Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 1: The Magician's Apprentice Review

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Before I start this review you should know a couple of things about me and my relationship with Doctor Who. I love this show, or rather I loved it. I loved the series with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant and I even loved some of the earlier Matt Smith episodes. Somewhere during the sixth season my interest and love waned and since then Doctor Who has never been quite the same for me. I realise there are people much older than me that feel much the same about the entire run of 'New Who' but Doctor Who was my favourite show and in some ways still is. And so seeing it being handled so poorly in these most recent series, kind of breaks my heart a little. If you hadn't already got the impression, I'm very passionate about Doctor Who so if this isn't really your thing, you should probably turn away now. Also this will contain spoilers. 

This was a packed opener to a new series. There was a lot to chew through, and to be honest, a lot that shouldn't have made the final cut. One such scene is the one pictured above wherein Peter Capaldi plays an electric guitar whilst riding into battle on a tank, in what was supposed to be his final 'hurrah' before his death. Yes once again the Doctor believes he is dying and as such wants to make a scene something which I'm pretty sure was done in 'The Impossible Austronaut'. Leaving aside the fact that Moffat is rehashing his old stories, this scene was just plain cringey. I understand that this is supposed to be a kids show, but at this point, are kids even enjoying this? During this scene, Peter Capaldi brings out his two closest 'friends'. Brace yourself, because here lies the problem that I have with this episode and to be honest, with most of the recent episodes of Doctor Who.

Clara f$%&ing Oswald aka Manic Pixie Dream Girl. This episode demonstrated just all the things that I hate about this character. Clara is the woman we're supposed to believe is the Doctor's closest friend. It's been said to us so many times. But here's the reason why writer's are so often told to 'show don't tell'. Because I just cannot see Clara as the Doctor's closest friend. Her initial role in the show was simply to be a mystery for the Doctor to solve. After we find out that she 'was born to save the Doctor', something I also have issues but I'll leave alone for now, her only role in the show is to be cool and kooky and quirky and whatever. She's the exact embodiment of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. And this is what we see in the episode. She an adorable teacher but then she's called into action and we see her on her motorbike wearing a leather jacket and all of a sudden she's a bit cool. And for some reason out of all the scientists and experts in the world, she's the only person they call for to figure out why the planes have stopped moving. Clara is not a character, she's a plot device. Moffat tries to cram all these attributes into this one character that she just isn't believable.

The main problem with this story is that so much happened and yet so little. We are given an interesting premise to the story. The Doctor tries to save a kid who gets lost on a battlefield. It is revealed that the kid is Davros. Opening credits roll and I'm intrigued. And then we for some reason cut to this completely unrelated problem on Earth. Davros is not introduced again until half an hour into the show and it's a dying Davros. The Doctor, Clara and Missy are taken to Skaro and Clara and Missy are exterminated by daleks. This doesn't really matter because we know that they're going to turn up again at some point. Herein lies the issue with the show and with Moffat's writing. That is he spends far too much time trying to prove how clever he is instead of just trying to write a good story. Which is all I want out of an episode of Doctor Who.

Out of five, I'd rate it a two maybe. It's a two-part episode so maybe it will improve but I'm not hopeful. 

Thanks for reading!

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