*Doctor who - Pilot *
Only after 50 plus years could doctor who decided to have and episode called Pilot. It's fantastic to see the return of doctor who back. can you believe the last full season/series was back in 2015? sure we had the Christmas specials but there is something to be said about gathering friends and family around the Telly on a Saturday night. Now begins Peter Capaldi final season but as his doctor said ‘Everything ends, and it’s always sad. But everything begins again too, and that’s always happy.’
As for tonight's episode begins we find ourselves meeting Bill Potts played by Pearl Mackie meeting The Doctor and Nardole (Matt Lucus). The media was very quick to point out Doctor Who was getting it's first openly gay character with Pearl and I don’t know if it was meant to cause shock or something. But in this day and age, we don’t need labels. All we want is a good show, well written and with character's we can come to love to relate to because of good writing. But I have to say Pearl's character was well written with some very good witty humour and for once we almost have a companion that's not generic. She smart observations like the Tardis being on the rug and knowing the Doctor was about to give her a mind wipe. I can't say too much about her overall development as its way too early story archwise. As my old report cards at school might have said. Good effort but room for improvement and I guess that’s the same here. I would like her to settle down and come to grips with this new world that the doctor will show her. She did spend a lot of this episode looking shocked more than say Clara or rose or even Sarah Jane Smith. But I am so pleased to see that at the time of writing this the internet seems to be loving Bill Potts and Pearl Mackie and it is refreshing to see someone of colour and sexually to being given a chance to shine and set and example for others.
Peter Capaldi might be leaving soon. But I have to say am savouring every last episode as he has been the first doctor since 2005 to walk the line between classic Who and new Doctor Who. From his fashion choices. Like his trousers possibly being a nod to Patrick Troughton. But seeing these old sonic screwdrivers was a nice nod to the past. But the trip down memory lane didn’t end there. With a photo of river song and Susan (the first doctor's grandchild), Doctor who was really looking to unite old and new fans. But it was the old fans that got there big treat first with a deep cut from an episode called destiny of the Daleks. An alien race only seen in that episode called the Movellans. They looked like Rick James in a white suit with a very strange pink and grey handheld guns. (You may have to google Rick James Super-freak). They were in that episode and this episode in a brief war with the Daleks (nice cameo by them and the Daleks). Some other Easter eggs to look out for include nods to Donna Noble and Clara and the out of order sign is another visual gag going all the way back to William Hartnell. Who Bill may be named after though that remains unconfirmed.
Both Peter and Matt played their parts well with some good chemistry on the show for example when pearl says its bigger on the inside. It does seem to me, that Nardole is now the Doctor's sidekick in a way that reminds me of Lady Penelope and Parker of Thunderbirds. Which is not and insult. Just my view, I do hope Matt has more to do and becomes equal with Bill and the Doctor, rather than master and servant type role that he seems to be slotted into. Another wee Easter egg was the bolt that Nardole dropped at the start was a reference to him being rebuild by the doctor.
So what was it all about? Well, I want to say evil puddle stalks a girl. But there is a little more to it. It's hard to really look beyond the fact that was the core of the story. I think personally the villain of the week was not strong but it wasn’t about the villain this week. It was about introducing Bill Potts and using her sexuality in a positive way and part of the story plot device. Did it pay off? Well, I will let you judge for yourself but I wasn’t crazy about it all.
I have to say this part of my review that has to be negative. With Doctor Who being on a hiatus pretty much a year, the show's runner. Stephen Moffat could have and should have done more than just give us a rubbish villain and a weird soft reboot of Doctor Who which is part of the reason this episode is called the pilot and partly due to the story. While sitting with my partner it was interesting to ask her if she was interested in it. (She is more or less a Doctor Who virgin and this might find some new viewers for the show as it explained pretty much everything like it was the first episode. What the Tardis was and what it can do and what Tardis actual means. A little about the Doctor being an alien. Maybe I was expecting more or too much. What were you looking for? Did you find it? Will you tune in next week?
I will be there waiting to see more from The Doctor and his companions and to see how this show grows this season. The trailer for the next episode looks interesting and the villain while corny may be an improvement on this week's episode. Now you may recall I mentioned there were 2 treats for fans. One for old fans and one for the new ones. Well if you stuck around to the end of the trailer. You would have seen a glimpse of John Simms back as the master (well done if media and social media didn’t spoil it for you). He was a very popular villain with David Tenant's Doctor during his run and was last seen way back in 2010 and could this be the reason the doctor might regenerate? Who knows, who knows?
By Graham Leslie