I have neglected my post shamefully and will try and rewatch the episode soon to give some more cogent thoughts, but here are some quick observations…

  • New title sequence and music seem to lack focus and drive, although the glimpse of Matt Smith’s face is welcome and stylish.
  • Moreorless everything in the set-up is great – Jenna-Louise Coleman acquits herself splendidly, and Matt Smith is excellent as this darker, more lonely version of the Doctor.
  • The nods to the Patrick Troughton Yeti stories are lovely and to have Ian McKellan and Richard E Grant is almost spoiling us
  • Welcome returns too from Vastra, Jenny and especially Strax
  • Don’t like the new TARDIS much. Too small, too boxy. I thought the previous version was the best since the series returned and possibly the best ever. I remember hating the Eccleston version when it debuted and I got used to that, so maybe this will grow on me too (mind you, they did adjust the lighting when Tennant took over).
  • Fantastically bold to actually kill off Clara, although the storytelling was a bit wobbly there. If she’s dead, kill her off. If she’s not dead yet, then give her a line or two at least.
  • Resolving the plot with “tears at Christmas” is almost unforgivably nonsensical and rather makes me wonder if the resolution to the Sherlock cliff-hanger will be that Watson closed his eyes and wished really hard that Holmes wasn’t dead.

I’m shortly turning this blog over to movies and especially The Oscars, but before I do a quick word about the New Yes Prime Minister which began on Gold tonight. As a writer myself of a satirical play about the, and called Coalition, I was duty-bound to take in the recent stage version of the venerable 80s sit-com which I found very disappointing. Trapped in a single set and playing out in real-time did the storytelling few favours, but worse was the way that the elegant wit and supple characterisations had desiccated over time, becoming hack imitations of their former selves. Naturally, the new actors couldn’t help but be compared to their progenitors, but the writing never added anything new, while simultaneously failed to resurrect glories past, and the plotting was glacially slow, and rarely managed to raise the stakes appreciably.

Putting this new incarnation back on the television seems scarcely wise, but I was stunned to realise that the first half hour installment is essentially the first thirty minutes of the play, with all attendant faults and compromises, and several jokes made appreciably less funny in the minimal rewriting. Too see such good actors as Henry Goodman and David Haig struggle with this third-rate material, while spectres of Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington loom over their shoulders is a very discomfiting sight. I shan’t be watching any more.

The nature of belief or Have we been visited by aliens from space?
The Oscars 2013 - Part One