BWW Review: DOCTOR WHO SEASON 11 on BBC America

BWW Review: DOCTOR WHO SEASON 11 on BBC America

BWW Review: DOCTOR WHO SEASON 11 on BBC America

I was anxious to see DOCTOR WHO Season 11 (starring Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor), but disappointed in the story for her debut episode, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth".

Although Whittaker's West Yorkshire accent is easier to understand than that of her Scottish predecessor Peter Capaldi, she hasn't yet filled his shoes - despite regenerating into them.

Whittaker and her merry band of traveling companions (Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh) are not to blame. However, I do hold lead writer and new showrunner Chris Chibnall responsible for a mediocre premiere that was reminiscent of something you might see on POWER RANGERS.

*SPOILER ALERT* The storyline about teleporting alien T'Zim-Sha (played by Samuel Oatley) is little more than a robo-PREDATOR rip-off and hardly worthy of the buildup for our first female Doctor. *SPOILER END*

One soft start does not a bad season make, and I suspect that Chibnall and his promising stable of Season 11 writers (Malorie Blackman, Ed Hime, Vinay Patel, Pete McTighe and Joy Wilkinson) can turn the Tardis around, but will it be soon enough?

There's a lot riding on this season of DOCTOR WHO. Former showrunner Steven Moffat scribed 63 earlier episodes. Chibnall has only penned 11 to date, but that includes one of my favorites "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" with Matt Smith. To be fair, Chibnall also wrote two dozen episodes of the crime drama BROADCHURCH starring David Tennant (a.k.a. the 10th Doctor) and featuring Whittaker in a supporting role.

So, what makes a good DW episode? That's very subjective, but one thing is sure - it's going to take more than just the first female Doctor and a trio of ethnically-diverse companions. These characters are a great start, but the stories they lead us through must spark the imagination and challenge the audience intellectually.

*SPOILER ALERT* Episode #11.1 was choppy. One early scene with Ryan Sinclair (Cole) either drops an Easter egg or lays one. As what appears to be a huge Hershey's Kiss materializes, he recoils holding the later-named recall circuit. In the episode's climax, the Doctor says she took the "recall" from the alien's travel pod. *SPOILER END*

Diehard fans might argue that Sinclair was holding his cell phone instead, but he doesn't take it out to call the police until after the pod appears. Either way, it's a gaffe and not one that can be written away. These small details, and a less-than-interstellar introduction of Whittaker, must be tidied up before Whovians start to dematerialize.

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Lee Cooley Lee Cooley started freelancing as a film critic in 1978. After more than 20 years in TV, radio and advertising, he started the non-profit phase of his career (Make-A-Wish America, Valley Youth Theatre) and currently is communications manager for the largest trade association in Arizona. Cooley is past president of Irish Network Arizona and the Arizona Southwest Heritage Foundation. With roots in community theater, he has played a variety of character roles including Mort in CALIFORNIA SUITE, Sheriff Thomas in RAINMAKER and Elwood in HARVEY.
  • BWW Review: DOCTOR WHO SEASON 11 on BBC America


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