Home Entertainment Jodie Whittaker’s first episode of Doctor Who is a bold and refreshing reboot

Jodie Whittaker’s first episode of Doctor Who is a bold and refreshing reboot

3 min read
12

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The Doctor is back.

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With every regeneration of TV’s most iconic time traveller, there comes a fresh start for a franchise that has always managed to evolve and adapt with the times, as each incarnation of the Doctor has found themselves hurled into a new predicament just moments after they were reborn. This time, it’s Jodie Whittaker handling the stress of the post-regeneration haze, juggling multiple balls in the air.

A new status quo for the seasoned chrononaut, new companions to help her remain grounded and a new body to adjust. Changes that Whittaker handled with grace, charm and energy in her debut episode. If there’s one thing that you need to know about Doctor Who regeneration episodes, it’s that they’re usually a bit on the slow side, building up the tension and then releasing all of it in one glorious burst of energy.

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Whittaker’s Doctor, on the other hand, was running from the very second she fell to Earth. Delightfully manic and scatter-brained, The Woman Who Fell to Earth is a Doctor Who episode that is constantly moving, never slowing down for a second as Whittaker quickly took control of not only the situation but her character as well.

Within minutes, this Doctor’s distinct personality was established. Gone was the blazing glare of Peter Capaldi’s weary saviour, replaced instead by a rejuvenated runaway who merely wanted one thing in life: To help people. Whittaker’s Doctor feels fresh and ready, while also being well aware of the weighty legacy that she carried on her shoulders as she set the tone for the episodes to come.

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Gone too, is showrunner Steven Moffat and his wilder ideas that mixed science fiction and fantasy together into a sometimes incoherent narrative, replaced instead by a grounded approach in reality that just felt right thanks to new showrunner Chris Chibnall stepping in. This is a Doctor Who show that wants to have fun, that wants to push the boundaries of what’s possible within its particular universe, weaving together threads of triumph, challenge and tragedy.

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If Whittaker’s splendid Doctor is the core of this bold new direction, then her TARDIS team of Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole and Bradley Walsh are the layers that add that touch of humanity that Doctor Who thrives on. Mercifully, the trio feels like real people here. No cosmic significance, no fate of the universe shenanigans linked to an obscure legend regarding them. Just three regular Sheffield residents, linked together by coincidence, fate and a shared past in a sleepy corner of merry ol’ England.

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All of this combines together to hammer home that reboot feeling in Doctor Who, while still paying homage to the past and blazing forward to set a new tone that feels exciting and welcoming. If you were ever looking to jump into Doctor Who, now’s the perfect time to do so thanks to an episode that provides not only the most crucial broad strokes necessary, but also reinvents its own wheel for brand new adventures in time and space.

A new episode of Doctor Who will be available to watch every Monday exclusively on Showmax, a mere day after its BBC broadcast in the UK.

Images: BBC

Last Updated: October 10, 2018

12 Comments

  1. Sounds like exactly what the show needed. I love Dr Who but it has been feeling a bit stale recently. I loved Peter Capaldi but it just seemed to me that the show has been going slowly downhill ever since David Tennants amazing Doctor. Or maybe it’s more the actual stories that became a bit meh.

    Also happy they are bringing in a crew of companions like old school doctor who. I think the focus was too much on the companion recently. The Doctor was more the side show in the life of someone else. Anyway might be worth getting back on showmax for this

    Reply

    • The D

      October 9, 2018 at 17:33

      If I could have had Capaldi’s Doctor in Chibnall’s era, I would have been so happy. Amazing actor, saddled with fart-huffing plots.

      Reply

  2. Kervyn Cloete

    October 9, 2018 at 14:57

    This felt 100% like an episode in the Russell T Davies era, and I’m totally down with that.

    Reply

    • MaSeKind

      October 9, 2018 at 15:13

      That’s awesome to hear. Now I definitely need to watch this

      Reply

    • Original Heretic

      October 10, 2018 at 08:36

      After watching this last night, I totally concur. Much more grounded.

      Reply

  3. Original Heretic

    October 9, 2018 at 15:11

    DID NOT READ!
    Watching this tonight. Last night was reserved for UFC229.

    Reply

  4. For the Emperor!

    October 9, 2018 at 15:18

    I did not get far into Doctor Who, somne where in the first or second season with David Tennant, can’t remember exactly. It was decent enough, but there was an episode that would not play on my DVD player, and I never got back to it. But you saying this is good (and not for political SJW type reasons but actually GOOD) and FUN, maybe I should get into it again?

    Would you recommend watching all the rest first, or would this work for a “newby”?

    PS: I know about Daleks and the Cybermen and the Angels – Youtube clips and all that. So I probably would not be too lost without the rest.

    Reply

  5. The Big Bad Wolf

    October 9, 2018 at 18:13

    The writing and Whitaker are excellent. Reminiscent of Smith’s whimsy and Tennant’s light heartedness. It’s a good episode, but the pacing in the first slow, and I remain worried about the Tardis being bloated with so many companions, most notably Bradley Walsh’s character.

    Reply

  6. RinceThis

    October 12, 2018 at 09:28

    I thought it was awesome. That said, it’s hella dark. Loved her version of the Doctor, defo elements of Tennant’s Doc in there though .

    Reply

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