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Doctor Who "Bigger on the inside..."

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Old November 30 2009, 06:40 PM   #1
Bones
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A Hater Revisits nuWho

"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold! Come on, Ace - we've got work to do!"

Recognise that? Those are the last lines spoken by The Doctor (7th, Sylvester McCoy) in the last episode of the classic series (leaving aside the talky, Americanised TV movie, enjoyable though I found it). It's a little odd, but then Doctor Who always was. A show about an old man alien who travels around through space and time in a police box, encounters monsters made of bubblewrap, and offers to show young girls his "Tardis". Only in Britain.

But Doctor Who holds a special place in my heart. Back when I was very young, UK Gold used to show old episodes of it every Sunday morning. My parents used to record it and I'd watch it after getting home from church. And even though this was the late 90s, and television of the time would seem to be far more sophistacted, I still found it entrancing. It always held my interest, and I always seemed to see past the fact it looked like it cost about £5 a series to make. And Planet of the Spiders was ruddy terrifying.

But then, that was quite a while ago. When it was announced Doctor Who was coming back in 2005, I'd not seen old Doctor Who for quite a long time, and regarded it as an old curiosity rather than something still worth seeing. So what a new Doctor Who would be like was of interest to me.

Well, it's 2009 now, and we've been through another 4 series and 2 Doctors. What do I think of the show now? Well, I've gained a new appreciation for the original, having seen some of it recently, and it seems to me that though they spent about as much on that per episode as one of the buttons on Tennant's jacket, they had far more imagination than the CGI wonders of the new show. But that said, I've watched every episode of nuWho when it's gone out, and I've not thought it all awful. So I thought I'd give it all another watch. After all, it's been over 4 years since I've seen the first series. Maybe I wasn't fair on it the first time around...

Incidentally, I'm not a big fan on tacking "nu" on the front of things to indicate they're the relaunched version...but I have anyway. Get that. Anyway, reviews will follow.
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Old November 30 2009, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Good luck! Hope you find new gems to appreciate...
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Old November 30 2009, 08:11 PM   #3
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Sorry, but that a bit strange. With that said, the 1-8 are still there to watch and enjoy.
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Old November 30 2009, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

bismarck_1892 wrote: View Post
Sorry, but that a bit strange. With that said, the 1-8 are still there to watch and enjoy.
Eh? What's strange?

Anyway...

I'll be rating out of 5 stars btw. 2.5 would be dead on average, 5 would make it perfectly amazing, 0 would be...perfectly awful I suppose.



Rose (*Ĺ)
Really, this episode had it all to do. There was a new Doctor to introduce, and it had to present the new Doctor Who as a concept. Clearly it wouldn't do to be just like the old one. Because who wants to watch that in this day and age?

So, it goes about this by focusing on Rose. And this brings me to one of the biggest problems with new Doctor Who: the companion has become just as important as the Doctor himself. I recall at the time on one of the series 1 Doctor Who Confidentials that RTD would prattle on about how it's necessary to give the Doctor a family and people to connect to. Well, it's not really necessary, and it sort of removes the alien element from the Doctor. In the classic series (as it has become known), the companions served the purpose of being the audience's connection to the Doctor. It was through them that we always knew what was going on.

But that's more of a criticism of the new series as a whole than of this episode. The idea of getting to know this new Doctor and the new show through a relatable human is, admittedly a good one, and probably the best way to do it. Where this episode trips up is that it plays pretty much everything for laughs. Almost all of it falls flat, however: most of Jackie's lines (though the skin like a Bible one made me laugh), the plastic arm strangling, the Doctor's manic behaviour, and (worst of all) the bin burping.

As for the ninth Doctor himself, he veers between smug and irritating, and sounds like he holds humans in complete contempt, which is completely at odds with his previous selves. Indeed, at the time, hearing him talking about "stupid little people" and "blundering apes" made me think this was meant to be a complete reboot. As well as his complete lack of concern that it seemed Mickey was dead. Quite condescending too ("go home and have your beans on toast"). All while grinning like a maniac. Tom Baker pulled that off, this guy doesn't. And the one time we're meant to find him engaging, he's given completely dismal dialogue (that bit about how he can feel the earth moving), which Eccleston doesn't even try to salvage.

One thing that did work was the sense of intrigue that we get when Rose tries to research the Doctor and finds Clive (or the Bank Manager from the Nationwide ads, as he's most familiar to me). Though adding to the sense that this was a complete reboot was the fact that the only documented evidence of the Doctor is all the ninth Doctor. And the dialogue didn't go:
Clive: "And he has one constant companion."
Rose: "Who's that?"
Clive: "A metal dog called K9."
What did work for me was Billie Piper. Indeed, she outperformed Eccleston in the acting stakes. Though Rose was a bit of an idiot (not noticing how Mickey had changed), Piper was always completely believable in the role, and showed herself to be a great actress. I have to say though, as soon as she said "I could do A levels", I immediately replied in my head "no you couldn't".

It was also good to see the Autons. Spearhead from Space was an especially memorable episode, and the Autons were the main thing that made this feel like this was still Doctor Who.

But, for all the things I find to like, the attempts at humour damn near kill it entirely, and is why I can't give it more than 1.5.

Doctor: "What are you doing here?"
Rose: "I live here."
Doctor: "Well what d'you do that for?"
Not funny.

Doctor: "That won't last; he's gay and she's an alien."
Not funny. But this being RTD, we have to get a gay reference in.

I could go on.

So yeah, I do find things to like here, but not enough compared to the things I don't. Still, the next episode promise the end of the world. Blimey, that must be good.
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Old November 30 2009, 10:20 PM   #5
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

I enjoyed the 9th Doctor myself. I liked him alot more than the 10th.
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Old November 30 2009, 11:25 PM   #6
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

I have to disagree with a lot of your assessment of Eccleston. I love his Doctor, and find that the actor brought far more originality to the role than anyone since Tom Baker. But, hey, that's just a personal opinion on the character. I, too, think ROSE is an average episode. And, I dislike the re-balancing of Doctor Who into a two-lead show. The Doctor is always, always going to be far more interesting to me than any of the companions. So, I want more time devoted to him than her. However, I think you will find that many aspects shift with changing Doctors, and that Eccleston is not nearly as bad as you think he is in the role. There are some damn incredible moments coming up for you. I would ask that, as another Classic fan, to open your mind and try not to compare it too harshly against the love of the old show. If that were the case, there would be a LOT of fans who wouldn't tune in...
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Old November 30 2009, 11:26 PM   #7
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

The Castellan wrote: View Post
I enjoyed the 9th Doctor myself. I liked him alot more than the 10th.
Agreed!
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Old December 1 2009, 12:02 AM   #8
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

The idea of Rose was not to hit it out of the park on the first try. It was very much a "soft relaunch" and as such I thought it did the job fine. Does it hold up as well as later episodes now that we've experienced classics like Blink and The Waters of Mars? Of course not. But most TNG fans think Encounter at Farpoint is crap, too. When it first aired, it was the most wonderful thing on the air. And even though it's still crap, it deserves respect for getting the ball rolling.

Whether you rate "Rose" *1/2 or ****, it made enough of an impact that the series was renewed on the strength of it alone. Had it bombed out of the gate, all we'd have to talk about is the latest Big Finish audio ...

And even though Rose wasn't the best episode of Season 1, it still had arguably the best Doctor monologue -- his description of the Earth moving -- in the show's history. If you know nothing about Doctor Who and want to "get it", listen to McCoy's soliloquy at the end of Survival, and Eccleston's meditation in Rose, and that's all you need.

Alex
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Old December 1 2009, 12:18 AM   #9
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

And even though Rose wasn't the best episode of Season 1, it still had arguably the best Doctor monologue -- his description of the Earth moving -- in the show's history. If you know nothing about Doctor Who and want to "get it", listen to McCoy's soliloquy at the end of Survival, and Eccleston's meditation in Rose, and that's all you need.
QFT

And for the kids, indeed for us all except those who saw An Unearthly Child when it first aired, it captured the wonder of entering the TARDIS for the first time. We all knew it was coming, but that moment when Rose first enters the TARDIS was pure magic. I felt what the first audience must have first felt, and I've been a fan since the mid-70's.
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Old December 1 2009, 01:43 AM   #10
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

USS Bones wrote: View Post
Incidentally, I'm not a big fan on tacking "nu" on the front of things to indicate they're the relaunched version...but I have anyway. Get that. Anyway, reviews will follow.
I absolutely and completely agree on this count. Whether it's Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, or now even Star Trek, I simply loathe the prefix "nu."
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Old December 1 2009, 05:06 AM   #11
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

In my opinion, when it was released, "Rose" was the best introduction to the Doctor Who concept since "An Unearthly Child".
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Old December 1 2009, 05:32 AM   #12
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

The Castellan wrote: View Post
I enjoyed the 9th Doctor myself. I liked him alot more than the 10th.
This.
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Old December 1 2009, 06:50 AM   #13
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Bacl wrote: View Post
The Castellan wrote: View Post
I enjoyed the 9th Doctor myself. I liked him alot more than the 10th.
This.
Yep, same here.
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Old December 1 2009, 08:18 AM   #14
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

USS Bones wrote: View Post
Doctor: "That won't last; he's gay and she's an alien."
Not funny. But this being RTD, we have to get a gay reference in.
I thought this was hilarious. Not in context, but from a meta point of view. I never thought I'd hear the Doctor make such a comment. For me this line told us that we were in for something new and different here and I welcomed that.

The Castellan wrote: View Post
I enjoyed the 9th Doctor myself. I liked him alot more than the 10th.
More of this.
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Old December 1 2009, 10:38 AM   #15
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

WillsBabe wrote: View Post
The Castellan wrote: View Post
I enjoyed the 9th Doctor myself. I liked him alot more than the 10th.
More of this.
and another.
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