A Hater Revisits nuWho

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Bones2, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Bones2

    Bones2 Commodore Commodore

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    "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.
     
  2. The

    The Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good luck! Hope you find new gems to appreciate... :techman:
     
  3. bismarck_1892

    bismarck_1892 Captain Captain

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    Sorry, but that a bit strange. With that said, the 1-8 are still there to watch and enjoy.
     
  4. Bones2

    Bones2 Commodore Commodore

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    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 (*½)
    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:
    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.

    Not funny.

    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.
     
  5. The Castellan

    The Castellan Commodore Commodore

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    I enjoyed the 9th Doctor myself. I liked him alot more than the 10th. :)
     
  6. The

    The Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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... ;) :techman:
     
  7. The

    The Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agreed! :techman:
     
  8. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

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    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
     
  9. Peacemaker

    Peacemaker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    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." :scream:
     
  11. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In my opinion, when it was released, "Rose" was the best introduction to the Doctor Who concept since "An Unearthly Child".
     
  12. Bacl

    Bacl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This.
     
  13. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    Yep, same here.
     
  14. WillsBabe

    WillsBabe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    More of this.
     
  15. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    and another.
     
  16. Bones2

    Bones2 Commodore Commodore

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    I can understand that the episode had a lot to do and live up to, and it could have worked. But I can't emphasise enough how the lame attempts at humour at every turn ruined it for me.

    As for Eccleston's Doctor, I don't like him. However, I haven't seen any of the first series since it first aired (aside from Rose yesterday), so I'm going to give him a chance. But going by this episode, he seems even more unlikeable than I remember. And because of the way he is here, it then negates most of the intrigue the episode tries to build up around him.

    I also remember that straight after this was broadcast and the viewing figures were in, it was announced that a second series was to be commissioned. I'd have thought it would make more sense to wait until the broadcast figures for the second episode, because then you see how many people have come back for more, but that's a moot point anyway. This Doctor Who has proven itself popular with a modern audience.
     
  17. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    YES
     
  18. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    I used to think I liked Eccleston more, but I think, with Tennant's impending departure, that I'm starting to appreciate him more. They're probably equal. The big difference for me is that Eccleston plays a very different Doctor, whereas Tennant is more conventional. I always compare them to Brosnan and Daniel Craig. Brosnan is a bit of a mish mash of other Bonds whereas Craig is very different whilst still being Bond. That doesn't mean I like one or the other better, it just makes them different.

    I doubt Tennant could have played the scene with the Dalek in, er, Dalek, with anywhere near the cold venom that Ecclseton did, but conversly Eccleston could never have pulled off the sheer joy Tennant did when he saw Sarah Jane Smith (sometimes its good to be a fanboy).

    Rose, not a great episode but frankly few first episodes are, for any show. It's all about introducing characters and set up, and whilst people might have thought it a reboot, it cleary has been proven not to be. What RTD did, very astutely, is figure out that the show had to gain a new audience, most of whom weren't even alive when McCoy was on the telly (nor when McGann popped up) He started the show with as little backstory as possible but, over time, has added more and more of the wider mythos in. I have issues at times with RTD but you can't fault the guys accumen and I have a lot of respect for him.

    Oh dear, did he mention the gays....as Donna's alter ego might say, "How very dare he"

    Ok so I do think they make a few too many gay references (most oddly in the doctor Dances which is Moffat not RTD) but it's the 21st Century, a large number of people are gay, deal with it or travel back to the 50s...your choice ;)
     
  19. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    Glad to see I'm not the only one who prefers Eccleston to Tennant. :bolian: (The gap's a chasm in my case.)

    I must give new Who another go myself one of these days. With only a few exceptions it's left me pretty lukewarm, on the whole.
     
  20. Bones2

    Bones2 Commodore Commodore

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    Not get me wrong, I'm not a homophobe. Indeed quite the opposite; in the past I've
    ...sorry, what do you expect to see here?
    .

    But no, it's the frequent and obvious shoehorning in of gay things that irritates me. This is pretty much personified in Captain Jack; a rabid homosexual who'll roger anything that moves. They had to make him immortal or he'd have died of STIs 50 times over by now. That's not a good advert for the gay community. Gay people are largely just like everyone else, just of a different sexual persuasion. Putting in obvious gay things doesn't help.