The Doctor’s Grand Return

With Series 8 starting up at the end of August, my “Doctor Who” addiction has reared its head since last December’s Christmas special. This won’t be a review of Series 8 thus far, but just general thoughts on what’s been presented so far.

We’re now four episodes in so far, and I’ve felt that all of them have been at least pretty good for various reasons. However, I’ve also felt that all of them haven’t been without their flaws, and the typical “Moffett loves emotional impact” effect can come in if you think too hard about some of them (aka “Listen”). That being said, my main concern going into the new series and by extension the new 12th Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, was if the writing would clearly edge away from Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. For me, they’ve succeeded in making distinctive differences between the two, and it’s been easy to get used to Twelve (semi-nightmarish grin and all).

Another concern I have is with Clara who, despite having gained slightly more defined character traits, still comes off as a little too perfect. Perhaps it’s me still being unable to accept her role as the Doctor’s constant savior, but I feel too much importance was placed on her above all the past companions. It makes her feel less relatable and her continued influence of the Doctor as a person/character at times takes away from his mystery, for lack of a better word (“Listen” again).

I’m also concerned with the inclusion of teacher Danny Pink, as his intro made him come off interesting and fun to watch, yet he’s now quickly jumping into an apparent relationship with Clara. I worry that his character may get more focus on being her love interest than having his own traits. But of course, it’s still early to tell that yet and there is plenty of room for me to be proven wrong. He may even come into his own despite the relationship, much in a way Rory did for me. These are only gripes I’ve thought of up to this point, and they still haven’t taken away my enjoyment of the show.

What still makes the show for me after all this time is the Doctor himself and the adventures he gets thrown into. Capaldi has done a great job capturing a Doctor who is less inclined to hide the darkness within him. I think it’ll make an interesting dynamic for his run, and I’m curious to see what the seemingly overarching “Heaven” plot will amount to. It’s great to have the show back, and I only hope Moffett can deliver a lot of the greatness I found in Series 5 when Eleven came into his own.

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