So tonight is the official premier of Doctor Who season 9 starring both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. I will, of course be watching with an excitement generally held by children seeing their first magic trick (then again I still watch my magician friends with that apt attention still at 40). Anyway back to Doctor Who..
I was fortunate enough to catch entry into the pre-screening on Thursday evening at the School of Visual Arts theater here in NYC. What was originally advertised as a special screening of the first part of the opening two-parter (with an intro and Q&A by Missy herself, Michelle Gomez) turned out to be BOTH episodes. Holy crap we were elated.
The episodes; The Magicians Apprentice and The Witches Familiar, respectively were, in my not so humble opinion, fan-debadosie-tastic!! (a wonderful term from the film Sexy Beast). My initial reaction (and two days hence) I still think that. I will however not be able to tell how exactly the first episode works with a week wait for the second until tonight.

Several of the initial reviews have pointed out that this two parter is not a very good entry point to the series. This is a point of view that is becoming harder and harder for me to take a position on due to my deep dive into all Who since it came back on air ten years ago. Now this being a SPOILER FREE review I can only go so deep into the episode(s), but I’ll try to dissect a few points.

Again it must be said that I absolutely loved this opener. I throughly enjoyed last seasons opener as well, however I will point out that Deep Breath had it’s issues plot wise. Deep Breaths’ pacing and tone was fantastic and it was a great intro to this Doctors version of mania and intenseness. However there were several points within the episode (towards the end) that if looked into to deeply made no sense whats so ever. It was still an enjoyable episode. How does that tie into the present season opener? Basically all that to say I do not think that this two- parter falls into the same predicament. I can only hope that after tonights and next weeks (re) watch I feel the same. I honestly feel that the plot is pretty tight and the flow, pacing and tone is wonderful. There is a well done balance of humor and drama that Doctor Who generally always gets right somehow. There are some truly intense moments in this episode if you let yourself get swept away in it.

So lets get down to (some) nitty gritty. We open with a wonderful idea of a baddie; and while we more than likely will never see them again (based on how and where they are used) they are a wonderfully creepy idea and it’s pulled off well. And in the same opening we are introduced to a character that if you know old and new Who alike you’ll know. Of course I’m not going to say who it is but I think if you’re new to the series you won’t be terribly lost because I do feel that the episode (like 95% of New Who does) balances shout-outs, easter-eggs (of sorts) for seasoned fans with well scripted story line re-caps, if you will to get newer viewers up to speed rather quickly. There are some really neat classic Who images and references that made me and many classic Whovians clap and become rather giddy, but all in all while people not in know may not get them instead of pulling them out of the story I really do think all it will do is make them explore the history; which is a good thing.

Concerning the emotion that the story is made to evoke, I feel it hits on every level. Last season we dealt with whether or not the Doctor was a good man; the answer inevitably being that he wasn’t either a good man or bad but “an idiot” with a box that “helped people”. Many seasons deal with the idea of ramifications of the Doctor’s “meddling” as it were. So does this episode, but in a positive fashion. I really can’t wait till I can be a little more in depth. Enjoy the episode.

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