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The new Doctor Who finally hits America!
on March 22, 2006
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!!