Maybe it’s because I watched the most recent Christmas Special. Or maybe I’ve been inspired by Mark. In any case, here’s my part one of a new project.
I’m a relatively new convert to Doctor Who. Super Friend Rachel had shown me “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” early last year, but it took me awhile to start watching in earnest. But boy howdy (did I just write “boy howdy”?), did Doctor Who hit my little fangirl heart hard.
So let’s jump in and do this retrospective! Here are some thoughts on Season 1, with head writer Russell T. Davies, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper.
Introduction! “Rose” sets the tone for the new series of Doctor Who, with quick, witty lines combined with action sequences. The living mannequins aspect shoe-horns the weirdness of aliens into Rose’s average life, but her ability to leave it behind for adventuring with the Doctor is damn impressive. Admittedly, she is won over after being informed its also a Time-Machine.
The End of the World:
If I could pinpoint the one episode that really won me over, it would be this one. The Doctor transports Rose to the end of Earth, and while shenanigans ensue, what was amazing was the concept of Earth ending. I’m not sure why, but it hit me in the gut to see that, but understand that humans can go on.
The Unquiet Dead:
The first historical episode! It takes place in nineteenth century Cardiff and centers around the “ghosts” of a funeral home, later drawing in Charles Dickens. It got my hopes up for dressing up in costumes when they travel (which almost never happens again until Season Four) and I didn’t really like the result of the aliens in this episode until it’s brought back at the end of Season One.
Aliens of London & World War III:
The first two-parter and a brief return to Rose’s life in London. It started out pretty cool, in the sense that the Doctor is really excited that they get to see humans make contact with aliens, but the villains were a little lack-luster. They’re really creepy in the human forms though, and it’s kind of amazing how they can take over the government so easily. There’s also more of Jackie (yay!) and Mickey (Ricky), which does force Rose into realizing that she has sacrifices to make while out traveling.
I thought this was a great introduction to the Daleks, considering how freaked out I got over watching that thing kill the extras. It also explains the Time War and Eccleston gets to be INTENSE, which is always awesome.
The Long Game:
Oh, you know what? Simon Pegg’s in this episode. Yup! And it’s about news media in the future and features an altered time-line. The Doctor is really cool in it (naturally), while the new companion is the opposite of that. I think it gets sold short, when it deserves a lot of credit– it is a genuinely creepy view of control on the media and its effects on culture.
There’s such complete Doctor-Rose chemistry in this episode, at least with the premise. He agrees to letting her see her father’s death twice, where Rose runs out the second time to save her father and causes chaos. It’s a really interesting take on when historical events change, especially with the mysterious monsters.
The Empty Child & The Doctor Dances:
Not only is this the Moffat-written two parter, but it introduces Capt. Jack Harkness to the Who-verse. Moffat uses the creepy-child trope of horror movies to the best effect ever, combining the time period (the Battle of Britain) with the alien-threat, and lighter scenes of the Doctor and Rose’s relationship. “The Empty Child” on its own is really creepy, but when it raps up with the finale of “The Doctor Dances,” it becomes a fun, exciting end to the story.
Back to the early 21st century, a return to the crack in the universe in Cardiff, the surviving Slitheen from “World War III,” and Mickey. Rose has to face some more consequences of leaving her life in London behind as Mickey yells at her for leaving him. The Doctor has to go on the most awkward-funny date ever with the Slitheen. Actually, rewatching that scene in the restaurant–where the Slitheen keeps trying to kill him– is one of the best Eccleston scenes as the Doctor. He is just so clever, over and over again.
Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways:
The two-parter finale is a bit hard to explain, though it is a return to Satellite 5 where the news-centric industry has become reality-TV-centric. Also: Daleks. And man, also Captain Jack Harkness involved always means good times. Rose has a large role in “The Parting of the Ways,” as she takes it into her own hands to help save the Doctor at the end of the series, although her absorbing the time vortex didn’t really sell for me. However, it was goodbye to Christopher Eccleston, and he was fantastic. But it was also a Hello to David Tennant, who manages to really define the role for the new series.