Doctor Who 5.1: The Eleventh Hour (more thoughts)

OK, I know that I promised to reduce the Doctor Who content after the first episode aired. I might have told an untruth. Not precisely a lie, but I didn’t realise how much there would be to discuss from it.

The last couple of days is why I love Doctor Who: so much discussion everywhere! It’s really a community thing, more so than any other fandom that I’ve been in. As a meta-addict, this is kind of awesome.

I got tempted into a re-watch last night after reading some of the commentary. It’s one of those episodes that benefits from a second watching because there’s so much to pick out that I didn’t notice before. Having some of the comments in mind from other viewers was also fun.

Someone remarked on how Moffat-y the ‘corner of your eye’ thing is and I have to agree. One of Moffat’s script trade-marks is taking normal fears and bringing them alive. I think it’s what makes his writing so strong. With Midnight as one of the exceptions, Russell T Davies was all about the big spectacle in his writing. Moffat is all about the small things that we try to ignore, like the thing under your bed, the shadow patch you can’t quite make out, the movement out of the corner of your eye.

It’s why I love his scripts so much. Not that RTD’s scripts are bad (Parting of the Ways, Midnight and Turn Left remain some of my favourites), but he seemed to be constantly trying to outdo his last script for scale and heart-wrenching trauma. Moffat’s scripts are subtler.

One thing that I picked up on in the re-watch is the mention of silence will fall. I know that Moffat is probably not going to provide quite such big sign-posts to the season arc as RTD did, but I wonder whether this is related to events in Silence in the Library? I think that I need to re-watch that. It wouldn’t surprise me if Moffat seeded something in those episodes: RTD had already seeded Torchwood in the closing episodes of S1.

The ‘Myth’ label on Geoff’s computer was something that struck me on my first watching. It’s got to have some kind of significance, although it seems a bit too obvious to be the entire clue for the season.

[info]boji wrote a beautiful post on the way that the episode has fairytale echoes. I’m not sure that I can do it full justice, so just got and read it. That was what I had in my mind last night when I re-watched and it really does have that feel.

I think that might be why I love the entire wee!Amelia sequence. It has such a feeling of childhood, the amazing man coming to save her from the fear that she can’t quite explain. The Doctor’s comment that it must be a really terrifying crack if she’s not scared of everything he’s done is a powerful insight. I’m definitely with the people who would have loved to watch the adventures of the Doctor and wee!Amelia. The sight of her still sitting there in the morning, waiting for the Doctor, is quite heartbreaking.

It also asks the question of why her aunt hadn’t found her by then. I get the feeling that Moffat has something very scary in mind for the aunt.

Amy is growing on me a lot. I’m not sure that she’s going to replace Donna and Ace in my heart, but she’s got another 12 episodes (at least) to work on me. The idea of a companion who has known the Doctor for most of her life really intrigues me. Their relationship has the potential to be fascinating. He’s her imaginary friend come back to life, but she’s no longer a child. The Doctor obviously developed a strong sympathy for wee!Amelia, enough to immediately give her the companion rules, so seeing her all grown up barely five minutes later (to him) will require some big mental shifts.

It’s going to be so much fun!

A couple of newspaper articles have commented that Moffat seems to be aiming at a younger demographic than RTD. I think that may be the wrong way to look at it. Moffat is aiming the show to both children and to the child within all of us boring adults. If he was aiming strictly at the children and pre-teens then Amy would be a policewoman and Geoff’s Internet history would never have been mentioned. I think it will be more accessible to the younger audience than some of RTD’s episodes, but I don’t think he’ll be writing strictly for the 7-12 crowd. That’s never been what Doctor Who is about and one thing Moffat has made clear in this first episode is that he loves and wants to carry on the traditions of the classic series. One suspects that the tradition he’s most enthusiastic about is that of making children watch it from behind the sofa!

That’s no bad thing, I’ve always thought. One thing that Doctor Who does is to allow us to face our fears in a safe environment, one where the Doctor will always save us and we can hide our eyes if it gets a bit too much. Moffat bases a lot of his work on the every day things that scare us more than Daleks and Cybermen, which is probably why I find his episodes scary even as an adult and also why I love them so much.

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