Doctor Who - The Complete Series 1 Box Set  -
It was always going to be a risk for the BBC to revamp Doctor Who--few television programmes inspire as much rabid and cultish adoration. With the 2005 series, however, the BBC have really outdone themselves. Their updated Doctor Who is a revelation: a cult science fiction series that has real mass appeal, and works for both children and their parents. Christopher Eccleston is an inspired and charismatic Doctor--he leaps around the sets with an unrestrained glee, like he's a child running amok in a toy shop. His enthusiasm in downright infectious. His sidekick Rose (Billie Piper) adds a real human touch, particularly as she gradually and believably matures from in-over-her-head city kid to tough-minded interplanetary hero. Much of the credit must go to writer Russell Davies, who has a much-practiced knack for finding popular appeal without dumbing-down his ideas, and who appears to have let his imagination run riot. Even the special effects, whilst not of a big-budget cinematic quality, still manage to strike a balance between cheesiness and realism. Thrilling, funny and thoroughly entertaining, this Doctor Who is a hero for the new millennium. --Robert Burrow
Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):
A classic re-born : I was quite gobsmacked to read the previous review. The Daily Mail style frothing at the mouth and wringing of hands was quite astonishing. Were we even thinking about the same series? The re-birth of Doctor Who under the careful guidance of Russell T Davies was, and still is, a total triumph. This first of the new series trod that difficult ground of keeping the old guard fans happy while introducing the wonderful character of the Doctor to a whole new generation. It could have quite easily fallen flat, but it didn't.
The opening episode "Rose" has probably the hardest job to do, and struggles manfully with the introduction of characters and the development of a story line. As for the rest of the series for me the best episodes were "The Unquiet Dead", wonderful Gothic horror stylings with added walking dead zombies and Charles Dickens - what more could you ask for? The Slitheen are fun in "Aliens of London" and "World War 3". "Dalek" actually makes you feel sorry for a Dalek, which is a bit of masterful writing. "The Long Game" is brought alive by the wonderful Simon Pegg as The Editor and I think this is an unneccessarily underrated story, full of sharp humour and nice touches. "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" are full of menace, particularly the ghostly little boy wandering the streets of war torn London asking all and sundry "are you my Mummy?" The season finale double header "Bad Wolf" and "Parting of the Ways" are two of the finest episodes seen in the whole Doctor Who pantheon up to this point.
A great first series, particularly enriched by a fine performance by Christopher Ecclestone in the central role. His wonderfully damaged Doctor comes with all sorts of baggage, tragically failing to come to terms with the loss of The Time Lords and his own solitary wanderings. Billie Piper rose (if you'll pardon the pun) above all expectations with her fine portrayal of Rose Tyler. John Barrowman makes a fine Captain Jack and there is strong and able support from Noel Clarke and Camille Colduri.
You are on safe ground here. Entertaining intelligent sci fi for a new generation of Doctor Who fans.
All Hype And No Substance : When I first heard Doctor Who was coming back onto our screens after a sixteen year absence I was as excited as any other fan could be. With all the huge improvements in special effects and a much bigger budget how could it possibly fail to be anything other than great television, my expectations were sky high. To say the new series came as a bitter disappointment would be a massive understatement.
I had been a great fan of the first four doctors from the original series for as long as I can remember and though I tended to lose interest after the Tom Baker years I none the less retained a great affection for the show. The program used to have a recognizable story line, interesting characters and for the most part imaginative scripts courtesy of the writers. The new series has none of these. You just have to compare the abilities of a modern writer such as Russell T Davies or any of the others involved to the likes of Terry Nation, Malcolm Hulke, Robert Holmes and Douglas Adams to name but a few to know where the cream of talent resides, i.e in the past.
Christopher Eccleston is a good actor but because the Doctor's characterization in the script is so poor Eccleston goes around the whole time with a cheesy smile and generally flounders about trying to find something to work with within the void that has been written for him. Is it any wonder he chucked the part after just one season?.
Billie Piper may have a dormant talent hidden somewhere deep within her and if so then I wish she would hurry up and find it because she certainly cannot act. First we had to endure her pop career and none ability to sing being thrust down our throats for a couple of years, now it seems we're in for the long haul as far as her none ability to act is concerned. 'Good Looks' does not automatically mean someone has talent. The character of Rose is particularly boring and with the way Piper plays it, totally devoid of interest.
The stories are all rush and push, the point seemingly being to get the whole thing over as quickly as possible so the viewers don't get a moment to think. It's depressing to believe that audiences seem to have the concentration span of a particularly lazy amoeba these days. How people can get conned into thinking this sort of rubbish is quality telly I cannot begin to imagine!.
Next gripe is about the humour. There has always been quite a good amount of humour involved with Doctor Who, particularly with Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker. This was usually in context, with good-natured banter between the Doctor and his companions or the ribbing of an enemy such as Davros which made an excellent 'straight man' for Tom's Doctor. It was excruciatingly embarrassing when Eccleston's Doctor told one of the monsters to "stop farting" or words to that effect in one of the episodes and I would have difficulty in coming up with anything more unsubtle in it's place. Nobody would write a new Three Men In A Boat book complete with 'Nob Gags' or remake HMS Pinafore with Captain Corcoran walking out of the lavatory saying "I'd give it ten minutes if I were you", so why plunder and destroy the legacy of an all-time si-fi classic?.
In short, if this is the best that modern television can do then I personally will stick with the old stuff. This new series is cheaper in every respect apart from the money it took to make it. It is dross for the Reality TV generation and they can keep it!. A fabulous opportunity sadly lost.
Series 1 : First, I'm going to say this; the extras are great and the design is great and everything about it is great!
"Rose" is quite good when it gets going.
"The End Of The World" not my favourite due to the lame aliens.
"The Unquiet Dead" zombies! Wow! Cool!
"Aliens Of London"+"World War 3" Brilliant, the Slitheen are great!
"Dalek" Brilliant! I love it! I've seen it millions of times!
"The Long Game" a bit good, quite boring, a pathetic excuse for a monster
"Father's Day" one of my favourite single parters from Series 1
"The Empty Child"+"The Doctor Dances" brilliant.love the mummy's boys
"Boom Town" good that the Slitheen is back.I'm not to keen on this episode
"Bad Wolf"+"Parting of ways"I don't like Bad WOld much, but I love the 2nd
This is a must set for all fans of Doctor Who
Great series : I never saw the old series of Doctor Who and when I watched this one I thought I wouldn't enjoy it but I was proven wrong. This is a brilliant series and it is one of my favourite shows
Christopher Eccleston acts the Doctor in this series and he is great, he brings something completely new to the Doctors character, he is funny and serious at all the right times. Billie Piper ( the ex-singer ) acts Rose Tyler and she is great for the part and is completely believable, she is a great accomplice for the Doctor.
My favourite episodes in this series are The Empty Child double episode and Fathers Day. The worst episodes are Boom Town and The Long Game. I reccomend this series but series two is better.
A flying start : When Doctor Who came back, I'm pretty sure that Rose wasn't quite what fans were expecting. It was funny, focussed on the companion and put the sci-fi element mainly off stage and it was fantastic. Indeed the first five or so episodes are filled with humour, some of it witty, some of it playing off science fiction convenient and some of it about flatulence. Some people were upset. But the thing is, it had to be. Doctor Who, whilst an institution, had become the punchline of jokes in public perception, fairly or unfairly, and any new version that had failed to show it was able to laugh at itself and the genre would have had a hard time gaining audience acceptance. Plus, humour has been a part of Doctor Who from day one, with Hartnell's eccentric, bombastic and sometimes bumbling portrayal of the Doctor.
Eccleston's portrayal of the Doctor is similarly eccentric, bombastic and sometimes bumbling. Survivor of a great cosmic disaster that has left him alone in the universe, his Doctor is haunted, damaged and frankly brilliant. Two years on, and having now properly warmed to David Tennant's portrayal, I still want to see more of the Ninth Doctor. A housemate of mine suggested he was a bad actor, because you could tell he was acting. But the Ninth Doctor is acting, pretending everything is okay, and when that tear glints in his eye in End of the World when Jabe is talking about how it's amazing he even exists, it sends shivers down my spine. Eccleston's portrayal is magnificent and leads us through a story arc for the Doctor. Which is a first.
What of Ms. Piper then? Rose is exactly what Eccleston's Doctor needs, bright, bouncy and take charge, challenging authority but tight with her mum, she adds a level of domesticity that was never in Doctor Who before but allows the viewer a way into the show. Long-time fans know the Doctor and that's enough, but new fans would have to learn why they should identify with a 900 year old alien, and his relationship with Rose is it. Rose carries the show at times because she's strong enough to. The only time the relationship grates a little is in the Long Game and oddly this is where the two leads act much as the 10th Doctor and Rose will relate to each other...
The special effects work gets better as the show goes on, in the first episode the Nestene appears a bit Xena-like in terms of CGI, but the pig space pilot is perfect, the Moxx is superb and the Gelph look like they escaped from the Ark of the Covenant.
Similarly so do the stories. The show steadily gets better, with Dalek being the first episode that is truly excellent and showing how the 45 minute format can work. When the Empty Child aired, I watched it with a German student and a Romanian student, neither of whom had seen "Classic Who" - they asked me how this could be a show for children, to which I answered that that was what the British liked to do in their kid's TV, scare them to death, and that Who had never been that good when I was a kid. I may have been overstating things a little but that episode combined with the series finale with the Doctor's greatest enemies attacking Earth in force and his last desperate efforts coming to naught, showed that not only was new Who not simply a comedy but it could be a great drama.
If there's a downside, it's that the Bad Wolf mystery seems like an afterthought, that RTD decided to put it in the show before figuring out what it actually was, or that his original idea wasn't the one that ended up on screen. Oh, and the music is sometimes too much.
In terms of extras, the video diaries are okay but not as candid as one might hope, and the Who confidential episodes, sans old series material, tend to recap the episodes with a few comments by staff. Similarly the commentaries that tend to have at least one of the producers onboard tend to coo a lot about how great things are. So they're not that essential. But that hardly detracts from the brilliance of the show.
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