Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who 1st Episode - Michael's Thoughts
I managed to watch the premier of the new season. I enjoyed the episode very much. I thought Jodie Whittaker picked up the mantle of the Doctor very well. She even managed to pay homage to some of the characteristics of Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi.

While I saw snippets from the discussion surrounding the episode, I wasn't really into the whole party thing. Sorry, Whovians.

Although the BBC bills this show as being "for children" they dipped into some mature themes and there was some mature violence. They handled the radical violence tastefully but I would say that new showrunner Chris Chibnall is raising the intensity of the drama from the Peter Moffat era. Chibnall does drama very well, and that should bring some refreshing perspective to the Doctor's adventures.

As regeneration launchings go it was somewhat formulaic. At least since Christopher Eccleston first met Rose Tyler, the first episode for a regeneration takes place on Earth and introduces the new Doctor's first companions. This formula works well enough because as long as the companions are from contemporary Earth that is where the Doctor should meet them. But I don't see why the Doctor can't take up with an occasional companion from elsewhere again. They were quite popular in the original series. Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) was immensely popular.

We got to see a Doctor without a T.A.R.D.I.S. in this episode. Everyone who saw the regeneration in "Twice Upon A Time" knows that Jodie's Doctor was thrown out of the T.A.R.D.I.S. So, I'll spoil the episode a little bit by naming its title: "The Woman Who Fell to Earth".

Chibnall was clever to use this as the name of the episode. It harkens back to at least one previous Matt Smith Christmas Special, "The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe", where Smith's Doctor also fell to Earth (and survived). The Doctor occasionally performs feats of strength and dering-do that a human simply could not get away with. David Tennant also survived a fall from a great height in "The End of Time". Tom Baker's Doctor, however, did not fare so well when he fell from a lower height. So I guess the Doctor may be growing stronger as s/he grows older? I don't know if that will become a topic of fan discussion but it does seem odd that each successive fall is more intense and survivable.

We are also introduced to a barbaric new species of alien. I read somewhere that the new Who season would introduce new monsters. I'm not sure if we'll see this species again but I rather suspect the villain of the piece may want revenge against the Doctor. If we see him again, Chibnall will have to be careful not to allow the character to turn into yet another cardboard villain who is repeatedly defeated by the Doctor.

Daleks manage to avoid that fate by surviving in unique and interesting ways. Davros' character is so over-the-top that it's not so bad when he manages to survive his latest defeat. His defeats come few and far between. His unfolding story usually implies a lot of time has elapsed (for him) since his last encounter with the Doctor. His life is filled with a lot of successes so his defeats don't entirely deflate the character.

It's better when a Doctor Who villain doesn't show up too often. But it's also good when their otherworldliness carries them away into the oblivion of living outside contemporary Earth's knowledge. We don't really have to know what the final disposition of another species is. It's enough to know they are out there doing their thing.

This episode ends with a surprise twist. Right after the Doctor dons her colorful new wardrobe she begins a journey that leads we don't know where. How the companions go along for the ride is interesting, even a bit new. It suggests that perhaps the regeneration did not go entirely as expected. But I won't be surprised if they move on from the regeneration in the second episode and just get to fixing the universe again.

Some of the footage from the previews was spot on. But now we have context for those great lines Jodie Whittaker delivered. I think a lot of people who were skeptical of this evolution of the character will be won over. First, because Chris Chibnall has proven (to me) he understands the character well enough to run the show. Second, because Jodie Whittaker shows she is indeed the Doctor. I hope more people give her a chance, not because she is a woman, but because each regeneration is a new chapter in a long and interesting story. I don't think the story becomes less interesting because we lost a beloved actor.
"It's better when a Doctor Who villain doesn't show up too often."

I stopped watching Doctor Who at the start of Matt Smith's episodes because I got so sick and tired of the Daleks and the Cybermen. So, I agree strongly with your comment.

MYCode Guide

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