Rate "The Eleventh Hour".

Out of ten, how do you rate "The Eleventh Hour".

10
47
19%
9
76
31%
8
58
23%
7
38
15%
6
6
2%
5
6
2%
4
4
2%
3
5
2%
2
2
1%
1
5
2%
 
Total votes: 247
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LizR
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The Rain King wrote:Wow! Even LizR liked it! :D

I'm glad you did.
My only gripe is the (quite subtle, for Who) one that there was no questioning of whether Prisoner Zero might be innocent. Because it looked nasty we were meant to assume it was, something that was already being questioned in "Galaxy 4". The jailers seemed pretty bad, willing to destroy Earth (the village might have been more appropriate) - so it may have been a miscarriage of justice. A bit of information dropped in about why PZ was deserving of recapture would have fixed this.

Or, as someone else has suggested, it might have been better if the Doctor had discovered that PZ's crime was something like rebelling against a Totalitarian state and he'd contrived to send the cops off on a wild goose chase while PZ escaped, or something similar. I certainly don't like the "Oncoming Storm style" nonsense, so I hope that isn't going to be a leitmotif.

But very minor, because the main point was to introduce the Doctor and Amy, which it did brilliantly. Considering that almost every spoiler I've seen has lowered my hopes, it was a pleasant surprise (my hope was that Moffat is good at writing but bad at publicity, i.e. the opposite of his predecessor...)

And well, I guess you can only do so much in an hour...
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LizR
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Actually, if I may interject a concept (as Woody Allen once said), the things that were wrong with TEH come down to what's wrong with the format - you can't cram a decent introduction and a decent story into an hour very easily, so some details were rather lightly drawn. So there was still a certain amount of "RTDness" in the resolution, something clever with a laptop and a mobile phone, a quick "Do you know who I am?" speech and - bingo, problem solved. Which I am prepared to overlook this time, but don't do it too often!

On a related note, the whole "showrunner" thing sucks. As someone (I think it was Neil Gaiman) recently said, publishers (and clearly the BBC nowadays) expect writers to be self-publicists too. But these are almost completely opposed (he said) - writing is a solitary pursuit - as Jenny Diski put it, in what other job do you get to stay in bed with a laptop all day? (OK, she doesn't have Jo Brand's take on life, and didn't see alternative humorous answers to that one!) So it's the exact opposite of being a publicist! Yet the BBC expects their head writer to also be a publicity machine, it would appear, and generally you can do one but not the other. Had RTD outsourced more of the writing, we might have endewd up with something a bit better - and if Moffat outsources the publicity, we might end up with something wonderful.
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What annoys me about publicity for this and indeed many episodes that interviewers think it's a great hoot to start an interview with an empty chair, then have the interviewee fade in with the TARDIS sound effect. And they all think it's a great joke.

Latest culprits, the This Morning interview with Ms. Gillan, The One Show with Smithy etc...
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LizR
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Nobbend wrote:What annoys me about publicity for this and indeed many episodes that interviewers think it's a great hoot to start an interview with an empty chair, then have the interviewee fade in with the TARDIS sound effect. And they all think it's a great joke.

Latest culprits, the This Morning interview with Ms. Gillan, The One Show with Smithy etc...
"Have I got News for you" did it when Tom Baker was in the chair, and Graham Norton did with when he had David Tennant guesting...
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LizR wrote:SPOILERS...(of course)

"Funny's good!"

I've only watched a few episodes of New Who more than once. Most of those were in Series One, which I found reasonable, if flawed. I was hoping the subsequent series' would be vast improvements, but that didn't happen - RTD not only seemed to go onto autopilot, having presumably shot his bolt with the political satire in AOL/WW3, the satire of consumerism in TLG and BW, a few barbs at plastic surgery (!) in TEOTW, and his "doconstruction" of the whole idea of the Doctor turning up and saving people. IMHO he had more or less run out of ideas by series two, apart from a poke at fandom in LAM, he didn't really have anywhere else to go, except to do pastiches. But unfortunately by this point everyone had told him he was a genius, and even more unfortunately he believed them. So he was trapped in a time loop, more or less repeating the same things over and over...

....until now. Finally, we have a new Whomeister. The series has broken out of the loop. And what is the result...?

Let's start with Matt Smith. There have been doubts aplenty. Too young, too unknown, too not very good in "Moses Jones" (IMHO) (and apparently also underwhelming in "Ruby in the Smoke"). But I was hopeful, because I didn't think Moffat would have cast him unless he was good. Moffat has said he wanted an older actor, so MS came as a susprise - but this was also grounds for hope, because it suggested that Moffat thought Smith was very good indeed.

And he is.

He makes Ecclestone look too dour, although I thought Eccles was very good, but mainly he makes David Tennant look like an actor. When you see DT "out of character" he seems like a real person - but as the Doctor, he seemed like someone who was putting on a silly voice and silly mannerisms and over-acting furiously (IMHO of course). Not to disrespect him, he worked wonders with some truly ghastly material at times, but compared to Smith he looked - how can I put this? - awkward. Smith is awkward, odd, gangly, eccentric - he looks, to me, like he is the Doctor. He just doesn't seem to be acting. Well, except occasionally, when he comes across a bit too much like Tennant.

And he can do comedy!

"Dr Who" has always been full of comedy, presumably because it's completely ridiculous (if you stop to think about it) and some of the writers also did comedy anyway (e.g. Terry Nation) and it was always satirical, well at least until the 80s, with social comments woven into the stories, and....it just is, all right? But comedy isn't as easy at it looks (like most things that look easy), and Matt Smith is utterly fantastic at it - as is Karen G for that matter. The script was filled with delightful one-liners, as well as the odd bit of physical comedy (including Smith running like a drunk giraffe, NOW I can see what Moffat meant by that!).

The kids shrieked with laughter in places, then hid behind their fingers moments later. We were transported from comedy to fear to tragedy within seconds, and it worked. We didn't need the music laid on with a trowel to tell us when to emote (which it was in places, although actually I managed to hear most of the dialogue, so it wasn't too bad).

Karen Gillan is also wonderful. She has a backstory that is shown, not told for the most part - no "stop the action while I recount the important events of my life" scenes from Moffat! The simple pan across her pictures and Doctor dolls and onto her wedding dress was heart-wrenching, her simple comments about not having parents but only a (wicked?) aunt likewise, sitting on her case waiting for the Doctor to come back - excuse me while I well up. That's how you tell a story, by not telling it! It's a Zen thing, and Moffat has it in spades.

The script also sparkles with wit and humour. The alien sub-plot is a bit thin, but that's to be expected. We had the (yawn) Earth in peril, again. The Atraxi seem particularly thick as aliens go, missing a sonic screwdriver sticking up like a sore thumb, willing to blow up the world to get hold of one prisoner. In a way I'd have preferred it if the Doctor had helped Prisoner Zero escape, because it looked as though the jailers were pretty bad too. But thats minor, minor...what else? I have to go and play Cluedo with the kids in a minute, so just the main points here.... :D

OK, what is there to not like? Hmm.......I could have done without "Hello, I'm the Doctor - basically, run!" Too Oncoming Storm, but at least it was shown, not told - instead of a pompous speech, we got to see just WHY aliens might think twice about invading Earth, and a shout-out to Doctors past, too. Plus the whole hospital and clothes business was I assume intended as a shout-out to "Spearhead", and very nice it was too.

OK, now I don't want to be a Cassandra but Moffat may only have a certain number of tricks up his sleeve. Brilliantly though they were used this time around, the whole Amy thing is a retread of the (rather awful IMHO) "Girl in the Fireplace" trope. The hospital and coma patients is reminiscent of "Empty Child" (but a lot more reminiscent of "The Seven Crystal Balls" - and Moffat was writing Tintin before, so that looks just a teensy bit nicked). In fact the whole coma business was rather odd, why did they call for the Doctor, why didn't the senior doctor believe the nurse EVEN AFTER SHE HEARD THE PATIENTS CALLING OUT? - what was Prisoner Zero doing going for walks in the village, anyway? How come only the nurse saw him/her/it? Hm.

OK, one more - how come a tiny village - the nearest city is half an hour by car, apaprently, the only shop is one post office - has a hospital with several coma victims? (And how does Amy run her kissogram business, come to that?)

But "No TARDIS - no screwdriver - 18 minutes to save the world - think, think!" is just so what I've been waiting to hear for 5 years. And the plot resolution was pretty clever, too, even if it does rely a bit on the Atraxi being thick as mollasses.

And what about Amy in the TARDIS, was that an Ian and Barbara moment or what? Nice to see some sheer astonishment, plus she still has the nous to get the Doctor to admit that he isn't doing her a favour but actually needs companionship.

But! I've only watched a few episodes of new Who twice, most fell apart half way through the first viewing - we would be talking wild horses for a second go. This one I watched twice, once before going to bed last night and again this morning, and I was looking forward to the second viewing. And I could probably manage a third quite happily, it was that good. And so many one liners, many of which would make great sigs, like "Box falls out of sky, man falls out of box, man eats fish custard."

Which means, with profound apologies to chap with wings (and I really do feel a bit guilty about saying this, but at least we agree on "Jonathan Creek" !) . . .

. . . . that it was "Faaaan---tastic!"

I'd say 9/10 (because the alien bit could have been firmed up a bit more).

Let's hope the rest is this good, or preferably even better.
Even though I probably only agreed with about 65% of your review, you should consider doing stuff like this for a living. It's very well written and analyzed.
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LizR
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NoSoul wrote:Even though I probably only agreed with about 65% of your review, you should consider doing stuff like this for a living. It's very well written and analyzed.
Thank you! :D :D :D

I did actually write reviews professionally for a short while, many years ago (as a sideline to my main job).

Maybe I should start a blog....er....whatever that is!
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LizR wrote:
..and what was that he turned off on the scanner?!? :shock:
Looked suspiciously like the crack 'in the fabric of reality' in Amy's room to me.

On a different note, there's something I hope they don't do with respect to Amy's character -- namely fill in the blanks and drop pieces of her past into every episode in very unsubtle ways. On paper she's a great character who likely has some serious abandonment issues (dead/missing parents, absentee aunt, the Doctor promising to be back in five minutes, etc). What we don't need is to be hit on the head with this fact every two minutes of screen time. Modern television in its attempt to be more 'mature' tends to drown characters in their tragic backstories rather than let the characters distinguish themselves in the present tense. I'm reminded Classic Who's subtle handling of characters with tragic pasts like Nyssa (who by all rights should have some pretty serious father figure issues, not just from the Master but the Doctor as well). If there's any bit of Classic Who that New Who needs to emulate, it's this.

On yet another note, I replayed the scenes in the New series where the Doctor asks/invites a female companion to ride with him in the TARDIS. The scene with Rose just seems mean spirited when you realize the Doctor did the equivalent of cutting into a couple already dancing, especially in light of the way he treats Mickey later in the series. The scene with Martha is extremely creepy and odd, with the Doctor leaning against the wall and inviting her to join him in his TARDIS that's out of sight down an alleyway, with nearly the same pickup lines he used on Rose. (perhaps there's some RTD-irony that Mickey later ends up married to Martha)

The Smith/Gilan scene has a great innocent and subtle quality to it that's completely missing from the others, doesn't seem forced or contrived and has no trace of sarcasm or negativity. It's also nice that Amy essentially invited herself in (when she was younger) and the Doctor belatedly fulfills his promise 14 years later.
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LizR
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Rob Ocelot wrote:On a different note, there's something I hope they don't do with respect to Amy's character -- namely fill in the blanks and drop pieces of her past into every episode in very unsubtle ways. On paper she's a great character who likely has some serious abandonment issues (dead/missing parents, absentee aunt, the Doctor promising to be back in five minutes, etc). What we don't need is to be hit on the head with this fact every two minutes of screen time. Modern television in its attempt to be more 'mature' tends to drown characters in their tragic backstories rather than let the characters distinguish themselves in the present tense.
One of the great improvements in TEH over a lot of previous NewWho (and even more obviously Torchwood) was the way it managed to show rather than tell. I hope this continues!
HornOrSilk

I just realized the whole "is the Earth Protected" sequence is more or less a repeat of what happened in Silence in the Library.
dcampbell

HornOrSilk wrote:I just realized the whole "is the Earth Protected" sequence is more or less a repeat of what happened in Silence in the Library.
I agree, with shades of Christmas Invasion also.

I thought it worked better in Silence in the Library because we - the audience - could see that it was obviously a bluff.
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I've just changed my vote on the poll.

I went to see the episode last Saturday at a dear friend's house, as she's something of a fan. She's recovering from back surgery and is pretty much bedbound, and I spent a lot of the time worrying about how she was feeling. She has my old 20 inch CRTV and a poor analogue signal. We spent a lot of time making remarks to each other about what was going on, too, so I was a bit distracted. But I still gave it a 9 on the poll when I got back. To be honest, and admittedly petty, I think I knocked a point off for the theme tune.

I missed the repeat on Sunday, as I was still at her place and she doesn't have digital TV. But I saw it again last night, on my own, at home, without distraction.

So I've just changed my poll vote to an unconditional 10, and I couldn't give a flying plate of bread and butter about the theme tune arrangement.

I've had a chat with a few friends, and, worryingly, a couple of the things they didn't like about it I actually loved. One example - the 'flying eye' spaceships. Loved them. The whole food sequence - at the time, my friend and I said it went on about half a minute too long. But the second time I watched it, I thought of all those eight-year-olds watching who would love to be able to spit out some of the grub that Mum serves up. "This bit's for the kids". I forgot to say that to myself the first time. I was probably thinking about my friend's prolapsed spinal disc instead.

I loved the whole 'Peter Pan revisiting Wendy' thing. The true magic of the reveal of the Tardis, once more. The interior design. Everything.

But it all pales into insignificance for me compared to Matt's performance. I won't go on. I could, but I might end up 'sqeeeeeing' (whatever that is).

And today I feel like I'm 10 years old again, pacing up and down in front of the TV, watching the teleprinter chugging out the football results on Grandstand, knowing that all that remains between me and Doctor Who is the sound of my Dad screwing up his Pools coupon, followed by 20 minutes of The Pink Panther show.

I probably have just squeeed, haven't I? Sorry.

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LizR
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dcampbell wrote:I agree, with shades of Christmas Invasion also.
Didn't that involve the Doctor shouting a lot? I preferred having him make a case that actually stood up, using the alien's own abilities to make them realise something they should perhaps have noticed for themselves (I said the whole thing relied on them being rather thick...)
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LizR
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Gorkle wrote: I probably have just squeeed, haven't I? Sorry.
That's all right, so0 long as you clean up afterwards.
:roll07:
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LizR wrote:SPOILERS (of course)

If I was being particularly nitpicking I could say that miscalculating the time jumps was a bit overused, but of course it was necessary to the plot the first time, and may also be the second. (I could also say what are the chances of the Doctor turning up on the exact spot where an interdimensional alien is about to skip bail, but he always does that!)
Hi Liz - I am genuinely delighted that you loved this.

I know we are never going to agree about RTD, but its great that you are enjoying it again.

I highlighted this bit of your (excellent) review(s) because it's something you might want to reflect on again later in the series. Or so I am led to believe....
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A bit derivative, wasn't it? The Doctor popping into the same girl's life years apart for her but minutes for him... the "I'm the Doctor, the universe's biggest badass, and you need to run away" bit... I'd hoped the Moff would take a bit longer than his first episode as head writer/producer to start repeating himself like that. Oh, and the alien race threatening to destroy the earth to deal with one criminal plot-line in a season premiere companion introduction episode seems oddly familiar too.

I cheered when the [s]magic wand[/s] sonic screwdriver got fried, but sadly that plot crutch got replaced right off the bat.

On the plus side, the characters are likable, the dialog hummed along well, and I didn't notice any glaring inconsistencies on the first viewing. This is still fluff, but a better grade of fluff than we were getting before. I give it 7 out of 10.


Oh, does anyone else think that when Amy said she did kiss-o-grams we were getting fed a family-friendly euphemism?
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." Abraham Lincoln (attributed)
HornOrSilk

Makkabee wrote:
Oh, does anyone else think that when Amy said she did kiss-o-grams we were getting fed a family-friendly euphemism?
Very much so. Which I also take an issue with -- as with all the internet porn references. But that's the Moff.
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This episode seems to have done pretty well in the final ratings now they're in. 10.9 million, I gather. A promising start.
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LizR
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Makkabee wrote:Oh, does anyone else think that when Amy said she did kiss-o-grams we were getting fed a family-friendly euphemism?
Oh dear, do you really think so? I did wonder how much call there would be for a kissogram in a small village..... :roll:
And I thought it was Rose who had the Secret Diary...
tony ingram wrote:This episode seems to have done pretty well in the final ratings now they're in. 10.9 million, I gather. A promising start.
The 11th Doctor, the 11th hour....almost the 11th million...
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LizR wrote:The 11th Doctor, the 11th hour....almost the 11th million...
I think this means that Matt Smith is the 11th segment to the Key to Time. And will be the next Romana.

cheers
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9/10, for me by far the best season opener so far Matt, was simply brilliant from the moment his head popped out of the TARDIS.
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