The new showrunner is Stephen Moffat, who had already written some of my favorite episodes of the show, as well as Coupling and Jekyll, which were both a lot of fun, so I knew he'd be great, but he was even better than I expected. The opening was reminiscent of Moffat's own "The Girl in the Fireplace" episode, but it was done well and I found it very emotionally-affecting, especially when Amy says "You said five minutes!" And of course it was a perfect way to create an instant connection between the Doctor and a new companion. The menace of the week scary enough, but forcing the Doctor to stop it without the help of his TARDIS and sonic screwdriver was pure genius. Even better, his solutions to problems never felt like magic mumbo jumbo as in every single RTD episodes. And I found the Doctor's closing threats against the aliens quite surprising and clever. "Basically, run!" he warns the aliens, a promising juxtaposition to previous Doctors who largely told their companions to do the running.
The new Doctor is played by Matt Smith, who I knew not at all before this, so I can't really separate what's him and what's his character, but I definitely liked what I saw. I love his manic, arrogant, slightly absent-minded version of the character. So far, I'm seeing hints of Colin Baker and Jon Pertwee, which is an excellent direction to go. Please, Lord Moffat, deliver us from endlessly angsty Doctors! The "You're Scottish, fry something!" scene was far funnier to me than it had any right to be and that's largely due to Smith's comic performance. I pretty much want to quote everything he said here, from "I'm the Doctor. I'm worse than eveyone's Aunt" to "Oh, get a girlfriend!" to "I am definitely a mad man in a box!"
The new companion is played by Karen Gillan and she manages to be both adorable and strong-willed. As I already mentioned Gillan's acting helped to pull off some strong emotional moments quite effectively. And it was great when she was checking out the Doctor while he changed his clothes. Her character is clearly going to be having a stronger-than-average role to play in their future adventures and the banter between her and the Doctor promises to be highly entertaining. My only regret is that she left all her kissogram outfits behind. I was sure she'd be constantly disguising herself as a sexy nurse or a sexy policewoman throughout the show.
The new Tardis is very glam and very orange, two things that rate very highly in my book. And the staircases and talk of other rooms seem to promise we'll be seeing even more of it in future episodes, which is exciting.
The new theme is... well... I was getting a drink during the theme music, but it sounded perfectly lovely from the kitchen.
The new companion's supporting cast, an element of RTD's re-imagining that Moffat was wise to continue, seems promising, especially of course her boyfriend Rory. He's already quite likable and highly entertaining: "Did he just bring them back? Did he just save the world from aliens and then bring all the aliens back again? And, oh, now he's taking his clothes off?" I look forward to seeing more of poor Rory.