Jodie Whittaker definitely gives good Doctor. Just the right balance between warm and human and strange without being too mannered. And I liked how the extended episode time allowed plenty of space to develop and introduce all the characters. I'm not sure I was wild about the alien threat, who felt a bit two-dimensional, but then again I get how you need a fairly simple villain when the real business of the episode is introducing a new Doctor and her companions, and I did enjoy the stuff about how he was cheating his way to get power, and what kind of leader did that mean he was going to make? Definitely felt like a broken-state-of-modern-politics reference to me.
I like how the Doctor built her new sonic screwdriver / Swiss army knife out of actual Sheffield steel, and chose her new outfit from a charity shop. And I liked the use of the cranes, too. As someone who regularly drives through Sheffield (on my way between Leeds and Birmingham), they are very much one of the major icons of the city to me. In the run-up to Christmas, they string lights along them. Oh, and the drunk guy mocking the alien dude by saying "Halloween's next month, mate." That felt like a shout-out to all the Goths - and perhaps also a sign that the original plan was to broadcast this episode slightly earlier in the year, as of course Halloween is in fact now later this month.
I could really have done with Grace not dying, partly because she was just awesome and I wanted her on the TARDIS team, and partly because it felt like a rather token, deliberate mechanism for signalling how High the Stakes are in the Doctor's world. But at least, if that was going to be the case, they gave time and space to the consequences of her death, to the extent of showing her funeral - have we ever even had a funeral in Doctor Who before? I can't think of one. Anyway, of the team that's left, I'm pretty sure Graham is going to be my favourite as we go on. He seems very kind and good-hearted, and I just loved his very relatable and human focus on the threats they were facing - like the way he was the one who kept going back to the issue of the DNA bombs, and how long did they have?
It's too early to be sure how this new era will pan out, or what Chris Chibnall has lined up, but I certainly didn't get much sense of any Big Arc being established - I mean, no Crack in Time or Impossible Girl or anything like that. Just the Doctor and some randomly-collected people off for an adventure into space. That actually makes it feel fresher and more exciting than I think all Moffat's Big Arcs generally did, so I hope things stay that way. Here's to a new era.