Critical Condition: Doctor Who

Doctor Who (Prime, 7.30 Monday)

“The agonisingly long wait is over. After a 16-month hiatus, proper weekly Doctor Who is back for 12 episodes, and the fact that the first of series ten is called The Pilot is not to be taken lightly. There’s a reference to a pilot within the dialogue, but you could – if you’ve just materialised from a parallel, Who-free universe – take this as your jumping-on point, your pilot episode. If you’re already anticipating the complete reboot promised for 2018 under new showrunner Chris Chibnall [Broadchurch], well it almost feels like Steven Moffat has accomplished it a year earlier. Through the eyes of newcomer Bill Potts [Pearl Mackie], The Pilot explores afresh the mysteries and joys at the core of this 54-year-old show.” — Radio Times.

“If the first episode of the new season is a bit of a greatest-hits rehash, that is easy to forgive. Mackie is an energetic and enjoyable addition to the show, and her down-to-Earth character brings a healthy skepticism to all things Doctor-related. Even more charming than Bill’s curiosity and intelligence are her interactions with Nardole (Matt Lucas), the rather stolid but amusing character the Doctor came across in his recent travels across the galaxy. The Doctor Who season premiere is essentially a comedic romp across the galaxy, and with performers this skilled clearly having fun lobbing their dialogue back and forth, it’s hard to quibble with the the thin and literally watered-down nature of the plot.” — Variety.

“From the knowing wink of the title onwards, The Pilot takes exceptional pains to sell itself as the perfect reboot that new viewers can start with. And it’s typically, adorably Doctor Who that they’re choosing to do this just a year before the entire show gets rebooted anyway, with the arrival of a new cast and production team … It’s ironic and impressive, for a showrunner who gets criticised for reusing ideas, that Steven Moffat has delivered one of his freshest openers for his final run. It would indeed be a good place to join the show.” — The Guardian.

“With its emphasis on introducing a new lead character and teasing plot threads for the remainder of the series, The Pilot unfortunately does little to service Nardole’s character, who is the definition of ‘tacked on,’ in this episode. Presumably the first script written, and therefore completed before Matt Lucas expressed interest in returning to the role as a full-time companion, The Pilot shows telltale signs that Nardole was inserted into the script, at the eleventh hour.” — Doctor Who TV.

 “We know that Doctor Who‘s getting another overhaul next year – a much bigger one, with a new Doctor, a new showrunner and possibly another new companion – and while change is an essential part of this show, it’s almost a shame that it’s coming so soon. Because as a soft reboot, The Pilot works wonders. With a thoroughly modern companion setting the tone, this is new Who given a shot in the arm, a kick up the arse. It’s Moffat, in his final year, throwing caution to the wind and simply saying … what the hell?” — Digital Spy.

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