Doctor Who

I’m watching episode #4 of the 2005 Doctor Who series. I’ve heard good things about this, and for the umpteenth time I take the contrarian view. Either I or everyone else has gone crazy. I’ve stuck it out for four episodes, but I don’t think I can take any more. I liked the character as a kid across the Pertwee, Baker and Davison versions. I like Eccleston as an actor (thought he was fantastic in 28 Days Later) and yet … this show isn’t doing it for me. Despite the larger budget and better effects, it does not interest me. Note that this is exactly the same way I feel about the modern Battlestar Galactica It looks better, is much slicker and yet feels empty, vapid and soulless — and that seems to bother no one but me.

I tried to watch the 90’s TV movie version about a year back, and erased it from the DVR after 30 minutes. I’ve stuck with this longer than that, but I’m hovering on the brink of erasing the season pass. Watching it feels like work, and I now feel like I’ve fulfilled my obligation to give it a fair shake. Luckily, I still have 10 episodes of Firefly to fall back on. God help me when I run out of those. Nothing like modern scifi TV to make you feel like you are on the desert island.

I see from the coming attraction that Daleks are in the next episode. I’ll give it one more chance, if for no other reason to hear “Exterminate! Exterminate!” Don’t screw this up, Doctor.

Update: Rogers does not agree. Honestly, I wish I liked this and am hoping the Daleks episode does it for me. If only for nostalgia’s sake, it would be great to be enthusiastic about this show after almost 20 years away.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

12 thoughts on “Doctor Who”

  1. Dave, I feel you…..on Dr. Who at least…

    Is it me or is it a shame that with such great special effects on the TARDIS that they resort to goofy costumes for so many of the aliens?


  2. The thing about this version of Doctor Who is that the entire season works better than all the individual episodes. Weird, but true. The last two episodes are the best, however.

  3. Firefly has 14 episodes (15 hours) w/3 un-released except on DVD.

    Dr. Who is breaking the rules – whatever happened to the limited regenerations? I guess profits can correct earlier “rules”. It still beats network television hands down.

  4. Rob, I actually did like the effect of the woman made only of skin from one of the early episodes. In general, the effects are wildly better than the “dude in a spray-painted trash bag” style of the 60’s and 70’s series.

    Pat, I was done with BG after two episodes. It just plain rubs me the wrong way as really really lazy SF. I hate watching galaxy spanning shows that seems like they are happening in present day Toronto.

    Derek, on your word I’m hovering on sticking with the whole season despite my qualms. After the Dalek episode, I’m either done for good or I’ll stick with the whole thing.

    Don! Did you see your face in the Converge South video? I thought the rule was 12 regenerations, and this is somewhere around 10. Of course, that will get hand waved away soon I’m sure. It’s one of those things like “hope I die before I get old” – it makes sense at the time but eventually you have to disown it if you keep going.

  5. people say that the new series has lost some of its charm and thats defently true, allthough the incresed buget has also lead to better specaill effects theres still some doggy stuff in there which is too CG heavy.
    Doctor who still has its highs and lows (and the dalek epesode comeing up is defently a low, plese for the love of evrything dont watch it, if you want to see daleks wait till later on!) its retended to what it was before is caneclation in the late 80’s.

  6. I watched last season and now the new season with my sons. It is very good with an 11 and 8 year old next to you. Watching the Baker eps is painful for them though. Of course the most important part of this is not the show but the global underground distribution

  7. For once I agree with you about a sci-fi TV show you don’t like.

    I like Battlestar Galactica OK, but don’t think it’s the greatest thing. You, on the other hand, totally can’t stand it. I think Buffy and Angel were cool shows, you don’t.

    Dr. Who 2005 is truly idiotic sci-fi TV. MST3000 had more depth than this shit. I couldn’t stand 2 episodes, much less 5.

  8. This is the finest Doctor there’s been. He’s alien in a friendly, human-ish sort of way. His capacity to manipulate events is far greater than even that of the Seventh Doctor, since Eccleston’s Doctor plays the “I am the bait for the trap” game with great panache and idealism. The Doctor has obviously learned to trust his “luck” as something more than just happy chance. I think the chief issue a lot of people are having with the show is that it isn’t eye-candy for the masses, despite what so many are saying. There’s great depth of the sort that characterized the Baker years, and that has generally always been present in the series, even if sometimes on a muted level. The overall message is one of self-sacrifice and personal growth. That’s the kind of Sci Fi I can always get behind. Doctor Who is still challenging us to learn about ourselves and our universe without wearing the blinders of convention.

  9. Bill, I disagree with you. I think this is the second worst I’ve seen, only that lousy 1996 TV movie was worse. It has nothing to do with eye candy as the 60’s and 70’s versions had pathetic effects but were written by people like Douglas Adams who could actually tell a story. This is alternately cutesy and overwrought, and the characterization is as cardboard as the sets of the Tom Baker era.

    VC Griffin, I watched the Dalek episode anyway and you are right, it is terrible.

  10. I almost think the new series is more of a reimagining of the original DW than a continuation of it (shades of Burton’s Planet of the Apes), but it still can’t call itself better than the original just because of FX and whatever. I think the original worked better because it was done more on a theatrical level and filmed that way, with us knowing there was a human inside the monster acting out the emotions (Robots of Death, etc.) instead of mostly CGI creatures that seem so real so much that it takes all the fun away.
    And the new series seems way too geared for the adult fan audience somehow and it detracts from the kiddish quality the original had, which made it so much fun for kids and adults.
    As for me, I personally like the different styles of acting and costumes then as opposed to how everything looks now. I just find so many of the actors to be too “perfect”, or some other word to that manner, to actually make me believe they’re acting something out, rather than just playing it so flawlessly as to appear to actually live it. (That’s probably not coming across the way I want it to, but it’s hard to explain.) For instance, one of my favorite scenes of all the old series stories was Noah fighting with his Wirrn-infected hand in Ark in Space. Just the right amount of angst and horror with a bit of ham thrown in and that scene’s perfect for me. Nowadays, I would gag to see an actor try to do the same thing, with all the EMO acting floating around currently and overdone gore and such. It seemed more fun back then when censorship was harsher and actors tried to play around that to make a scene work, rather than now where just about everything is permissible, not to mention boring.
    So, the new series does have a few good ones (Girl in the Fireplace, Gridlock, etc), but I don’t see it coming out with any knock-Genesis-of-the-Daleks-off-the-list hits any time soon.

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