Saturday’s season 8 premiere of ‘Doctor Who’ marked the debut of Peter Capaldi as the newest actor to become the titular character of the longest running sci-fi show in TV history.
The episode, titled ‘Deep Breath,’ was written by showrunner Steven Moffat and directed by Ben Wheatley.
The new season of ‘Doctor Who’ premiered to UK audiences at 8PM local time on BBC One and to American audiences at 8PM Eastern on BBC America. Viewers who tuned in Saturday evening were treated to pre-show highlights leading up to the season 8 premiere.
The eighth season premiere was chocked full of action, slapstick humor, past references to previous seasons and Doctors, and plenty of surprises. After its premiere in the UK Saturday, The Daily Mirror hailed the eighth season opener as “impeccable” and that newcomer Peter Capaldi “has all the hallmarks of a great Doctor.”
As reviews and recaps of Saturday’s premiere continue to pour in, the verdict seems to be that Peter Capaldi was the right choice to be the next actor to stand at the helm of the time-traveling TARDIS.
Here are the eight most shocking moments from the season premiere of ‘Doctor Who.’ If you’re one of the many people waiting to watch the ‘Doctor Who’ premiere on the big screen or simply haven’t watched it yet, be warned: major spoilers ahead from here on out!
1) T-Rex on the Thames
The eighth season of ‘Doctor Who’ got off to a roaring start with a very angry Tyrannosaurus Rex mama tromping and stomping her way through the streets of Victorian London. As the Londoners stare in amazement and fear, Madame Vastra and the Paternoster Gang show up to school them on what’s going on – time travel, obviously. And that can only mean one thing… the Doctor!
2) Spiffy New Steampunk Opening Titles
The Doctor isn’t the only one who got a facelift this season: so did the opening titles, with a wildly updated soundtrack including a new take on the classic theremin call “doo dee dooooo” – this new arrangement seems almost Middle Eastern or Mediterranean-inspired, with prominent vocals added to the mix, too. The shiny new ‘Doctor Who’ logo drops the TARDIS and is quite sleek. The whole opening, featuring a prominent shot of Peter Capaldi’s commanding gaze, has a very wibbly wobbly timey-wimey feel to it.
3) Seriously Creepy New Villain Reveal
While this week’s baddie doesn’t get an official name, the clockwork robot cyborg automatons were genuinely creepy. Just as directive driven as the Daleks or the Cybermen, seeing these clockwork contraptions fused with live human parts gave them a fiendish Frankenstein quality to them that gave off a serious case of the heebie jeebies.
4) The New Doctor Abandons His Companion
As the freshly-regenerated Doctor struggled to get his bearings – not just of his location or time, but of his very identity, he did something we’ve never seen the Doctor do before: he left his Companion in a lurch that seemed to end their relationship, and quite possibly, Clara’s life.
5) Madame Vastra and Jennie Ninja Entrance
We’ve always known that Vastra and her wife Jennie have always been a pair of badasses, but this is the first episode to truly give the lizard-lady duo an appropriately badass entrance. Acrobatic tumbling from the ceiling followed by short swords drawn from behind their backs? Well done, Mr. Moffat, well done.
6) The Hot Air Balloon Made from Human Skin
Another creepy “ick” factor from the premiere, we learn that the escape pod for the head clockwork robot has actually been fashioned from the skin of his victims. Super gross.
7) The Passionate Lizard-Lady Kiss
We’ve always known that Vastra and her wife Jennie have shared a deep love for each other, but ‘Deep Breath’ explores their relationship with even greater depth than in previous episodes featuring the Paternoster Gang. When faced with an onslaught of clockwork robots attacking them, their only hope is to hold their breath (as the robots don’t breathe), but when Jennie can no longer hold her breath, Vastra shares her breath with her wife. While it’s a functional plot element, it makes for one sizzling on-screen moment.
8) The Most Heartbreaking Phone Call from the Fields of Trenzalore
The most shocking moment of the entire premiere? A very brief on-screen return of the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith. During the entire episode, Vastra had been referring to the Doctor as Clara’s boyfriend, finally acknowledging a nearly two-year romantic tension that had never fully been addressed. In the final moments of the premiere, Clara gets a phone call from the 11th Doctor begging her to help the 12th Doctor adjust, as he needs her now more than ever. Clara finally gets the proper goodbye that she needs to move on and once again be the Doctor’s willing and plucky companion.
Doctor Who can tune in to next new episode on August 30th on 8PM Eastern on BBC America.
What did you think of the ‘Doctor Who’ season 8 premiere?
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Top Photo Credit: Ray Burmiston, ©BBC/BBC WORLDWIDE 2014; Screenshots by Keiko Zoll.