There’s a new companion in the Tardis, if you haven’t already heard. Pearl Mackie. She’ll play Bill. I’m not about to judge her debut from two minutes on screen.
I posit the main difficulty with a completely new companion, is explaining. Most of the audience is familiar with The Doctor and his world and this new person is being introduced to it. The writers have to balance the needs of the viewers with the requirements of the story, without being overly didactic or repetitive. In this situation, the weight of the first episode falls on the new character, and how she inflects what’s going on and responds to The Doctor. That’s what will make it new to the viewers after yet another introduction to, say, Daleks.
Says Mackie:“I thought Bill was wicked. Fantastically written, cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in.”
This first episode is the companion’s opportunity to demonstrate what makes her unique and also what makes her suitable. It sets up the tone of the program, while her perspective on what happens is the thing that will be the comparator to those she follows. It’s about whether she’s fearless or ironic, mutable, or challenging or curious or a bit geeky, given the adventures she is about to embark upon, in addition to her circumstances and background.
Let’s hope the writing does her justice.