The season opener – or rather the second season opener for this split season, tends to be an Earth-based story that allows for a new companion to be introduced to the Doctor in an enjoyable, humorous manner. We can’t have anything too traumatic, otherwise the companion wouldn’t get in the ‘snog booth’ in the first place. This opener ticked all the boxes in this compartment, I’m pleased to say.
Without further ado, here are ten of my thoughts on this episode:
· An interesting opening, with clearly a good amount of stock footage.
· The theme tune appears to have been altered from the Christmas 2012 version – made a bit less bombastic for one thing. I would say it is now a little too quiet for my liking.
· The title was a bit misleading – there was only one actual bell!
· Matt Smith continues to do an excellent job as the Doctor and in this episode he continued to show that combination of alien quirkiness with sheer cleverness that is the hallmark of his incarnation.
· Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara is a strong vibrant character, with a clear chemistry with her co-star and who got some great lines. I do hope, however, she’s not going to keep doing what she did in the episode, because the “Woman Twice Dead” name is now a bit redundant.
· Celia Imrie did a great job as the main villain of the piece, resisting the strong temptation to overly chew the scenery that comes with a part in Doctor Who. I was at times reminded of Judi Dench’s M.
· Steven Moffat continued to deliver some great lines, but few of them will enter the long-term consciousness of the fans – with a couple of exceptions.
· There was a lot of London in this – and it really was London, as opposed to Cardiff playing London (as is usually the case past-2005). They didn’t even make any big geographical howlers, unlike National Treasure where Nicholas Cage crosses the Thames north-to-south twice.
· The plot was a nice and creepy one – with some great concepts, namely people being able to be hacked and controlled by the alien Wi-Fi. This said, some of the contemporary references might date a bit badly.
· Did not expect him to turn up… I expect we’ll be seeing more of him as the run continues.
After a slow start, this became a highly enjoyable opener and a good introduction to this latest run. That said, the next episode does not look that good.