Minor Spoilers Follow
Ironically, the same day the new season debuted, a screening of The Ark In Space was held. I was not able to attend that screening (won't go into details - it's a long, overly dramatic story), but thankfully, it didn't matter - I already had Ark on DVD, and for me, the more important detail is new episodes. I was more excited about watching the current season opener than revisiting classic Who.
And although I liked The Bells of St. John, much of it felt a little too familiar.
Let's count off the familiar elements:
- Use of graphics overlaid on screen a la Sherlock - Check!
- Familiar plot (see The Idiot's Lantern) - Check!
- Clever integration of elements from Who's past - Check!
- Obligatory fez and jammy dodgers - Check!
As the kickoff for the 50th anniversary season, it is a good effort...but there's much of it that feels way too familiar. Not bad....just OK.
What makes the deal for this episode are Matt Smith's and Jenna Louise Coleman's performances.
Neither hit a wrong note, and I liked the fact that Clara Oswin isn't as overtly clever as she is in other episodes - quite honestly, it was good to have a more down-to-earth companion (at least, from the outset). It's a pretty entertaining first hour....and a good mid-season opener. It was fun, flashy, and at the very least....seemed to set the stage for moving forward. After all, you can't head into the future if you don't understand your past.
Doctor Who is back for its biggest year. I can forgive it for looking back slightly if it means the show will move forward.