Doctor Who Review: The Eleventh Hour

Steven Moffat is now at the helm, and there’s a new Doctor in the TARDIS. Will things be different for the new series, or are we just going to get more of the same?

Cast and Crew

Matt Smith as the Doctor
Karen Gillan as Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams
Caitlin Blackwood as Amelia
Nina Wadia as Dr Ramsden
Marcello Magni as Barney Collins
Perry Benson as Ice Cream Man
Annette Crosbie as Mrs Angelo
Tom Hopper as Jeff
Arthur Cox as Mr Henderson
Olivia Coleman as Mother
Eden Monteath as Child 1
Merin Monteath as Child 2
David de Keyser as the Atraxi Voice
William Wilde as Prisoner Zero’s Voice
Patrick Moore as himself

Written by Steven Moffat

Produced by Tracie Simpson

Directed by Adam Smith

Originally aired on the 3rd of April 2010 on BBC One/BBC HD in the United Kingdom.

If you really want to avoid all hints of spoilers, don’t read any further and just know that the final score is 35 and it’s a really, really good episode which you should watch absolutely immediately.

Premise

The newly-regenerated Doctor crashes his TARDIS in a garden and meets a girl who has a scary crack in the wall of her bedroom.

High Points

  • The first time we see the door to the sixth room open
  • Amelia, sitting on her suitcase (in a weepy sort of way)
  • Actual acknowledgement of the pre-revival Doctors!

Low Points

  • The pre-credits sequence. Maybe just a leftover from the previous episode though.
  • The food thing. I was getting sinking feelings and we were only five minutes in.

The Scores

Originality: Nothing was particularly surprising or unexpected, but the overall treatment felt nice and fresh. Four out of six.

Effects: I like the Atraxi spaceships, but most of the rest of the effects consist of ordinary practical pyro and a bit of unconvincing CGI creature. Four out of six.

Story: It’s a good story, hangs together very well and looks at some of the practical effects of putting a broken time machine in the hands of a fairly unstable person, as well as incorporating a good bit of saving the world from some overzealous alien prison guards. Five out of six.

Acting: The most impressive thing was how well Caitlin Blackwood played the young Amelia so utterly convincingly that when we meet the adult Amelia we know or at least suspect her identity immediately. Matt Smith also seems fairly promising, and Karen Gillen turned in a good opening performance too. Five out of six.

Emotional response: Steven Moffat has a knack for tugging at heartstrings, and he’s doing it again. As I said in the high points, Amelia sitting on her suitcase, and the open door. Six out of six.

Production: Some good details here and there. I particularly liked the portrayal of starting to cook something. The new TARDIS interior is also a nice change with good referances to past designs. Five out of six.

Overall: A great start to the new series with a new guy in charge and a new guy in the TARDIS. Six out of six. There may be some hope after all.

The Eleventh Hour receives a grand total of thirty-five out of forty-two.

19 replies on “Doctor Who Review: The Eleventh Hour”

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  2. Vulch says:

    Shades of “The Girl In The Fireplace” with Amelia and Amy and the gaps between visits, but an excellent start to the series.

    They mentioned on Confidential that Caitlin Blackwood is the cousin of Karen Gillan, though they’d never met face to face until filming started, which helped the resemblance.

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  5. x00 says:

    Overall: A great start to the new series with a new guy in charge and a new guy in the TARDIS. Six out of six. There may be some hope after all.

    Seriously? Steven Moffatt wrote the best episodes of RTD-administered Doctor Who episodes so I knew it couldn’t be worse than the RTD stuff. I loved David Tennant, but RTD stuff had serious and obvious holes. The only thing that really bugged me in this one was the fact it was the entire world in peril again.

    Seriously, a crack in the wall with “Prisoner Zero has escaped”. I wish I could come up with that stuff !

    • zocalo says:

      I think quite a few people (myself included) probably had some doubts after seeing the behaviour of Matt Smith’s Doctor after his initial introduction after the hand off from David Tennant. The continuation of that into the first of the Steven Moffat helmed episodes with the food scenes didn’t exactly inspire confidence and if this was an RTD helmed episode I’d have probably have ended up switching off.

      Fortunately I stuck it out and once things got moving I thought this turned out to be a cracking episode and gave the first clues in this series’ overarching plot with the closing lines from “Prisoner Zero”. Hopefully the completion of the regeneration of both Doctor and Tardis has drawn a line under that and we can move on to some seriously compelling and “best viewed from behind the sofa” scary episodes.

      Also, what’s with all the Tweet, Linkback and other link post garbage that seems to have run amok? This site often doesn’t get many comments, so they might easily get drowned out in the noise if this continues…

      • TwistyHat says:

        “gave the first clues in this series’ overarching plot with the closing lines from “Prisoner Zero”.”

        Oh god I hope it was just some rubbish spouted by the prisoner, I’m so tired of them dropping cryptic words in each episode and then at the end saying “aren’t we clever we used them in the finale!”

        • x00 says:

          The food thing was a low point. I just didn’t get it.

          Post Regeneration is a funny thing for a Time Lord anyway. Not sure why people had such a downer on that (well beyond the food thing anyway). I guess I have trust in Steven Moffat having found the other stuff he’s ever done to be good, and also never being the biggest RTD fan.

          I do hope that the Doctor is more proactive about this cryptic comment from Prisoner Zero. This is more than the ones previous which were more for the viewer than the Doctor. This was a direct message for him not just a “Vote Saxon” poster on the wall behind him.

          Also.. I’m curious to know what people thought of the “Doctor Vision” thing. Apparently it was done just by taking snapshots using a camera and stitching them together.

          • fsphil says:

            The shake of the crack was on the TARDIS screen he turned off near the end, so it looks like he’s taking it seriously.

          • fsphil says:

            shape, not shake. How come I can’t reply to my own comment?

          • zocalo says:

            Now that you mention it, I was starting to find “Doctor Vision” somewhat irritating by the end of the episode. OK, the Doctor has perfect recall and it gets that across to the viewers, but I think it’s going to get very annoying if it gets used too often. Hopefully it won’t!

        • zocalo says:

          Every series since Ecclestone has had a series arc (as well as several of the earlier ones), so why should this one be any different? I guess we’ll have to put some more faith in Moffat that the clues will not be so obscure as to require a Holmesian level of observation and knowledge to put them together. Prisoner Zero seemed quite clued up about it, and both he and the Atraxi seemed to know quite well what a Timelord was, which seems at odds with previous episodes where they were seen as semi-mythical post Time-War. Interesting…

          PS @ FSPhil: I don’t see any reply link under your posts either!

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  10. GSVNofixedabode says:

    Ok, it was good but come on! that dress at the end of the episode? Screaming, repeating, cliche!

  11. obiwan says:

    My high point:

    Prisoner Zero, changes its appearance to the Doctor’s, mocking and chilling and eerie.

    And then the Doctor goes “Well that’s rubbish, who are you supposed to be?”

  12. Kiersten says:

    I love all the quotability of nearly everything said!! :)

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