Doctor Who : The Woman Who Fell To Earth

I have to say that I was impressed with the first episode of the eleventh series of Doctor Who, The Woman Who Fell To Earth. I was impressed with the cinematography, and the look of the whole thing. I was also impressed by the end theme music which was nice and reminiscent of the early themes.

The incidental music was a little bit less intrusive than it sometimes was in the previous seasons which was rather nice as it was there but not so much that was all you heard and at least all of the dialogue was clear, and the music didn’t need turning down and the other stuff turned up. This might be something that is going to be the case from  now on, which I fully approve of. My favourite bit of the music was when we first saw the Doctor get up after falling into the train.

I thought the writing in general was quite good (in particular the characterisation of the main characters), but that the basic plot of the alien menace was not up to much but that was really window dressing to the main point of the episode that was introducing the main characters and fleshing them out. Well, apart from Yasmin, who didn’t get as full an introduction as the other characters but I am sure she will in later episodes. Ryan was probably the most fleshed out character in this episode as we learned a lot about him and also at the end a little bit about Graham, Ryan’s step grandfather, which was very moving.

I, for one, was quite surprised that Ryan’s nan died at the end of the episode even with the web video at the start of the episode (which, in retrospect, is probably where I should have guessed it even though I did, for a minute, think that it could have been about the Doctor) Surely I am not the only person to have thought that? Well I hope that I wasn’t.

I remember that Sharon D Clarke was announced being an important part of the cast very early on but I really never noticed that they never really mentioned her after so, for me, her death was quite a surprise and was rather sad as she seemed like a rather cool gran, and I fully expected that we might bump into her now and again like we did with Jackie, Rose’s mum, but this was not to be.

This might even bring Graham and Ryan closer together as they don’t really get on very well judging by this episode and the fact that his gran died is not going to help matters either but, now at least, they do have a thing in common, they have both lost someone they love. I do think that this might be a character arc for Ryan and Graham.

The Doctor herself was the usual post regenerative timelord who spends most of the episode not knowing who she is but sort of acting on autopilot when she realises that there is a problem that needs sorting, which in this case is the alien tech landing bang in the middle of Sheffield. That is exactly the sort of behaviour that you would expect of a Doctor post regeneration so this can in no way be an example of how she will play the Doctor once she has all of her faculties.

I enjoyed the way that she had to make her own sonic screwdriver out whatever she could find at the time which showed that she still had some of her faculties as otherwise how would she have been able to make a sonic out of ordinary common or garden items, a bit of alien tech that happens to be laying around, and Sheffield steel (primarily spoons).

The fact that the sonic is now made in Sheffield is quite amusing just because it is so random, and they just sort of had the other sonic’s already, or the TARDIS magicked them out of thin air, previously so it is a little bit different which is always good in my book.  I also loved the montage of the Doctor making the sonic harking back to the earlier Doctor’s who were also prone to tinkering with stuff and getting stuck into things.

Perhaps this is the sort of thing we will see this Doctor doing a lot of, which would be nice.  We only saw the new costume at the very end of the episode and the reveal was a bit different as well (being set in a charity shop of all things) and I thought was rather humourous.

It was nice that the episode ended on a cliffhanger much like the early days when there was always a cliffhanger into the following episode even when the main story had finished. Yes, the episode lacked a title sequence but that did not hamper my enjoyment of the episode as to be honest I didn’t really notice. It would have been nice if it was there but it really didn’t make that much of a difference to this viewer at least.

The acting was generally decent with Whitaker, Clarke, Walsh and Cole making their presence felt in particular with Mandip Gill doing alright with what she was given to do in this episode, which wasn’t really a great deal, but I would say that none of them didn’t give a good account of themselves either. The supporting cast members were ok but not many of them really did a great deal in the episode to really make that much of an impression either way, although the salad throwing guy was quite funny.

The alien menace certainly looked the part and it was certainly merciless in the way that it went about its business and it is arguable that this subplot may well have been the sort of thing that we might have seen in a episode of Torchwood where it might have been a bit more viscous and violent than what we saw in this episode.

Taking its victims teeth did seem a bit of an odd thing to do and certainly looked quite gruesome for a Sunday evening but I guess added something to the characterisation of the villain, but if we didn’t see this race again it wouldn’t be that much of pity, as they were not that memorable after the episode ended, and weren’t really the main point of the episode anyway.

This episode wasn’t perfect, hell it was never going to be perfect, and I doubt that there will ever be a perfect episode of Doctor Who, but it wasn’t bad and was a perfectly diverting hour of television, and I would say was a good start for the new Doctor.

Well, I enjoyed it anyway and if you didn’t enjoy it then that is your opinion, but even if you didn’t like it, that doesn’t make it a bad episode.