Doctor Who: Smile finds The Doctor and Bill far in humanity’s future where emoji’s have become a lot more sinister than just a lazy way to communicate. Oh, there’s also cute, sinister robots!
Smile For The Camera, But Don’t Blink
After an excellent season premiere, and introduction to Bill, the new TARDIS Team is off on their first real adventure. A new companion’s first real trip, a trip of their choosing, is always fun. How they react to something amazing they wanted to see, rather than something terrifying they never expected, is a great way to introduce how that companion will handle traveling with The Doctor.
Bill’s personality is a breath of fresh air in the TARDIS. Her enthusiasm, and the relative ease at which she jumps right into the strange world of The Doctor’s continues to make me feel like she’s the companion I’d be most like. She’s having fun right off the bat, as if there’s nothing strange at all. The way she asks The Doctor questions, and calls him out on his “Doctorness”, are exceedingly fun to watch.
Another Human Planet In The Future Goes Haywire
Smile is essentially about Humanity’s plans going awry. Again. One of humanity’s colonies didn’t anticipate that their AI would actually evolve to turn on them. It’s the age old tale of being wary about robots. In this case, the robots needed a resource only the people around them could offer: their deaths!
Smile’s main premise of emoji’s being a clear cut form of communication works perfectly with The Doctor’s and Bill’s personalities. It’s a cute little idea that turns deadly. Bill’s relative naivete to the dangers of the universe as opposed to The Doctor’s perpetual skepticism are bared cleverly. How the emoji’s reflect each of their personalities is brilliant. Taking the concept of emoji-speak to a absurd level is both hilarious, and terrifying. What will our comprehension of language, and conversation be if we stop talking, and keep emoji-ing?
Bill Continues To Impress. But For How Long?
Smile’s plot wasn’t altogether new, but it was re-purposed enough to not be contrived. The key to Doctor Who after 10 years (technically 54) is to stay the course. The Doctor finds himself in similar situations all the time, but it’s to be expected. Things go bad in the universe, and really, there’s only a finite number of ways that can happen. Luckily so far in Season 10 these similar events feel fresh, and somehow new.
I think Bill has been a complete success so far. Her enthusiasm, simplicity, and inherent likability, make her one of the most fun companions in a long time. Smile gave Bill an opportunity to show us what she’s all about, and how she’ll effect The Doctor’s life. I have no idea what horrible fate Steven Moffat has in store for her, but I hope the rumors of her departure at the end of this season are false. Bill might be the perfect companion to guide a new Doctor through the trauma of regeneration, and maybe show him the ropes for a change.