'Doctor Who' new series special effects provokes mixed reaction among fans

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'Doctor Who' season 13 launched with 'Flux: Halloween Apocalypse', which divided viewers over its special effects. (BBC)
Doctor Who season 13 launched with Flux: Halloween Apocalypse, which divided viewers over its special effects. (BBC)

Doctor Who fans were split over the launch of season 13 on Halloween night, with some complaining the special effects were disappointing.

Flux: Halloween Apocalypse marked the start of Jodie Whittaker's final series as the Time Lord in the cult BBC sci fi series, and also the introduction of comedian John Bishop as new companion Dan Lewis.

While some viewers complained the CGI in the episode appeared dated, other fans pointed out Doctor Who is famous for its low-budget special effects.

Read more: Jodie Whittaker considered changing her mind about leaving 'Doctor Who'

Joe complained: "I don’t understand how the #DoctorWho CGI looked better 10 years ago."

Watch: The trailer for Doctor Who Flux

And Ben Williams tweeted: "Is it me or have the visual effects in #DoctorWho have gotten worse over time?"

Warhead commented: "Why did it look so cheap and tacky? There were better effects and lighting in 2005. That first scene, in particular, looked like a video game from twenty years ago."

But Paul defended the effects, tweeting: "My favourite thing about people’s complaints about this series? Ropey CGI. I disagree, I don’t think the show’s ever looked better, plus it is kinda legendary for having some questionable effects. I thought the episode was a solid 4/5 and can’t wait for next week."

Jodie Whittaker will bow out as The Doctor at the end of this series. (BBC)
Jodie Whittaker will bow out as the Doctor at the end of this series. (BBC)

And Josh agreed: "Considering that #DoctorWho is famous for shonky CGI/effects, this opening scene was pretty decent, that planet was stunning. #DoctorWhoFlux."

Reviews for the new series launch were consistently positive, averaging three out of five stars, and Bishop's debut as new companion Dan hailed as the highlight.

The Radio Times gave the episode 4/5 stars, with Patrick Mulkern writing: "The pace is set for a fast, fun-packed opener, impressively achieved by [showrunner Chris] Chibnall and his team in the face of COVID."

Adding: "Bishop is an instant hit as handy Dan."

John Bishop's 'Doctor Who' debut was hailed as the highlight of the season launch. (BBC)
John Bishop's Doctor Who debut was hailed as the highlight of the season launch. (BBC)

The Independent said: "The episode opens with the Doctor and Yaz (Mandip Gill) hanging upside down, trapped by – you guessed it – an extra-terrestrial baddie. It’s a classic Doctor Who set piece, having little impact on the subsequent plot but providing some funny lines and the best of the hit-and-miss CGI on offer."

And added: "The shining light of the series premiere is undoubtedly John Bishop as Dan, the proud Scouser with the heart of gold."

Peter Capaldi — who played the 12th incarnation of the Doctor — said earlier this year the special effects on Doctor Who are too cheap to be scary.

The 63-year-old actor contrasted the BBC show's production values with those of new Hollywood movie The Suicide Squad, in which he stars as supervillain The Thinker.

Read more: Whoopi Goldberg wants to be Doctor Who but fears being American will stop her

Capaldi told Digital Spy: "With Doctor Who, we don't really have enough – everything on Doctor Who falls to pieces, all of the props fall to pieces and the costumes have to be stuck together with duct tape and Velcro and stuff."

Doctor Who's season 13 launch was criticised for its CGI by some viewers. (BBC)
Doctor Who season 13 launch was criticised for its CGI by some viewers. (BBC)

He added: "That's what I like, [about Doctor Who], I like the kind of B movie kind of cobbled together, quality of it. 

"That it's really there's never really quite enough money, but the ideas are often very special, that's what I like – but it's also nice to be somewhere where they do have enough money to make the monsters look... scary."

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