I’ve seen this episode of Doctor Who more than any other, and I still love it. This is my first rewatch of each of the new series since almost exactly a year ago. Since then, the fifth series has debuted and I’ve got the benefit of hindsight for these episodes.
Russel T. Davies resurrected Doctor Who after its slow demise in the ’80s and early ’90s. He was partially lucky to have an established fan-base, but that also leads to a significant challenge: he needs to please those fans. And he does, both old and new. I’m sure there are some die-hard, stodgy Colin Baker fans out there who hate this new-fangled stuff. They can have him, because I’m quite sure the Tom Baker fans accepted it just fine.
Christopher Eccleston plays the 9th incarnation of the Doctor (a link to a short history of Doctor Who can be found here), and he brings some great things to the character, while calling back to some of the things fans love about the previous Doctors, most particularly Patrick Troughton (the 2nd Doctor). He’s grouchy, at times comical, quirky and hard. He’s clearly soon after his recent regeneration from the 8th Doctor (Paul McGann), as he looks in a mirror and comments on his appearance, as though he’s still getting used to it. At the same time, he’s done some traveling since then.
From the get go, the Doctor and Rose Tyler (played by the lovely and talented Billie Piper) have a great rapport with quick dialogue and an informal, humorous relationship. Davies well-establishes Rose as in a rut in life, with “no A-Levels, no job, no future,” until the Doctor comes along to show her the world. He’s good for her, and we find later that she’s exactly what he needs: a companion.
I love Mickey (Rose’s boyfriend) on this new view. It’s nice being able to have seen the whole picture and really appreciating Noel Clarke’s acting. He acts a bit like a buffoon, and that put me off for awhile. I know he’s actually really solid, and it’s a treat to watch him work.
This episode features the Nestene Consciusness, and a lot of animated mannequins–Autons–that shoot out of their hands. Recently, I watched the first episode featuring them. It is a 3rd Doctor episode called “Spearhead from Space,” and with all due respect to Russell T. Davies, I love the way they originally did the Autons. These were overly stiff, while the others seemed as though they were actually beings. That being said, this is a great first episode, leading into a solid first run for the reboot with exceptional writing throughout.
“Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!”
“Do you know like we were saying, about the earth revolving? It’s like when you’re a kid, the first time they tell you that the world is turning and you just can’t quite believe it ’cause everything looks like it’s standing still. I can feel it…[the Doctor takes Rose’s hand]…the turn of the earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. The entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty seven thousand miles an hour. And I can feel it. We’re falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world. And, if we let go…[He releases her hand]”
Rose: “If you’re alien, how come you sound like you’re from the north?”
The Doctor: “Lots of planets have a north!”
“Can we keep the domestics outside?”