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Doctor Who: The Complete First Series
DVD | Box Set
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Christopher Eccleston's Doctor is wise and funny, cheeky and brave. An alien and a loner, his detached logic gives him a vital edge when the world's in danger. But when it comes to human relationships, he can be found wanting. That's why he needs Rose. From the moment they meet, the Doctor and Rose understand and complement each other. As they travel together through time, encountering new adversaries, the Doctor shows her things beyond imagination.
The venerable science fiction program Doctor Who returned to British televisions in 2005 after a 15-year absence and delighted the majority of fans and critics with its adherence to the adventure and charm of the original series while making admissions for a new generation of viewers (hipper editing and score, CGI effects). Thirteen episodes were generated, all starring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor and pop-singer-turned-actress Billie Piper as his companion Rose; acclaimed writer/producer Russell T. Davies (Touching Evil, Queer as Folk) oversaw the show as chief writer and executive producer. The new series proved so popular that the BBC agreed to revive the program for second and third seasons--though without Eccleston, who has since been replaced by David Tennant. This six-disc set comes with all 13 episodes plus the battery of supplemental features now customary to all Doctor Who DVD releases.
Eccleston is very engaging in the title role, bringing a manic curiosity tempered by occasional bouts of gravity (which befit a personality with a long and dramatic a lifespan as the Doctor's) that hew closely to the (arguably) most popular Doctor, Tom Baker. Piper is equally adept as department store clerk Rose--she's afforded more of a back story than most of the Doctor's sidekicks have received in the past, and she more than handles her own alongside Eccleston. Highlights among the 13 episodes include the season opener, "Rose" (which sees the return of an old foe, the Autons, and their controlling force, the Nestene Consciousness); the revamped Daleks in "Dalek" and the two-parter "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways"; a trip to Victorian England to aid Charles Dickens in "The Unquiet Dead," and of course, the arrival of the tenth Doctor at the conclusion of the action-packed "Parting of the Ways." The episodes strike the right blend of quirk, excitement, and imagination, thanks largely to the engaging performances and the guidance of Davies, whose admiration for the show and its history is evident throughout.
Supplemental features--and there are many--including commentary on all 13 episodes by members of the cast and crew, including Piper and Davies; numerous making-of featurettes, including a profile of Davies; a video diary by Piper; an interview with Eccleston, and best of all, a glimpse at the 60-minute Christmas special, "The Christmas Invasion," which picks up where the series concludes. Who fans won't be disappointed. --Paul Gaita
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Eccleston only played The Doctor for this single season; he did not renew his contract. But his work here sets the ground work for every Dr. Who episode created since. Gone is the absent-minded professor type of the first eight Doctors. Eccleston's Doctor is thoughtful, direct, and action-focused. This is a Time Lord with a plan who doesn't hesitate to do whatever needs to be done and has both the knowledge and experience to solve problems that would confuse others.
He is also a haunted man, regenerating out of the War Doctor (see "Day of the Doctor" from the 50th anniversary specials), the sole survivor of the Great Time War, his conscience thick with the horrors of that war and his role in it, a conscience that makes him more determined than ever to help others -- starting with Rose Tyler in the first episode, "Rose."
This journey with the Ninth Doctor is far too short, our time with him feeling like the blink of an eye. But we are better for meeting Christopher Eccleston's Doctor on this journey of discover that will make you laugh, cry, and cheer.
I truly believe Doctor Who wouldn't have become the global phenomenon it is today without the 2005 relaunch of the series. Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor is wise and funny, cheeky and brave. And his companion, Rose, was the down to Earth, average teenager the whole audience could relate to. As they travel together through time, encountering new adversaries, the Doctor shows her things beyond imagination. Some of my favorite stories from this season included "The End of the World" (where the Doctor shows Rose the eventual fate of the planet Earth); "Dalek" (the bitter sweet, but still chilling return of the most famous enemies of the show); and "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" (a gripping and scary two parter set in WWII, featuring zombie kids in gas masks, and the first apperance of heroic heart throb, Captain Jack Harkness). And it all leads up to an exciting two part season finale with a showdown with the Daleks, and a tearful changing of the guard, in which the Doctor regenerates into his Tenth form.
It's a shame the Ninth Doctor only lasted a season, because he was pretty good, and this series was pivital in not only reintroducing the classic series to the modern era, but also laying the ground work for all the important elements that would make the modern era of Who the success that it is today. And the discs are all jam packed with interesting special features, including behind the scenes info about the making of the show, and interviews with the cast members.
Thanks to this important first season, the Doctor is in again, and Tardis is here to stay.