Let me start by explaining why I am writing about a television series that restarted in 2005. I’ve always been aware of the Doctor and the massive following that has gathered behind the Dr. Who series but as a fan of Sci-fi, as a geek who grew up wishing he could some day work as an Ensign under Captain Jean Luc Picard, the BBC television series never actually appealed to me. I’d seen snippets of episodes, caught flashes of odd looking trash cans with plungers for eyes and egg beaters for weapons, I can recall references to the show across multiple formats, I’ve seen the tumblrs, the cosplayers and I flat out just did not get the whole thing… until now!
With little left for me to occupy my evenings with, I quickly exhausted the Netflix library and was left with rewatching some old favourites or trying out something new so began my first adventure with the Doctor.
The original Doctor Who series first began in 1963 and ran for 26 seasons before finishing up in 1989.
Filming for the new series began in 2004, thirteen 45 minute episodes were scheduled for airing starting with episode one ‘Rose’ on the 26th March 2005. The first episode recorded 10.81 million viewers making it the third most popular show on the BBC that week, the show received praise from fans and former cast members but not everyone was happy. Some fans were appalled by the new logo and TARDIS and it was reported that staff and writers were receiving not only outraged fan letters but were dealing with death threats…so where does all of this leave a newcomer to the Dr. Who universe? Dazed and confused to put it mildly! In those 26 seasons the Doctor changed or was reincarnated eight times, fought the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master, saved Earth countless times, travelled billions of miles across space and time, had over twenty different companions, experienced loss, joy and witnessed the destruction and birth of civilisations over and over again.
The BBC in their infinite wisdom decided that 2005 was the year in which their critically acclaimed series would finally come back but were unsure how a new generation of Sci-fi fans would react to the Doctor let alone how lifelong Whovians would respond to his return.
The first series of Dr. Who starred Christopher Eccleston (who received mixed reactions on his portrayal of the Time Lord) as the ninth reincarnation of the Doctor and Billie Piper who played Rose Tyler, his travelling companion. I really had no idea what I was letting myself in for, knowing little to nothing about the series but I quickly found myself having late night Who marathons unsatisfied with just one episode. The series chronicles the adventures of the 9th Doctor and Rose travelling through time with episodes split into either single episodes or two-parters, the show flows well.
Stand out episodes include ‘The Empty Child’, ‘The Unquiet Dead’ and the final episode ‘The Parting of Ways’ literally had me holding my breath.
The 9th Doctor with all his charm and suave is a very dark and mysterious figure, his smiles hiding bitter truths and secrets but despite the anguish he feels over his existence his love for Rose is something genuine and seems to help him keep moving. I never thought I’d be a fan of Miss Piper but she has become one of the best things about the first season, her performance as the enthusiastic Rose Tyler is refreshing and every episode she never fails to light up her scenes and in particular her last scenes in ‘The Part of Ways’ were outstanding!
I quickly found myself wishing the whole bloody thing to be real because I finally began to realise why the Dr. Who series is so successful and loved.
The show isn’t about flashy effects or gigantic budgets wasted on minutes of CGi footage, it is what all good Sci-Fi should be about – the story. There is a heart and depth to the Dr. Who series that so many television shows struggle to find but right from the start I found myself completely entranced by the characters both regular and once off, Jade, Lynda, Charles Dickens. I laughed, smiled, cried and blushed every step of the way and it was only when the series was over that I remembered that this is what made me fall in love with Science Fiction in the first place!
So while my adventures with the Doctor are just beginning, I can safely say that I’ve realised the error of my ways and I foresee myself being more open to more sci-fi shows that I have snubbed in the past. My aim is to catch up on all things Dr. Who before the next season starts and in saying that I bid adieu as I continue my journey with the 10th Doctor, Mr. David Tennant.
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!