Critic Consensus: Peter Capaldi and the writers have settled into an emotionally engaging tone, allowing the show to raise the stakes for the Twelfth Doctor.
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This is big-ticket Doctor Who, done in such a beautifully delicate way that it manages both to startle and to endear.
Rarely has a show been so dependent on the skills of a single actor - and Capaldi is a good one: able to bring just enough emotional depth to a comicbook caper to render it dramatic.
The character this season appears less grumpy, imbued with a kind of joyful mania.
Seemingly keen to re-energize itself after a topsy-turvy year in 2014, Doctor Who Season Nine has upped the stakes dramatically while still maintaining much of its grounded, loveable charm.
Mad, funny, creepy, original and dramatic, 'The Magician's Apprentice' is a bold, mostly successful attempt to be all of Doctor Who, all at once, in just 46 short minutes. Its execution isn't faultless, but you certainly can't fault its massive ambition.
The Magician's Apprentice was not perfect, but its strengths outweighed its weaknesses, and in leaving us with the image of our non-violent, absolutely moral protagonist pointing a Dalek exterminator at a small child, it made for compelling television.
Audience Reviews for Doctor Who: Season 9
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