Dr Who Series 10: Bill Saves the Day?
So, after the dirge that was series nine--Clara's gone, yay!--we waited.
We waited since DECEMBER 25, 2015. We noticed there'd be a new companion and she'd be "cool and different". We heard Moffat was leaving. We noted Capaldi was bowing-out. None of these were good signs.
This sounded much like Poochie had come to the Whoniverse
Thus far, it would seem that's entirely wrong.
Bill's a (slightly unintelligible) delight, and Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor is now....well....spry. Wiping his memory clean of dour Clara seems like it made him whole again, like he's once again the madman in the box, with all of Time and Space.
Want to take a ride? For the first time since Matt Smith's 11th hung-up his bowtie and fez, the answer seems to be: "YES!"
The first two episodes have been small, almost in the way that Series 1 and its zero-budget was small. In "The Pilot," we're largely stuck on earth, learning who the doctor is with Bill the new companion. Bill is young, fearless, and curious. That is: She's Doctor catnip. The Doctor's masquerading as a professor at some appropriately stodgy university in Britain, and catches Bill sneaking into his lectures. Bill's a worker at the commissary, and her job is to dole out French Fries to the paying customers...er...students.
The Doctor decides to tutor Bill, free of charge and we follow them for the better part of a year as they grow closer and Bill's curiosity eventually leads her to learn The Doctor's true nature. He's a 2000+ (ouch...11 and 12 has been a thousand years, roughly) year-old Time Lord, and he has this box that's bigger on the inside. The Doctor saves her from a random alien menace/stalker, then they're Facebook official as it were.
By the time we get to 'Smile' we're into the first true Doctor + companion adventure, into the future, on an earth colony. All is not as it seems--is it ever?--and we get a tiny plot that's mostly Bill and Twelve talking.
Here's the kicker: That's great. Their dialog can hold-up an entire episode, like a production of "Our Town" with 2 props. Their chemistry's genuinely great, in a way that JLC and Capaldi's never was. The ending's not satisfactory in "Smile," but that almost seems right. This is a new companion. She needs to get used to The Doctor pulling some magnificent deus ex machina late into the final act. That's who he is.
In sum, this series seems really promising and light, and both the leads are putting in the work. I'm quite happy to see that and look forward to the next 10 episodes.