Television Review: The Magician’s Apprentice (Doctor Who)

Doctor Who Series 9.01: The Magician’s Apprentice

Written by Steven Moffat

Directed by Hettie MacDonald

Child from opening
Image Copyright BBC


I have been a fan of Doctor Who off and on since I was three. At this point, I don’t think I will ever not watch it.

The Pitch

In this opener to series nine, a decision the Doctor made a long time ago has consequences that threaten to destroy his closest friend . . . and his best enemy. However, the Doctor must first be found.

The Good

Missy is probably my favorite new recurring character. I enjoy every scene she is in. Likewise, Peter Capaldi is able to take the most absurd scene and make me believe.

And that pre-credit scene . . . that’s how you hook an audience.

The Bad

There is too little plot stretched across 45 minutes. And since this is part one of two, I am a bit worried. Many of the scenes in this episode didn’t really advance the plot much, and those scenes didn’t do much for me other than make me wish they would get on with it. But again, if a scene isn’t going to advance the plot, you could do worse than putting Missy in it.

The Ugly

The “would you kill a child if you knew he would be a brutal dictator” argument moves out of the abstract.


I would characterize this as average Steven Moffat fare: not his best but certainly not his worst. The performances and direction put this at a 3/5 for me. I look forward to seeing how he resolves the story, though I doubt the resolution will make me change my mind about this episode.

2 thoughts on “Television Review: The Magician’s Apprentice (Doctor Who)

  1. I like the format! I also appreciate the spoiler-free review as I’m still making my way through series nine. I look forward to learning what’s going on with Missy, and I hope there’s a good story arch there!

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