I just finished watching Dalek. I would say the quality is definately improving. Somehow, I'm not too attached to the Doctor, though.I suppose that even though I've never seen it before, I still managed to have my own preconception of how he'd behave. Maybe I was expecting someone not so chaotic. Is that the right word? It will be interesting to see how other incarnations of him will be.
The biggest problem with the Doctor as a character is a) he's an alien and b) his character has become a bit of a two dimensional comic strip hero c) he's a time traveler. All that makes it rather difficult to write drama focused on his character and as such makes it hard for the viewer to become emotionally invested in him. I suspect this is the main reason for the time war and the death of his people, it adds some drama to the character.
To be honest though I wasn't exactly attached to his Doctor either. Tennant and Smiths Doctor on the otherhand I did get attached to.#
As you've started my suggestions are a bit moot, but I'd have recommended either starting at "Rose", "Eleventh Hour" or the recent Christmas special.
Also I suggest watching this, which is a nice sum up (beware, there are spoilers)