The Doctor Is In

As previously mentioned, I obtained an advance copy of the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who. For the increasing numbers of you who sanctimoniously inform me every time I copy data that I am "stealing" (as opposed to violating copyright, which I freely admit I am doing), the Doctor is BBC content, and I pay for a television license, so all I am effectively doing is time-shifting the content. True, the legal precedent involved applied to shifting the broadcast forward in time, on a VCR, but given that DW is show about time-travel I'm sure sending it backwards would be considered acceptable too.

Without giving away any spoilers, I'll say the following:

  • The first 20 minutes are very, very worrying. It's stilted and cheesy and horrible.
  • The second 20 minutes (each episode is ~45 minutes long, formatted for commercial TV) is so much better that I half-suspect the first 20 minutes were a self-conscious homage to the cheesyness of the original series
  • The new Doctor is fast, funny and even a trifle sexy. Eccleston's love for his role is obvious.
  • By the end of the episode -- but certainly not for this first 20 minutes -- I even managed to like Billie Piper. (And that takes some doing) She actually manages to act, shockingly.
  • It's a very British production. All the money that they're not bothering to spend on the FX (still fairly cheesy!) is instead being spent on getting the acting right, and that shows, both positively in the dialogue, and negatively in the visuals.
  • Davies was exactly the right man to write this series. The down to earth portrayal of the everyday world (so evident in QAF) makes the science-fiction elements all the more believable. Good writing was particularly evident in the way he managed to give Rose's character a resounding fleshing-out in just 45 minutes: like I say, he made me forget she's Billie Piper. Rose is super-cool.
  • And finally... TARDIS!!!

I intend to become a total fanboy of this show. Just so you know.