Minor Spoilers: Britain finally got a look at its new Doctor Who, with Matt Smith, on the weekend.
And according to critics, they liked what they saw.
The Telegraph said:
But frankly, the end of the world was small beer compared to the real story here – the establishment of Matt Smith, the most famous newly famous man in the world, as the new Doctor. And Gallifrey be thanked, Smith is a man who could have been born with a stripy scarf round his neck. It’s there in his physiognomy – his face is made up of as many disparate workings as the Tardis. He has a redoubtable cartoon chin offset by a hyperactive quiff, deep-set eyes and an almost Neanderthal brow. Essentially, the Doctor is meant to be a mad alien, and Smith looks like one before he even opens his mouth. By the end of episode one he was bedizened in a suitably daft public-school geography-teacher ensemble of bow tie and tweed jacket. It was ridiculous but it felt right: mad, alien, brand new but very old. A+ to the casting director. A+ to Smith.
Another Telegraph review said:
So then, have they struck gold or dross? Well, the verdict from this end of the sofa at least is that Smith is terrific. Less cocksure, less confident of his own allure than David Tennant, he has an intensity, a boisterousness and a rumpled, rueful air that’s very beguiling. And while his charm may be more understated than Tennant’s, he has stepped into the role with enormous confidence.
The Guardian said:
Smith’s age also turns out not to be something of a non-issue. Moffat’s line is that although the Doctor uses 900 as his stage-age, he can’t have any idea how old he is: he’s a Timelord, these things are wibbly-wobbly. And Smith carries off the youthful vigour of a new body and the ancient professorial wisdom with easy panache.
Another Guardian review said:
This opening episode, titled “The Eleventh Hour”, was also the first for the show’s new creative boss, Steven Moffat, the writer who has brought audiences some of the scariest episodes so far, including “Blink” and “The Girl in the Fireplace”. And last night’s outing lived up to expectations, with parents all over Britain blaming Moffat for terrifying their children about what might lie behind the cracks in their bedroom wall.
The Independent said:
And Moffat has clearly picked the right leading man. Like the Mona Lisa, Matt Smith has a twisty smile and barely discernable eyebrows. He has other things, too, that make him unlike the people you pass on the street: a thick messy lick of chestnut hair, an oddly acromegalous jaw, and a big bony forehead – the kind of facial escarpment rarely seen beyond the shores of Easter Island.
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.
Daily Mail said:
There’s a new production team too – replacing the clever Russell T. Davies as head writer is the equally clever Steven Moffat, who has previously created some of the scariest monsters ever seen in Doctor Who. This deft first episode, called The Eleventh Hour, was packed with one-liners and an even more fantastical feel than of late. But it had that old reassuring combination of intense Britishness, quirkiness and a sense of the macabre.
TV Tonight review.
The series premieres at 7:30pm Sunday April 18 on ABC1 and is available on iView at 12am Saturday April 17.