Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Own “Left Turn”: Steven Moffat and the 11th Doctor

I am a big fan of David Tennant’s 10th Doctor, and was not ready for a new one. In a turn of events worthy of the fourth season episode “Left Turn,” the universe played a trick on me. I accepted a freelance gig to go to China, and then it was set that Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, and Karen Gillan would come to my office, The Paley Center for Media, to premiere the episode with a discussion on the day I would still be flying back from China. Why didn’t the universe let me be there? What would have been different had I been allowed to meet them? Did I have to miss the event to avoid sending the world into an apocalypse? Unfortunately, I don’t have a Time Beetle or a Russell T. Davies script to tell me.

My first impression of 11 at the end of “The End of Time” wasn’t great: he seemed nerdy, and not in a good way, and “Geronimo” as a catchphrase wasn’t promising.

But “The 11th Hour” was good, and our new Doctor and companion are great. The youth of the 2 is sexy, sexy, sexy and should attract a whole new following.

Steven Moffat Tugging at the Heartstrings

We meet the young Amelia when the Doctor drops the Tardis into her backyard after regenerating. She had just been praying (I think she said to Santa) to send someone to fix the crack in her bedroom wall. I remember a crack in the wall at my Grandmother’s apartment that frightened me; the young imagination sees the portal potential of that rift in the homestead protective shield, and nothing good ever comes through a portal, we all know that.

The Doctor then says he has to go for 5 minutes, and Amelia runs to her room to pack her little suitcase and then runs back out to wait for the Doctor to return. There she sits on her suitcase, in her little coat and hat. I hate images like that. Of course the Doctor doesn’t return in 5 minutes. Just as Moffat knows that cracks in the wall frighten children, he knows that adults are always disappointing them.

Little Amelia grows up to be capable Amy, and the Doctor comes back, as promised though more than a decade later, and the two are off and running. The plot of the show wasn’t as important to me as establishing the new players.

The show has a similar look and sensibility to season 4, and that continuity is good. Set in an English village—with the distinctive Norman church, stone walls, and green commons—-it has a little of a Miss Marple feel to it, and I don’t mean that as a bad thing. It connects the series to the great tradition of English storytelling on tv.

There were many nice touches: the Doctor giving Amy back the apple she gave him 12 years earlier; his comment “You are a Scot living in an English village, and I know what that’s like,” since Moffat himself is Scottish; finding his own clothes/look, that is tweed, suspenders, and a bow tie; and the vision of the 10 Doctors, through which 11 steps to take his rightful place. His hair is a little too Polo model for me, but we’ll see.

There’s lots to look forward to, including Prof. Song and those creepy Weeping Angels. Fantastic. Allons-y.


clairehelene7 said...

Oh my god. I am so jealous! In general, though, I am jealous of your job. I just caught up on the first episode. Allons-y indeed! I'm optimistic for more fun.

clairehelene7 said...

Oh wait - I read that wrong. Boo!! But China is still awesome.

M.A.Peel said...

Hi Claire. Yeah, TPTB did not let me see the new crew in person, but I'll watch them every week.

leaf2go said...
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