[First off, there are no Spoilers for the new season of Doctor Who in this post…there are however, one or two spoilers if you haven't seen 'End of Time' yet. You have been warned]
Well, I just watched the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who, with Matt Smith as the new Doctor.
I'll keep this completely spoiler-free…which means that all I can really say is the following: I actually liked Matt Smith's Doctor. Only one episode in, I can't really say how he'll stack up against David Tennant or Tom Baker who are my 'definitive' Doctors… but I went in expecting not to like him, but he won me over almost immediately. He definitely plays a 'new' doctor, but with a definite nod towards David Tennant's portrayal which really works.
I was also a little worried that they'd done too much of a clean break by not having one of the old Companions stay on, or even the old Tardis…but the episode made me realize just how much baggage the Doctor had picked up over the last three seasons, something which was really beginning to bog down the overall storytelling. Traditionally, Doctor Who was about the Doctor with a Companion or two as an audience proxy…but by the end of last season we had a huge supporting cast with complicated and interwoven relationships… and a Doctor so damaged that he would be almost impossible to write for, not to mention there'd have to be a guest appearance by an old companion or the cast of torchwood every week to keep the continuity plausible.
Basically, I really liked how they finished 'The End of Time' with something of an 'epilogue' where the Doctor went round and tied up all the loose ends with his companions, letting us know for sure how things turn out for them and their families…while also drawing a definite line under Tennant's time as the Doctor.
As for Matt Smith, while I obviously can't give a final judgement on him after one episode, I actually buy him as the Doctor, which is actually more than I can say for most of the previous Doctors after a single episode.