Doctor Who: First Impressions

The first episode of the new Doctor Who, Rose, showed this evening. The main thing I have to say is that I like it, and that I'll be making a definite effort to see it every week. The rest of what I have to say may contain spoilers - be warned!

I really, really liked it. It's brassy, enthusiastic, real science-fiction in a recognisable, even familiar setting. It has mobile phones, the internet, and people not recognising the 50s police box.

I liked the Doctor greatly, not least because he reminds me of a favourite NPC in my D&D game, but also because he's distinct, solid, and uninhibited. And very, very English, which seems to be important.

Rose Tyler was also, in a word, excellent. Sure, she's pretty, but that vanishes into the actual character, which is something I definitely approve of. Too much screen science fiction over the last while has had female characters who were there for their figures, not their personalities. Rose, however, has ordinary clothes, an ordinary life, and enough intelligence to see things that even the Doctor doesn't necessarily. There are plenty of moments where she's the one taking the decisive action. Punching the fire alarm to get people out of the restaurant was great.

I'd like to know if there'll be recurring secondary characters. It looks rather like Rose's boyfriend has got the boot, and that's fine by me - he was rather a wimp. Rose's mother, however, had plenty of character; the exchange with the Doctor when she first saw him was absolutely classy. It had shades - maybe even deliberate - of another character called Rose in Keeping Up Appearances.

There seems to be something of a motif centred on holding hands - it's something that's shown a number of times between Rose and the Doctor, and a few times with other characters. It's not overdone, it's not romanticised - well, maybe the scene running across the bridge - and it's very well done. The fact that they're working in visual touches like that from day one really pleases me; it was something that made things like Buffy and Firefly excellent, rather than just good.

Not having seen older versions of the show, I can't say how consistent it is. However, given the reaction of various people on mailing lists and livejournal, and the lack of anguished screams, I think it must have worked well. Certainly the inside of the Tardis, and its flashing light as it, uh, phased out, looked like they came from an older tradition.

I'm looking forward to the next episode.

Posted by Drew Shiel at March 26, 2005 11:48 PM | TrackBack

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Argh, no! The inside of the TARDIS was the one thing I didn't like... I'd have much preferred if they'd something more akin to the original. Brighter, white, more 'clean' looking.

The TARDIS itself was the 'star' of a couple of episodes I vaguely remember from my childhood. It's *huge*... many, many floors and levels. AFAICR, it's possible to get lost in it. Even for the Doctor to do so :-) And one episode (arc?) had it exhibiting a semi-mystical aura... there are "cloisters", with a bell tolling that could be heard throughout.

Posted by: Anton at March 27, 2005 3:09 AM

Dang, I didn't realise that the new one was on. I only watched one of the vintage ones. anybody tape it?

Posted by: GrayLion at March 27, 2005 12:40 PM

That sounds encouraging. I hope the new series will get a US showing eventually.

Posted by: Lady Byron at March 29, 2005 8:00 AM