At the close of The Hungry Earth, the Eleventh Doctor is peering down on the deliciously volcanic subterranean metropolis of Homo Reptilia. What happens next wonâ€™t be known for another week, but with five episodes to go before we can safely get back on the sofa, this seems a good time to pause and evaluate what Smith & Moffat have given us so farâ€¦
On New Yearâ€™s Day I felt great trepidation regarding the arrival of the new Doctor. My eyes were still wet with tears for David Tennant; so poor old/young Matt Smithâ€™s first moments were never going to feel right. Something seemed to jar, but I now know that it was probably me. It wasnâ€™t that I had anything against him â€“ he looked like a terrific choice â€“ I was just very worried, in that fannish way, that the â€˜general publicâ€™ wouldnâ€™t let him into their hearts. I was scared that the Golden Age of Doctor Who was over.
When Easter came, however, not even the most optimistic fan was expecting Smith to debut in one of the most stylish, glossy, confident and complete episodes of Doctor Who ever made. From the outset, The Eleventh Hour made it clear that we were not on the Powell Estate any more. Spooky direction and the programmeâ€™s suddenly richer colour palette ensured that Steven Moffatâ€™s â€˜fairy taleâ€™ agenda was already in full atmospheric swing when we met seven-year-old Amelia Pond.
The new Doctorâ€™s attitude towards the little human girl was one of uncompromising equality, setting a tone for all his relationships this season. Caitlin Blackwoodâ€™s Amelia was so good that the previously anticipated arrival of Karen Gillanâ€™s Amy was somewhat thrown off-balance and while the latter has since proven herself to be a suitably quirky foil for Smith, I donâ€™t think I was alone in wishing weâ€™d seen more of the Doctorâ€™s pairing with Amelia. Perhaps if I close my eyes and wish really hard I will?