The 10th season of “Doctor Who” premiered last weekend. Well, Season 10 of the reimagined series. Yes, I’ve watched and loved the older ones, though I have to admit that I’m a sucker for the newer version. I’m also a sucker for Peter Capaldi. No, David Tennant and Matt Smith fans, do not hate me. I love them as well. There’s just something about the gravitas he has, mixed with humor — and that guitar — that I adore.
Have you never watched “Doctor Who”? I’ve heard it at panels over and over again. “The show is 50 years old! Where would I even start?” Start here. Start today. Seriously. Start with this past Sunday’s episode. It’s called “The Pilot,” and showrunner Steven Moffat explained that this wasn’t a mistake. Pearl Mackie, who plays the new companion Bill Potts, said it’s a great place to start for people who have never seen the show.
“I think with Series 10, it’s a great place to start if you’ve never watched “Doctor Who," she told the BBC. "Because Bill is so new to the world of 'Doctor Who,' you kind of see everything through her eyes. So as she learns about it, you can learn about it, too, which I think is very exciting.”
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Having now seen the episode, I agree completely. You don’t need to know a thing about the show to get what’s happening. Bill knows nothing about this guy whose university lectures she attends. She knows nothing of the world beyond where (and when) she lives. The introduction is a perfect place to enter the world.
About her new character, Mackie said, “Bill is cool. She’s quite young, doesn’t really know much about the world. She’s very real — she’s not had a very easy upbringing and whilst she doesn’t really let that affect her day-to-day life, it’s there under the surface. She can be quite defensive. She’s fun, she’s excited, she’s a bit geeky — she quite likes sci-fi stuff, she’s into space and that type of thing." As fans, it's exactly the kind of adventurer we want to see at the Doctor's side.
“The Pilot” is funny. It’s a little heart-wrenching. It’s going to tell you exactly who the Doctor is, as you watch him find a delightful new companion to journey through time and space with. Bill’s wonder at the inside of the TARDIS (it’s explained in the episode) is the same as mine, the first time I watched the show.
That said, there are a number of nods to companions past and sonic screwdrivers, villains and more. Once you watch the season, go back and watch this again to see all the signposts that were just waiting for you to enter.