Saturday night, Season 8 of Doctor Who began with a big dinosaur of a premiere. Well, it began with a dinosaur. A gigantic dinosaur tramping around the Thames and making quite a ruckus!
The series premiere was an interesting mix of presenting new information while hearkening back to some old information. Let's break it down.
Old information: The Doctor changes, but he doesn't change.
There was a lot of time spent from Clara's point of view: her Doctor was gone. In his place is an eccentric, old Doctor. But Clara was reminded from Vastra, the Twelfth Doctor, and the Eleventh Doctor (surprise!) that he is still the same man. While the Twelfth Doctor might be older and Scottish with eyebrows that want to secede from the rest of his face, he's still the Doctor: a clever man who can quickly come to the conclusion that the dinosaur was set on fire like other people in the city.
New information: The Twelfth Doctor recognizes his face.
This piece of information might have gone over the heads of new viewers, but when he looks in the mirror, the Doctor exclaims that he has seen this face before - why did he choose it? Back in series 4, the Tenth Doctor goes back to Pompeii right before Volcano Day and meets a Roman and his family...and the actor was Peter Capaldi, who is the new Doctor. Fast forward a year to Torchwood: Children of Earth, and Capaldi is back again, this time as a modern-day civil servant in London. The Doctor never saw him, but he was in the Whoniverse.
I am really excited to see how they explain this, because I heard that current executive producer Steven Moffat actually asked former executive producer Russell T. Davies if there was a reason Capaldi played both parts. RTD did have a plan, and since I have always loved the RTD-era-plots, I'm excited to see even a glimpse of the past coming back.
Old information: The Doctor needs a companion.
Clara spends a lot of the episode debating whether she will travel with this version of the Doctor again. Jenna Coleman finally convinces me in this episode that she's a great companion, because she does everything well - including that inner turmoil. The Doctor can't go on alone - he needs someone, and Clara decides that she should still go along with him.
New information: Someone else thinks she's the Doctor's girlfriend.
At the very end of the episode a woman named "Missy" shows up and tells the deceased(?) bad guy that the Doctor's her boyfriend and now this dude is in "heaven." Who really knows what this "heaven" place is, but this lady looks crazy!
Some people are already speculating that she's some old friend or foe of the Doctor's from the past, but I'm okay with it being someone new. Maybe old, crazy Clara?
Old information: Title sequences are cool.
No matter the era, the title sequence has seemed to match the tone of the show, from the 1960's black-and-white montage of light to the 1980's tubular synthesizers and computer-generated TARDIS. This new sequence is a huge difference from the other sequences in the new series, and I LOVE it. Gears and clocks are a new change of pace - very steampunk-y. The music is okay - kinda wish they'd just gone with the music from the closing credits of "The Day of the Doctor."
New information: Clockwork droids make a comeback!
I had no idea that these robotic androids that initially made their appearance in series 2's "The Girl in the Fireplace" would be coming back, but as soon as that seed got popped in my head in this episode I got really excited. I was a bit put off that the Doctor never audibly put the pieces together, but it was funny seeing him try to wrack his brain. Plus Moffat wrote both "Deep Breath" and "The Girl in the Fireplace," so the connection was bound to happen sooner or later.
And did you notice that there was a steady stream of ticking or gears going on in many of the scenes? Pretty neat.
Confused information: the TARDIS changed?
There was some talk that the TARDIS had undergone a makeover, but all I saw was new lighting and a really nice chair. Maybe I just don't look too closely at TARDIS interiors to notice things. I did enjoy the fact that the Doctor wants to bring back the "round things." I wouldn't object!
I really enjoyed watching Capaldi's take on the Doctor. While I enjoyed Matt Smith, I never found his stories to be as interesting as those of the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. I'm hoping that the stories in this series are able to bring me back to enjoying the Doctor and the story. Capaldi does a fantastic job with whatever he's given: from trying to talk to a dinosaur to convincing a robot not to push him out a floating room to getting Clara to stay with him.
So what did you think? Post your comments below!