Having barely seen an episode or two on PBS in my youth, I really got into the series after seeing the 1997 US TV movie. I quickly snatched up every VHS tape, and found every other missing episode and unreleased story on bootleg videos, to obsessively have every inch of existing Doctor Who known to man. I preferred Jon Pertwee's Doc the best, with Troughton and T. Baker next. No need to get into the original classic series, so on with the new one.
Right from the start, I really enjoy Eccleston's portrayal of the Doctor. It seems he really did his homework and seems to have found just the right combination of wit and intellect that made so many previous doctors a success. His quick tongue seems to keep up to the fast new pace of the show. While the longer episode, vintage shows had more time for character development and interaction, in today's fast paced world of 32x fast forward speed DVD capability, you can't have 4 to 6 part episodes and expect to keep people's attention to that one storyline. It worked in the 70's, but certainly wouldn't work now.
Vintage Doctor Who always had great supporting casts and guest stars, and the new series is no different. Rose's boyfriend and mom keep up nicely to the pace and plotting of the show. Simon Callow gives a great performance as Charles Dickens in the series 3rd episode.
Episode 1, Rose, sweeps us back into the whirlwind world of Doctor Who that we all know and love. It seems like it nearly skipped a beat since 1989, with only the surroundings and special effects being updated. It also offers enough info to keep a new viewer interested. 'Rose' is very action packed, much more than most vintage Who stories, and I think it has to be in some way to cater to the thrill-a-minute new millenium that we are all now fully accustomed to.
I had seen some sneak preview photos of the Autons before the show aired, and I thought they looked a little awkward and feared they might come across a bit cheesy in live action, however they threw me for a loop after watching Rose, as they looked incredibly lifelike and menacing. Bravo for the special effects wizards who worked on them as they looked brilliant. A superb opening episode to bring us all back into Who!
Ep. 2 kept Eccleston's sharp tongue going, and flew us into an alien space station, complete with just about every new concoction of an alien species one can concoct. Actually, the oddest looking species was the human!! A murderous metallic set of spiders is unleashed on a group of interplanetary oglers, wanting to witness the last moments of Earth. The always fashionably-late-in-saving-the-day Doctor has to come to Rose and everyone else's rescue.
Ep. 3 takes us to familiar Who territory, a period piece on planet Earth. 1869 to be exact, and Charles Dickens is giving a Christmas Eve performance of A Christmas Carol that gets rudely interrupted by a gas powered, walking corpse. The sets and costumes are superb, and this 19th century Cardiff set story is a real treat.
Episodes 4 & 5 are the first two part storyline, which deals with the Slitheen aliens invading Parliament. It features some hilarious moments when the Slitheen attempt to wear their "rubber suits" that impersonate humans.
Ep. 6 is what we've all been waiting for: The Dalek episode. But alas, it features only one, but that's all it takes for a very strong episode involving an American collector of the future, who happens to have found one remaining Dalek, but doesn't realize how dangerous it really is. The Doctor, fully aware of Dalek aggression, has to step in and set things straight, with a little help from Rose.
Ep. 7, The Long Game, takes us into a satellite space station where people are not returning from certain floors of the station.
Ep. 8, one of the strongest and certainly the most emotional of the series, sees Rose wanting the Doctor to allow her to see the father she never knew, however she does something the Doctor would never do, and specifically asks her not to do: interferes with time.
Episodes 9 & 10 is another two parter involves the Doctor and Rose in the middle of bomb ridden London circa 1941. Captain Jack Harkness is introduced and becomes a rival hero character for the Doctor.
Ep. 11 involves the return of the Slitheen and their plan to destory Earth.
Ep. 12 features a great spoof of reality shows, with the Doctor stuck in the middle. This episode also features the best cliffhanger of the new show: Rose is kidnapped by the Daleks and the Doctor defiantly proclaims "I'm gonna blow every last stinkin' one of ya out of the sky". Something no previous doctor would have ever said, it's a now classic quote and very characteristic of the new Who era, and the new Doctor.
Episode 13, the final battle with the Daleks, is the culmination of startling sci-fi entertainment, and a fine arguement for being the best season in the show's long and storied history. It extremely disappointing that Eccleston is not returning for Season 2. That is a shame, because his Doctor is extremely well played. Hopefully David Tennant can fill his shoes nicely, and I'm sure the writing will be just as strong as series 1.
These are going to be loaded with all the extras found in the UK release. They initially released bare bones DVD's on Region 2, in 4 volumes, which is how I got them as I had to have each new Who right away, and I can't wait until May 1st, when I will have the first of season 2 in my hands!! For now, US fans unable to play or get a hold of Region 2 discs, have the Sci-Fi Channel airings and this new set out in July!!
Dr. Who is Forty (actually he's 900, but like the Doctor, the show had been around in one form or another since 1964). The BBC celebrated in 2005 by bringing the show back to television for its 27th season (or as it is more consistently called: SEASON ONE)in a glossy, fast-paced enough to satisfy contemporary audiences, while still conscious of its roots. This SET contains all 13 season one episodes from the rebirth of the longest running sci-fi series in TV history. The producers clearly have a respect and understanding of the UK icon. Obviously, fans, the creators do things with the show we would do ourselves.
SET features the companion series DR. WHO CONFIDENTIAL, a behind the scenes show that ran concurrently providing an episode for all 13 shows supplying fun chart toping tunes to film footage, interviews and more. Set also includes commentaries by cast and crew actually worth listening to!!
Doctor Who has always has a voice defined by the decade each in tune with its era and this holds true to the new Doctor Who. This Doctor is almost child-like in his enthusiasm and wonder. Featuring the Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston (Shallow Grave, Gone in 60 Seconds), infusing the character with great intensity and humanity, while remaining mysterious and alien, along with his companion Rose played by Billie Piper, growing from an awed slacker to a seasoned space adventurer. However, the format of the show has changed to 45 min. parts, some 2 parters ending with cliffhangers, some without. Like any "new" series there are good episodes and not-so-good ones, the upside here is MOST of these are great episodes! The 40 year history of the series isn't squeezed into one pilot, through-out the year we get a trickle of back-story, some old, like his time/space machine looks like a police-call-box, and some new back-story, like the fact that his race, the TIMELORDS have been wiped out in a TIME WAR.
The PILOT story: "ROSE" introduces his new companion Rose Tyler who is attacked by mannequins (or AUTONS) in the department store where she works. She meets the Doctor and the pair end up fighting to save the world. The pacing of this one, like most of the 13 new episodes, is like lightning, and the Autons have never been scarier. The TARDIS (interior) has never looked better or bigger.
Next in "THE END of the WORLD" The Doctor offers Rose a chance to go anyplace, anytime, they end up 5 Billion years in the future above the Earth just before it ends. But someone has sabotaged the very observation satellite they're on. Not a bad episode, it shoots very high with a "Restaurant at the End of the Universe" motif and cinematically accomplishes it, also reveals that the Doctor is the "Last of the Timelords."
In the episodes 4 & 5 "ALIENS of LONDON" & "WORLD WAR III." The Doctor takes Rose home (mistakenly) 12 months later. We FINALLY learn what happens back home when a companion up and leaves with the Doctor. The pair deal with Rose's Mum, who thought she was dead, and the ex-boyfriend who has been the main suspect. But when a spaceship crashes in the Thames in an "stunning" sequence which sets new standards for TV effects, the whole world goes on Red Alert, and the Doctor is noticed by the Government. Contains a nice mix of CGI and latex. Also features Toshiko Sato, returning character for Dr. Who spin-off TORCHWOOD due to broadcast for late '06.
In Episode 6, "DALEK" Beneath the Salt Plains of Utah, the billionaire collector Henry Van Statten holds the last relic of an alien race and the one living exhibit in the museum is a....you know what. This one makes the Daleks scary (again)! One Dalek, outgunned, outnumbered, boy is mankind in trouble. This one was nominated for a 2006 HUGO Science Fiction Achievement Award for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form category (Battlestar Galactica won it last year for the episode "33")
In episode 8, FATHER'S DAY, The Doctor takes Rose back in time to meet her long-dead Father, but the Tylers finds themselves battling the Reapers. A truly heart-wrenching episode, loads of disturbing imagery. The interaction between the Doctor and Rose is very real, in spite of the increasing unreality of the situation(a 2006 HUGO, SCI-FI Achievement Award NOMINATION).
In the 9th episode, THE EMPTY CHILD. Its London, 1941, the Blitz. A mysterious child terrorizes Homeless children in this 2 part storyline.The Empty Child story continues in The DOCTOR DANCES. The Child's plague is spreading throughout wartime London, and so is its zombie army. "TORCHWOOD's" main spin-off character Capt. Jack Harkness is introduced...
ROSE: You used to be a Time Agent, now you're some kind
JACK: That's a little harsh- I prefer to think of myself
as a criminal.
The "Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" maybe one of the greatest stories in the entire history Dr. Who.(2006 HUGO, SCI-FI Achievement Award NOMINATION)
In the 12th episode, BAD WOLF, the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack have to fight for their lives on board the Game Station, in the season finale, THE PARTING of the WAYS, Rose Tyler has seen danger and wonders alongside the Doctor, but now their friendship is put to the test and the Doctor says goodbye...sort of. This 2 parter features "Big Brother," & "Weakest link" gags as the Doctor becomes a "flatmate" and Rose a contestant. Also features the "Final Battle" of the "Time War," the return of an old enemy in a battle sequence that couldn't be beat even if Dr. Who goes to the big screen!
The 2005 series won the 2006 BROADCAST AWARD for BEST DRAMA SERIES adding to the series' successes at the National Television Awards (voted Most Popular Drama), TV Moments, and the BBC 2005 Drama Awards! The show's two stars (Eccleston and Piper) scooped the most popular actor and actress honors in the awards voted by the public. Dr. Who (2005)was also nominated for not only the 2006 HUGO Award (announcing winners on Aug 26), but on May 7th it WON 5 of the most prestigious award British Television has to offer: the BAFTAS Awards (British Academy of FILM and TELEVISION ARTS) out of the 14 categories it was nominated. Winning for BEST DRAMA SERIES, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST MAKE-UP, BEST COSTUME, BEST DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY and the PIONEER AUDIENCE AWARD which was voted for by the British public (kind of like the US People's Choice Award).
WHEN it aired on SCI-FI FRIDAYS @8 PM CENTRAL there were some lines and moments cut from the original BBC versions, these are the complete episodes.
Hopefully SCI-FI will pick up SEASON 2, starting with the post-regeneration CHRISTMAS INVASION because believe it or not the next 13 even better!!
on March 21, 2006
Rusell Davies reinvention of the British classic has been the broadcasting story of 2005. Put quite simply it is the biggest show on Tv in the Uk at the moment. I think that sometimes it is hard for people Stateside to grasp this. This is not a cult hit, one in 6 people in the Uk are watching this.
This DVD set collects together all 13 episodes from the first series along with a good series of extras (although not as outstanding as we had all hoped) and shows off a dazzling array of inventive and intelligent telefantasy stories.
Christopher Eccleston nails the Doctor completely and shows just what a good actor he is. Billie Piper is also superb as the companion Rose Tyler. But it is the writing where the series really scores. RTD and his team really show their love of the old show without missing the point that today's Tv market calls for a fast paced modern approach.
This is the show that has redifined TV in the UK, it can be watched and enjoyed by everyone from 1 - 100 and has already found its place at the top of the television tree.
on June 25, 2011
It's true, you never forget your first, Doctor that is. And this was my first. I will love Rose I think until the end of time. She made me love the doctor, both this and the next.
This is a great episode that lays the path for an amazing couple of seasons.
If you haven't seen Who before, start here.
on April 25, 2006
After being off the air as a regular series for 16 years, it's understandable that the public was more than a bit skeptical about the return of Doctor Who. Known primarily as "that show with the really low budget" and set to be relaunched in a time when the Star Trek franchise had come to a crashing halt, was this really a good move?
As it turned out, the advertising slogan was correct: "He's back, and it's about time."
Helmed by writer/executive producer Russell T. Davies (Queer as Folk, Bob and Rose, The Second Coming), the new Doctor Who was in many ways how fans of the original had always pictured a modern day incarnation of the program; slick, edgy, sharp, and fun. Assembling a group of writers who'd worked on other hit British shows (Coupling, The League of Gentlemen, Casualty), Davies and company wrote 13 stories that really proved that Doctor Who could and would still be topical in this day and age.
Even the worries of a bit of stunt casting in the form of former British pop star Billie Piper as the companion Rose to Christopher Eccleston's Doctor proved to be all for naught; not only are both leads excellent actors, but they have such an instant chemistry that it's easy and understandable to see why the two continue to travel together.
This first season has something for everyone. For long-time viewers there are classic foes from the past, but new viewers won't feel left out, as any bits from the past are presented in a way to make everyone welcome and on the same page. With high points with episodes like Dalek, Father's Day, and The Empty Child, you'll want to watch one episode after another in rapid succession.
There are thankfully few weak points; one two-parter that could've stood to be compressed down to one (Aliens of London, World War III), and a slightly rushed ending to the season finale that feels like it comes down to a behind-the-scenes changing of the guard at the end of the season. They're minor quibbles, though, and quickly forgiveable when compared to the high quality otherwise on display.
The packaging of this DVD set leaves a bit to be desired (the overlapping discs in particular seem like they're just begging for scratches), and it would've been nice if deleted scenes had prepared in time for inclusion here, but with numerous documentaries and commentaries there's enough to keep even people who've already seen the episodes entertained.
Once you've watched this new series of Doctor Who, just be warned--there's no turning back. You'll be hooked, and absolutely loving it.
on March 28, 2016
This isn't true HD-Blu-ray quality, but it is an improvement over the DVDs.
This season was NOT shot in HD 1080p, it was shot in British PAL Standard Definition which is 576i.
DVDs have a resolution of 720 x 576 so they are capable of presenting PAL 576i (which has higher resolution than the U.S. 480i NTSC format).
For Blu-ray, the BBC processed the 576i resolution to 1080i, which almost doubles the lines of resolution by imagining (for lack of technical terms) what would have been recorded between the lines.
Your 1080p HD-TV will do this when you plug the DVD player into the RCA "L,R,V" inputs, but the quality varies greatly from TV to TV and is generally not very good.
Upscaling DVD players and Blu-ray Players do a better job than the TVs, but the computer processing used by the BBC is better than some players.
BUT don't expect these to look like the Matt Smith years on Blu-ray. BBC decided to use an upscale algorithm that introduces many unwanted artifacts. Stationary shots and closeups look better than the DVD, but on screen motion has aliasing, halos appear on fading gray-scales, or a bad key during effects shots may be more obvious.
AUDIO: The Blu-ray audio on the other hand, is a BIG improvement over the compressed DVD audio. There is more depth & base.
on June 8, 2006
I had reservations when the combo of Russell T. Davies and Christopher Eccleston was announced. Russell was best known as the creator of "Queer as Folk" and Christopher was, at least to me, the nasty Duke of Norfolk in 'Elizabeth' starring Cate Blanchett.
Now, let me mix in that I am HUGE fan of the Early Doctor Who (read as 16mm telecine and monochromatic and you get the idea). I really enjoy the years from Patrick Troughton to Tom Baker. I like Peter Davidson too.
I am a "fan" of the 'classic' Doctor Who. I am not a *fanatic* (I don't have a 27-foot long scarf, my mom would never knit one anyway :) )
Now you have a picture of a HUGE fan of Doctor Who. Still am!
Let's turn forward to 2005 and the new series.
I was ROCKED when I watched the first episode. Yes, gone are all the hokey effects, the "clamps and bits of wire" and the sometimes entirely passable acting and rubber suits.
Christopher Eccelston brings the Doctor to the new series and he is absolutely FANTASTIC (yes, one of his favorite sayings!). Billie Piper ROCKS as Rose. She is one of the best companion characters I have seen.
And Russell... well, what can I say. He gets my vote as almost on level with Sydney Newman (he created Doctor Who, in case you didn't know) with just about a genius in regard to the way he resurrected a series, gave it a new flair and set it on the road to success. I will never question him for what he has done to bring back my all-time favorite series.
OK... now a few notes about the new series.
'Rose' is a great opening episode.
I found 'The Unquiet Dead' to be quite a good episode and had a nice 'Who' touch to it.
'Father's Day' is good with a nice performance by Billie Piper. The interaction between the Doctor and Rose's mum is not to be missed.
'Dalek' let me down a little at the end, but it was a great start, had an almost Stargate quality about it.
'Bad Wolf' has a great introduction to it. "You are now live on Channel 44,000. Please do not swear." "Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me."
The Slitheen episodes "Aliens of London" and "World War Three" are great. Good writing on what happens when you pop off for a jaunt in the TARDIS and leave loved ones behind. And then you find the time machine has whoops a 18 hour abscence into 12 months...
This is a great television series again and I really enjoy it. I have raved about it to anyone who cared to listen. It's quite simply, excellent!!!
on March 25, 2006
What can you say about Doctor Who? It deserves it's place alongside the likes of "Star Trek," "Star Wars" and others as among the best Sci-Fi stories ever written about or put to film. Christopher Eccleston is great as the Doctor, doing justice to all those before him who portrayed the wandering Time Lord. Even more so because of what his Doctor has gone through as we see him throughout this new version. This Doctor is experiencing the burden of survivor's guilt over what occurred in the Time War.
No doubt that the Doctor and his new assistant Rose have feelings toward each other throughout the series, culminating with what happens in "The Parting of the Ways." For one of the few times in the overall history of the series, the Doctor has a partner in Rose that he opens up to without fear of being rejected.
Best thing about the return of Doctor Who? An updated version of one the eeriest (and best) opening themes in TV history. Back to that classic theme with a more modern feel, but it doesn't take away the feeling of a viewer that you're about to embark on something scary and amazing at the same time.
on July 17, 2006
Let me just get this out of the way: no, I haven't seen the classic "Doctor Who," okay? But the 2005 series is one of the best TV series I've ever seen. Even if you're not a "sci-fi fan," it's such a well-produced show that you'll find plenty to enjoy. I'll give you two main reasons why.
First, the writing is superb. Many science fiction series fall victim to writers (and, no doubt, producers) who are primarily concerned with coming up with nifty plots and who don't want to be bothered with character. I don't know about you, but if the characters are two-dimensional, I'm going to lose interest pretty quickly. The 2005 "Doctor Who" scripts, however, are rich in emotion and character while also filled with drama, comedy, and adventure in near-perfect proportions. If great writing is more important to you than genre, you definitely have to watch this. However, if you are a sci-fi fan...well, you've probably already seen this; but if you haven't, watch it. You'll be glad you did.
Second, the two lead actors are incredible. Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as his companion Rose not only give compelling individual performances, but their chemistry with each other is magical. These two were meant to be onscreen together. My favorite scenes are Doctor/Rose scenes because of the joy of watching them interact.
The Doctor could so easily have come across as campy or cheesy, but Eccleston makes him completely believable. He (Eccleston) displays a range he's not often given the opportunity to show and makes it clear what a complex character the Doctor really is. The Doctor has a vast amount of emotional baggage, and Eccleston nimbly shifts from heroic to stubborn to joyful to angry to melancholy to silly and everything in between.
Piper, not nearly as experienced an actor as Eccleston, more than holds her own. She's a talented young actress to keep an eye on. Rose is only nineteen but she's not intimidated in the least by the Doctor, and she doesn't hesitate to tell him when she thinks he's wrong (nor he her). Piper, too, has range and believably fleshes out what might have been just a sidekick into the Doctor's equal in many ways. Rose has confidence, courage, and heart beyond her years, all ably portrayed by Piper.
I must also quickly mention Murray Gold's score, which is wonderful. I dearly hope a soundtrack release is in the works. Anyway, I could go on and on, but it would involve revealing spoilers. Suffice it to say that I've driven my family, friends, and coworkers nutty with my praise for the show, but it's so good I just can't help myself. Watch it for yourself and you'll see why.
on June 22, 2006
Before it premiered, the big question about the new series of Dr. Who seemed to be, would Russell T. Davies make it an edgy modern drama or have it return to its traditional family-viewing roots. The answer is that Davies, one of the UK's best script-writers, managed to do both.
First thing's first, though, the show is to use the Ninth Doctor's expression, "Fantastic!" While I've found something to enjoy in nearly every episode of the "classic" series (which I'll define as everything from 1963 through the one-off movie with Paul McGann in 1996), rarely has the balance of action and humor been so expertly handled. What's more, by focusing solidly on the relationships between the characters and the ways in which the Doctor's actions affect them (particularly Rose's loved ones), the 2005 incarnation of Doctor Who has an emotional heft that the older episodes seldom achieved.
Some would argue (and not without merit) that some of the humor is a bit broad. Indeed, the spoofs of reality shows and aliens with gastro-intestinal issues were not the most subtle. On the other hand, the repartee between the characters (especially when Captain Jack joins the party) is often excellent. High marks go not only to series regulars Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper but also to Noel Clarke who plays Rose's boyfriend Mickey and Broadway veteran John Barrowman who plays the dashing (and it turns out truly heroic) Captain Jack Harkness.
Both of the latter characters exemplify one of the series key themes, namely that the Doctor makes people realize that they're better than they knew. Mickey helps Rose get back to the Doctor even though he knows he may lose her again. Jack puts his life on the line for the Doctor (not to mention the whole human race) even though it means almost certain death. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention Simon Callow's excellent guest spot as Charles Dickens and Nicholas Briggs voice-work in the episode "Dalek" which succeeded in turning one of the show's most famous monsters into a fleshed-out character.
Obviously, some of the individual episodes stand out. The two-part WW2-era story The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances in particular is a contender for one of the all-time best from the show's 40+ year history (personally I'm baffled by the assertion an earlier viewer made that this story is somehow out of character with the show's past). That said, in many ways the 13-part series is best seen as a single epic storyline, culminating with a battle for the survival of the entire human race.
Of course, we know who wins. It is traditional Doctor Who after all, and good always triumphs over evil. At the same time, this is also every bit a modern TV drama, and good doesn't win without a cost. As we see in episode 13 (The Parting of the Ways), the cost is a steep one for many people. The final moments of this episode are sad but also leave you wanting more. Thankfully, the wait won't be nearly as long this time.
Addendum (7/7/06): I noticed that someone expressed a view that the price seemed a bit high. To give some context, the SRP for most releases of older Dr. Who episodes has been $25 (less any discounts), and that's for a program that runs about 2 hours. This new release runs 13 hours for $100 (again less any discounts). In short, the amount of material on this new set compares most favorably to the pricing approach established for previous releases.