Trailer courtesy of Gallifreyforever97
After a 16 year absence, Doctor Who returns with a bang, complete with a new face, direction and energy to the much loved sci-fi phenomena. The tone and pacing of the episodes do differ throughout the season, jumping from childish comedy to dramatic tension which feels off at times while the show tries to find its rhythm. The old guard might be disappointed with the direction the show is heading after the intricate character-driven story lines of classic Who, but there’s plenty to enjoy here in the rebooted Doctor Who.
For anyone unknown to the concept of the show, a time traveller named The Doctor travels through space and time in a blue police box named the ‘TARDIS’ battling creatures, solving mysteries and exploring the universe. Usually accompanied by one or more companions, the series is set out in episodic format with a new adventure every episode. Where Doctor Who differs is in its approach to its many changing lead actors. When close to death, The Doctor uses his powers as a time lord to regenerate and take on a brand new persona thus keeping the show fresh. Its this unique take on the genre that’s made the show so endearing throughout the years, with each actor putting his own spin on the character. The formula remains the same here and it still feels surprisingly fresh and new.
This time around, the role of the infamous Time Lord is taken up by Christopher Eccleston who, despite his relatively short length of time with the character, does an excellent job of introducing Doctor Who to a brand new audience. Eccleston’s take on the character is a deep, conflicted persona – haunted by the ghosts of an epic battle called the ‘Time War’ that wiped out his species, making him the last remaining Time Lord. His performances at times are magical and really captivate the internal struggle the Doctor is going through but he doesn’t quite command the same amount of charisma as some of the other actors that have taken the role and it shows.
The stories themselves are good throughout the season with only a few episodes that feel like filler, but the final two two-parters are definitely the stand-out in an otherwise good season lacking memorable episodes. A re-emerging old foe of the Doctor along with a gas-mask wearing little boy stalking a war-torn London feature in the two separate stories. The stand alone episodes are decent too but its worth mentioning one particular episode featuring a deliciously sadistic Simon Pegg that feels elevated by some great acting and a decent story.
It wouldn’t be Doctor Who without its companions and here we have Rose (Billie Piper) who takes a little while to get into the role but her spunky, confident performance actually shines brighten than Eccleston as the series draws to a close. Her heart-felt monologue during the last episode is outstanding and really solidifies herself as a decent companion for the Doctor. Frustratingly, this is the only season featuring Christopher Eccleston and just as the series started to find its footing too. With David Tennant waiting in the wings, it seems likely that he might put some much needed charisma to the character that’s lacking somewhat here.
The new look, feel and style of Doctor Who is a welcome change from the tiring formula of old and and the monster design has been improved drastically from the wobbly costumes of past. The set design is second to none too and some of the planets and spaceships are breathtakingly beautiful.
The first Season of the revamped Doctor Who does well to establish itself to a new audience and although the tone is a little off at times, it looks hopeful that this show is back for the long run after a second season has been green lit. The first season is good in establishing a new fan-base but there’s enough here to please die hard fans too, even if the show doesn’t always have a consistent tone. Sci-fi fans rejoice, it seems Doctor Who is back and promises to be better than ever.
Verdict - 7/10