So, I’m re-watching Doctor Who again from the beginning as I would like to do an academic paper on it in the near future (especially in light of the casting of Jodie Whitaker as the first female Doctor). I finished the first season of the show’s reboot from 2005 with Christopher Eccleston playing the Ninth Doctor and this is a mini-review of the season (full disclosure–I’ve seen this season already, back in 2005, although as I’ve noted before, this was before I understood how British TV worked and so I thought I’d missed episodes when in fact, I hadn’t).
Series 1 Grade: A (Excellent)
Is this season perfect? No, it isn’t, but it re-established Doctor Who in the public consciousness and brought a clever, fun, and sometimes dour Doctor to the screen. I’d only seen 1 or 2 episodes of the Doctor before this (I distinctly remember a story involving K-9), but as I was a child and had little reference for a time-traveling alien who changed his faces, I wasn’t able to become a “Whovian” until this reboot hit the air waves.
Eccleston has a pluckiness that he infused into the Doctor’s personality. Eccleston’s Doctor could be dour and serious as the situation called, but there was an attitude of irrepressible joy (almost puckishness) in the delight that he got from traveling time and space in the TARDIS, captured perfectly by his catchphrase of “Fantastic!” Billie Piper as Rose was also a great companion. It is been note that the audience sees the Doctor and the world the eyes of the companions and Piper’s Rose has both that wide-eyed wonder and plucky demeanor that allowed me to become part of the Doctor’s circle. The stories were varied and (mostly) hit for me, with only the odd episode just out of tune here or there. While there were a few “dark” episodes, they mostly tended toward the lighter side during this first season with a recurring “motif” linking the episodes (I won’t spoil it in case you haven’t seen the show).
In closing, I really liked what they did with Series 1 of the show and watching it again reminded me of why the show managed to grab me as an adult in the way it couldn’t when I was a child. More emphasis on characterization, storytelling, and special effects were able to pull me deeper into the story than ever before.