago by The Doctor and has no problem letting him know it.

doctor who eleventh hour pond angry Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour Review & Discussion

Gillian, as Pond, has the potential to provide as much depth and insight to the world of Doctor Who as Catherine Tate playing the gregarious Donna Noble. I only hope she’s given that chance.

An Atraxian Threat

The rest of the episode centers around the Atraxi, an alien race that is after Prisoner Zero. After following The Doctor and Prisoner Zero to Earth, they’re looking to retrieve the alien convict. With the TARDIS inoperable while repairing itself and The Doctor’s beloved sonic screwdriver destroyed, the Time Lord must resort to using his whit’s to defeat the alien prison guards threatening to incinerate the planet.

A brilliant episode in its own right, “The Eleventh Hour” gives fans a chance to see how Moffat will handle the day-to-day Doctor Who stories as all can’t revolve around the dark storylines that he has been known for. Still, Moffat being Moffat can’t help but add a foreboding tone to things with the crack in the wall and notion of looking out of the corner of your eye.

doctor who eleventh hour doctor screwdriver Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour Review & Discussion

While I wouldn’t say that the monster (Prisoner Zero) is one of the best in the Doctor Who universe, watching how the The Doctor handles this new threat, without the use of his familiar tools, is what makes this episode shine.

Smith IS The Doctor

Smith’s Doctor is somewhat professor-like, but with the quirky and eccentric personality that we’ve seen in most iterations of the Time Lord. That being said, there’s also a hint of a darker side to this Doctor. While the previous Doctors may appear to be passive, Smith’s Doctor has no problem escalating situations, if required.

Throughout the episode, Smith, as the still regenerating Doctor, will sometimes slip in nuances that reminisce of David Tennant’s Doctor. A wonderful nod to the past. While wonderful in his portrayal through-out, it’s not until he don’s his new wardrobe and faces off with the Atraxi that we get to see Smith’s Doctor, Moffat’s Doctor and – I’m happy to say – our new Doctor.

Final Thoughts

Matt Smith IS The Doctor. Amy Pond IS the companion. And, Stephen Moffat is still as brilliant as ever. Enough said.

doctor who eleventh hour doctor amy Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour Review & Discussion

What did you think of “The Eleventh Hour?” What do you think of Matt Smith as The Doctor? Is Amy Pond a good companion? Are you looking forward to what’s coming next?

Watch Doctor Who, Saturday @9pm, on BBC America.

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  1. why does the crack keep on following them

  2. Anyone worrying about the new series, wait for the Weeping Angels episode. Dark, funny, shocking and scary all rolled into one, and a cliffhanger which has left everyone I know cursing having to wait a week for the conclusion. I could get into a long argument as to the Dalek colours (there is actually a good reason for it for those bothered enough to look it up). While I actually enjoyed the first three episodes I personally think Time of Angels is where he FINALLY hits his stride as the Doctor. Especially because Moffat finally gives him free reign to show his darkest side. Unfortunately I can say no more without giving away huge spoilers.

    • Now that the season is ended we see The Weeping Angels story as just mediocre fodder in a bland, unexcitingseries. Would you watch any of these gain? I just can’t.

  3. Nothing wrong with coloured Daleks, but have you seen the state of them?!

    “DOES. MY. ARSE LOOK. FAT IN THIS?”

    Why, yes. Yes it does.

    Completely agree with you about this latest episode.

  4. It has to do with the running theme of the season, I think. Sort of like with last season, how there were planets vanishing and it was just a vague part of conversation throughout the show. This time around, the universe is clearly quite damaged. Whatever is happening, chances are it will be explained in the finale.

  5. I like it so far- I watched the first two episodes a few times over the past week, and I'm really intrigued by the new Doctor and companion. It has a nice flow- like, they more or less need each other on some level. It was stuff like that which I loved when it showed up in Tennant's run. When he clearly needed the people he surrounded himself with, yet at the same time they needed him.

  6. I'm noticing that too. He's like the nerd in the corner that no one bugs because everyone knows he will break their arm off in their nostril.

  7. I only yesterday watched 11th hour and Beast Below(?) on iTunes and, frankly, i am not too happy. I kind of expected more from Moffat, so far I can only see a recycling of motives and constellations from previous episodes. I was really looking forward to the Moffat era and expected an unprecedented and refreshing new black undertone in the show. But it seems to me that so far he has not delivered what he is known for.
    That being said: I like the new doctor and think he has a lot of potential.

    • .. and it just got worse. No new monsters, ridiculous tiny headed Daleks, stupid plot points, uneven direction and story telling, Gillan’s poor acting, the Doctor’s changing personality (and bow tie colour) from week to week and The Crack running theme, possibly the most ridiculous EVER! Good final episodes but again stupid when you think about them. Overall the worst season since number 17.

  8. My guess is that Moffat was just right were he was but is not the right guy to be exec. producer. Often enough the best performers are to be found in second place, not in first. I hope Moffat won't crack under the pressure and find back to his old form.

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