Spoiler-Free Review of Doctor Who's Next Two Episodes

Last night, we saw the opening two-parter of the sixth season of Doctor Who, in the company of the show's stars and showrunner. We won't give away any of the amazing surprises in store, but here are a few hints.

Spoiler-Free Review of Doctor Who's Next Two EpisodesS

Doctor Who fans from all over headed to New York, for a special two-episode screening, hosted by the cast and crew. A few fans spent the night in line (wearing their best tweed and bow ties), and by the early morning there were almost 200 folks lined up around the block. The earliest guests were greeted with donuts from Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and the Doctor (Matt Smith) in person.

Here are some of the awesome things you're going to be flipping your fez over as the new season begins:

Spoiler-Free Review of Doctor Who's Next Two EpisodesS

Rory's Stealing (Some of) The Doctor's Thunder

The biggest surprise of the night was when Arthur Darvill's name flashed across the Doctor Who titles, and all the ladies in the audience went mad. Rory has always been a personal favorite, but it was a delight to watch this secondary character get a hero's welcome at the screening. We're happy to report that Rory hasn't regressed in his journey — he's still the valiant husband (who waited 2,000 years for his love). He's becoming a strong character in his own right, and he's still delivering lines we only wish someone would say to us one day. Many a swoon was heard when Rory took (yet another) stand. It was also pretty fantastic to hear him throw down and demand to know the whereabouts of "his wife!" in a quickie trailer presented at the end of the screening.

Spoiler-Free Review of Doctor Who's Next Two EpisodesS

River Song and The Doctor Heat Things Up

Now that Amy Pond has finally settled down, this frees up the Doctor to flirt with the mysterious River Song. The first two episodes crank up the heat on these time travelers and their moebius-strip relationship. They start with the occasional eyebrow lift, close talk and flirtatious playground name calling, and before you know it you're craving the next round of Doctor/River banter. It's really the first time we get to see the Matt Smith Doctor unleash his flirtatious side, and it's brilliant. But don't worry — Smith manages to maintain his innocent charm throughout. Naturally, having River along also means plenty of future "spoilers." And yes she does drop a few hints about what she's already seen. But these tips are usually wrapped in a riddle and tied off with a "Sweetie" — so we're all still in the dark when it comes to River's future/past. But, like the Doctor, we're slowly starting to warm to this lady.

BIG TWISTS

We promised we wouldn't spoil a thing, so we're just going to say this. There are giant twists and turns that will leave your jaw hanging open. Big game-changing characters and stories are introduced, and everyone is put through Hell — and that's just in the first two episodes. The crowd tried to coax a few more details out of writer and show producer Steven Moffat, but he stayed mum. He did, however, give us a lot of anxiety about the much whispered about 50th anniversary — by not saying anything at all. When the brain behind Doctor Who goes silent, you know he's keeping quiet about something big.

Sweet And Scary

Last year brought the return of the Weeping Angels, and this year Steven Moffat has dreamed up a whole new crop of nasties to scare the bejeesus out of you. The opening two-parter introduces a new villain, who seems geared towards being the next Weeping Angel-style nasty. Plus if you saw our spoilery post from yesterday, they're damn ugly. One particular run in with these monsters will leave you perched on the edge of your seat, screaming at the TV.

Spoiler-Free Review of Doctor Who's Next Two EpisodesS

Not Aimed at Beginners

If you're hoping to introduce a Doctor Who virgin to The Doctor this year, you may want to start with a different season. While highly entertaining and fulfilling, the first two episodes would be all but impossible for a newcomer to pick up on. The premiere contains some mind games that could be pretty confusing for regulars, we can't even imagine explaining this complicated universe to someone who has no idea what a Time Lord is. There's very little room for a learning curve in this new season, which may turn off a lot of new viewers. But, if they can keep up with the fast-paced dialogue and follow Moffat's twisty plotting, it might not be so tough.

Spoiler-Free Review of Doctor Who's Next Two EpisodesS

Fezzes Are Still Cool

Even though episodes one and two jump right into the mythos that Moffat created last year, there's still plenty of breaks for laughter. And while you may need to know a thing or two about last season's dangling plotlines, Matt Smith is going to make you laugh. He's still got that Time Lord quality that demands both your respect and your laughter. Plus this is Moffat's run, which has proven to be a much lighter experience than the heartbreaking collection of Doctor Who episodes from Russell T Davies. Yes, Moffat can deliver a high-tension scare, but his scripts highlight a much more cheerful side to the Doctor, and judging from the opening episodes, Moffat will continue to present a chipper Doctor Who, even in the face of great tragedy.

The first episode, "The Impossible Astronaut" will air on April 23rd on BBC America, and "Day of the Moon" will be released on the 30th.

Donuts image via Waiting For the Doctor