Doctor Who kicked off its opening episode of season 13 – subtitled Flux – with the fittingly named The Halloween Apocalypse on Sunday, October 31st. Jodie Whittaker returns for her final full season as The Doctor, alongside regular companion Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and newcomer Dan Lewis (John Bishop) – and I've been quite hopeful going into the premiere. The complete story of the Flux is set to roll out over the span of six weeks, similar to how classic Who operated back in the day.
The first episode adapted a brisk pace that previous seasons suffered without, allowing the new TARDIS trio to come together in quick succession while setting up plenty of monsters that The Doctor will no doubt encounter as she tries to stop the end of the universe, yet again. It was fast, fun, and dare we say, actually quite good.
It's pretty well known that Doctor Who has suffered in the writing department since Chris Chibnall took over as showrunner, so it was great to see a cohesive 50-minutes that ended on a strong cliffhanger. Yes it was a bit cluttered in points and the opening minutes featured arguably worse CGI than the Star Wars prequels, but for the first time since Spyfall, it felt like Doctor Who was back.
Jodie Whitaker shined throughout, elevating the material wherever possible and reminding viewers why she became the first female Doctor ever in 2017. Similarly, John Bishop's introduction was very welcome. A couple of stereotypes about Liverpool aside (Anfield and food banks), Bishop looks to be a fine addition, providing multiple genuine laughs from both myself and my partner.
Telling a dog-like humanoid (known as Karvinista) that he's not "his human" and commenting on the TARDIS's size by saying he has a mate who's done a similar job but bigger, felt equally funny and natural. It's most definitely one of the biggest reasons why Bishop was brought in.
Of course, fan favourite Yaz did not disappoint either. The Yorkshire-born character is now closer than ever with The Doctor but still has to break down barriers to find out the Time Lord's true intentions. Yaz has been dying to be explored more from day one, and hopefully from what we saw, this is a good sign of things to come.
Doctor Who will next return on November 7th with War of the Sontarans. I'm thrilled the monsters are back and more importantly, have not been relegated to comedic side characters. Furthermore, the new design looks to blend a mix of old and new – and I love it!
The synopsis reads: "During the Crimean War, the Doctor discovers the British army fighting a brutal alien army of Sontarans, as Yaz and Dan are thrown deeper into a battle for survival. What is the Temple of Atropos? Who are the Mouri?