Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell to Earth.
October 7, 2018 10:50 AM - Season 11, Episode 1 - Subscribe

"In a South Yorkshire city, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O'Brien are about to have their lives changed forever, as a mysterious woman, unable to remember her own name, falls from the night sky."
posted by homunculus (149 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
"I hate empty pockets."

Hello, Doctor.
posted by Pendragon at 11:54 AM on October 7 [11 favorites]


Jodie Whittaker is a fantastic doctor. Woot!
posted by homunculus at 11:54 AM on October 7 [5 favorites]


"These legs definitely were longer"
posted by jazon at 11:56 AM on October 7 [4 favorites]


Brilliant first episode for Whittaker. Gave me the same thrill that Matt Smith’s first episode did.
posted by rory at 12:03 PM on October 7


“It’s a long time since I had to choose a woman’s clothes.”
posted by rory at 12:04 PM on October 7 [8 favorites]


BBCAmerica: too many damn commericals
posted by jazon at 12:08 PM on October 7 [9 favorites]


I enjoyed that.

Although I thought the Doctor admonishing that man at the end for kicking The Inquisitor from Red Dwarf off the crane was a bit much, considering she'd just implanted loads of death bombs in his neck and tricked him into detonating them.

Also Bradley Walsh's character was much better when he was played by Bernard Cribbins.
posted by dng at 12:21 PM on October 7 [15 favorites]


Kid Ruki and I are smiling so hard right now. She’s fantastic. The companions are fantastic. Fantastic!
posted by Ruki at 12:22 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Well, I quite enjoyed that. Aside, did anyone notice the new sonic screwdriver was made of spoons?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:23 PM on October 7 [11 favorites]


I loved the scene where the Doctor made her new sonic from scratch. That was great!
posted by homunculus at 12:33 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


And I love saying 'her' when referencing the Doctor. Finally!
posted by homunculus at 12:35 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Mrs. Example and I have been in that bus station several times. Sheffield!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:36 PM on October 7


I've had this song stuck in my head for a few days now. I do hope the new Doctor meets Missy someday.
posted by homunculus at 12:37 PM on October 7


Some more good lines I noted:

"Half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman."
"Why is she running at another alien? ...Now you're *all* running at it!"
"I'm good at building things! Probably."
"It's a work in progress, but so's life."
"Sonic screwdriver - now with added Sheffield steel!"

Apart from the sonic screwdriver and mention of the TARDIS, there was virtually no continuity referencing or callbacks in this. Rose, an overt restart after 17 years, featured the TARDIS and brought back the Autons and the Nestene Consciouness. This bordered on being a reboot, and I think the aim is to try to get out of the baroque and complex mythos that the last few seasons seemed to be trying to build.

What was a call-back was the end title music, which seemed much closer to the Delia Darbyshire version than the rather bombastic remixes we've had in New Who. I liked the idea of an intro of the various guest stars we're going to have over the next few weeks, which again showcased the overt diversity of this season. (And Mark Addy is the latest entry on the huge Doctor Who / Game of Thrones cast crossover.)

Slightly weaker elements: the alien was basically a cut-price, cheating Predator with a tooth fetish. The UFO nut had a storyline rather reminiscent of Agent Mulder, and also of the equally ill-fated Clive from Rose. That said, if his waving a crow-bar at the alien was a shout-out to the Half-Life games, I approve.

Of course the Doctor was able to make (almost forge) herself a new sonic screwdriver; not only did she have Sheffield steel to hand, but there was a proper AVO on the bench to test it with!

Usually it's the Doctor pulling the Bavarian Fire Drill, nice to see someone else trying it. A clipboard and a day-glo vest will get you a long way.
posted by Major Clanger at 12:40 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]


"Eat my salad, Halloween!"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:41 PM on October 7 [14 favorites]


I almost wonder if that scene was one you need cultural subtitles for (i.e. the way that kebab bars always serve you with a helping of soggy salad on top of your greasy meat, that everyone then throws away.) A nice reference to awful UK fast food habits.
posted by Major Clanger at 12:43 PM on October 7 [5 favorites]


I really liked it! I guess the arc for this series will be fetching back the sister who was taken and kept in stasis. Loved the spoons in the sonic screwdriver. Or sonic Swiss army knife without a knife.

I did cry a bit when Grace died.

And I really loved the end titles, both music and the animation. (Honestly, did not love the typeface for the end titles, which was entirely too hard to read for this forty-something. We'll always have IMDB, I guess.) Followed by a montage of ... guests to be seen? Loads of whom were actors of color.
posted by sldownard at 12:44 PM on October 7


As I said in the other thread, I bloody loved it!

Felt thematically consistent with everything that came before but also made it very clear that they were looking forward, not back.

The people who would have complained anyway will still complain, but fuck 'em. No one has taken 'old Who' away. It's still there. They can go watch it whenever they like. This is a new hero for whoever wants - or needs - her, regardless of age or gender, and I'm very excited about it now.

I liked the idea of an intro of the various guest stars we're going to have over the next few weeks, which again showcased the overt diversity of this season. (And Mark Addy is the latest entry on the huge Doctor Who / Game of Thrones cast crossover.)

Yeah, thought that was great. Art Malik! Although Shobna could have bloody told me...
posted by garius at 12:48 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


I really wish [insert spoiler] got to be one of the companions instead of [insert spoiler].

Also loving the new Composer as they don't seem to write music that is designed to be played at distracting levels of LOUD a la Mr Murray Gold.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:12 PM on October 7 [11 favorites]


Just finished the first watch -- not sure what end titles you all are referring to, BBC America went right from the final shot of everyone floating in space to some chat-show-format post-show discussion, but I guess that will be part of tonight's prime-time 'Special Edition' rebroadcast (aka, stuff they cut out of the US broadcast to fit in more commercials).

I wasn't too happy with the body count, specifically the old guy at the crane site (I mean having him on the phone with his granddaughter was like the 'rookie cop with a pregnant wife' or 'old cop with one day to retirement' level of manipulation) and then Grace. Once Grace said she was having fun, I was like, 'oh, please no. And I'm not sure what to make of Ryan's sub-plot with the bicycle -- is his dis-whatsit the kind of thing one can power through with more practice/confidence, or are they doing the equivalent of having a blind person just keep trying to look hard enough until they can see?

But, overall, yeah, I thought this was a very promising beginning as far as the writing goes, and a terrific beginning as far as Whitaker's Doctor goes.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:20 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


I really wish [insert spoiler] got to be one of the companions instead of [insert spoiler].

Huh? If you mean Grace versus Graham, that's not a spoiler for this episode. If you mean someone else, maybe save it for whichever future episode's thread it's applicable to?
posted by oh yeah! at 1:23 PM on October 7


Ryan has dyspraxia I've used the word to link to the wikipedia entry all about it.

It is definately not a condition that can be overcome via force of will.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:26 PM on October 7 [8 favorites]


Ohyeah, I did mean Grace v graham, but was unaure of the spoiler policy so was just playing it safe.

I personally would take Grace over Graham as a potential companion, but the cynic in me totally understands the need for a Graham *type*
posted by Faintdreams at 1:28 PM on October 7


I felt slightly uncomfortable about the 'Ryan trying to overcome his dyspraxia by sheer effort' scenes, and in fact a friend of mine with dyspraxia has now posted to say how deeply upset he was by this, which in his view sends a very misleading and patronising message about disability. For an episode which was in every other respect so inclusive, it was a jarring note.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:28 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]


Or sonic Swiss army knife without a knife.

Denigrating the Swiss Army Knife was a small moment of the by-now traditional Nu-Who stupidity where the writers just do not feel the need for the stuff that is said and done to make any kind of sense. If you don't pause to think about it, which we're not meant to, you can see they're trying to say something nice, but if you do it doesn't quite work.

But for me such moments were tolerably low key and infrequent in this one, far from the grandiose arcs of all-encompassing stupidity that stopped me watching some of the previous seasons, so not too bad. I have hope for this Doctor.
posted by sfenders at 1:51 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


How is that denigrating the Swiss Army Knife ?
posted by Pendragon at 2:00 PM on October 7 [5 favorites]


Denigrating the Swiss Army knife. Now I've heard everything.
posted by crossoverman at 2:06 PM on October 7 [15 favorites]


BBCAmerica is replaying 'Blink'. I guess they want to show new Whovians one of the really good NewWho episodes. Good choice.
posted by homunculus at 2:17 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


"Anyone who carries a knife is an idiot" was the exact quote I believe. Perhaps the reasons for encouraging kids to carry pocket knives aren't what they used to be, and the reasons against it are greater, and someone thought, gee, we shouldn't be encouraging kids to carry knives in this day and age, so you can kind of understand where it came from. Despite all that, it's a remarkably dumb thing to say.
posted by sfenders at 2:17 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


How is that denigrating the Swiss Army Knife ?

EXPLAIN! EXPLAIN!
posted by homunculus at 2:17 PM on October 7 [5 favorites]


I think the "only idiots carry knives" line was a public service thing. We don't have guns, really. Kids carry knives in threatening situations, and sometimes there are stabbings. It's not good. So if you can drop in a line that suggests it's uncool, all to the good.

The great thing about Dr Who, as I've mentioned before, is that every few years it turns into a different series.

Oh, and it was nice to see charity shops getting representation, apart from anything else.

One thing I have noticed about British drama, is that as soon as a man gives away he cares about someone - in this case the nightwatchman talking to his grandchild - he's doomed. I think it's like teenage girls and sex in slasher movies. Once you start to notice it you see it everywhere.
posted by Grangousier at 2:36 PM on October 7 [16 favorites]


Aside, did anyone notice the new sonic screwdriver was made of spoons?

That, and I think that's the first screwdriver with a curved shape. Kinda reminded me of the curved lightsaber, expect that would be too knife-like.
posted by homunculus at 2:50 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I felt slightly uncomfortable about the 'Ryan trying to overcome his dyspraxia by sheer effort' scenes, and in fact a friend of mine with dyspraxia has now posted to say how deeply upset he was by this, which in his view sends a very misleading and patronising message about disability. For an episode which was in every other respect so inclusive, it was a jarring note.

It really was a bafflingly obtuse writing choice. Like, there are plenty of other conditions they could have given Ryan if they needed some kind of 'mind over matter' flaw to overcome for dramatic purposes; fear of heights maybe, or he used to have [condition] and has since been cured but still feels residual [whatever about whatever]? But instead they've done the equivalent of having a character with brittle bone disease continually flinging themselves at hard objects in hopes of making their bones harder? Seems like the only way out now is for him to get cured by alien med tech and throw that sub-plot into the memory hole. (Which isn't a great solution for representation of disability either, but magic space healing seems better than 'have you tried just not being disabled anymore?')
posted by oh yeah! at 3:00 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


To be fair, he didn’t overcome his dyspraxia by force of will, although it’s still weird that they decided to show him trying. Presumably later in the series it will have some relevance, but surely they could have found a better way to introduce it.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:37 PM on October 7 [14 favorites]


Oh, and it was nice to see charity shops getting representation, apart from anything else.

Of my most enthusiastic Who moments ever, me screaming "They're in a charity shop, of course!" ranks pretty high.

As ever, I am entirely unable to be subjective about Dr Who, but that was Rather Good. I'm dyspraxic, and i didn't feel like it was being dismissive personally, although I get why people might.

Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:41 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]


a helping of soggy salad on top of your greasy meat, that everyone then throws away

What? No way! The salad is the way I fool myself into thinking I'm eating semi-healthy.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:36 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


I have a long, complicated Doctor Who history (complete with tattooing and fanfic-writing and then flouncing and hating) but decided to clear the ole slate, give Chibbers the benefit of the doubt (I do not dislike 42 as much as a lot of my friends and I liked Broadchurch a lot, but his other Whoniverse work has been eeehhhhh) and sign up for a VPN so I could watch this series proper, like the good old days of 2007.

I liked it! A lot! I love Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. The first episode of a new Doctor always has a ton of work to do and a zillion characters to serve and I don't think this was a masterclass or anything, but it was good! I didn't hate it! Which is a weird sensation after all this time!
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:50 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Maybe they should have had a subtitle flashing [obligatory PSA about knife crime] during the sonic screwdriver discussion.

I remember now why we used to wait until the show was over before watching on Sundays—those commercials on BBC America were endless and annoying as hell.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:53 PM on October 7


Yeah, I'm recording the two hour special episode, so I can watch it later and skim through commercials.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:03 PM on October 7


Oh, and I'm a complete sucker for The Scarf, so I enjoyed that popping up, too.
posted by Ruki at 5:13 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I almost wonder if that scene was one you need cultural subtitles for…

I'm not in the UK and I didn't blink twice.  I assumed it was the UK equivalent of Seattle's ubiquitous teriyaki joints, where they invariably and inexplicably include a "salad" made entirely of iceberg lettuce bits and carrot shavings drizzled with a too-sweet gingery dressing analog.

The random deaths seemed completely in line with old Dr Who stories. It's one of the things I've always liked about the series. The deaths are always a bit sad and provide a sense of genuine danger and unavoidable consequences to Dr Who adventures that seems all to rare in a weekly show, and provides a needed grounding in reality for a show so divorced from it.  They consistently give us a glimpse into their backstory too, which helps I feel. One quick, economical character sketch allows a death—to me anyway—to carry far more meaning and weight for a story than some random stadium's worth of people I never meet.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:31 PM on October 7 [8 favorites]


My husband is a HUGE Whovian. I...am not. I enjoy specific episodes (I stuck around after to watch Blink again, against my better judgment) but don't *know* the show the way he does. Which is to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I *loved* Jodie Whitaker as the Doctor. I bought in wholeheartedly from the moment she appeared onscreen.

I was confused and a little upset at the whole dyspraxia thing just because the entire conversation around it seemed to focus on overcoming it with practice and will? I know nothing about dyspraxia, but if I told my students with dyslexia that if they just tried harder, they could read without difficulty, I would rightfully lose my job. It was a strange, sour note in an episode that was otherwise fantastic. Maybe they'll figure out how to make it work in the show? Because if they just have him stumbling over plot points all the time, it will have lost me before it had a chance to really have me.

Also, my husband had the biggest grin on his face when the episode was over, and his eyes were sparkling with tears. I had to love it just because it made him so happy.
posted by malthusan at 6:06 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


I loved the scene where the Doctor made her new sonic from scratch. That was great!

And using what looked very much like a mini Arduino at first but on closer inspection I think it's a SATA to IDE adapter, one very much like this one but a slightly different model. Given that we know from S04E08, Silence in the Library, the Sonic does contain internal storage, if one were to build one using present day Earth technology a hard drive adapter might one of its components.
posted by scalefree at 6:46 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I’ve been a fan of 40 years and enjoyed it a lot.
posted by jjderooy at 6:47 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I just finished watching this episode, and I'm on board. I haven't seen the last season at all - started to lose interest at the end of the Matt Smith era, and didn't really take to Peter Capaldi as The Doctor because I felt like the plots got just too obtuse and complex. This was lovely, though, and Jodie Whittaker was great. I loved her quips, the knife thing notwithstanding. Looking forward to more of this!
posted by gemmy at 6:49 PM on October 7


Welp, no difference in the episode on BBC America in the 'special edition' rebroadcast that I could see, just longer commercial breaks with clips from the NY Comicon Doctor Who panel Q&A. BBC America is so sucktastic. Any idea what was cut from the US broadcast besides the end-credit sequence mentioned above? Was there a new opening credit sequence in the UK, or is that still to come in the next regular episode?
posted by oh yeah! at 6:52 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed this a lot. I don't really have a sense of what kind of doctor Jodie Whittaker is going to be (Eccleston was The Sad Grieving One, Smith was Sherlock, etc), but I'm looking forward to finding out.
posted by jeather at 6:57 PM on October 7


So I'm definitely on board - the big thing for me is having a collection of companions to allow for more plot options and better cast analogues. But it felt properly scary and exciting and the story wasn't too ridiculous.
posted by Kyol at 7:05 PM on October 7


The whole teeth face thing is so perfectly "normal thing made absolutely terrifying but in a somehow family friendly way that will also probably cause nightmares" that even if the Doctor hadn't shown up, you'd still know it was Doctor Who.

I've watched it twice today and absolutely love it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:45 PM on October 7 [8 favorites]


I was onboard until Grace died. It was entirely unnecessary and the writers could have done better than to rehash that tired trope. To paraphrase a saying, "Sometimes, everyone lives."

The coil trap/weapon was good on both sides.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 8:49 PM on October 7 [9 favorites]


Ending the first episode with a funeral seemed a bit much as an intro to the season. It just seemed superfluous, and I don't trust them to do anything worthwhile with it.

Anyway other than that and the dyspraxia stuff already noted, it was very good. But it's too bad that their two big attempts to give characters Attributes and Backstory went so poorly.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:23 PM on October 7


Aside from all the negatives everyone has pointed out, I thought this was a pretty good premiere. I really like Jodie Whitaker as the Doctor!

One thing: What was the charity shop? Where she got her clothes? I didn't see anything in that scene that made it obvious it was a charity shop. Also, is that a UK thing? We have goodwill and consignment shops here but you'd have to go to a homeless shelter for free clothes, and usually they don't look anything like that shop.
posted by numaner at 9:41 PM on October 7


i got that it was a "charity shop" but it took a moment becuase it ;ooks different than US thrift store. i was also totally distracted by the obnoxious mess she was creating. i hope they cleaned all that up - retial workers are not slaves and it is shitty to portray that kind of behavior as something that is OK to do. i know, i know - bigger issues but dammit - the doctor shouldn't act like a Kardashian.

the knife comment also really bothered me. it was stupid. Swiss Army knives are tools. that whole thing could have been fixed with one simple word change: "only idiots carry WEAPONS.

and YAY for diversity! but dammit - whyyyyyy does everyone who gets killed have to be a woman, a person of color, or a senior? wrong kind of diversity. killing off grandpa right after his sweet talk with granddaughter was manipulative and cheap. and yeah i think the body count was too high, too.

i really don't like the new outfit. "Mork from Ork" notwithstanding.

enough of the negative - positive thoughts soon forthcoming!
posted by lapolla at 10:54 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I was bothered by the dyspraxia bicycle scenes and Grace's death, same as you guys.

Apart from that, I really liked it. In particular:
- Whitaker nailed being the Doctor. She reminded me of Matt Smith a lot, but less over the top. Really enjoyed that.
- I understood the entire plot, start to finish. That's definitely a step up from the overly clever gobbledygook of recent NuWho.
- The 'hoist in your own petard' resolution felt really old school to me. It's been awhile, and my memories are probably suspect, but it seems to me like classic Who stories had more than a few of those.

I will definitely be following this.
posted by mordax at 11:10 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Please can we stop debating the knife line.

It should be specifically knifes, because it's knifes that the children in my local area, and elsewhere, are using. Too many have been injured, far too many have died. I don't want to have to walk past a police cordon again.

It's a British show, this was written for a British audience.

Overall I loved it. I loved how a female doctor changes things subtlety but powerfully, the scenes of her confidently making the screwdriver were fantastic. How many times on screen do we see women using a soldering iron; making, building, engineering?

You can tell it was a charity shop because of the ramshackle shelves of books. They're mostly staffed by volunteers, I hope they cleaned up too, during that scene all I could think about was the volunteers who'd have to do the tidying up otherwise.
posted by Helga-woo at 11:59 PM on October 7 [17 favorites]


ok so - i was watching it a second time so now back to concur on positive points. but first, two last negatives:
yeah, the dyspraxia muddle was really problematic.
also, while i LOVE that the Doctor built her new sonic screwdriver - out of spoons! - i really dislike the design. undoubtedly meant to be curvy and therefore more "feminine" it reminds me of how shavers are made all pink and curved to be marketed to women, then sold at thrice the price of mens', when they are essentially the exact same thing.

but i agree, Jodi Whitaker is great! i love her as the Doctor! and yes, thankfully she takes it all down a notch. the last three men were all so histrionic, and all of the reboot has bothered me with being just SO SHOUTY ALL THE TIME. in similar vein, i agree with whomever upthread commented on the music - it is good! much less invasive and bombastic. it has always bothered me how noisy the series can be, the pile-on of sound seemed at times like it was a desperately ploy to ramp up a sense of emotion that may not have really been there. this score was very cinematic, open, and a great counterpoint to the dialog.

i don't hate that Grace died. i think it was an interesting switch on expectations, of the lead-in narration about "the greatest woman he's ever known". it wasn't a cheap shot and had real emotional weight.

i, too, am happy to see a less convoluted storyline. this felt fresh. the special effects were gorgeous. and i like the companions.

and yes, DIVERSITY. yes, yay, hooray! looking forward to more.
posted by lapolla at 12:07 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


The "Only idiots carry knives" remark seemed less jarring here in the UK than it may have done elsewhere. That's because we have a problem with young teenagers carrying knives here right now - and all too often using them on one another. The more such incidents there are, the more kids are driven by fear to carry a knife themselves.

For an iconic British show with such a huge audience of children among its fans, I think it was worth taking a second to have the Doctor say something which might help in breaking the vicious circle this creates.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:18 AM on October 8 [24 favorites]


I haven't really kept up with the last couple of series. Last thing I remember there'd been a bunch of alien invasions and people were pretty used to the idea of aliens, but now everyone seems astonished when they turn up. Have they rebooted the timeline again?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:54 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


The music was great on headphones! Some neat use of bouncing back and forth between the right and left channels which made the experience eerier.
posted by acidnova at 1:49 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


I didn't see anything in that scene that made it obvious it was a charity shop.

UK charity shops have a certain look - the shelves of books near the changing rooms were a giveaway. But there's something about the light, too - they often aren't as brightly lit as any commercial clothes shop would be. When they look out at the room, and all the light is from the windows and the other customers are in shadow, that's exactly how it looks from the back of some of the charity shops in my UK city.
posted by rory at 2:27 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


Yeah, knife crime is a thing in the UK, which is why the line is what it is.

Really enjoyed this, but shared similar concerns around the death of Grace and the treatment of dyspraxia. I know little enough about the condition to have an opinion, but I'm always worried that characters with that kind of disability are going to get magically cured at some point...

I think the thing about the random deaths which seemed a little unbalancing is that while Who has always had random people dying, in this case the Dr and her companions were racing to save one person, while others just died along the way. Yes, there is a throwaway line about stopping them here means he won't do it again (although it's not clear why) but it feels a bit strange to go "we have to save that guy in the crane, shame about the security guard, but moving on!"

Still I think I like the interpersonal dynamic and already love the Doctor, so looking forwards to more!
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:45 AM on October 8


Disclaimer: I have never watched a single episode of Doctor Who until last night. My ignorance was so profound that I thought the doctor's name was "Who". I decided to watch it because of the hoopla surrounding the casting of the first female doctor and I love drinking toxic fanbaby tears.

My husband, who is also not much of a Doctor Who viewer but vaguely knows things growing up as a Brit, described the show to me as "for kids". That aside, I had very little expectations going into this. I didn't do any research because I kind of figured the writers expected a lot of new viewers and they'd walk me through the world. And one thing I did know was that as it was a "new" doctor, many things would be unfamiliar to longtime fans anyway so I wouldn't be completely lost.

Top level impression: I liked it and I'm going to give at least a few more episodes a shot.

General observations:
- To my ears "Only idiots carry knives" definitely sounded like a PSA, specific for the UK audience.
- I was oddly delighted to see them shopping at a thrift store and yes, the set design screamed "British charity shop" to me.
- I didn't get the impression that dyspraxia was presented in a way that was patronising. That said, I'd never heard of the condition before, so my impression was "Oh, this is a thing I haven't heard of before, that's interesting, I wonder how this will affect him as a character". All I saw was that he had difficulty riding a bike. He did stumble while climbing the crane, but for heaven's sake, I probably would have as well! Otherwise, I didn't realy notice his condition affecting him? Which could be what they're aiming for? I'm interested to see how they handle as the show progresses and the character develops.

Stuff I liked
- Jodie Whittaker! She was charming, engaging, and charismatic everytime she was on screen. I lol'd at "I'm a woman! Does it suit me?". Perfect delivery.
- Her squad, who I now understand are to be referred to as Companions, whatever that entails. They were a nice variety of personalities and already seem to have a lovely, positive supportive vibe around them.
- I get the impression that the doctor's outfit is like A Thing and I must say I adored her choice. I'm looking forward to seeing renditions of it for Halloween.
- The pace was good. I think the show was over an hour long? I'm not sure if that was just because it was the premiere but I was into it the entire time.
- The humor. I don't know if the humor as delivered is typical of this show but I was into its flavour.

Stuff that confused me/took me a bit by surprise:
- Teeth baddie. Like, way scarier than what I expected from what my husband called a "kids show". Maybe he misrespresented it or I under-aged what he meant but even I was freaked out by him.
- The number of deaths. Same as above.
- The doctor's original outfit. Was that what Peter Capaldi was wearing as the last doctor? Or do they always generate in raggedy long tails?
- How did they clean up the alien aftermath littering the construction site and explain Grace's death?
- WHY is the doctor is so dedicated in helping humans? I hope this is explained later.
- "It's about time": I love the tagline but I didn't see anything about time in this episode. When does time become a factor? Are we talking about time travel? Is the tardis a time machine? (No need to educate me on these questions, I'm hoping the show will enlighten me).
posted by like_neon at 2:48 AM on October 8 [6 favorites]


> "Teeth baddie. Like, way scarier than what I expected from what my husband called a 'kids show'."

Aaaaaand welcome to Doctor Who. Legions of terrified children welcome you with open arms.
posted by kyrademon at 3:31 AM on October 8 [39 favorites]


Hiding behind the sofa in absolute terror because of a Doctor Who villain is a right of passage for British kids. Ask me how I know.

(No don't, because that will probably spoil a future episode. Also, I'm not sure I'm entirely over it...)

Stairs. *shudder*
posted by Helga-woo at 3:31 AM on October 8 [13 favorites]


Definitely a British charity shop, but we were going crazy trying to figure out which one it might be. I don't have the episode to hand right now, but did anyone possibly see a Domino's sign out the window? If so, and if they filmed that scene in Sheffield and not Cardiff, there are maybe two places that could be.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:41 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


kyrademon: "> "Teeth baddie. Like, way scarier than what I expected from what my husband called a 'kids show'."

Aaaaaand welcome to Doctor Who. Legions of terrified children welcome you with open arms.
"

Interesting. I've always thought of it as a nerdy adults' show, not anything that kids would watch.
posted by octothorpe at 4:06 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


We’re all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve, whilst still staying true to who we are. We can honour who we’ve been, and choose who we want to be next – now’s your chance. How about it?
A nice sentiment, but it's addressed to a cheating blowhard with terrible acne. Teeth, right. About as convincing as etheric-beam locators.
posted by hawthorne at 4:11 AM on October 8


It's something we don't have much of anymore: a family show. It's meant for adults and kids to watch together and both enjoy. That's why it's on in the early evening. (What time was the broadcast in the UK yesterday? It used to be around 7 on Saturdays.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:11 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


6.45 pm Sunday. Next week's will be 6.55.
posted by rory at 4:15 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


I remember trying to get my kid to watch and he didn't last 15 minutes before said something like "this is really cheesy" and noped out.
posted by octothorpe at 4:17 AM on October 8


I thought this was ok for an intro to a new Doctor - I liked some bits, other bits were underwhelming, but I get that the "here's a new Doctor" episodes are always going to be a bit formulaic as they try to introduce the new character(s) and introduce the whole show to new watchers. One thing I did laugh at was when the Doctor asked "why the teeth?" and the alien started to remove its mask, I said out loud "because I'm MADE OF TEETH!". And he kind of was.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:43 AM on October 8 [5 favorites]


So the answer to "oh no how will the doctor survive falling out of the Tardis" is "yup, she did"? I'm not quite sure what to make of that. I suppose there's some in world explanation regarding regeneration energy making her nigh invulnerable, but I'm more interested in who was giving whom a finger by (A) setting up the ridiculous scenario in the cliffhanger and then (B) basically ignoring it.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 5:54 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


As a total noob that question didn't even occur to me. Anything about her that is weird I just attributed to "she's an alien". I mean, she was pulsating glowing lights when she was napping. I didn't bat an eyelash at her falling through the roof of the train and jumping up to fight the tentacle monster.
posted by like_neon at 6:13 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


So the answer to "oh no how will the doctor survive falling out of the Tardis" is "yup, she did"?

For about fifteen hours after regeneration the Doctor has residual regeneration powers. 10 got his hand chopped of after regeneration and it grew right back.
posted by Pendragon at 6:19 AM on October 8 [18 favorites]


- The doctor's original outfit. Was that what Peter Capaldi was wearing as the last doctor? Or do they always generate in raggedy long tails?

They always regenerate in whatever their predecessor is wearing. Am not sure if the clothing was raggedy before the regeneration.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:35 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


That little breath of regeneration power that she breathed out while sleeping on the couch seems like something that might come into play later on.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:04 AM on October 8 [7 favorites]


Didn't 10 and 11 also have that ? So I don't think that's something special.
posted by Pendragon at 7:30 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


So, the missus and I stopped regular Who views in the middle of Capaldi's penultimate season. I watched enough of "Pilot" to know Capaldi's last season may have been his strongest, but I'm not sure I could convince missus to watch the whole season. Should we just start cold with Jodie, or would the experience be helped by leading in with the last few Capaldis? If so, any suggestions for where to start?
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:32 AM on October 8


I'm thinking (hoping) the dyspraxia is a hook to help Ryan and Graham grow closer. Ryan is somewhat indifferent to Graham, and Graham had that outburst in the warehouse when Ryan said the alien appearing may be his fault - something like "oh, so you going to blame dyspraxia again? First the bike, now this?"
posted by jazon at 7:36 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


I do think of it as a kids' show, or at least one specifically designed to be accessible to kids. The bits of horror and the deaths built in are, I presume, a holdover from an earlier time when those things weren't considered quite as taboo for children's TV.

Somewhere (on here? the AV Club comments some years ago?), I remember someone drawing a distinction between "children's" and "family" shows. I'm not sure that it's a strict either/or, but that makes some sense to me here. It's meant to have a little something for everyone, and so it will be cheesy, and have clear emotional signpost for things that adults would already find sad (saying goodbye to growing children, e.g.), but where kids lack the experience to get the emotional valance just from the story.

And taking young viewers into account is one of the reasons I love the show. It feels the need to be earnest because of it; it gets away with cheesy special effects because of it; it's a reminder for those of us who spent years and years away from small children of the need to be uncynical at least some of the time, when it matters.

I think that, like Harry Potter and Star Wars, the massive adult fandoms can obscure some of those objectives.
posted by pykrete jungle at 7:37 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


OPINION: Why Doctor Who’s Ryan Sinclair (and his Bicycle) Matters

Speaking about the decision to write Ryan as a dyspraxic character, showrunner Chris Chibnall said he was “very conscious of [reaching an audience who can feel disconnected from their TV heroes]. In drama, generally, and very conscious of that particularly with this show. We did a lot of research into dyspraxia. We worked with the Dyspraxia Foundation. It was important because people live with these things. I have a nephew with dyspraxia. Some people on the production [are affected by the issue too]. It’s a relatively common thing among kids. I think it’s important to see that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. That’s the most important thing about Doctor Who and you’ll see that happen a lot across this year.”
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:48 AM on October 8 [11 favorites]


Should we just start cold with Jodie, or would the experience be helped by leading in with the last few Capaldis? If so, any suggestions for where to start?

I'd just start anew with Jodie. The show is consciously making an effort to be beginner friendly this season.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:56 AM on October 8 [10 favorites]


To be fair, he didn’t overcome his dyspraxia by force of will, although it’s still weird that they decided to show him trying.

It could certainly be my culturally indoctrinated ableism at play, but I didn't read that bicycle situation that way at all. As said here, for one I didn't see any sign he did overcome it or even necessarily improve on that bicycle; we certainly didn't get the stereotypical final triumphant scene where the character finally succeeds. But i also took it that if his gran and grandad were out trying to work on the skill with him that this was something we were to understand was a thing that was made harder by his condition but not impossible, and that he could be expected to be able to do with time and practice. But that's just what I read into it since we otherwise saw him throughout the episode showing no other obvious mobility issues, which could be be completely ridiculous for all I know about dyspraxia.

I rather liked the teeth thing. It was gross in that delightfully who sort of way. I noped out of the show pre-Capaldi and my efforts at dropping back in his first season were unsuccessful but this story and Whittaker were more enjoyable.

Although I thought the Doctor admonishing that man at the end for kicking The Inquisitor from Red Dwarf off the crane was a bit much, considering she'd just implanted loads of death bombs in his neck and tricked him into detonating them.

I thought that was pretty on-message for Who. She'd given him a choice and if he'd not detonated those bombs they wouldn't have been a problem. Kicking him to his probable death is a different line, even if personally I'd allow that when someone has been hunting you for sport and shown no indication they don't intend to get right back at it if they can.
posted by phearlez at 8:16 AM on October 8 [5 favorites]


From the post linked above...

The most important thing about Ryan’s bicycle isn’t that he can’t ride it at the start, but that he still can’t at the end ... But he keeps on trying and that’s what’s important. Just like he kept on climbing a ladder hundreds of feet into the sky even though he knew it was more dangerous for him than for most other people. Ryan doesn’t give in. He doesn’t give up. He’s afraid, but he does things anyway.

I expect them to treat the character and his challenges with some sensitivity without making a big deal out of the label. Not specific to dyspraxia, but from personal and close family experience of related and/or similar conditions, there's always a fine line between accepting its limitations and constantly testing your own boundaries. Also, no two individuals are alike.

I can't imagine Ryan will be magically cured, and I'll be amazed and disgusted if he is. But maybe it's not beyond him to learn to ride a bike.* I'm guessing riding bikes (badly) and climbing ladders are good ways for him to learn for himself what his limits are. He's only nineteen, after all.

* assuming he had a decent bike to begin with. Honestly? That one looked awful and being thrown down a hill into a tree won't have made it any better. Please, at the very least the man deserves a decent bike.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 8:20 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


I thought that was pretty on-message for Who.

Yep. See also The Christmas Invasion where the Doctor literally brings down the PM because she shot a hostile alien ship out of the sky after the Doctor had given them the choice to stay or leave and they chose (after a literal duel) to leave.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:20 AM on October 8 [6 favorites]


I almost certainly had/have mild dyspraxia as a kid and I learned to ride a bike eventually but it took some effort.

*Back then you were just 'clumsy' / picked last in sport... as mild dyslexia was = 'lazy'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:31 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Huh. I wonder if the difference in age between the characters and the actors is partly to blame for the way the dyspraxia subplot didn’t sit well with me? I read after watching the episode that the woman playing Yaz is 36 and the man playing Ryan is 26 but they’re both playing as 19. Looking back, a lot of Ryan’s behavior is teenage-ish (throwing th bike off the hillside, the ‘second husband’ put-downs of Graham), but with his line about having a warehouse job and his height, he seemed older. I can understand them not wanting to have actual teenagers on the show, since this is Doctor Who proper and not one of the spinoffs specifically made for the younger audience. But I don’t think either of the young companions looks remotely 19, so, maybe the grandparents’ attitudes read more like condescending to an adult than they read as parenting a teen?
posted by oh yeah! at 9:49 AM on October 8 [5 favorites]


Random thoughts/questions:

- Some excellent digital effects
- A big purple onion that was obviously made of papier-mâché (or equivalent)
- Why would a villain from "hundreds of galaxies" away who chooses earth as a hunting ground for no discernible reason?
- An adult man being given bicycling lessons from his grandparents
- A fun cast of characters
- A very good Doctor who states what their iteration of the character is about explicitly (wandering the universe and helping people where she can/evening the odds)
- Are spoons made of Sheffield steel?
- If the tentacle ball was meant to eliminate witnesses, why have DNA bombs on a timer rather than just kill everyone immediately?
- Why would you climb to the top of a hill/mountain to practice riding your bike?
- How did that guy know exactly where to find the big purpley onion?
- How did the "permission lights" know there would be someone in the woods at that exact moment?
- Did anyone else think that the tentacles and the bluey-purpley onion were actually bits of the TARDIS trying to come back together after being disassociated?
- Is there something about Who that just makes the writers turn off their brain when it comes to things like logic?
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:38 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


The doctor's original outfit. Was that what Peter Capaldi was wearing as the last doctor?

Yes.
posted by homunculus at 10:46 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Ack, I meant this link.
posted by homunculus at 10:56 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


I just thought the bike-riding thing was odd because, well, who cares if he can ride a bike? It didn't seem like something he really WANTED to do, and there didn't seem to be any reason why he would NEED to be able to ride a bike, so it felt like an odd choice to me. I guess he was trying to do it because Grace really wanted him to? But still, it felt weird.
posted by sarcasticah at 10:59 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Hmm, do they show him driving? Maybe riding a bike would be a way to increase his employment options if he doesn't.

I really, really like the new Doctor. I can't really describe what it feels like to see a cool, competent, assigned-female person in an awesome outfit doing heroic things. But let's say good. Damned good.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:10 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


- Why would you climb to the top of a hill/mountain to practice riding your bike?

English tradition. Take your bike to the moors, you see, let the vengeful spirits of your dead ancestors teach you to balance on a bike.
posted by Kyol at 12:20 PM on October 8 [19 favorites]


Did anyone else think that the tentacles and the bluey-purpley onion were actually bits of the TARDIS trying to come back together after being disassociated?

Yeah, I thought that for a moment - at least the onion, which looked like it could be a melted TARDIS that dropped through the atmosphere.
posted by rory at 12:22 PM on October 8


And yeah, at first I sorta figured it would be the central console, with the Tardis having gone on the fritz and maybe some Tardis Special Powers episode where she's causing trouble because she blew up and blah blah tardis powers leaking into the world sorta thing.

...they probably already did that, didn't they.
posted by Kyol at 12:26 PM on October 8


(And I'll be honest I sort of expected that the Doctor would be without her Tardis for longer? Nothing says "reboot" quite like UNIT oriented episodes and domestic threats. Always domestic threats, NuWho, we can't relate if it doesn't involve the planet Earth. Remember that.)
posted by Kyol at 1:02 PM on October 8


OMG South Yorkshire represent! I spotted that peak straight away and the train being stuck between Hathersage and Grindleford prompted excited fist bumps in the _lamb household. Also Castlegate Bus Station! Sheffield steel indeed.

And Jodie Whittaker was great. Not sure about the look tho, she seems to be channelling the Bay City Rollers but I really wanted her to come out of the dressing room in a big flouncy charity shop polyester eighties meringue frock (“Women's clothes”) before settling on something good for running in. I will withhold judgement til it beds in.

Yaz is the bomb though. And Bradley Walsh was very affecting in his funeral speech.

A solid start indeed.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:49 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


Maneuvering the villain into pulling the trigger on his own destruction was a very Seventh Doctor move, which I was happy to see.
posted by nonasuch at 3:07 PM on October 8 [7 favorites]


...shit, now I want them to run into Sophie Aldred, because the Doctor regenerating into a lady who looks like Jodie Whittaker would have been a very confusing and wonderful experience for teenage Ace and I would dearly love to see how grown-up Ace would deal with that.
posted by nonasuch at 3:10 PM on October 8 [9 favorites]


I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to more. I watched it yesterday with my oldest son and his friends in his dorm room (after I had to get them a subscription to Sling because they haven't "figured out" the cable in the room yet... really, engineering students at an engineering school havent figured your cable out yet?!). The oldest and I have been watching Doctor Who together since Eccleston but with my youngest son, Doctor Who wasn't really our thing. Imagine my joy and surprise when both my sons, while watching this episode, looked at me, more than once, and said, "Mom, that's you! You're the Doctor!"

I was also gratified that during this viewing party there was no criticism about the Doctor's gender just about canon-type things like, "How can the Doctor regenerate yet again?!" And I was all like, "Well, actually, let me tell you about 'Let's Kill Hitler' and 'Time of The Doctor'" No weird misogynistic comments from engineering students at an engineering school. I found that very heartening.

Also, I thought this episode's title was for the Doctor but upon my second (And third) viewing, I think that "The Woman Who Fell To Earth" is Grace.
posted by blessedlyndie at 7:55 PM on October 8 [5 favorites]


Also, I thought this episode's title was for the Doctor but upon my second (And third) viewing, I think that "The Woman Who Fell To Earth" is Grace.

I was too caught up in the Bowie reference in the title that this reading never occurred to me. I love it! Especially because it pairs with the episode's misdirection where the viewer is made to think that Ryan in his youtube video is talking about The Doctor only to reveal that he is really talking about his nan.
posted by acidnova at 8:02 PM on October 8 [6 favorites]


I'm never the person to pour cold water on things, so I feel a bit odd about this. I thought the episode was...fine?

Honestly, it felt like filler, not like an introduction to a new doctor. Narratively, I found Grace to be far more interesting than Yaz, and while I get that now we're left with Graham and Ryan building a relationship in honor of their missing loved one, I cared more about Grace than anyone else in the episode, the Doctor included. (And having a nurse around would have been useful.) Yaz reminded me a bit of a younger Gwen Cooper (Torchwood) type, but I found nothing compelling about her. Grace, however, had moxie. Graham reminds me of Rory's dad, and I'm OK with that.

I felt sorry for the night watchman (and his granddaughter) but hey, that's Who. I didn't care about "Eat my salad, Halloween!" guy. I thought the bit with Karl's affirmations was funny.

Maybe I'm feeling lukewarm because there were no characters to tide us over from the last doctor. Granted, Matt Smith had no carryover, but Caitlin Blackwood (young Amy Pond) was so compelling that I'd have watched a show about her.

JW will likely be an excellent doctor, and as a woman, I'm proud to be represented. I like her Northern accent (although, to this American, all the UK accents sound lovely). But overall, I can think of maybe half a dozen new-Who episodes that didn't hold my attention, didn't keep me from wandering over to the computer or flipping through my phone, and this was one of them. It wasn't bad. It wasn't laughable. But it wasn't anything I'd ever care to watch again. But I was disappointed, because I really needed this Who to knock my socks off, and it just didn't.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 8:35 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


The acting and the music really went up a peg, and the direction and cinematography are noticeably different. I'm pleased that things are being shaken up, because Moffat's version had gotten stale. But I hope that we still get a dose of Moffatian cleverness from time to time, because the plot of this episode was pretty generic and unimaginative.

I'm surprised not to see more people talking about how Tennanty Whittaker is playing the Doctor. Gosh, she reminded me so much of Tennant. She pulled so many faces that are characteristic of his Doctor, like the one where she squints at something and scrunches up her nose and curls her lip to reveal her top teeth. That's a Tennant thing and now a Whittaker thing. I really think she's basing her Doctor on 10 the way Tennant based his Doctor on 5 and Smith based his Doctor on 2.
posted by painquale at 9:01 PM on October 8 [7 favorites]


Another Tennantism: the way she jerks her head to a new orientation each sentence while keeping her eyes open wide and trained directly on whoever she's speaking to. For example, watch the part where Ryan identifies her tongue for her and she says "Smart boy. Biology." It's just how Tennant would have played it but no other Doctor.
posted by painquale at 9:11 PM on October 8 [7 favorites]


Is there something about Who that just makes the writers turn off their brain when it comes to things like logic?

There's logic to it all if you just think it through...

- Why would a villain from "hundreds of galaxies" away who chooses earth as a hunting ground for no discernible reason?

Why not? It's not the first time Earth has been targeted for this kind of thing. It's a pretty common trope in sci-fi that it's not all that surprising for them to use.

- If the tentacle ball was meant to eliminate witnesses, why have DNA bombs on a timer rather than just kill everyone immediately?

Probably so they can die after he gets his "trophy" and leaves, so it wouldn't look like he was cheating

- Why would you climb to the top of a hill/mountain to practice riding your bike?

Because it's remote and you won't have other people watching you, as an adult, failing to ride a bike

- How did that guy know exactly where to find the big purpley onion?

He's been tracking some alien signals for a while, and followed it to where the transport pod appeared

- How did the "permission lights" know there would be someone in the woods at that exact moment?

They can teleport a transport pod from hundreds of galaxies away to Earth to hunt, I'm sure they can see there's someone there to touch the permission lights
posted by numaner at 10:53 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]




the train being stuck between Hathersage and Grindleford prompted excited fist bumps

I could have sworn I'd been in the Hathersage/Grindleford area, since there's a regular bus that goes from Sheffield to Bakewell (takes around an hour, and only about £5!), but apparently its route is further south than that. Still some great scenery, though.

Also:

I didn't care about "Eat my salad, Halloween!" guy.

Having had to deal with more than a few drunks in late-night downtown Sheffield, I was actually kind of glad to see kebab guy buy it.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:51 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I was expecting the Doctor to bring back Grace with a residual regeneration energy transplant, like Melody/River did for 11 in "Let's Kill Hitler." Particularly since she'd been described as a recurring character. And I see that RadioTimes has (spoilery?) thoughts about this.

I'm fully on board for Whittaker et al., and enjoyed this episode. At the end, though, they were back in Rahul's workshop… Are we to assume their cover-up included dumping his body somewhere? That seems like all kinds of wrong, PC Khan. Tsk.
posted by mumkin at 2:33 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I agree with the Tennantyness.

Also, the way she said (something like) "Two aliens in the same city at the same time, that's interesting.... no not interesting.... worrying"
That was very Tennant like.

Grace was far more fun than Graham. Far more "Yes, let's do this!" than Graham's "No... let's not"
We were watching assuming she was going to be fridged at some point, and then deeply disappointed when she finally was.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:44 AM on October 9


Where else but a charity shop could you get an outstanding ensemble like that?

And, yeah, I realized at one point that Grace was a perfect cinnamon roll, not long for this world.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:27 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I've watched every episode of the "old series", and was on board through a bunch of years in nu-who, (Blink, FTW. micdrop), but the last Doctor kinda stopped watching. Maybe it was going past the completely arbitrary regeneration limit? I dunno... whatever...

So, I watch this, and... Right back in the groove. 100% on point. In a show about TIME TRAVELERS, the viewing order SHOULD be irrelevant. I dropped right back into the narrative world and it exceeded my expectations. I'm looking forward to another few GOOD years.
posted by mikelieman at 4:52 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I really wanted her to come out of the dressing room in a big flouncy charity shop polyester eighties meringue frock

Sure you're not watching the wrong series?
posted by Paul Slade at 5:44 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I thought the dyspraxia thing was well handled. If they're going to have it in the show, they have to show the effect it has on his life - which is that it prevents him from doing things he wants to do. The scene at the end with him trying again and still failing to ride a bike is important, because it establishes that he can't just push through it. (Normally the trope with someone with vertigo or whatever would be them conquering it, especially when they're trying to overcome it in memory of dead relative). That scene also shows his perseverance. I'm confident that they're not going to do something cheesy with this, like magically cure him. They're going to focus on what he _can_ do.
posted by memebake at 6:02 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Jodie Whittaker is absolutely, one hundred percent playing the same Doctor we all know and love. It gave me the warm fuzzies. And yeah, her take seems very reminiscent of Tennant's, at least so far. I'm sure she will add her own layers as she goes.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:46 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


"Two aliens in the same city at the same time, that's interesting.... no not interesting.... worrying"

I was waiting for someone to point out that three aliens had appeared in the city at the same time. (This was when they still thought the electric tentacle ball was a separate alien.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:22 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this did the job. I liked it. (ABC, like the BBC, has no need for your human "ads" so we got the full UK-style broadcast.) I didn't much care for how falling out of the Tardis did basically nothing to the Doctor and the whole crane thing was a little silly but introducing a new Doctor is usually not the point to be clever with the plot. The important bit is that the show introduces the characters and shows they know what the tone's supposed to be, and it did that. We'll see what the rest of the series is like - it took a little while for the wheels to fall off Moffat's run while it took a little time to see how Davies had structured the show so individual writers could really swing for the fences.

* I liked that The Woman Who Fell To Earth actually referred to Grace, but boy is she going to cast a shadow over the series in a way that would make me nervous if Chris Chibnall hadn't just come off a series about a murder casting a shadow over an entire series
* The 'only idiots carry knives' seems like it's pulling double-duty as a comment on UK knife crime and also the Doctor's general disdain for weapons, buuuuut some professions need knives. That one needed another draft.
* Similarly that bum note about having no right to kick Tim Shaw off the crane didn't read as one to me. The Doctor's got a bit of a weird morality where she's strictly pacifist but utterly ruthless. You're supposed to raise your eyebrow at that one a bit, I think.
* I'm sorry to hear that people with dyspraxia had issues with the way their condition was portrayed. It's possible it's intentionally awkward and we'll learn enough about Ryan that the bike scene makes more sense, but I think the writers would have preferred that to have landed better.
* I like the idea of Who taking advantage of the diversity of the UK a bit and feeling a lot more like the rest of time and space
* I really enjoy the idea of people watching Doctor Who for the first time and wondering who the fuck thinks this is a show for kids
posted by Merus at 7:35 AM on October 9 [7 favorites]


As well a new show runner and composer, Who is using a new VFX studio, namely Double Negative (who have done Black Mirror, Altered Carbon and films such as Blade Runner and Ex Machina)... not that the old effects were terrible, and they won't have the budget of some of the aforementioned examples but I think having an multi-Oscar/Bafta/other awards-winning shop is showing already.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:14 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Why would a villain from "hundreds of galaxies" away who chooses earth as a hunting ground for no discernible reason?

Earth is a pleasant vacation spot for a hunt, given that most planets look like quarries.
posted by happyroach at 11:10 AM on October 9 [30 favorites]


Speaking of the composer, let us also praise the audio mixer (actual title is...?), who for the first time in years is letting me hear the dialog instead of just hearing the LOUD BOMBASTIC MUSIC WITH CLOSED CAPTIONS TURNED ON. It's wonderful to actually hear the actors talk!

Because I am old.
posted by Mogur at 11:55 AM on October 9 [9 favorites]


there's a regular bus that goes from Sheffield to Bakewell

There is indeed, the 218 - I used to catch it every work day from Banner Cross to Bakewell. Best commute ever.

I’m assuming this locale was a one-off for Who, but it would be nice to see more earth-based stories set in places other than London (or Cardiff pretending to be London).
posted by freya_lamb at 2:10 PM on October 9


"In a South Yorkshire city, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O'Brien are..."

Read this description right before watching, and was really puzzled that there were four companions. Odd they'd have that big a spoiler in plain sight.

(And am I the only one who actually enjoyed Capaldi?)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:02 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Thank god I can watch an episode of DW without getting condescended to. Absolutely loved this.
posted by FirstMateKate at 3:05 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed Capaldi. I did not enjoy the writing. (Tell you what though, Capaldi's last season was about a thousand times more tolerable to me than anything with the Eleventh Doctor in it.)

I enjoy Capaldi so much that I am actually the real true owner of the original of this little doodle--which is not, as every article I've seen about it claims, teenaged fanart of his but rather something he drew for a charity auction in 2010 and then I bought for like $60. I really need to get it framed. It's slightly terrifying though so I'm not sure where I'd hang it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:33 PM on October 9 [13 favorites]


I liked the return of the slightly naff special effects. It was obvious this was a choice made, because the holographic user interface was very up-to-date and the slithery floating ball looked great. But the Hershey-kiss pod thing was very Classic Who, and the tooth alien guy was simultaneously scary, gross, and underwhelming in a very Whovian way. Moffat was overly concerned about making the show look blockbuster, to my mind. Doctor Who should not look too good.
posted by rikschell at 5:06 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I almost wonder if that scene was one you need cultural subtitles for…

I mean, the US has kebab shops and felafel places, too.

One quick, economical character sketch allows a death—to me anyway—to carry far more meaning and weight for a story than some random stadium's worth of people I never meet.

Aye, I'll take the three-days-from-retirement-guy over the "ALL OF TIME WILL BE DESTROYED!!!" cycle of perpetual escalation that marks most of new Who. Although I'm sure we'll get our share of that as well for the finale.

That little breath of regeneration power that she breathed out while sleeping on the couch seems like something that might come into play later on.

Wasn't there a prior regeneration where a little whiff of regeneration energy like that went into the TARDIS and redecorated the insides? Or am I making that up? Either way, I figured it was headed to the TARDIS, which sounds like it could use some regeneration energy with the exploding and all.

Honestly, I was kind of expecting the Blueberry Hershey Kiss to be the TARDIS in its regenerative form or what it looks like with the chameleon circuit off or something.

Anyway, I'm very excited to see how the series goes from here. These post-regeneration episodes are always a bit awkward, but I felt this one definitely stuck the landing.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:36 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


... which sounds like it could use some regeneration energy with the exploding and all.

It’s been a thing in the NuWho era that the TARDIS gets all explody and/or crashy when there’s a regeneration. Keeps the set designers happy, I guess.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:25 PM on October 9


Aye, I'll take the three-days-from-retirement-guy over the "ALL OF TIME WILL BE DESTROYED!!!" cycle of perpetual escalation that marks most of new Who. Although I'm sure we'll get our share of that as well for the finale.

Davros screaming about the reality bomb was definitely a point where I felt that yeah, the show needed to scale way the hell back on the stakes. In general, I love the RTD era and he could write and develop small stories really well. The problem was that he felt that pressure to make his season finales SO MUCH BIGGER, AAAAGGHHH! I'm super stoked for this season for many, many reasons but I also suspect (and hope) that Chibnall keeps the stakes comparatively low. Make the stakes about personal things and not necessarily like The Avengers: Infinity War level and then keep trying to top it every season.
posted by acidnova at 8:36 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


I'm going to leave this comment and then go back and read the 127 comments before me, so apologies if I'm repeating but I must get the squee out!

First episode in, and I’m already a fan of the new Doctor! She brings her own flair to the character while remaining the effortlessly wise, cool yet awkward, and slightly haunted Doctor we have come to know and love.

Beautifully shot, well acted and with promising companions (I always enjoy when there’s a gang!), I’m very keen to see what’s in store next.

I also appreciated the relatively serious tone of the episode (common at the start of all the new Who Doctors) and allowing us to mourn for our last Doctor through the episode itself.

Also, I need that jacket/coat in my life.
posted by liquorice at 1:06 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else interpret the speech given at Grace's funeral to also be referencing the loss of the last Doctor, too? I'm probably reaching, but I thought it was nice to interpret it as his farewell as well.
posted by liquorice at 1:33 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]




Sorry yet another, "I have yet to read ALL the comments before mine..."

But one way the death of Grace worked was the framing around Ryan's video blog. He starts the episode extolling a woman for her amazing qualities, and naturally we (at least I did!) assume he's talking about The Doctor, but at the end of the episode it's revealed he's talking about his adoptive Mom.

In a way that's kind of a counterbalance to our "Great Man [or Woman]" expectations... The Doctor is exceptional, she's the hero, she's the alien, the one who does stuff the others say, "wow, how did you do that?" about. But that's kind of the point of The Doctor's attitude itself, right? That s/he in saving Earth yet again never views anyone as "collateral damage"... It's an appreciation for the specific that's opposes the "Exterminate... exterminate" generalities of some of The Doctor's opponents...

Never an obsessive Whovian, I tried watching recent episodes of another Doctor, but I think I like this one more...
posted by Schmucko at 2:27 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


I loved Jodie Whittaker, very happy to have her!

I would have liked more tweaking of the sad puppies who were whingeing about a woman Doctor, but I’m uncharitable that way. I do like that it’s apparently now canon that she’s been a woman before (if I read that joke about not having to have bought women’s clothing for a while properly, though it doesn’t square with all the regeneration limit mishegas).

I loved Peter Capaldi too, but as said above, the writing for his tenure was hit-or-miss. (I will never forgive the moment when an alien robot powerful enough to destroy the world was foiled when a guy somersaulted over it.)

My favorite part of Who plots are the weird thought experiments, and unfortunately this was a pretty straightforward adventure with some familiar sci-fi trappings. But I’ll be back next week.

The thing that ground my gears about Grace’s death, in addition to what’s been said above, is that narratively it was so unnecessary. She died to turn off a bioweapon that wasn’t really doing anything, and whose controller had already been defeated and teleported a thousand galaxies away. It didn’t have the grimness of a necessary sacrifice, nor the existential bleakness of a random, unpredictable death (like Buffy’s mom). It felt like it was included to contrive an emotional through line for Ryan’s and Graham’s characters going forward, or what we call “manpain.”

Loved the ending cliffhanger, loved that the new companions are not people who dropped everything to travel with this charismatic stranger but rather people who were accidentally dragged along. And the shot of the Doctor appearing in space, her hair waving in the wind(?), was really quite beautiful.
posted by ejs at 7:02 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


Oh, also loved that Ryan was bored and on his phone while the Doctor was shopping for clothes. I feel seen.
posted by ejs at 7:04 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


Okay, I finally saw it via Fathom Events.

* When the hell did the Doctor manage to remove everyone's bombs and then plant them on Tim Shaw?
* I am amused that she picked that outfit at a charity/thrift shop because I was all "well, that explains it." That said, I still really hate the too short pants and Mork suspenders a lot. Sigh.
* The Doctor can't remember her name but she remembers how to weld and make a screwdriver!
* The new bunch seems nice enough so far....
* I think the point with Ryan and the bike was that he was still trying, even alone, even if he wasn't making it. I never learned to ride one either (I'm not dyspraxic, I just hate riding a damn bike, those seats are horrible) so I sympathized. I am kind of confused as to how that is going to work on an action show, though. Also, would you send a dyspraxic kid to climb through what looked like kind of English jungle to fetch his bike out of a tree? Is that the world's best idea?
* Graham's snark about dyspraxia and riding a bike and now an alien invasion was both rude and great all at once. I'm bad.
* THEY BETTER BRING GRACE BACK SOMEHOW, I INSIST. She was the best one, so waaaaaaaaaaah on that.
* Graham's backstory of how he met Grace is very sweet.
* I can see why those guys are selected for the show if they need to get their brave on, but still would have preferred Grace. Hated that they killed the nice lady PoC. And that poor grandpa at work.

Overall, I'm liking her very much, she's a lot of fun, she's cheerful and brave and sympathetic and getting shit done. Go girl.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:40 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


It's a programme about a time machine, or will be eventually - it seems very likely at this point that Grace is the Season Arc. I realise they've done it before a number of times... well... they're doing it again. Everybody has to have a go at it, just like they do with It's Bigger On the Inside and Bases Under Seige.
posted by Grangousier at 3:28 AM on October 11


* When the hell did the Doctor manage to remove everyone's bombs and then plant them on Tim Shaw?

We saw when she planted them -- it was when she scanned the whirling-mass-of-wires monster. She just didn't announce what she was doing at the time. I didn't notice her doing anything with the sonic that would track with pulling the bombs out of everyone, though. My question: If the bombs were transferred from the monster to Tim because he absorbed "everything" from it, both data and physical objects, then how was the monster still there? I'm not actually frustrated; this is the kind of outright nonsense I expect from a Chris Chibnall script. But it bears pointing out before we all agree to gloss over it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:09 AM on October 11


Okay, if I were dropped in a 16th century workshop and tried to build a smartphone, how long would it take me? Quite some time!!

The Doctor must indeed be good at building things!

Here is an 8-bit computer someone built by hand, wire-wrapping integrated circuits that had only individual gates and stuff on them. But he had access to quite a bit more industry than the Doctor had in building that sonic screwdriver.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 8:31 AM on October 11


My question: If the bombs were transferred from the monster to Tim because he absorbed "everything" from it, both data and physical objects, then how was the monster still there?

If you want a robot crane to remove all containers from a ship, you can program it to remove "everything that is a container". That works as long as you know what all "containers" will look like, but it might be easier to simply program it to remove "everything that is not part of the ship", because you may be able to standardize your ships more than your containers.

So the transfer program was programmed to absorb "everything that is not part of the robot at this stage of the mission", and "armed DNA bombs" wasn't on that list, because they were supposed to have been planted.
posted by Etrigan at 8:46 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


Re-watched a third time (Yes, I know. Shut up.)

There was one moment in particular that stood out, both in the line as written and the line as delivered that was a marked difference between 13 and the other NuWho Doctors.

Graham says something to the effect of "You expect us to believe there are aliens on the train to Sheffield?"

Here is, how, based on many similar encounters, that would have gone with the others:
9: You might be surprised. [changes subject]
10: Ahem. Wellllllllll... [awkward pause, someone bails him out and changes subject]
11: [laughs nervously and/or knowingly] Ha. Yes. [changes subject]
12: You really shouldn't be so confident about these things. It makes you sound stupid. [changes subject]

Instead, we had 13, who says, to humans, on Earth, without hesitation: "Why not? I'm here and I'm alien."

Maybe she was just out of sorts, having just crashed through the top of a moving train. But maybe this is indicative of a fairly marked shift in how the Doctor interacts with people. Less cagey, more open.

Anyway, it's interesting. I'll be watching.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:52 AM on October 11 [19 favorites]


Everybody has to have a go at it, just like they do with It's Bigger On the Inside

Neil Gaiman's episode, The Doctor's Wife, has the Tardis briefly taking human form:

DOCTOR: You're the Tardis?
IDRIS: Yes.
DOCTOR: My Tardis?
IDRIS: My Doctor. Oh. We have now reached the point in the conversation where you open the lock.
(The Doctor sonicks open the cage.)
IDRIS: Are all people like this?
DOCTOR: Like what?
IDRIS: So much bigger on the inside.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:30 PM on October 11 [5 favorites]


Just want to say i loved that this episode wasn't all "I am the Doctor, and I am the most important person in the universe, and now I AM GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM BY SHOUTING AT THINGS!"
posted by happyroach at 1:43 AM on October 12 [10 favorites]


Yes. I am so here for a Doctor and companion(s) who aren't the Most Super-Special People in the Universe and the Key to Everything.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:08 AM on October 12 [6 favorites]


Same, but I'm tempering my expectations for now. Rose, Amy, and Clara didn't seem all that significant when they were first introduced either.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:45 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


OK, it's only one episode... but this was so much better than Chibnall's previous Dr Who (and Torchwood) stuff, that I'm now working on a theory that he might have actually regenerated himself.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:10 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


I think my only real complaint was that crane's jib was way too big
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:12 AM on October 12


Personally I liked the cut of it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:19 AM on October 12 [16 favorites]


I didn't hate the episode but I kept finding myself saying critical things about it to my husband as we watched. (Well, he said some stuff too.) I'm still nostalgic for Tennant and RTD, so that's probably part of it. I'm glad Steven Moffat is finally gone, though. After watching this, I watched The Christmas Invasion again -- definitely a fun way to introduce a new Doctor -- and I wish this one had been a little "bigger."

I noticed some things that seemed like callbacks to past episodes (probably not all intentional):

-When the dude had to jump from the crane thingy to the other crane thingy, it reminded me of when Donna had to jump from the taxi to the TARDIS in The Runaway Bride.
-At one point, the big alien ball thingy reminded me of the Atraxi eye thingy from The Eleventh Hour.
-The Doctor saying something like, "Fat lot of good you are" to Yaz and Ryan in the train reminded me of the Tenth Doctor's similar remark to Rose in The Christmas Invasion.
-As soon as Jodie Whittaker came on screen I thought, "Aha, the Doctor on a train with scared humans she's never met -- this hasn't gone well in the past" (i.e., Midnight). But no one was suspecting the Doctor of anything, fortunately!
-Ryan making a video of himself talking to the camera reminded me of the videos the guy made in the (horrible) Love & Monsters (especially when you still think he's talking about the Doctor).
posted by trillian at 7:17 AM on October 13




Maybe you find yourself frustrated that the clearly more interesting Grace was killed off while the fairly mundane aging white man character Graham lives on. If so, the good news may be that in terms of the writing, having the looks-young-but-is-ancient female doctor in some level of ongoing conflict/banter with the looks-old-but-is-comparatively-young Graham is likely to be a much, much richer source of dramatic tension. In fact, it's likely that tension will focus exactly and precisely on the underlying social conditions that made us prefer the woman of color over the aging white man in the first place.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:42 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


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