The new season of the British science fiction show Doctor Who, and the first to star Matt Smith as the titular time traveler, premiered in the UK earlier today. I saw the debut episode, “The Eleventh Hour,” a couple of weeks back, but can’t really weigh in on whether it’s good or not, due to the fact that I interviewed Smith for next week’s issue. However, I can report that, while the show finds the Doc a bit out of sorts by his recent “regeneration,” he does succeed in both recruiting a new assistant, Karen Gillan, and finding a new, and sharply fanged, foe to fight. Moreover, the 7-year-old Who fan that lives inside me says there were at least three moments when he wanted to find a couch to hide behind. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the amount of introductions taking place the show doesn’t feature the emotional heft of some of the most memorable episodes from the last few seasons. But Smith told me that that fans should be satisfied on that score by this year’s overarching storyline.
Of course, as all Whovians know, Smith has a hard act to follow. The previous Doctor, David Tennant, became something of a national treasure in my homeland of Britain during his spell behind the wheel of the TARDIS (or whatever the hell the Doctor’s time-and-space machine has instead of a wheel) and there was pretty much weeping in the streets when it was announced he was leaving the show. On the other hand—and at the risk, nay certainty, of sounding 100 years old—I can remember back in the mid-70s thinking that Jon Pertwee’s Doctor couldn’t ever be bested, only for his replacement Tom Baker to do just that. Indeed, for my money, Baker remains the definitive Doctor, though I would concede that Tennant ran him a very, very, close second.
So, Doctor Who fans, are you excited for the new season, which BBC America will start airing here on April 17? Who is your favorite Doctor? And what do you think of the cut of Matt Smith’s jib? (Said jib can be inspected in the trailer I’ve embedded after the jump.)