Just got done watching "The Rings of Akhaten" and these are my instant, first impressions.
Doctor Who used to be a more straight forward show. But lately, it's become difficult to keep everything straight. Below are a few reasons this trend continues...
Good : The trailer said we'd see tons of aliens on a new planet and that's what it delivered
Bad : Moffat told us that each episode of series would be a stand alone blockbuster. I see we have another arc.
Bad : I think we're going to see much more of Clara's past than we ever saw of Amy's. When are the "regular, not super-special girls going to show up"? Can't you get a ride in the TARDIS without living next to a crack in time, having the ability to die and be resurrected, or exist in multiple timeframes?
Excellent : The Doctor says he visited this planet with his granddaughter. Finally, a nod to Susan.
Okay, I Guess : The episode's beginning premise is extremely similar to "The End of the World" where Rose was shown a multitude of different aliens. It "is" a good jumping off point.
Good : The TARDIS doors won't open for Clara. Maybe because she doesn't have a key?
Bad : It looks like Clara's mother is something super-special. All that talk about lives that could have been. Time will tell how convoluted Clara's mother will be.
Interesting : The Doctor's explanation of their beliefs that all life sprang from this system. Well, it's their story. Is it a reference to religions as a whole or a take on how Doctor Who is viewed by its fans.
Good : The robed figures from the trailers appeared to be the bad guys but I was glad they were actually part of the order attempting to keep the "parasite" asleep. They acted like that out of fear of what might happen, not out of malice.
Different, But Not Better : I don't think we've had that much singing since "A Christmas Carol".
Good/Bad : Murray Gold's soundtrack for the story but generally sets a good mood although it was, at times, be a bit intrusive.
Unknown : Is that leaf from Clara's book going to be referred later or is it just another red herring?
Good : A wonderfully alien world with more different styles than we've ever seen.
Bad : Many of the greeting of the aliens were so "hipster".
More Bad : And some of the names of the aliens make Classic Who alien names sound feasible.
Rats! : A missed opportunity by not fleshing out the aliens. They all appeared as a two-dimensional "flash-in-the-pan". Would have enjoyed finding out a bit more about one or two of them.
What?!? : Was there an atmosphere that connected all the pieces of rock cause I'd like to know why they didn't need protective gear while traveling on the space scooter.
Unknown : Not sure if I liked all the obvious pointers to Egyptian culture. Might have preferred more of an alien bend. I mean pyramids and mummies and sun gods might have been overdone. Pyramids of Mars gave us a reason for all the Egyptian motifs.
Bad : The sonic screwdriver was once again overused. The point when he was separated from it, I expected to see him actually work without it. But he yells to Clara to toss him the screwdriver and it business as usual. Do you think we will ever see a "Screwdriver-free episode" from this crew?
Fail : Finding out the Mummy was nothing more than an alarm clock [see also red herring]. Seems like it was only there to be a good visual in the trailer.
Bad : Remember when the Master used to monologue in every episode he was in telling the Doctor how he was going to conquer the universe? Seems the Doctor caught the bug and has been monologuing the bad guys every episode lately.
Awkward : The first thing I thought of when the face formed on the orange globe was, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"!
Middling : Good first and second acts. Things got off to an interesting start. But the third act felt rushed and contrived. Especially when the Doctor opened up himself to overload "grandfather". Only...
Badda-Bing : ...in the second episode in a row, Clara does something that the Doctor can't and without her, he would not have won.
Bad : The Doctor's assistants used to be the audience ID character. How does one identify with a person fractured through time living three different lives.
Extremely Bad : The Doctor and Clara talked the monster to death.
What?!? : The Doctor gives Clara back her ring. It's so representative of a marriage ceremony. What will River think of this...
Unfortunate : This is a story which could have benefited from a longer running time. Quite a bit crammed into the 42-minute format. Blame it on the necessity to retrofit Who's old style of "It's as long as it needs to be".
Not The Best : Even with some beautiful scenes of the rings in space, The market scenes had the feel of a crowded, studio-based episode. They've done better with this same situation in the past on the new series [see The Long Game].
Good : Emilia Jones' performance as the Queen of Years. She starts out like a scared little schoolgirl not wanting to mess up a performance but it turns out that song was of the utmost importance. Very convincing performance.
So nearing 50 years, this episode shows why the Doctor is still here. It's still unique and is forever growing. I believe it will outlast everyone [I'm looking at you Moffat]. The current incarnation of the show [Moffat's not Smith's] is loaded with bad writing, bad script editing and Moffat's lack of vision.