I finally caught the first two episodes of Doctor Who’s new season, and already I like Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor way more than Peter Capaldi’s. The Twelfth Doctor always felt rather arrogant and mean-spirited. But Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor (so far) recaptures some of the quirkiness and humaneness that characterized Matt Smith and David Tennant’s Doctors.
I do find that Doctor Who is at its best when it balances the quirky and whimsical with the melancholy. So hopefully, we’ll see the new Doctor eventually face something nice and traumatic. (The second episode, “The Ghost Monument,” has some hints in that direction.)
I also like the new companions, who feel pretty normal and ordinary (as opposed to Clara Oswald and Amy Pond, both of whom had extraordinary backstories). Of course, this being Doctor Who, that could all change by season’s end, but so far, it’s nice to see some completely average and just plain decent folks traveling with the Doctor.
Finally, I thought the season premiere, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” was especially engaging. It moved at a good clip, and despite not having any big twists or turns, still felt pretty suspenseful. (Special kudos to Segun Akinola’s atmospheric incidental music.) That being said, the subplot about the brother searching for his abducted sister felt a bit tacked on (though perhaps it was there to introduce some elements that’ll be fleshed out later in the season concerning the Stenza and their activities).
Capaldi’s Doctor left me feeling pretty cool towards Doctor Who, such that I essentially ignored the last season. But Jodie Whittaker has brought back some of the joie de vivre, and it already feels more like the Doctor Who I knew and loved.