Doctor Who

The first episode of the new series was on BBC1 last night. There was a bit of a cock-up in presentation: we heard snippets of Graham Norton (who’d just been doing a live show) in the first ten minutes or so. That’ll get the conspiracy theorists going: “It’s all a plot by Michael Grade to cancel the show again”.

So what did I think of it? Hmm. I think the first script was good in places, and poor in places. It wasn’t pitched at nostalgic thirtysomethings like myself, which is a good thing, but I think it was pitched at too young an audience for 7pm on a Saturday night. ISTR reading that the original series (not the panto it turned into) was pitched at “an intelligent 12-year-old”; the first script felt younger than that. I was hoping for something a little closer to the Buffy level.

It does feel like the BBC has thrown a Buffy amount of money at the show. People expecting movie special effects will be disappointed, and that’s fine: Doctor Who never was, and should never be, an effects show. (Having said that, next week’s episode is an effects-fest.)

The first show was always going to be an odd beast: it had to introduce a new audience to the “mythology” without long scenes of talking heads or overwhelming detail, while also telling a story and convincing people to watch again next week. I liked the device of the Internet chappy, and wonder whether they’ll expand on that later.

Good things: Ecclestone (though I’m not sure about the humour), Piper, Tardis, “look and feel”.

Bad things: theme and incidental music. The incidental music will date in about five minutes. The theme is too different from the original; more different than I was expecting from the trailers. We didn’t care enough about Rose’s boyfriend Mickey by the time of the wheelie bins incident; I have a bad feeling that he’s going to be a bit of “comic relief” throughout the series, acting as the generic useless lump and clumsy oaf in need of rescuing.

Overall I’m disappointed. I keep wanting to say “but it’s not for me”; in which case, why is it shown at 7pm on a Saturday night rather than a weekday at 5pm? I’ll keep watching, naturally, but I wonder how many others will.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Doctor Who

  1. Anonymous

    But what did you think of episode two????

    I loved it, but I hearted episode one too!

    • Better

      I thought episode two was quite a bit better than episode one. A better balance overall: some cheese, some gags, some actual drama, plus a woman shaped like a pancake.

      I’m looking forward to the next episode. It’s written by Mark (League of Gentlemen) Gatiss and set in the past, and with any luck will head in the direction of creepy and/or scary.

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