* This is hands down one of my favourite episodes ever. I have such fond memories of its debut – a big group of us all watching together for the first time in ages, and it was one of the last times as it happens, as work and families and geography started getting in the way. It was such a joyous occasion, not just because the episode was amazing, but because it was such a relief. I remember having serious reservations about both Matt and Karen – he was so young and she just didn’t seem to fit with him. It didn’t take me long to realise my fears were completely unfounded.
* I’m not a fan of the new theme tune – the extra elements at the start drown out the bassline, which takes it too far away from the spirit of the original. The new title sequence isn’t too bad; it’s a nice evolution of the previous one, rather than unnecessarily reinventing the wheel, but the effects haven’t aged particularly well, considering it’s only been seven years. Knowing how that version of the logo developed over time, it now seems weird to see the big “DW” thing in the middle, but I must admit I like how it animates into the TARDIS here. But the middle eight has gone from the end theme. Boo.
* I adore little Amelia Pond, and I adore that Moffat found an entirely new way of introducing a companion. It’s such a mission statement for the new regime – funny, clever, a hint of menace, and a timey-wimey twist at its heart. It’s exactly what you want from Moffat’s Who. And then the sight of her sitting on her suitcase, just waiting, is heartbreaking.
* What. A. Guest. Cast. Nina Wadia! Olivia Colman! Perry Benson! Annette Crosbie! Patrick Moore, the one-eyed right-wing astronomer! All of these people (apart from the last one) deserve to have had much more substantial roles in Doctor Who. It’s absolutely inconceivable now that you’d cast an actor of Olivia Colman’s caliber in such a tiny part.
* New additions to the list of things that Moffat wants to make children scared of: cracks in the wall, and literally anything that’s in the corner of your eye.
* Despite my love for this episode, I barely remembered anything about Prisoner Zero or the Atraxi. You’d have thought the godawful CGI would have stuck in my mind. But the story is so much about The Eleventh Doctor, Amy and their relationship that nothing else is important – the plot itself is just there to give them something to do while they get to know each other.
* In fact, it’s easy to forget that this episode actually introduces two companions, although Rory is still some distance away from reaching that status yet. He’s much more of a prat at this stage than he’d later become, but he plays the role he was given well. He’s already streaks ahead of Mickey when he was merely the slightly pathetic boyfriend; his insecurity about The Doctor describing Jeff as “the good looking one” tells us so much about his and Amy’s relationship.
* The Doctor finding his new outfit is a fine and noble tradition, and I had a huge grin on my face throughout the Atraxi showdown, which was essentially both The Doctor and Steven Moffat showing off and telling everyone to stay tuned. I obviously loved all the old footage, which included a glimpse of a Sea Devil, of all things. And then stepping through Tennant’s face to reveal the finished article – The Eleventh Doctor in full outfit, complete with bow tie. Perfection.
* I also love how The Doctor is so excited to see the new TARDIS interior. The episode seems to suggest that it regenerates too, and that you never know what you’re going to get when that happens, just like with a Time Lord. Crucially, we don’t see it until Amy does, confirming her position as the new focal point for the audience. Overall, I preferred the aesthetic of the previous one, but I do like all the weird and wonderful gadgets that make up the controls. The Doctor is a mad man in an equally mad box.
* Favourite lines that I’d previously forgotten: “You’re Scottish, fry something.” / “Carrots? Are you insane?” / “They’re all terrified of wood.” / “I’m the Doctor, I’m worse than everybody’s aunt.” Other comedic highlights include The Doctor making an old woman’s mobility scooter whizz off on its own, and the inclusion in a list of prominent social networks of Bebo.