(After "collecting" all of the existing Doctor Who threads, I thought it might be fun to go back and re-watch some of the old shows whose threads were "lost" and see what I thought of them now.  Weeknights, I will watch an episode or two of the new series, on weekends when I have more time, I'll watch a story or two from the old series. Anyway, let's travel back now to the early years of the century, and shovel some coal into the old steam-powered digital video disk player and watch the first adventure of the Ninth Doctor...)

 

1)I remember being very ambivalent when I first heard they were bringing the show back.  Yes, I was eager for more Doctor Who, but I wondered whether the new team would do the old series justice, or whether in "modernizing" the show, they'd move it too far away from what I had always liked about it. I'd heard of Russell T. Davies, but as the author of one of the Seventh Doctor novels that were published during the Great Hiatus, and frankly, most of them were little more than jumped-up fanfic. I'd never heard of Christopher Eccleston, but that didn't bother me much - typically I'd never heard of the actors playing new Doctors before, with the exception of Peter Davison, who I'd known had played a veterinarian in some show on PBS that I'd never watched.  In fact, the only other thing I've seen Eccleston in since was 28 Days Later, in which he played a complete stone-cold killer.  I'd also wondered about the new format. I understood that the old format wouldn't work today - heck, the old serial format was starting to get creaky back in the 70's, really, but I wondered how the show would do with a new set-up. I think I'm still a little dubious about how the show works in the current format.  The show is so much faster-paced now, and since so much more time is devoted to character interaction than the old show ever did, the monster/villain/situation of the week is consequently given that much less time to be developed, and the show often feels rushed. To my mind, the best format for Doctor Who was the old school four-parter. Anything longer than a four-parter tends to drag out and have lots of filler. 

 

2)I was gratified that they didn't abandon the continuity of the old show, such as that was. ("Continuity was what the writer could remember on a given day."  - Terrance Dicks) I was also glad that they kept the TARDIS the same, and used the same sound effects for the TARDIS and even for the Autons' guns.

 

3) I liked the establishing shot, panning from space down to Rose's room - it gave sense that here was a show that would be mixing the cosmic and the mundane.

 

4)Of course, if you were a fan of the old show, then once you saw the dummies move, you could guess it was the Autons.

 

5)And the Doctor's first word in the new show is "Run!"

 

6)I did come to like Eccleston in this part. I thought it was an interesting choice to have him play the Doctor as a war veteran who'd obviously gone through a great deal of trauma.   I liked the way this was reflected in his outfit - spare and simple, no clown suits or mile-long scarves for this Doctor.

 

7)"Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!"  I know there's a number of Roseamaniacs on the board, but I can't say as I'm the biggest fan of Rose as a character. Nothing against Piper as an actress, and I don't hate Rose, I just think that she's a run-of-the-mill character - not a patch on Sarah Jane or Donna Noble.

 

8)Observing the interaction between Rose and Mickey, I get the feeling that they would've broken up eventually, even if the Doctor had never shown up.  Funny how unpleasant Mickey is in this first episode, considering how much I came to like the character later.

 

9)"That won't last - he's gay and she's an alien."

 

10)The Doctor does have a brief "post-regenerative moment" here. It would seem to imply that he's regenerated fairly recently. I'd always assumed that whatever happened to end the war brought on the regeneration, although that's just speculation.

 

11)I like the comedy bit with the arm.

 

12)"I can feel it- the turn of the Earth."

 

13)"Dad! It's one of your nutters!"  It's funny that Clive only found pictures of the Ninth Doctor. It's also interesting that the Kennedy assassination gets a mention - an obvious event for the Doctor to have visited, but perhaps also a callback to the starting date on the old show?

 

14)I think the comedy burp when the trash bin "eats" Mickey was a bit much.  Auton Mickey is pretty amusing, though.

 

15)I never did cotton to the Eccleston/Tennant TARDIS interior.  I understand why our Russell wanted to avoid the brightly-lit look of the old TARDIS console room, but it could've been a little less dank-looking.

 

16)"I'll have to tell his mother." there's a continuity bit that will come back to haunt them.

 

17)"If you are an alien, how come you sound like you're from the north?" "Lots of planets have a north!" What does "sounding like you're from the north"  mean exactly to a Briton, I wonder?

 

18)"Its food stock was destroyed in the war."  It's interesting when you think about it that the Time War never seems to have involved the Earth at all. You'd think that would be someplace the Daleks would've attacked just on general principles.

 

19)"Fantastic."

 

20)First mention of the Shadow Proclamation.

 

21)I'd forgotten how obnoxious the Ninth Doctor was at first.

 

22)"I am talking!"

 

23)"Time Lord!" I'd forgotten that Nick Briggs was the Nestene voice.  That man can do anything!

 

24)And Rose ends up saving the day. I'd forgotten the notion that she was a gymnast.

 

25)"Autons originally created by Robert Holmes" - Nice to see a shout-out to the Great Man, my choice for best Doctor Who writer ever.

 

Overall:  Not bad - a bit clunky for a starter, but you can tell that to a certain extent they were still finding their way, here.  Eccelston was quite good as the Doctor - a shame he didn't stay at least another season - and Piper was quite good for being given a somewhat one-dimensional character to play.

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I'm sure the UK board members can add to this, but from watching a lot of the BBC and having British in-laws, I always thought that having a "northern" accent was considered a bit...um...hickish.  Northern England is much more rural and far from the bright lights and centers of learning in London and Oxford.  If there had been a US version of Doctor Who, time lord help us, the ninth Doctor would have had a KY accent...perhaps.  Slowly backing out of the room now...

Actually, the only reason I think he might've just regenerated is the scene where he looks at himself in the mirror and say that it could've come out worse.

Interesting you would say that, Doc, because I've heard of some northern towns - Leeds, for example - being described as run-down "industrial ****holes". So, I was wondeirng if it might've been comparable to somelace like Detroit.  Do they have run-down industrial****holes in Kentucky?

Doc Beechler (mod-MD) said:

I'm sure the UK board members can add to this, but from watching a lot of the BBC and having British in-laws, I always thought that having a "northern" accent was considered a bit...um...hickish.  Northern England is much more rural and far from the bright lights and centers of learning in London and Oxford.  If there had been a US version of Doctor Who, time lord help us, the ninth Doctor would have had a KY accent...perhaps.  Slowly backing out of the room now...

12)"I can feel it- the turn of the Earth."

I remember that speech -- not necessarily that line, but that speech -- as being the exact moment when I knew that the new show was in the hands of "one of us."  The fanboy-service nature of New Who has not always been a positive thing, but at the time (and considering the alternative) I felt hugely relieved.

It’s difficult to compare the old show to the new show. I don’t want to say “apples and oranges,” but doing so reminds me of when I tried to compare Buck Rogers dailies to Flash Gordon Sundays.

Deciding to keep the old series in continuity rather than opting for a fresh restart was a good move. It gives those (such as myself) the opportunity to delve into an in depth backstory if they so desire.

I liked the zoom in from outer space, but I also liked the continuous shot as the Doctor walked from Rose’s apartment and she followed him.

The next time we meet face-to-face, don’t mention to Tracy that you’ve not all that fond of Rose. Just concentrate on how much you both like Danna and you’ll be fine.

The end of the first episode harkened back to the similarities of ST:TNG’s Riker/Troy relationship did to ST:TMP’s Decker/Ilia relationship.

I definitely agree it was the Eighth Doctor who fought in the Time War and that he regenerated just prior to this episode. My “fanboy moment” would be to one day see a flashback of Paul McGann regenerating into Christopher Eccleston,

Do they have run-down industrial****holes in Kentucky?

They call them "vacation resorts."

{Hey, I can do that.  My Grandpa grew up in Kentucky.}

I'm glad we have separate threads here, it allows me to read and discuss what I've seen in safety, while avoiding anything I HAVEN'T yet.  (Which is EVERYTHING after Season 3-- or 29, depending.)

I recall for quite a few months-- even after the series started-- fans were speculating, is it a REBOOT or a SEQUEL?  And it actually took a number of episodes to be sure. Yep-- it's a SEQUEL.

So-- much-- was wrong with the movie, that it was somewhat of a SHOCK when the new series started, to see them get SO-- MUCH-- RIGHT.  Right from the beginning, where the initial focus is on Rose, someone "normal" and "down to Earth".  Instead of trying to dump decades of history on new viewers, many of whom might never have seen the show before, they start out-- just like in the very 1st episode in 1963-- with The Doctor being almost a complete cipher. You learn about him as you go. Which is how it should be! Especially if you're trying to EXPAND your audience.

I've been doing some more writing lately, and on sharing the first chapter of my latest story with a friend, he commented that he thought I'd rushed the introduction, and wished I'd given more background on the characters.  "Are we supposed to know these people?" he asked. I considered whether I might have given out too little... then decided, NO.  I generally prefer when the audience gets to know characters as they go, a bit at a time, through their words and actions. I've seen too many instances, in comics of the last 20-some years, for example, where writers feel the have to explain all the main characters' back-stories in painful detail, before they ever get to the actual story they're trying to tell.

I recall my initial impression of Billie Piper, on seeing a photo of her on the cover of an issue of DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE.  I said, "Oh man-- they DON'T make 'em THAT good-looking in England!" Now, so, far, I've only seen the stories from the first 3 season once apiece, in some cases, twice, which, compared to the MULTIPLE viewings I've had for even my LEAST-FAVORITE stories from the old show, is not that much.  So while I have definite impressions, I still find myself preferring to distance the new show somewhat from the old one. I don't think it's far to compare, or "rate" them side-by-side. That said, while I do like Rose quite a lot, and think she's probably sexy as hell ("You're an attractive woman-- PROBABLY."), somehow, I've never found myself ranking her among my favorites.  Part of me thinks I should-- but I haven't.  Hmm.  My best friend suggests it may be because of how she treated her boyfriend Mickey. I dunno.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of Christopher Eccleston at first, either. He certainly wasn't cast for his looks.  Or was he? About 2 years or so after I first saw the new show, on one of the reruns, it occured to me, that physically, he reminded me of what a VERY YOUNG William Hartnell might have looked like-- he even wears a BLACK jacket. In effect, we might have been seeing what the original Doctor was like, BEFORE he got so old and weak and senile that he forgot how to even work his time machine. It was really funny when Captain Jack later kidded him about his "look"-- "German U-Boat Commander?" As I type this, it strikes me how fitting that is, to some degree, given the TARDIS' ability to travel about and sneak in and out of places unseen.

I did like how they hinted that a LOT had gone on since we last saw the character, and they've been unveiling it a little bit at a time.  And I do find myself wishing someone WOULD go back and do "The Time War" as a "flashback" story, probably with Paul McGann (and a cameo by Eccleston at the very end of it, natch). But then, I also wish someone would go back and do a big-budget remake of "MARCO POLO"-- and possibly, a "flashback" story or two set before "AN UNEARTHLY CHILD".  Just because no one ever has yet.

I'm not particularly thriled by the TARDIS interior, but then, I didn't really like the one seen in the movie, EITHER. In a VERY strange way, the current TARDIS interior reminds me of the one seen in "DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS", on steroids, or acid. Has it occured to anyone that the current TARDIS interior has lasted longer than any previous one? The TARDIS set was never a permanent one, and was ALWAYS dismantled at the end of EVERY season. If you look carefully, there's been at least a slightly-different interior set for EVERY season the show was on the air in the old days.  I sometimes think, if I was a producer and took over this show, I'd bring back the interior from season 1. Or do something that captured that general look and feel.

Kinda wild that they brought back The Autons for the 1st story of the new show, since they were introduced in the 1st Jon Pertwee story, which was probably the single biggest format-change the old show ever went thru between seasons.

The pace of the show kept increasing, "MTV"-style, all through the 80's. And unfortunately, it often got completely INCOHERENT as it did.  While it may be okay to pick up things you missed on subsequent viewings, I strongly feel it shoud NEVER be mandatory to watch something over and over just to understand it at all. This may be the single MOST impressive thing about the revived DOCTOR WHO series for me.  Although the pace is MUCH faster than it ever was with Sylvester McCoy, the writing is SO clear and concise, in 3 seasons, I NEVER GOT LOST or CONFUSED once! That's damned good writing.

I therefore think it's very strange that at the IMDB message boards, there seems to be almost universal DISLIKE for the revived show-- to put it mildly.

On the other hand, to me, the most INSANE aspect of the revived series, was them casting Christopher Eccleston, knowing, up-front, that he would ONLY do ONE season.  I mean-- WTF?????  (The fact that I wound up liking David Tennant EVEN MORE than him doesn't eliminate this feeling.) Oh well, at least if they felt they HAD to have a regeneration so early in the new show, at least they waited until the END of the 1st new season, rather than trying to shove it at people AT THE BEGINNING.  In retrospect, I really HATE how Sylvester McCoy met his end. In a way, it's almost a shame HE wasn't the one who fought in The Time War. For a character who had become so pro-active, that would have been a very fitting way to go out.

I'm glad we have separate threads here, it allows me to read and discuss what I've seen in safety, while avoiding anything I HAVEN'T yet. 

 

I got that idea from the old board, where they used to do separate threads for the Justice League cartoons, for the same reason.

Both LEGION WORLD and MASTERWORKS (I think) have separate threads of old and new WHO.  The IMDB has 2 different sections, and therefore boards, but every so often discussion of one will slip into the other, and I have to AVERT MY EYES!!! The Sci-Fi Channel really made it difficult when they would run coming attractions for NEXT week's episode DURING THIS week's story-- and run them during EVERY commercial break.  WTF is wrong with those people?

It was especially infuriating during any of the 2-parters. Without giving specifics, I feel like I may have been the ONLY one in America who was actually SURPRISED when the cliffhanger came up at the end of "ARMY OF GHOSTS".  I actually screamed at the TV-- both with shock, and delight that the surprise had NOT been blown for me!

Spoilers have never bothered me, but I could see how that would be infuriating if you don't like them.  Sci-Fi never really lived up to what I thought it would be when I fisrt heard about it.

 If anyone looks like a young William Hartnell, I think it's Matt Smith.

 

Or the guy in this commercial (42-49 seconds in):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVsf82IuVLI&feature=related

 

If they were to ever do a "multiple Doctors" type story again, I could see that guy playing Doc 1.

Billie Piper was a pop star in the 90s, but that was all behind her when she was cast as Rose.

 

I had nothiing but disdain for chart music at that time (1998), so I've just googled the video for her biggest hit and watched/listened for the first time.  Prophetically, it's quite Doctor Who-ey.  Check out the bouncer to the Nightclub, as well as Billie's arrival.  She was only 15 at this point.

 

What does "sounding like you're from the north"   mean exactly to a Briton, I wonder?

 

You're on to it with the urban blight thing. When Briton's think of 'The North' they think of whole rundown towns where the streets are not unlike those in that video for 'because we want to'. It's where the Industrial Revolution was felt strongest in England.

 

I've said it elsewhere, but Russell T Davies used Doctor Who to push a big inclusion agenda. It's in Cap Harkness's sexuality, the unmarried teenaged mum in the WWII story, the black servant in the Dickens story (black people were around in the 19th Century Britain, but you wouldn't know this from any popular historical drama made before.. well, before the Eccleston season of Doctor Who.) He brings people normally marginalised in popular culture into the centre of the stage.

 

Doctor Who has a proud tradition of inclusivity. The first producer was a woman, and the first director was Indian. Still, those two were 'insiders' insofar as they had gone to ther right schools and colleges and spoke with the right accents. Neither would have got the job, I'd imagine if they spoke with Eccleston's northern accent as here.

 

Accent as a marker of class and intelligence has been a big thing in British culture, only giving way in my lifetime. Even in 2004, it was a big deal to have the iconic central character of a British insititution like Doctor Who speak in anything other than received pronunciation. Paul McGann is also from the North (Liverpool) but his accent as the Doctor is a very well pronounced RP. Most of the Doctors spoke the Queens English. (Perhaps Silvester McCoy had a slight Scottish burr?) It was a big deal to make the Doctor speak in a regional accent.

 

As a point of comparison, think of the vetinarian show you'd seen Peter Davison in. In All Creatiures Great and Small, the northern accents of the Yorkshire country folk in it denoted their strange foreign-ness, and the viewer expected to see them evince all kinds of quaint regional backwardness, and were seldom disappointed. The three vets in the show all had emaculate 'just stepped off the stage in Stratford' English RP accents, and had presumably moved North from southern England.

 

So the Northern accent in Doctor Who was a big deal even in 2004, and a deliberate push against ingrained prejudices still lingering in society.

 

Russell T Davies sits side by side with Paul Abbott in my mind, another TV writer of Davies' generation who went out of his way to make drama more inclusive. Abbott's major series Shameless created involving comic drama about the poorest of the poor in Britains sink estates, about people who are normally demonised in the popular imagination as workshy slobs and thoughtless animals.

 

The classic 'hicky' accent in British TV has traditionally been that of farming folk from Cornwall. Like in this sketch. They seem to be Cornish country folk in the first Pertwee story Invasion from Space. Notice the huge sideburns and impaired thinking skills of the yokels.

 

Moffat, in contrast seems too eager to ingratiate himself with mainstream opinion rather than force people to reassess what passes for mainstream, and to imagine themselves into the shoes of those it thoughtlessly left outside the party.

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