A First-Timer Watches Doctor Who: “The Eleventh Hour”

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New season, new Doctor, incongruously named new episode. Despite a set of fresh beginnings — a regenerated Doctor played by the youthful Matt Smith, a new companion in the form of actress Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond (she should really go by Amelia, it’s a much better name), and a completely new production team — the title “The Eleventh Hour” sounds like we’re nearing another ending, not starting something new.

On the other hand, when you consider that the two-part season finale where we said goodbye to David Tennant’s 10th Doctor was titled “The End of Time”, “The Eleventh Hour” doesn’t sound so late in the day afterall. Eleventh hour, eleventh Doctor, it all lines up.

The episode kicks off with an inexperienced Doctor at the wheel of the TARDIS, and, like a 16-year-old who’s nicked the keys to mom and dad’s Ferrari, it’s a bit too much machine for him to handle. Of course, he crashes—into the backyard of neglected red-headed child, Amelia Pond.

After availing himself of the contents of her kitchen (stock your fridges: the new Doctor hates apples and yogurt but loves fish fingers dipped in custard) he checks out the crack in her bedroom wall that’s been giving her the creeps. Surprise: there are aliens afoot!

After promising to return in five minutes, the Doctor hops into the TARDIS and is gone. For 12 years. (The Girl in the Fireplace could have predicted that one.)

When he gets back, Amelia “I go by Amy now” Pond is grown up. So is Prisoner Zero, the freaky-toothed alien outlaw hiding in her house.

And so the Doctor and Amy must find and surrender Prisoner Zero to the Atraxi, an eyeball-shaped outer space police force, before they obliterate the entire planet in their quest for justice. Easier said than done, since Prisoner Zero has a knack for impersonating everyday Brits.

See? It even got the teeth right!

“The Eleventh Hour” introduces us to a fun, almost childlike new Doctor. Perhaps because he’s so recently regenerated, he seems like a kid in an intergalactic candy shop — which makes the scenes with young Amelia so appealing. They relate to each other perfectly. Standing in stark contrast to his youthful personality is his choice of wardrobe. In search of a new look (and who can blame him, Tennant wore some awful suits), the Doctor settles on a tweedy, professorial style — with suspenders and a bow tie to boot.

Is he trying to convince us or himself?

What is cool is the new TARDIS with its pinball-machine-meets-old-timey-typewriter controls. Can’t wait to check out that library swimming pool!