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Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 1: Review

With intense television casting reveals, slightly poor BBC trailer offerings, epic fan trailers then slightly better BBC trailers, the Doctor Who fan community has been waiting with bated breath for Season 8.

As a long-time fan of both the current and the classic Doctor Who series, I watched with growing excitement and frustration as the reveal for the next Doctor was aired, and was very pleased to see such a stellar actor as Peter Capaldi chosen for the role. That’s not to say that my heart didn’t break at the news Matt Smith was leaving. I have loved every single Doctor through the ages, admittedly some more than others, but at the end of the day he is the Doctor, in any incarnation.

With that in mind, I have perched impatiently in front of my laptop screen, refreshing until BBC iPlayer set up the link to watch Doctor Who Season 8, episode 1. The new opening theme (musically and visually) was lovely, especially the steampunk-esque feel that the title credits have now with cogs and clocks. It feels a little like a return to some of the classic opening credits, especially with the brief flash of the new Doctor’s eyes overlaid.

I was most excited to see the return of two of my favourite side characters, Madam Vastra and her wife Jenny, and the ever-amusing Sontaran Strax, though I found the rather slapstick disorientation from the Doctor a trifle jarring with the otherwise serious manner of a jolly great dinosaur in the Thames. The comedy aspects felt, to me, slightly forced, though I will admit to laughing at Clara getting a newspaper to the face (I’m the mother of a three-year-old, I’ve come to appreciate a lot of slapstick).

There was an interesting development of Madam Vastra’s character, as she needles Clara into a temper, and a nice snapshot of the relationship between herself and Jenny. I feel it very important that television shows portray same-sex relationships in a positive and ‘normal’ light, which is exactly what this episode of Doctor Who did. Indeed, the only oddity within the relationship is the fact Vastra is not human, though that clearly does not bother Jenny.

The opening episode of Season Eight seems to me to be immediately showcasing the Doctor in a darker light; regardless of the fact Clara cannot get her head around the idea of his Regeneration, Capaldi’s Doctor takes a sharp turn in characterisation than his eccentric, scatterbrained predecessor.

Though I personally found the storyline a trifle contrived (and I shalln’t spoil it for those of you who may not have managed to see it yet) I am interested enough to continue watching. The episode left us with more questions than answers, especially the ending scene, and I am curious as to where they will be going with it.

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