Doctor Who' Season 5, Episode 3 Recap

Maybe it was one of those patented “perception filters,” but after watching last night’s excellent season premiere of Doctor Who, I’m suddenly no longer pining for David Tennant and Catherine Tate as our titular hero and his trusty companion. Now I’m totally jazzed to see what Matt Smith and Karen Gillan will bring to the respective roles.

It helped, of course, that “The Eleventh Hour” was a tense and funny bit of sci-fi, with the regenerated Doctor trying to hunt down an escaped intergalactic prisoner before an armed fleet of Atraxi detonated Earth in a scorched-planet strategy to execute him. The way things kicked off - with Smith’s Doctor trying to adjust to his new body while helping a lonely Scottish girl investigate a scary crack in her bedroom wall - was filled with classic suggest-don’t-show scare tactics. It’s brilliant what Who can do with half-opened doors, robotically repeated phrases, and a little mood music. Of course, there was humor in the intro, too. “You’re Scottish. Fry something,” the Doctor demanded while trying to quell a mysterious food craving.

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