24 October 2005 | pete_da_slag
A slow-runner to a fantastic finish of a race!
Make what you will of the pilot episode of the new Doctor Who. I myself was fairly dubious upon first viewing, yet by the second episode, Russell T Davies had established a mark that makes this series his own! Gone are the wobbly sets and loose plots without continuity. Despite the episodes being manned by several writers, Davies manages to ingeniously weave them together. From the very first episode, he leaves the slight inkling of an epic subplot; the Doctor's heartfelt, almost-apologetic excuse to the Nestene Consciousness ("I couldn't save your world - I couldn't save ANY of them) is incredibly engaging and it was this very line that drew me in to offer the series a second chance.
And I'm incredibly glad I did. The series takes everything that made the original series popular and updates it for a new generation. The villains, the ideals and the themes all reflect a world that people are living in today. And then Davies also adds something new to the character of the Doctor - a REAL mythology. He no longer has that familiar skip in his step that he was famous for - he's running on low battery power - and he has something no other Doctor had; a survivor's guilt. A man left homeless by an epic war between an ancient and familiar enemy. He carries both the burden of the loss of his home and people, but also the guilt that he somehow had a hand in it.
This subplot runs through the course of the series and works incredibly well; that no matter how random the location or episode plot, beneath it lays that familiar drive that is guiding the audience toward the two-part finale. And what a finale! Not to spoil it for those who haven't seen the series, but everything regarding the Time War comes to an explosive crescendo and at long last the Doctor appears to be able to put his demons to rest.
And then there's Rose! Well, I thought she was amazing and such a well-rounded character. You can believe her and the fact that she is very much our eyes and ears on both the Doctor and the life he gives her makes her even more endearing. But what sets her out from her predecessors (as with the Doctor) is she has a mythology of her own. A life, a family, a home - and Davies taps into those unanswered questions from the old series excellently. What happens to her life away from the Doctor? Do her friends and family miss her? Will she come back? If anything, Rose is just as important as the Doctor. They have the electrifying chemistry that bristled with Lois Lane and Clark Kent, Mulder and Scully and all the other great "Will-they/won't-they" characters. With some shows, pairing off the characters kills off a program, but with these - you almost feel that it would only take the future plots and scenes even further! This series is fantastic - despite its one of two slight hiccups (Episodes 4/5) - and it is clear that both Davies and the BBC have taken slight influences from popular sci-fi shows such as Buffy and Angel. Though, this is in no way a criticism. If you want to be the best, you have to study the best. Adapting the story arc (episode 6), placing a Big Bad to the forefront of the series and throwing in an enigmatic hook (Bad Wolf) gives the show an excellent feel of continuity and does not feel out of place in today's society.
The Doctor's back - and he's here to stay! (and PS - things, in my opinion, look VERY promising with Mr. Tennant.)