Okay, quick maths analogy for you. When an equation has multiple variables, the risk of miscalculation goes up markedly, just like the odds of guessing a one-digit number versus two or more. With that in mind, when Chris Chibnall and his team spent the last many months telling us all the changes, revisions, and exclusions that would be made to first series of his tenure as showrunner, while we trusted him (it’s what we do), we knew that there was a wide margin of error to be mindful of. After all, when you change so many aspects of a known and well-established product, there are that many things that can be blamed if it doesn’t turn out to be something exceptional.
That said, here are two truths.
First, JODIE WHITTAKER IS THE DOCTOR, and has proven that now off and on the screen. We said it. We believe it. If you disagree, you’re really going to hate the next few years of this podcast. Heck ,you’ve probably been hate-listening to us for the past year, for that matter.
Second, for all the other facets of Doctor Who that we were warned would change, and heard the trepidation from various fans about this, that, or the other, we believe Series 11 is off to a start that has the four of us (and if that funny Twitter website is to be believed, more than a few others) very, very pleased.
This week, we finally drop from our levitation points above the couch to hug each other with adrenaline-fueled delight at the first full adventure of the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends in “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”. We take a look at the Series 11 premiere as a regeneration episode, as a “new viewer” introductory episode, and as a Doctor Who story in general. We note the technical and structural aspects that give it such a new (and interesting) tone and balance, the exceptional and in some cases surprising performances of primary and supporting cast, and the baseline this story and its delivery sets for the series to come.
One note of criticism with the episode: to paraphrase an adage, “Grace is when the heavens give us what we don’t deserve”. In an instance like this, the irony of that particular phrase is striking.