Watching Doctor Who from the beginning: Season 31!

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Wahey, we've finally reached Matt Smith in our house!

So, THE ELEVENTH HOUR (I see what they did there ;)
Let's get the negatives out of the way - Murray Gold's reworking of the theme tune is totally wick! The version brought in with the Kylie Minogue Xmas Special had those 'bangin' glam-rock drums and a bit of guitar and whilst still rather show-biz/Disney in feel compared to the true Radiophonic Workshop versions, it did kick a fair amount of arse... this new version just seemed to be a spindley anaemic mess, and bizarrely quiet in the 5.1 mix on BluRay. Arrrgh! The new title sequence didn't exactly wow me either, it's not a patch on anything by Bernard Lodge or Sid Sutton.

Apart from that - I loved it! I remember being totally won over on transmission too. Matt Smith is just a genuinely eccentric personality (and even face!) in a totally unforced way, I'd in fact argue that the 11th Hour is the most successful first Doctor story of any actor to play the role - he totally hits the ground running.
Amy Pond is also great (both as a little girl and grown up) and the story itself is intriguing and full of cool twists. And just the right amount of scary fangs. Lots of great wry lines ("must be a helluva scary crack in your wall", "thank you Santa", etc etc) and even a cameo from Patrick Moore. I even really liked Murray Gold's new theme for the doctor (I wish he'd still to incidental music - maybe they could've used Delia again for the theme tune itself!)

After the overbearing spectacle and melodrama of Tennant and Russel T Davies' final "specials", this was a sharp biting new beginning! I fear it won't last, but for an hour there I was loving it!
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feline1 wrote:Wahey, we've finally reached Matt Smith in our house!

So, THE ELEVENTH HOUR (I see what they did there ;)
Let's get the negatives out of the way - Murray Gold's reworking of the theme tune is totally wick! The version brought in with the Kylie Minogue Xmas Special had those 'bangin' glam-rock drums and a bit of guitar and whilst still rather show-biz/Disney in feel compared to the true Radiophonic Workshop versions, it did kick a fair amount of arse... this new version just seemed to be a spindley anaemic mess, and bizarrely quiet in the 5.1 mix on BluRay. Arrrgh! The new title sequence didn't exactly wow me either, it's not a patch on anything by Bernard Lodge or Sid Sutton.

Apart from that - I loved it! I remember being totally won over on transmission too. Matt Smith is just a genuinely eccentric personality (and even face!) in a totally unforced way, I'd in fact argue that the 11th Hour is the most successful first Doctor story of any actor to play the role - he totally hits the ground running.
Amy Pond is also great (both as a little girl and grown up) and the story itself is intriguing and full of cool twists. And just the right amount of scary fangs. Lots of great wry lines ("must be a helluva scary crack in your wall", "thank you Santa", etc etc) and even a cameo from Patrick Moore. I even really liked Murray Gold's new theme for the doctor (I wish he'd still to incidental music - maybe they could've used Delia again for the theme tune itself!)

After the overbearing spectacle and melodrama of Tennant and Russel T Davies' final "specials", this was a sharp biting new beginning! I fear it won't last, but for an hour there I was loving it!
Hi Feline,

I really like this post!!! I like the theme (but then I like Murray Gold's work) and the opening titles, but beyond that I have to agree with everything you've written here. It's nice to hear that you like Murray Gold's 11th Doctor theme as it is a favourite of mine - but it's also nice to hear that you can consider Gold's work with a sense of balance - that while you may genuinely dislike most of it, you are prepared to say so when you hear something that hits the spot. I think that says a lot about you as a person, and I have to commend you on it.

I think 11th Hour is probably the best story since DW came back in 2005, which isn't to say that I don't love much of what else has been offered. However, I fully accept that other people's opinions differ from mine and that is what makes the world such an interesting place.

Nice, though, when someone I often disagree with suddenly finds themselves in concord with my thoughts. Make me feel that we are approaching the subject from the same place and that's nice.

In any event, I have enjoyed hearing your experience of watching DW from the beginning and I will be interested to hear how the rest of Smith's era fares with you.
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Well I agree with you CotB. I too am a Murray Gold fan. Love the cds, the concerts and (of course most importantly) how it fits within the series. Interestingly, like feline, on broadcast I too hated the first Smith era version of the theme. For about one viewing. After that I totally got into it, and feel that it was his last really good version. Since this one they've been wishy-washy and undramatic and the Capaldi one is downright screech-ingly naff. And I love the new, non-Grainer, intro. It has an 'into the adventure' feel to it.

The titles have too much of a physical feel. That worm hole looks like cotton wool! And the titles themselves are thin and cheap looking, with the logo having a tin foil look. Shame because I like the dark feel and the lightning bolts which I find dramatic.

I also feel that Series 5 is the last time Murray's work is as satisfyingly thematic as it was in the RTD days. As if Russell asked for more of that treatment, whereas Moff just lets him get on with it.

But The Eleventh Hour is very good, and one of my top Smith episodes. I felt at the time the fish fingers and custard scene went on a bit too long, but overall a cracking episode. And yes Matt did indeed hit the ground running, nailing the role straight away.

And yes, there is a satisfying balance to your views feline. Not as anti-new Who as I was expecting, even including SOME credit occasionally for Murray. Good reading for an 'all-one-series-fan' like me.
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The pacing of THE ELEVENTH HOUR is interesting, I think - to it seems to go on for aaages yet never get boring - what time is it when grown up Amy finally enters? Feels like about half an hour but there's still tons to happen by then!
The fish-fingers-and-custard scene is magical, shows the sorts of wonderful things Dr Who can still do in a post-Savile world :shock:

The BluRay has an extra bonus scene at the end of the episode, where Amy goes a bit doolally in the TARDIS and they babble about the chameleon circuit and stuff.
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I'm glad y'all are enjoying my ramblings on watching everything in order - I do like hearing what everyone else thinks!
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paulhickling wrote:Well I agree with you CotB. I too am a Murray Gold fan. Love the cds, the concerts and (of course most importantly) how it fits within the series. Interestingly, like feline, on broadcast I too hated the first Smith era version of the theme. For about one viewing. After that I totally got into it, and feel that it was his last really good version. Since this one they've been wishy-washy and undramatic and the Capaldi one is downright screech-ingly naff. And I love the new, non-Grainer, intro. It has an 'into the adventure' feel to it.

The titles have too much of a physical feel. That worm hole looks like cotton wool! And the titles themselves are thin and cheap looking, with the logo having a tin foil look. Shame because I like the dark feel and the lightning bolts which I find dramatic.

I also feel that Series 5 is the last time Murray's work is as satisfyingly thematic as it was in the RTD days. As if Russell asked for more of that treatment, whereas Moff just lets him get on with it.

But The Eleventh Hour is very good, and one of my top Smith episodes. I felt at the time the fish fingers and custard scene went on a bit too long, but overall a cracking episode. And yes Matt did indeed hit the ground running, nailing the role straight away.

And yes, there is a satisfying balance to your views feline. Not as anti-new Who as I was expecting, even including SOME credit occasionally for Murray. Good reading for an 'all-one-series-fan' like me.
Have to agree with you about the logo. Last good Doctor Who logo, in my opinion, was the Davis/C.Baker neon. Best logo ever, in my opinion, was the T.Baker Diamond. Obviously the Hartnell Troughton logos were just simple fonts, the McCoy logo looked like a chat-show logo. Pertwee logo...???? Not sure, if was naff in the Pertwee era, but looked okay as a CGI metal motif for McGann. Nothing special, though. It's diamond all the way for me!!!

Never did like the RTD logo or any of the other modern era ones to be honest.

But the opening titles, as opposed to the logo, are fine. Not too sure about the late Smith one, but the Eleventh Hour titles I like. It does depend, I think, on whether you watch them on high def or standard def. On standard def the timetunnel can look a little cotton-woolly, but in high def you can see the mists moving around and tumbling in a sort of dry-ice effect which looks much more impressive in my opinion, and I like the lightning.

The messed it up in Series six, though, when they started applying colour filters to it etc. Made it look horrible.

The only Murray Gold theme tune I haven't liked is the current one. Too screechy for me.
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THE BEAST BELOW - so, having been delighted by The Eleventh Hour, would this 2nd episode continue in fine form?

I have to kinda disappointedly say, "No" - ultimately, I did not really like this story :( However I didn't really end up with that opinion until the last 10 minutes.
Up until that point, I thought it was all chugging along splendidly - some lovely design elements in particular, good performances (Liz 10 is cool!), and an intriguing 'what on earth's going on?' plot. The "protest/forget" (and "abdicate/forget") thing is great...

However, the denouement I just found a mixture of daft, implausible and gross. Torturing a spacewhale? Which then just decides everything is OK again? Surgically grafted feeding tubes?! Also in the final shot where you see it under the ship, its mouth doesn't match up to people being sat on its tongue! It's almost Cronenbergish in its horribleness, but suddenly switches to "all lived happily ever after", undermining itself.
The final scenes are far too melodramatic and preachy, the Doctor getting far too sanctimonious (the problem is the writing, not Smith's performance), Amy being far too reckless, and particularly irritating is the slathered-on-inches-thick "tell us the Doctor's character" lines - does Moffat really think this is the way to write? Get your characters to deliver great clods of "Brodie's GCSE Pass Notes" analyses of their own characters and motivations? It's really clunky.

I think it would've been great if my BluRay had broken 10 minutes before the end ;)
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I tend to mostly agree with your views on the Eleventh Hour, particularly I agree about the theme, particularly disappointing as Gold was responsible for the best ever theme only a few years earlier (2007, incidentally also the best title sequence). One thing that didn't quite work for me was Smith who didn't quite "get" the Doctor and offered a rather forced performance (although it improved throughout his career), I was also disappointed with the extremely dodgy cgi after how good it had been since 2005, but mostly a strong episode.
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Allons-y wrote:I tend to mostly agree with your views on the Eleventh Hour, particularly I agree about the theme, particularly disappointing as Gold was responsible for the best ever theme only a few years earlier (2007, incidentally also the best title sequence). One thing that didn't quite work for me was Smith who didn't quite "get" the Doctor and offered a rather forced performance (although it improved throughout his career), I was also disappointed with the extremely dodgy cgi after how good it had been since 2005, but mostly a strong episode.
Aye the snakey multiform thing for Prisoner Zero wasn't exactly the best bit of CGI I'd ever seen, although to be fair I NEVER like CGI so even if it had been good CGI, it still wouldn't have impressed me - therefore the fact that it was bad CGI didn't outrage me so much (if that makes sense?!)

I didn't find Smith's performance forced at all, he just seemed like a genuine eccentric to me. The weakest bit was probably the "whoops, nearly snagged my balls on the spire of Big Ben" opener, but luckily that was past and gone before even the theme tune started, which gave me something else to complain about ;)
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feline1 wrote:
Allons-y wrote:I tend to mostly agree with your views on the Eleventh Hour, particularly I agree about the theme, particularly disappointing as Gold was responsible for the best ever theme only a few years earlier (2007, incidentally also the best title sequence). One thing that didn't quite work for me was Smith who didn't quite "get" the Doctor and offered a rather forced performance (although it improved throughout his career), I was also disappointed with the extremely dodgy cgi after how good it had been since 2005, but mostly a strong episode.
Aye the snakey multiform thing for Prisoner Zero wasn't exactly the best bit of CGI I'd ever seen, although to be fair I NEVER like CGI so even if it had been good CGI, it still wouldn't have impressed me - therefore the fact that it was bad CGI didn't outrage me so much (if that makes sense?!)

I didn't find Smith's performance forced at all, he just seemed like a genuine eccentric to me. The weakest bit was probably the "whoops, nearly snagged my balls on the spire of Big Ben" opener, but luckily that was past and gone before even the theme tune started, which gave me something else to complain about ;)
I agree with the Big Ben/Stephenson (QE II) Tower thing, and I agree that it went past so quickly that it didn't really make a difference.

The moment when the new Doctor walks out from behind the faces of his previous selves was just sheer magic for me.
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To me, "The Eleventh Hour" is the best jumping-on point for Doctor Who created so far (at least as far as a modern audience is concerned). A couple of years ago I tried to introduce a friend - who I was scandalised to learn had never watched Doctor Who despite being older than me! - to Doctor Who and I picked "Genesis of the Daleks" which, although it doesn't feature the TARDIS, is otherwise, I feel, probably the most Doctor-Who-ey piece of Doctor Who ever made in the original run.

He fell asleep!

Because "Eleventh Hour" was not just the introduction of a new Doctor, but also of a new production team and showrunner, it was self-consciously produced as a "jumping on point" and I think they achieved that spectacularly well - better than "Rose" did a few years earlier.

With Smith no longer the current companion, it's usefulness as an introduction to the series has sadly diminished, but if I was to pick one story to show to a new audience to say, "This is Doctor Who," I think I would still pick "Eleventh Hour".
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There's only one to pick, and that's An Unearthly Child 8-)
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feline1 wrote:There's only one to pick, and that's An Unearthly Child 8-)
Yeah.... Even I fell asleep during that, and I'm a lifelong fan!!!
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FELL ASLEEP DURING AN UNEARTHLY CHILD????!!! :o

Isn't there some ritual torture devised by Who fans to make someone pay for such an offense? I watch this every 23rd November, whether I have time to watch anything else Who-ish or not. But hey, I often have a go at Web Planet which some poor mad fools regard a classic! So I guess it's horses for courses.

I do agree that Eleventh Hour is a brilliant jumping on point though. Never thought about it before funnily enough. I always forgive Rose for being a poor episode because it did this job so well, especially when compared with what the tv movie tried to do with this side of things.

As for the fx, the snake's not too bad for we who remember the Mara, it's the climax to the episode that looks a bit SJA to me.

The Beast Below is the closest thing to a McCoy we've ever had in new Who. Often my candidate for worst new Who episode. Some good ideas (including design yes) but all come to nowt. And yet another Star Wars nod with that extremely yawn inducing scene in the rubbish dump. I do like the Amy scene at the start though. With her theme put to good use, the episode has a lovely Murray score, something that was to become less obvious to me as the Moff era trudged on.

I await with interest feline, on your assessment of the the next episode of Series 5. One which extends far beyond 'crap episode' to 'worst crime committed in the name of Doctor Who' since ... well... ever. Even worse than the McCoy era! We all know what I'm talking about.
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I watch some version of episode one of "An Unearthly Child" every 23rd November. Sometimes I watch the pilot, sometimes I watch the aired episode and sometimes I watch one of the hybrids (or even, occasionally, the unedited footage).

I only ever watch the first episode though. I really ought to watch the whole thing again at some point, but I find it such a dull story that it's hard to sit through.

I was a child of the Tom Baker era, I have learned to adore the Troughton era (what there is of it) and the Pertwee era (which falls in and out of favour with me) but I really struggle to watch Hartnell - even though the actor himself is stunningly good (as, indeed, are his supporting cast). I just find the actual stories quite hard to watch.

That said, with the release of "Power" a couple of days before the anniversary this year I have pledged to watch "Tenth Planet" followed by "Power" as part of my annual celebration of all things Who this year.
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Chairman of the Voord wrote:To me, "The Eleventh Hour" is the best jumping-on point for Doctor Who created so far (at least as far as a modern audience is concerned). A couple of years ago I tried to introduce a friend - who I was scandalised to learn had never watched Doctor Who despite being older than me! - to Doctor Who and I picked "Genesis of the Daleks" which, although it doesn't feature the TARDIS, is otherwise, I feel, probably the most Doctor-Who-ey piece of Doctor Who ever made in the original run.

He fell asleep!

Because "Eleventh Hour" was not just the introduction of a new Doctor, but also of a new production team and showrunner, it was self-consciously produced as a "jumping on point" and I think they achieved that spectacularly well - better than "Rose" did a few years earlier.

With Smith no longer the current companion, it's usefulness as an introduction to the series has sadly diminished, but if I was to pick one story to show to a new audience to say, "This is Doctor Who," I think I would still pick "Eleventh Hour".
For me the best jumping on point is An Unearthly Child (th first episode, the rest is rubbish), but failing that, Rose.
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Chairman of the Voord wrote:I watch some version of episode one of "An Unearthly Child" every 23rd November. Sometimes I watch the pilot, sometimes I watch the aired episode and sometimes I watch one of the hybrids (or even, occasionally, the unedited footage).

I only ever watch the first episode though. I really ought to watch the whole thing again at some point, but I find it such a dull story that it's hard to sit through.

I was a child of the Tom Baker era, I have learned to adore the Troughton era (what there is of it) and the Pertwee era (which falls in and out of favour with me) but I really struggle to watch Hartnell - even though the actor himself is stunningly good (as, indeed, are his supporting cast). I just find the actual stories quite hard to watch.

That said, with the release of "Power" a couple of days before the anniversary this year I have pledged to watch "Tenth Planet" followed by "Power" as part of my annual celebration of all things Who this year.
The first episode An Unearthly Child is brilliant, the rest of 100000 BC is pretty terrible IMO.
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So like just to be clear, could you tell us what you really think about "An Unearthly Child" then, "Allons-y"? :mrgreen:
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Chairman of the Voord wrote:A couple of years ago I tried to introduce a friend - who I was scandalised to learn had never watched Doctor Who despite being older than me! - to Doctor Who and I picked "Genesis of the Daleks" which, although it doesn't feature the TARDIS, is otherwise, I feel, probably the most Doctor-Who-ey piece of Doctor Who ever made in the original run.

He fell asleep!
:lol: I feel vindicated.

As I've said a few times now, Genesis is one of the best Who stories - but also one of the worst to start a newbie on. You really have to be already into Who to appreciate it. I'd start them with "An Unearthly Child" then jump to "The Daleks" (possibly the movie version).
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paulhickling wrote: I await with interest feline, on your assessment of the the next episode of Series 5. One which extends far beyond 'crap episode' to 'worst crime committed in the name of Doctor Who' since ... well... ever. Even worse than the McCoy era! We all know what I'm talking about.
Yeah... probably won't get round to it till middle of next week, but if it's as bad as I remember I'll be shuddering :o
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