"Imagine me with no head - and don't say that's an improvement."
The other night I watched the first episode of the latest incarnation of Doctor Who. This is old news to the true Who fans who have most likely already seen the show over the 'net; the new show has been on in the UK for over a year and is going to be starting a second season. But for the rest of us, this is a chance to check out the show or revisit it. I was never much of a fan of the original even while recognizing why it has such a devoted following. The old show had such deep and convoluted story arcs with a dose of sci fi geek extreme characters mixed together with a decidedly British sensibility.
While appreciating the show on one level, I could never really get into it, partly due to the ultra cheesy special effects and, well I don't know...it just never really grabbed me I guess. In any case, I am hardly in a position to evaluate the new show in more than a cursory way. I can tell however that they have strived to keep a link with the old while giving it a newer look. So here are a few observations based on the first episode:
The effects are, for a show in this day/age, still pretty cheesy, perhaps deliberately so. The first episode, "Rose," features some corny animated plastic zombie-like baddies. Perhaps this was their way of a zombie movie sendup (some of the scenes seemed right out of a Living Dead film), but these plastic fantastic monsters made me chuckle a bit; the scene where Rose's boyfriend gets swallowed by a trash can was amusing.
The guy who plays this version of the Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, is really good with a nice blend of anti-hero and witty mysterioso (whatever that means!). I was bummed to hear that he left the show recently.
Billie Piper, who plays Rose, the new Doctor's...oh, what is it called, companion? Assistant? Anyhow, I'm sure someone will correct me; she's OK. A bit whiney at first, but she has to spend the first episode reacting to all the new weird Whovian stuff going on around her so I'm looking forward to seeing how she turns out as a character.
My reaction to the music ran between amusement and irritation. Some of it was like bad 1980s dance electronica. Speaking of the music, they've kept the old theme song for the show with a newer sound for it. Good move.
The Tardis is pretty much the same as far as I can tell with its distinctive police call box, which looks more out of place now that they don't seem to be common in the UK these days.
So, maybe I'll check back after I've seen more episodes, but so far I like it well enough to stick with it for a while at least.