The New Doctor Who (Spoiler Free)

The new series of Doctor Who was posted to the web yesterday, well ahead of its intended release date in the UK.

So I downloaded it. Now, before you start screaming, hear me out on this. I'm a huge proponent of copyright law. I believe in it wholeheartedly. I buy all my music. I spend thousands of dollars on DVDs and CDs and movie tickets every year. So why did I do this?

Because it's looking unlikely that I'll be able to see this in the USA any time in the near future. SciFi channel apparently dropped out of the running, so I'm not holding my breath. Besides, it could be months. It'd drive me insane.

I still intend to go out and buy DVDs of this show when they come out. And I definitely will watch it on television when it's finally shown here. (Hopefully in HD).

Anyway... on to the mini-review...

It's great.

No, I mean it, it's really good. Okay, sure, it could do with finding its footing a little... but these are early days. Once it has chance to stretch its legs and find the level, I've got no doubt that it'll be a pretty damn cool show. It's a little too slapstick right now. When it gets a little more serious, it'll be better.

Special effects? Mostly excellent. Some of them are a little obviously low budget (low budget CGI being really obvious most of the time).

Theme Music? Gimme the full on fairlight synth version any day. Going back to what sounds a lot like the 3rd doctor's theme just doesn't do it for me. I need my twinkling notes of cascading arpeggio electronica.

Christopher Eccleston? Hearing the Doctor with a Mancunian accent is... well... a little jarring. And I come from Manchester. But hey, I'll get used to that.

The biggest problem it has right now is that it's missing ... well... time. 45 minute episodes? Bravo! Give me more of them! Single episode storylines? Arrrrrrgh. No! Please, no!

The US version of Touching Evil was eminently better than its UK predecessor in all but one respect - the stories were too short. They crammed 2 even 3 episode stories into one short 45 minute long block. This just doesn't work for anything but American television like Star Trek, where there's no real character driven elements at all - you need to give the stories the time they need to grow. Cracker is a primer example of this done right - 3 episode stories? No problem!

Final Verdict?

Give it some time to mature a little. And hope to God that they don't have many 1 episode stories, or that'll be the death of the show.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

Archived Wordpress comments
Mat Hall wrote on Wednesday, April 20, 2005:

Sorry to shatter your illusions, but it turns out that the new Dr Who is getting worse, not better. The old format (several short episodes in one story arc) worked much better than the format that this series has used so far (entire plot resolved in 45 minutes; the current story is a two parter, but as it’s the worst yet that’s no consolation – it features a pig dressed up in a space suit and aliens with flatulence).

Although Russell T Davies has written some decent TV in the past, it’s clear that he’s no good at sci-fi, and while he may be a Dr Who fan he’s probsbly doing more to damage the franchise than that godawful Paul McGann movie ever did, and that takes some doing.

All in all I’m sorely disappointed, and I can assure you you’re not missing a goddamned thing!

facebook comments