Saturday, April 09, 2011

Doctor Who: Season 1

Earlier today, I finished watching season 1 of Doctor Who. I first posted months ago that I was going to be watching this as a complete n00b, with almost no background on the show whatsoever. Then I watched the first two episodes, and then the Buffy Rewatch began, so I put the show aside.

But the thing is, I recently acquired a book on Doctor Who for ECW Press, my publisher, and I’ll be editing this book, written by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?, for next spring. The manuscript is coming in soon, and I don’t want to be spoiled, so I had to redouble my efforts and get back into it. And so, I did. And just as so many people have been telling me for so long, it’s amazing. Mark Askwith at Space told me that Russell T. Davies is a big fan of Joss Whedon and there’s a definite Buffy feel to it, and he was absolutely right. As with Whedon’s work, I can laugh and tear up all in the same scene.

So first, the non-spoilery stuff for those who haven’t yet watched: if you think Doctor Who is too campy (as I previously thought), it’s not. However, many people refer to this as a kid’s show, and I just don’t see my kids watching it just yet. I was told when I started that it’s for ages 6 and up; my daughter is 6, and there are certain moments that I know would terrify her (and not in the good way that kids like to be scared). That said, I think it’s a show my kids could watch at a younger age than Buffy, for sure. Probably around age 8 or 10 would be fine.

But if you’re an adult who thinks Doctor Who is just silly, you’re mistaken. The storylines are incredibly poignant, and even the aliens (no matter how bad) have humanity to them. They might slaughter humans like they’re garbage, but they do care about something... or someone. The relationship between Rose and the Doctor is very close. She loves him, and he her, but it’s not a romantic type of love. They’re closely connected and that connection is one of the best things about the show. The time travel aspect is something that is at once fascinating and heartbreaking, depending on where or when they go. I cried more than once. I cannot wait for season 2.

And now, onto the spoilery stuff. Please stop reading if you haven’t yet watched it.

Now I’m reaching out to the Doctor Who fans out there. I’m dying to discuss this, but since it’s been years since these episodes aired, it’s probably easiest to chat with you than to seek out any old discussions on it. Perhaps I’m going to be way offbase on something – there’s a chance my favourite episodes were the ones most reviled by Doctor Who fans – but on the other hand, I know what I like and don’t like, and so I’m most interested in hearing how my tastes are similar and diverge to everyone else’s. So let’s start.

I already talked about the pilot episode, “Rose,” and “The End of the World.” Both of them were fun and endlessly campy, and I fell in love immediately with the show on the first one. I didn’t like the second one quite as much, but it showed just how far-reaching the time travel could be.

The Unquiet Dead is one where the Doctor and Rose join forces with Charles Dickens, a real-world element I loved. The Gelth – the ethereal creatures that live through the gaslights – were very creepy, and at the end where the girl is instantly killed by them (but appears to be alive) and sacrifices herself for everyone, it’s a poignant moment that signalled to the viewer that, again like Joss Whedon, Davies is not afraid to get us attached to people only to kill them off. As with many characters on the show, there’s a sense that one person can make a difference in history, but many of those heroes are unsung. We read about kings and knights in the history books, but we don’t read about the servant girl who did something extraordinary to affect the world. I really enjoyed this episode (and Simon Callow was a fantastic addition to the show).

The next two episodes weren’t favourites of mine – “Aliens of London” and “World War Three” introduced the Slitheen, a family of aliens who have ingratiated themselves into the British government. The Slitheen are giant rubbery things with three claws at the end of very long arms, and up close when you could see the actors running around in the rubber suits, my husband and I were laughing. When the cameras pulled back and you could see them running at a distance, it was clearly more CGI than in close-up. As I mentioned in the earlier post, my husband grew up watching Doctor Who with his dad... he’s not a hardcore fan – he can’t name episode titles, he doesn’t quote any dialogue, and he hasn’t watched those early episodes in years, but he certainly knows his stuff from growing up with Tom Baker as his Doctor. He seemed to like these two episodes more than I did, but he did add, “Just for the record, I don’t remember farting in the other Doctor Who episodes...”

Now, with him being such a big fan, the next episode was the one that was for him. “Dalek” is the first truly marvellous episode of the series, in my opinion. My husband was excited to see his favourite baddies again, and my only frame of reference for the Dalek was seeing models of them at fan cons, or listening to my husband saying, “Exterminate... EXTERMINATE!!!” So when the Doctor first went into the room to check out the life form the collector asked him to see, and a little blue light came on in the room and a halting screamy voice started, my husband went, “YES!” and I said, “What?” “It’s the Dalek!” The lights slowly come up, and standing there is... a garbage can. “Wait, that’s the most feared thing the Doctor knows? It’s got a whisk and a toilet plunger, how the hell can it hurt anyone?” And then I saw what the Dalek was capable of. Of course, there was a scene where they were running along and hallway and ran into a stairwell, and my husband burst into laughter. “One of the biggest jokes is that the Dalek are the most feared things in the universe, yet you can baffle them with stairs.” And then the Dalek elevated to go up the stairs, and it was crazy creepy. “They couldn’t do THAT in the old series,” my husband said, while I just shivered with just how eerie this thing was. “Does it look the same?” I asked. “Well, it’s more golden... a little shinier than I remember it, but otherwise they have absolutely nailed the voice of it and it looks the same.” “Did they always scream like that?” “Oh yes,” he said. At the end of that episode, when the little goopy octopus thing was revealed to be inside (hubby said to his knowledge we haven’t seen the inside of one, but he said he couldn’t say that with any certainty), it was beautiful. The creature tells Rose to order it to destroy itself, and she at first says no, and then does it, because the Dalek has discovered some humanity within itself, and knows it can’t go on like that. It rises up, the gold balls come off the sides, encircle him, and destroy him. Silence. Then, “They couldn’t do that in the old series, either.” ;) I LOVED the episode, but my husband said he hoped that wasn’t the last of the Dalek. I said I doubted it, if they are that important to the Doctor Who canon.

Next up was The Long Game, another good one with Simon Pegg (yay!!) as The Editor. And as in real life, the editor is pure evil (aren’t all editors pure evil? Hahahaha... OK, if you’re one of my authors, don’t answer that). The corpses working at the consoles were super-creepy, but I thought Pegg made a great campy villain, and the goopy thing on the ceiling (“I call him Max”) was particularly gross. This is one the kids will love.

Father’s Day is an excellent episode that made me consider what I would have done in the same situation. If you could go back to a particular time in your family’s history and change the death of someone, would you? I’ve had a few people in my family die in accidents, and I know if I went back in time to meet them I doubt I’d be able to walk away and let nature take its course. In this episode Rose goes back to the day her father was killed by a car, when she was only a few months old. Her mother had romanticized who her father really was, and Rose finds out he was more of a sleaze than her mom ever let on, but in the end he truly cares about his daughter, and when he discovers this 19-year-old girl is in fact his daughter from the future, he knows what he has to do. On Lost, Miles explained that you can’t change the past, that whatever happened happened, but in this episode when Rose averts the accident, she opens a wound in time that sends in reapers (giant winged creatures) who decide to patch up that wound by basically destroying every living thing in their paths. To save his young family, Rose’s father goes out and sacrifices himself by standing in front of the car, restoring the lives of those who were killed that day. Years later, Rose’s mother would tell her about the day her father died, and that a young woman crouched beside him as he lay dying, but she didn’t know who that girl was. Since the earlier story was that her father had died alone, Rose was able to bring comfort to a situation without altering history, and so there’s a bittersweet ending. It was beautiful. I really loved this episode. And at that point my husband got into another show and kept wanting to watch it instead of Doctor Who, so I watched the next few episodes on my own. And the first one was just... WOW.

The Empty Child is set in 1941 during the Blitz in London, where barrage balloons hang low in the sky and children are starving because their parents have died. During air raids, the children rush into the houses where the inhabitants have rushed into bomb shelters and take a bunch of their food, but one particular group of children is being frightened by a child wearing a gas mask and saying in a haunting voice, “Mummy... are you my mummy? Mummy, I’m here... are you there, Mummy? Muuuuuummmmy.....” He’s about 4, has blond hair, and I swear if my son had a British accent he would sound just like this child. He creeped me out to no end, and I felt like I was on the verge of tears for the entire episode. Nancy, the girl who is the head of the group of children, tells the doctor it’s her little brother Jamie and that he’d died, and you can’t touch him or you’ll become like him. For me the saddest moment was when the Doctor orders everyone to their rooms, and Jamie drops his head like a scolded child and slowly walks away... I just wanted to hug the little guy, and couldn’t bear to watch him walk away alone. Meanwhile Rose has been separated from the Doctor and has met Captain Jack Harkness, who I know from Torchwood already (I only watched the first episode of that show, and didn’t really like it but I’m told I need to watch it within the context of Doctor Who... can someone tell me where season 1 of Torchwood falls in the Doctor Who canon? At what point in watching these episodes would I begin watching Torchwood?) He’s got the hots for her (and pretty much anything else with two legs), and he amazes her with his spaceship and his big gun. Pun intended.

Part 2 of this episode is The Doctor Dances, and together I think these are my favourite episodes of the season (seriously, I can still hear that child’s voice in my head). When they discover the gas masks are fusing themselves to the people’s heads, the group all comes together and are chased through the hospital by the people. There’s a hilarious scene where the Doctor finally refers to his little instrument as his sonic screwdriver, and Captain Jack is aghast that that’s the only weapon he carries through time with him. “Who looks at a screwdriver and says, ‘Hey, this could be more sonic!’??” Later when the Doctor plays a time travelling joke by switching his gun with a banana (you had to have been there), they’re trapped in a room with the batteries worn down on the gun, and Jack saying, “Well, I’ve got a banana, and you could put up a bunch of shelves in a pinch.” This episode was as funny as the previous one was scary. But at the end of the episode, I’ll admit I was reduced to tears when Nancy is cornered by little Jamie in his gasmask, and she admits tearfully that it’s actually her son. When she runs to him and hugs him against her better judgement, her love flowing from herself to him is what cures him and brings him back to life. While sci-fi fans tend to prefer less happy (more realistic) endings, I loved this one, and was right there with the Doctor as he was laughing and leaping around, saying, “Just this ONCE, nobody dies!!” Even Captain Jack appears to be about to die at the very end (right after he rides a bomb in a Dr. Strangelove allusion) and the TARDIS comes to save him. Beautiful two-parter.

Boom Town is next, and once again... the Slitheen. Ugh. I wasn’t very thrilled by it until a moment in the bathroom when the Slitheen women hears another woman talking about her family, and instead of ripping the woman apart, which she’s about to do, she changes her mind, and you can see how sad she is to be the last of her family. This is an episode where good and evil aren’t so clearly separated, and the Doctor accompanies the woman back to her planet where she will be executed without trial. Discussions of who’s better than the other one ensue, and in the end she tries to trick them all, but in a shocking moment, we see that the TARDIS is a life form with a soul, and when she looks into the heart of it, the TARDIS’s telepathic sense reads her thoughts and gives her what she wants – she’s reduced to an egg and allowed to start her life over again. I was glad to have this episode, because it cast a new light on the earlier Slitheen episodes. Although I’ll still be happy if I never see them again.

Next up was Bad Wolf, a slightly cheesy but still very funny episode that was a send-up of British game shows and reality shows, specifically Big Brother, Weakest Link, and Trinny and Susannah. While I personally cannot stand What Not to Wear, my best friend watches the British version of it all the time, and she fills me in on it. So I had the context for that show (and thought it was particularly funny that the android Trinny had small boobs and the android Susannah had much larger ones, just like their human counterparts). I loved that Tanya Branning from EastEnders was in this one as Lynda (OK, yes, I do watch trashy British TV, although I haven’t seen EE in ages), and when Rose was disintegrated I thought she really HAD died, although I muttered to myself out loud, “I could have SWORN she was in the first Tennant season!” but I second-guessed myself and assumed she must be dead. Watching the Doctor’s reaction was very touching, and that’s the moment (if it wasn’t clear by his jealousy with Rose’s relationship with Jack in the previous episodes) when you know how much he loves Rose. This episode ended with the Daleks (YES!) and the Emperor of them all, and I must admit, when you see a bunch of them, they are rather terrifying.

This episode led us into the finale, The Parting of the Ways, where the Doctor sends Rose away and she simply can’t go back to her old life. After having seen what she’s seen, it’s understandable – how could you possibly go back to Council flats and fish and chips after you’ve seen the things she’s seen (cue Roy Batty speech)? Mickey, her former boyfriend, is someone who’s popped up throughout the series as the poor guy left behind, but who will always be waiting for her like a loyal puppy. But in this episode, when Rose tells him there’s absolutely nothing for her there, he knows it’s over. He helps her out of love, and I wonder if we’ll see him again in season 2? He’ll probably still hang out with Jackie for a while, but I don’t know if he will still be a part of her life or not. Rose, like the Slitheen in Boom Town, looks into the eye of the TARDIS, and what she sees... is like a Tralmafadorian in Slaughterhouse-Five. She can suddenly see all of time laid out before her like a plateau of simultaneous acts, and when she emerges from the TARDIS, all glowy-eyed, and Dalek-destroying, I wasn’t sure what the heck was happening. The Doctor kisses her and takes back from her everything that is inside... but that means he can no longer be the Doctor that we know.

Last summer I was at the Polaris convention (which seemed to be 50% about Doctor Who) and had a conversation with Cindy, who posts here as SenexMacDonald, and she was telling me the Doctor regenerated. I’d always thought it was like how they change characters in soap operas: “Today the Doctor will be played by David Tennant” and you just accept it’s the same guy, different actor. But she told me no, it’s much more than that, and a vital part of who he is. Watching the Doctor regenerate at the end of this episode was amazing and sad. I really loved Eccleston a lot – he was my first Doctor, after all – and while I know the fans really love Tennant, I was sad to see him go.

Now, I do have to mention one thing I don’t absolutely love, and that’s Rose. While I think she’s great, and the companion is certainly (for me) a conduit through which the viewer can discover all the things that normally we’d be asking, my husband actually said if she fell into a burning pit of snakes he’d be pretty happy. I said, “Why, she’s not that bad,” and he said he thought she was immensely annoying. As the season went on, I began thinking the same thing. I don’t know if it’s Rose herself, or the actress playing her, or what it is. When I thought she’d been killed in Bad Wolf, I was upset, but that’s more because I was worried about the Doctor’s reaction than anything else.

In any case, I loved this season. The finale was mindblowing, The Empty Child is something that will probably be with me forever, and the poignancy of Father’s Day and Dalek raise it above most other shows on TV right now. I can’t wait to get into S2 now. What did you think of season 1? Please leave comments below and tell me what you thought of these episodes... did you like the Slitheen more than I did? Is The Empty Child a favourite episode of other fans? Please don’t leave any spoilers for future seasons, however... I don’t want to know anything that’s happening in the future.

On to the first Christmas special!!

42 comments:

Chuck Power said...

So glad you likes it Nikki. I feel like our experience was very similar. I was not a huge fan of the Sleveen. I was enjoying the series but Empty Child/The Doctor Dances hooked me totally. I loved Eccleston and was actually very resistant to liking Tennant and it took me a few episodes to warm up to him. Now he is "My Doctor". I'm jealous that you have so much fun ahead of you. Enjoy! I look forward to your future Who posts.

Chuck Power said...

I didn't mean to say "glad you likes it". Just a typo. It makes me cringe if I say it out loud.

Batcabbage said...

I knew you'd love it! I agree with you, Eccelston was a great Doctor ("Lots of places have a North" - classic), but my favourite Doctor is David Tennant, and you've got all of that still to watch! Oh, you're in for a treat. Season 2, 3 and 4 are all brilliant, each in different ways, and although I think they're better than season 1, they take nothing away from it. Keep an eye out for Steven Moffat episodes, they're among my favourites (I believe he wrote the 'Are you my mummy?' two parter). I envy you so much - you have 4 seasons of greatness to still watch! And season 6 starts soon! Hurray!

Lisa(until further notice) said...

I'm glad you are keeping up with it all. I will try and do some research for you about when to start Torchwood. I did it incorrectly and had to do some backtracking myself last summer. It would be like watching all of BtVS and THEN starting Angel. I loved Eccelston too, but adored David Tennant. I'm all caught up, so I'm on board with Matt Smith now. I have to say, I love him too!!! It's a wonderful series, and I'm so happy you blogged about it. I'll be back later with Torchwood info if I can re-figure it out.

Cassie Powers said...

So gald you stuck with it Nikki.. Series 1 was good, but wait til series 2. You will totally fall in love with whaat many people consider the best of the "relaunch" Doctors,David Tennant.

Page48 said...

"The Empty Child" was one of the first episodes I saw several years back before I became a regular viewer of DW in 2009 with "Planet of the Dead", which was the first in HD. That was the Zoe Slater episode...yes, I too watch trashy British TV.

"The Empty Child" also features Richard Wilson, who plays Gaius on "Merlin", which, of course, is Anthony Head's current gig.

I'm surprised that I've easily accepted Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith as The Doctor. In fact, as blasphemous as it may sound to some, I'm about ready to call Smith my fave. I loved his first season and I'm jacked about his imminent return.

I don't share in the Rose Tyler hate, though. I like RT and her Union Jack shirt. I think I would rate FA as my least favourite companion and I really love his current traveling mate.

There are so many great adventures yet to come with Tennant and Smith. DW is like BtVS, it's too easy to write it off as childish nonsense instead of giving it the chance it really deserves.

As for "Torchwood", I've only seen a couple of the early episodes when they were running on Space: The Imagination Station. However, I did watch "Torchwood: Children of Earth" and absolutely loved it. So, it goes without saying that I'm primed and ready to hand myself over to "Torchwood: Miracle Day" in July. It's long overdue and, thankfully, 10 episodes in length (as compared to COE's skimpy 5).

Oh, Blogger, I was ready for you this time. Copied to clipboard before my post was EXTERMINATEd.

Andy the Time Lord said...

Yes! Another DOCTOR WHO lover has been made! Make sure to dish about the DW manuscript when you get it. We need more DW books in North America similar to your FINDING LOST and BITE ME! companions.

TORCHWOOD Series 1 begins simultaneously with DOCTOR WHO Series 3. The events of Series 2 of DW leads into the TORCHWOOD spin-off. The DOCTOR WHO and TORCHWOOD timeline intersect in the Series 3 DW finale, and then they pretty much go their separate ways for the most part until the climax of DW Series 4. I shall say no more, in hopes of not spoiling anything for you.

I am in agreement about Rose. My mom loves her and fancies her the most, but she is absolutely mind-numbingly obnoxious, in my humble opinion. Cannot wait until you experience the awesomeness that is Martha Jones of Series 3.

My favorite Doctor is, like most everyone, Tennant, but the Eleventh incarnation Matt Smith is easily becoming a huge favorite. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on more of the series!

EsDee said...

Last summer I watched all of Torchwood without ever having seen any Dr. Who…and just LOVED it. I then decided I had to embark on Dr. Who.

I knew from reading that most everyone just adored Tennant’s Doctor, and so I wasn’t sure how I was going to like Season 1 with Eccelston – but I ended up becoming very attached to him.

The funny (and amazing) thing about Dr. Who is that it can be totally ridiculous on the one hand (some of the alien beings just look awful) – but then it is completely poignant at the very same time. Almost every episode makes me cry at some point – or makes me contemplate the human condition.

So, after being torn up at the “loss” of the first Dr., I tentatively watched Season 2 – and fell in love all over again with a new Dr...Tennant. I blew through Seasons 2-4 (thanks to a few business trips where I could connect to my Netflix in the hotel and just watch 4-5 episodes in a row without anyone bothering me). I just HAD to get through them to see what happened next. It was like getting to the end of a book.

You have some truly great episodes coming up in the next few series. My fav’s – The Girl in the Fireplace (Season 2) and Human Nature/Family of Blood (Season 3 two-parter), Blink (Season 3). I am in agreement with the others – the Steven Moffat episodes are genius.

Going through those Seasons I did have a few “aha” moments when I saw where Torchwood and Dr. Who intersected – but you definitely do not have to know Who to watch Torchwood, and vise-versa.

Now I hear many folks are completely on board with Matt Smith…but I am waiting for my grief to subside over losing Tennant, who did eventually become “my” Doctor. “The End of Time” just tore me up – tears streaming down my face and everything. Wow, it’s just a TV show!! Plus, Netflix isn’t streaming Season 5 yet, and I am too lazy to get the DVDs 

As far as the companions, I quite liked Rose – except I didn’t like what they eventually did with her (that is all I’ll say to not spoil things), I did not like Martha (although I liked her a lot on Torchwood), and unlike a lot of people, I really liked Donna.

So, have fun! And I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about the rest of the shows.

Cindy/SenexMacDonald said...

Nikki, congrats on taking the plunge! :) My "Doctor" was the first Doctor back in 1963 when the show ran on CBC. At the end of either the first season or second (know the ep but won't share here until you have caught up and are ready to explore the earlier Doctors), it no longer showed on CBC.

Being in NS with only 2 channels for the longest time and the Internet not existing then either, and not moving to ON until 1976, I had no idea there were actually MORE episodes and more Doctors.

I arrived to discover Tom Baker on PBS. I did not understand how this could be since as far as I was concerned the series had ended and I had done my mourning! But there it was. I caught up from the beginning and watched from that point until the series was 'cancelled' by the BBC.

I watched the movied with hopes the series would be revised but to no avail until RTD came along and we all began again.

I therefore have two 'first' Doctors - and I love Eccelston. I adore Tennant and Smith so don't get me wrong. I just wish Eccelston had decided to do a few more years. :(

I had no problem with Rose during this season. I loved Jackie and Mickey - though I felt so bad for him that he got left behind by Rose.

The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances are both written by Moffat. He is the show runner on DW now since RTD left.

Yes, that child is very freaky. If you do come to Polaris this summer, you might hear people quoting that child. We all do just for the freaking out factor! lol

You said: "She can suddenly see all of time laid out before her like a plateau of simultaneous acts, and when she emerges from the TARDIS, all glowy-eyed, and Dalek-destroying, I wasn’t sure what the heck was happening. The Doctor kisses her and takes back from her everything that is inside... but that means he can no longer be the Doctor that we know."

This is what I meant about the regeneration part. Rose has absorbed energy from the heart of the TARDIS. It will kill her because she is human. The Doctor being a Time Lord and from Gallifrey is able to handle it much better than she. However, due to the large amount of energy he absorbs, it affects him and begins his regeneration early. I won't spoil you but just mention again that regeneration is not just changing actors - it has a lot to do with the character of the Doctor.

Oh, and yes, Nikki, the shows are meant to be children shows. They began as more educational in the early 60's but that started to change with the second Doctor. However, they still remain a children's show on the BBC. This is how many parents today began - and so are their children. :)

Check this out - you will like it!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBw5tOeXWkY

The young man enjoying the song is 'Ian' - my first major crush for someone on television.

Plain_Gillian said...

Hooray! You are now discussing Doctor Who. Empty Child and The Doctor Dances were my two favorite episodes of the first season. I love each of the three new doctors equally but in different ways. Each time I watch an episode I claim that the Doctor I am watching is my favorite (if that makes sense). In regards to Rose, she might grow on you in the future.

Cindy/SenexMacDonald said...

And Nikki, this might help you re. viewing Doctor Who and Torchwood. Let me know and I can lend you my Torchwood. :)

Doctor Who S1
Doctor Who Christmas Special 2005
Doctor Who S2
Doctor Who Christmas Special 2006
Torchwood S1
Doctor Who S3
“Time Crash” – a mini-episode from the BBC’s Children In Need starring David Tennant and Peter Davidson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szuP0oBZX4g)
Doctor Who Christmas Special 2007
Torchwood S2
Doctor Who S4
Doctor Who Christmas Special 2008
Doctor Who Easter Special 2009
Torchwood Season 3 (Children of Earth)
Doctor Who Specials 2010
Doctor Who December 2-part Special 2010: The End of Time
... this introduces Matt Smith and his first season; this past Christmas Special and season two starting Easter weekend on Space
... Torchwood Season 4 begins in July, I think.

Graeme said...

While I don't believe that with Doctor Who there's ever any such thing as fan consensus, I do think your favourite and not so favourite stories track with others pretty much, with the Empty Child, Father's Day, Dalek and the finale at the better end and the Slitheen story in the other direction. (I think End of the World is liked more and The Long Game a little less). I'm personally quite fond of the slitheen two parter. I love that the aliens are comical and the script has some nice satire and great set pieces. It's let down by bad direction but I think it's smart and funny and has some lovely set pieces.

I'm surprised you didn't love Boom Town more. I'm not a fan of Buffy but it sure felt the closest Doctor Who has come to what little Buffy I've seen. The whole routine at city hall wouldn't have seemed out of place, to my mind, with the scooby gang. Though perhaps I'm wrong.

Season two has some bigger lows than season one but some bigger highs too. I think you'll love David Tennant. Hopefully Rose will grow on you as well.

Tom D. said...

Season 1 is good, but the show keeps getting better from there, in my opinion. I developed a major crush on Rose, but hopefully the subsequent companions will be more to your liking, Nikki. I thought Tennant would be an incredibly hard act to follow, but Matt Smith is an amazing Doctor who I hope will stick around for several more years.

Christina Boulard said...

Nikki, I just can't get over how alike we are. really, I can't.

I remember watching old Doctor Who (with Tom Baker) with my dad, but like your husband, I wasn't a die hard and I couldn't remember any episode names or anything.
When the new series started, I was "meh". I figured it was like the old ones so I didn't bother with it.

Then my brother (who turned me onto Lost) told me I HAD to watch "The Eleventh Hour", which is Matt Smith's (the current Doctor) first episode.

Trusting him (because he knows me so well!), I watched it, I loved it, and I went back. Right back to the beginning of the new series, to Christopher Eccleston.

I refused to watch anymore Matt Smith until I could get caught up.

And I won't lie, I didn't like Eccleston. I didn't like the Slitheens, I didn't like Rose.
The Dalek episode was cool, but I was still "meh" and I almost, ALMOST gave up.

And then I watched "The Empty Child". Well, that spooked me and I love to be spooked, so then I watched "The Doctor Dances"...And, Nikki, that's was when I fell in love.

"Everybody lives, Rose! Just this once, everybody lives!"
That line, to this day, after watching that episode a dozen times, STILL makes me tear up.

I fell in love with Eccleston, I fell in love with Doctor Who and I haven't looked back.

Without spoiling it for you, I can promise you that Rose WILL grow on you and that you WILL fall in love with David Tennant (who has become my favourite Doctor).

I don't have anyone to talk Who with, so I'm very, very glad to see you'll be blogging about it. I can't wait to discuss future episodes with you. :)

Christina Boulard said...

Also, because you asked and I'd looked it up and saved it to my desktop, here's the viewing list of Doctor Who/Torchwood in chronological order:


Doctor Who / Torchwood intertwined chronologically (Starting 2005)


1. Doctor Who S01E1 – Rose
2. Doctor Who S01E2 – The End of the World
3. Doctor Who S01E3 – The Unquiet Dead
4. Doctor Who S01E4 – Aliens of London
5. Doctor Who S01E5 – World War Three
6. Doctor Who S01E6 – Dalek
7. Doctor Who S01E7 – The Long Game
8. Doctor Who S01E8 – Father’s Day
9. Doctor Who S01E9 – The Empty Child
10. Doctor Who S01E10 – The Doctor Dances
11. Doctor Who S01E11 – Boom Town
12. Doctor Who S01E12 – Bad Wolf
13. Doctor Who S01E13 – Parting the Ways
14. Doctor Who S01E14 – The Christmas Invasion
15. Doctor Who S02E1 – New Earth
16. Doctor Who S02E2 – Tooth & Claw
17. Doctor Who S02E3 – School Reunion
18. Doctor Who S02E4 – The Girl in the Fireplace
19. Doctor Who S02E5 – Rise of the Cybermen
20. Doctor Who S02E6 – The Age of Steel
21. Doctor Who S02E7 – The Idiot’s Lantern
22. Doctor Who S02E8 – The Impossible Planet
23. Doctor Who S02E9 – The Satin Pit
24. Doctor Who S02E10 – Love & Monsters
25. Doctor Who S02E11 – Fear Her
26. Doctor Who S02E12 – Army of Ghosts
27. Doctor Who S02E13 – Doomsday
28. Doctor Who S02E14 – Christmas Special :The Runaway Bride
29. Torchwood S01E1 – Everything Changes
30. Torchwood S01E2 – Day One
31. Torchwood S01E3 – Ghost Machine
32. Torchwood S01E4 – Cyberwoman
33. Torchwood S01E5 – Small Worlds
34. Torchwood S01E6 – Countrycide
35. Torchwood S01E7 – Greeks Bearing Gifts
36. Torchwood S01E8 – They Keep Killing Susie
37. Doctor Who S03E1 – Smith & Jones
38. Doctor Who S03E2 – The Shakespeare Code
39. Torchwood S01E9 – Random Shoes
40. Doctor Who S03E3 – Gridlock
41. Doctor Who S03E4 – Daleks in Manhattan
42. Doctor Who S03E5 – Evolution of the Daleks
43. Torchwood S01E10 – Out of Time
44. Doctor Who S03E6 – The Lazarus Experiment
45. Torchwood S01E11 – Combat
46. Doctor Who S03E7 – 42
47. Doctor Who S03E8 – Human Nature
48. Doctor Who S03E9 – The Family of Blood
49. Doctor Who prequal- The Infinate Quest
50. Doctor Who S03E10 – Blink
51. Torchwood S01E12 – Captain Jack Harkness
52. Torchwood S01E13 – End of Days
53. Doctor Who S03E11 – Utopia
54. Doctor Who S03E12 – The Sound of the Drums
55. Doctor Who S03E13 – Last of the Time Lords
56. Doctor Who S03E14 – Cristmas Special :Voyage of the Damned
57. Torchwood S02E1 – Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
58. Torchwood S02E2 – Sleeper
59. Torchwood S02E3 – To the Last Man
60. Torchwood S02E4 – Meat
61. Torchwood S02E5 – Adam
62. Torchwood S02E6 – Reset
63. Torchwood S02E7 – Dead Man Walking
64. Torchwood S02E8 – A Day in the Death
65. Torchwood S02E9 – Something Borrowed
66. Torchwood S02E10 – From Out of the Rain
67. Torchwood S02E11 – Adrift
68. Torchwood S02E12 – Fragments
69. Torchwood S02E13 – Exit Wounds
70. Doctor Who S04E1 – Partners in Crime
71. Doctor Who S04E2 – The Fires of Pompeii
72. Doctor Who S04E3 – Planet of the Ood
73. Doctor Who S04E4 – The Sontaran Strategem
74. Doctor Who S04E5 – The Poison Sky
75. Doctor Who S04E6 – The Doctors Daughter
76. Doctor Who S04E7 – The Unicorn & the Wasp
77. Doctor Who S04E8 – Silence in the Libary
78. Doctor Who S04E9 – Forest of the Dead
79. Doctor Who S04E10 – Midnight
80. Doctor Who S04E11 – Turn Left
81. Doctor Who S04E12 – The Stolen Earth
82. Doctor Who S04E13 – Journeys End
83. Doctor Who S04E14 – Christmas Special: The Next Doctor
84. Doctor Who S04E15 – Dreamland
85. Torchwood S03E1 – Children of Earth: Day 1
86. Torchwood S03E2 – Children of Earth: Day 2
87. Torchwood S03E3 – Children of Earth: Day 3
88. Torchwood S03E4 – Children of Earth: Day 4
89. Torchwood S03E5 – Children of Earth: Day 5
90. Doctor Who S04E16 – Planet of the Dead
91. Doctor Who S04E17 – The Waters of Mars
92. Doctor Who S04E19 – The End of Time: Part 1
93. Doctor Who S04E20 – The End of Time: Part 2

LittleMo said...

Oh Nikki - so glad you have got into Doctor Who. And that we can discuss it here.
When it was first ever shown it was a childrens show and as such didn't have all the adult content, humour and references that it now does. In fact its intention was
to be as a history lesson, educational, and go back in time in earths history to teach us all about different periods !
Gradually over the years it got a bit more adult and the Doctor's relationships with his assistants got more questionable. Certainly the assistants have helped retain some of the male fans!
But it essentially always stuck to its roots as a children's show and so did always have the 'happy' endings of the Doctor triumphing over the aliens.
What was an essential factor in all the original series, and that we have mostly lost today, is that episodes used to only be 25 minutes and a story would always
take 4-6 episodes to tell. So most weeks we were left with a cliffhanger, usually with the Doctor facing the alien and certain death, and when we were young and watching it we didn't have that confidence that they would never let the Doctor die. I do miss those cliffhangers today.
If you think the Slitheen and the CGI were bad you should have seen some of the early monsters. There was one that was quite obviously bubble wrap spray painted green ! And we had shaking sets and all sorts of things. The budgets weren't as big in those days !
You say you wouldn't let your children watch some of the episodes as they are scary. Well that is the point - many British children of a certain age will come out with the line 'I used to spend Saturday nights behind the settee while watching Doctor Who.' It was seriously scary for us, but good scary and so helped shape our growing up.
I hated the Empty child story - being a mother it just tugged at my heart strings and upset me !
The Slitheen are not monsters that I can take seriously either, and some of their episodes really are slapstick with the chase scenes.
The Dalek was a very poignant episode, and no daleks didn't used to be able to climb stairs. Also we never did see what was inside the case but we did know it was some sort of genetic mutation especially bred by the evil Davros to have no conscience or moral fibre.
Christopher Ecclestone was a great and special Doctor and it is a shame he only did one series. I think he didn't want to get too labelled as only Doctor Who which actors can who stay in the part for many years. Though Tennant has proved there is life outside the Doctor !
By the way - did you see the gossip. David Tennant is engaged to the 5th Doctor's (Peter Davison) daughter and they have just had a daughter together. Nothing like keeping it in the family.
Rose did often annoy me and I didn't always like her. Micky was the one I felt empathy for.
Torchwood was first shown after this first series of Dr Who completed. So after this set of adventures. Though Jack does pop up again in later Dr Who episodes.
(I see some of your other posters have set out the timeline). It truly is an adult series though. It has little of the humour of Dr Who, the monsters and settings are truly scary and some of the scenes are quite graphic and gruesome.
My now teenage sons tried to watch it but didn't like it and so walked away from it. It shows after 9pm. the 'watershed' time here. Adult programmes are not shown before that time. But after 9pm anything goes !
Really though the Torchwood stories just sort of run in parallel with Dr Who and every now and again one or other of them has a story where the characters interlock.

LittleMo said...

Talking of interlocking stories the other spin off is 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'. Sarah Jane was, of course, once an assistant of the Doctor's and now she is alien hunting on her own. She meets some of the same monsters - notably the Slitheen, but also many of her own. Even though it is a children's show it is still made with the same quality and imagination as Doctor Who so can be safely watched with children and enjoyed at that level. And some of the writers and directors are the same - so it really is in the same mold. Also in most of the Sarah Jane series there has been one episode where the Doctor comes into the storyline. So yes David Tennant has appeared in a couple
of the Sarah Janes. They are well worth watching. Oh - and they are always two parters - which I like !

Nikki Stafford said...

You guys are amazing! I had NO IDEA that Doctor Who began as an educational program way back when, that's amazing.

I watched some of the DW Confidential clips and throughout, Davies kept referring to it as a kids' show. So like I said, I understand it's seen as such, I just know what will freak out my kids too much, and what's OK, and this is just a little too much right now. But my daughter's probably only a year off. ;)

Cindy and Christina, thank you so much for the airing schedules!! I saw a DVD set the other day that was called the Tennant specials, are those in addition to what's on the DVDs or are they something I'll already have? Are they just the Christmas specials?

Graeme, I probably didn't make myself clear, but I actually really liked Boom Town. My initial "ugh" reaction was quickly averted when I realized that they were going to humanize the last Slitheen, and I thought the discussions between good and evil were quite fascinating. I really liked that episode a lot.

I'm glad to hear that no matter how attached to Eccleston I am, I'll still love Tennant. I don't doubt it. ;)

Delvin Anaris said...

I watched quite a few of the old Doctor Whos in my youth—all Tom Baker, I think, though I'm afraid I can't really remember much about them now, aside from him.

It took me a while after the new Doctor Whos came out to decide to start watching them (though my parents and sister were hooked at once, and my sister has now become an absolute squeeing fangirl), but once I did, I really loved it. It's quite different in feel from the old ones.

I, too, find that of the new Doctors, the Ninth (Eccleston) is still my favourite. Don't get me wrong, I very much like emo-Tennant and manic-Smith as well, but there's something about Eccleston's poignancy that I really like. And as you will learn later (mostly implied) the Ninth Doctor is a deeply wounded man, in many ways a lot like Angel. When he regenerates, it almost seems like he welcomes it as a kind of release.

Cindy/SenexMacDonald said...

@LittleMo said..."Dalek was a very poignant episode, and no daleks didn't used to be able to climb stairs. Also we never did see what was inside the case but we did know it was some sort of genetic mutation especially bred by the evil Davros to have no conscience or moral fibre."

Actually, Little Mo, since this is not spoilers for the current series/seasons - yes, the Daleks for a long time did not climb stairs. It is an episode with Sylvester McCoy's Doctor that we see Daleks levitate for the first time up stairs (Remembrance of the Daleks Part 1 - 1988). They also showed the inside of the Dalek's casing even as far back as the original Doctor. So we have seen the creature within on a few occasions. Here's a site to go to see how the Daleks evolved.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalek

@Nikki said..."I saw a DVD set the other day that was called the Tennant specials, are those in addition to what's on the DVDs or are they something I'll already have? Are they just the Christmas specials?"

Nikki, they are not the Christmas Specials. When Tennant announced that he was leaving, they decided not to do a full series between Tennant's third season and the beginning of the next Doctor (Matt Smith). They chose to do a series of five specials instead. Some of us still consider to be a series -just with less eps as a regular series generally has about 11 to 13 eps including the Christmas Special.

This is the same with Torchwood - up to season 3, which is only 5 episodes (and some of the BEST, DAMN television you will ever(!) see), the first two series were longer.

So, yes, get them. They will get to the Tennant regeneration to Matt Smith's Doctor. Just don't watch them until you get to that point. :)

Page48 said...

Tom D. said: "I developed a major crush on Rose"

Yeah, I'm much more closely aligned with your view of Rose. I could watch an hour of Rose Tyler running and not feel that I'd wasted my time.

Cindy/SenexMacDonald said: "season 3 (aka "Torchwood: Children of Earth"), which is only 5 episodes (and some of the BEST, DAMN television you will ever(!) see)"

I agree! It was awesomeness. Hopefully "Miracle Day" will be every bit as good.

The Question Mark said...

I actually started watching this recently too, just his past year. i think it's a great, solid sci-fi show, and you start off every episode with a great sense of wonder, thinking, "Damn, what's the Doc gonna get himself into this time?"

"Father's Day" is still my favourite episode so far, and I'm on Season 3 right now. It was a fantastic foray into the wilderness that is time travel, & i think it was ahndled beautifully. The Car of Impending Doom drivi9ng its endless loop around & around the church was chilling to say the least.

I liked "Dalek". But even though the Daleks are iconic Doctor Who villains, I could take or leave them. I have to say I find their voices INCREDIBLY annoying, and to make things worse they not only speak often, they SCREAM often.

I enjoy Rose's antics (probably because I have a crush on her), and her mother is hilarious, too. Christopher Eccleston is a great doctor. But David Tennant, the doctor who takes over in Season 2, is absolutely phenomenal. You will fall in love with that man! And Potter fans will recognize him as Barty Crouch Jr. from "The Goblet of Fire".

The Question Mark said...

PAGE 48: "I could watch an hour of Rose Tyler running and not feel that I'd wasted my time."

LMFAO. I couldn't agree more, Page. I could get lost in a daydream just staring at Rose Tyler's eyelashes.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Nikki, you don't know how happy this post makes me. I'm sort of glowing now for you. Graeme told me the other night that you're editing his book, but I didn't know you'd be blogging about the show so soon.

Hi Graeme! Next thing you know we'll be getting you to watch Buffy!

I feel much like you do about most episodes, though after Rose I liked her much more than I did Nine. He grew on me (they always do.)

I just read your post because I've been away all weekend at Ad Astra. Rob Shearman was there - the writer of Dalek. You should have been there. Get a hold of his short story anthologies (Tiny Deaths; Love Songs for the Shy And Cynical). They're brilliant.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I think most people consider Doctor Who a family show. I believe it was in the drama division, not kid's TV.

Did you know creator Sidney Newman was Canadian?

My grandson is three. He LOVES Doctor Who. Had a chat with Ten at the convention today and was over the moon. (Actually, it was a fellow I know dressed as Ten, but when you're three it's the same thing.)

There's also Sarah Jane Adventures, and that one is a kid's show. Not quite DW quality, but lovely all the same. The Doctor episodes are some of the best.

Mockingbird said...

I think you're in for quite a treat! I'm way behind on my WHO watching (other projects don'tchaknow) but I was the same way - resisted for quite some time before I took the plunge. And yes, I've got adoration for Tennant (you've seen his CASANOVA? Grr.) but there's something about Eccleston. In fact, (maybe spoiler??) when I saw 28 DAYS LATER, I was quite upset that "my" doctor was playing such a character. We do get possessive, don't we?

Enjoy!

Scott said...

Colleen/redeem147: Next thing you know we'll be getting you to watch Buffy!

Oh Colleen, how I've tried, how I have tried. Graeme is just missing the all-essential Buffy chromosome.

JavaChick said...

That season of Doctor Who was my first experience with it as well. My husband grew up watching the originals but I've never seen them (we were a non-cable family). It's been a while since I watched that season, so I don't remember a lot of details, but I remember my first reaction being that it was so cheesy and campy. I didn't think I could get past that and get involved in the stories....but then I did. It amazes me sometimes how involved I can get, considering how a lot of it looks so fake.

Season 1 was good, but the Tennant seasons were fabulous - loved David Tennant as the Doctor and I loved the first Matt Smith season as well. Can't wait for the new season to start!

Gosia said...

Nikki, I'm so glad you started watching Dr Who. I'm totally addicted to it! (and Torchwood too). I was once challenged that knowing about Daleks and Dr Who would be the sign of my ultimate assimilation (I'm from Poland but live in the UK). I started watching from mid-season 2, so only later backtracked to season 1 with Eccleston. I was worried I wouldn't like him, but he's great. I do adore David Tennant:) But wait till you get to Matt Smith! He's just pure awesomeness:)

As for Torchwood, as someone said before me, it's useful to watch in the Dr Who timeline (i.e. with season 3). Dr Who is a family show; Torchwood is for adults. I love it but I admit it grows on you, and without the context of Dr seasons 1 and 2, might be quite obscure at the beginning.

Enjoy Dr Who fun

EsDee said...

The Question Mark: I am with you - by the time I completely finished watching Seasons 1-4, I decided I could do without any more Dalek's - even though they are a Who mainstay. I think I need to break down and get the Season 5 DVDs from Netflix - after reading all the great comments, it's time for me to get over 10 and meet 11.
But, I wanted to start on Buffy! Oh, so little time and so many cool shows...

yourblindspot said...

I made the mistake of watching Torchwood s3 before the first two series, and it is SO DAMN GOOD that I kind of ruined the previous eps for myself in the process. Learn from me.

SableFlat said...

I, too, only recently discovered Doctor Who and am completely smitten. The first episode I saw was pretty much by accident -- the Van Gogh one with the current doctor. I still tear up, just thinking about it.

Thank goodness for Netflix -- I started with S1 and watched everything they had. I'm now watching Torchwood, and eager for S6 of Doctor Who (and for Netflix to stream S5). Yes, some/most of the aliens are pretty cheesy, but I am completely willing to suspend disbelief for the characters and clever stories. I was so in love with Eccleston that I was unhappy about the regeneration, but then totally fell in love with Tennant! I enjoyed Rose and her cheeky attitude. Each companion brings something different -- a good thing. I can't believe how much the stories move me -- laughter and tears -- what more could you ask! Can't wait to read more of your Doctor Who posts!!!

Witness Aria said...

I started Doctor Who with the new series. My only previous experience with the show was, as a kid, a few glimpses of Tom Baker on PBS and a book a fellow Trekkie loaned me to try and spark my interest. It didn't work.

I watched Rose and snortled at the mannequins coming to life. And I didn't continue. Then I kept hearing how awesome it was and I finally went back in, being less judgmental. It took me a while to get in the groove, but I haven't looked back since. Empty Child and the character of Captain Jack Harkness were a big part of sealing the deal.

I really love how the Doctor, this legendary sci-fi character, one of the greatest SF TV characters ever, can be expanded and given additional dimensions (heh, see what I did there?) when mixed together with a Buffyesque emphasis on character emotional journeys and a more modern take on female characterizations.

I'm glad you'll be talking about the show here. It's always nice to hear thoughtful commentary on it. As others have said, you have a lot of great stuff coming up. Some cool stories and fun new characters. And pretty soon a cameo you'll appreciate. ;P

Cindy/SenexMacDonald said...

Just a quick fyi - Nikki, you are not alone. There is a teacher who works with me who loved this Doctor Who t-shirt I got recently from TeeFury. It has all 11 Doctors pouring out of (or into) the TARDIS.

So I gave her Eccleston's season on Friday. She watched the first ep over the weekend and wanted to give the DVDs back. I told her about you and that she needs to stick to it and see what happens after she views Dalek.

I wait in anticipation... :)

Page48 said...

I'm no great fan of Daleks either. For me, it's really about the "EXTERMINATE", which is roughly the equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard to my delicate ears. That said, Daleks have been part of some very good episodes, including the finale of last season.

@EsDee, Matt Smith's DW is essential viewing. It's all gain, no pain.

EsDee said...

@Page48 - SOLD. Just added Season 5 DW to my Netflix DVD list. But I didn't bump it up in the order, or my kids would kill me.
Nikki - 35+ comments...I think you have a few Who fans that read your blog!!

EBethToThePowerOf? said...

Thank you for posting this. It sparked my interest to get back into Dr. Who. I abandoned it in my Netflix queue halfway through Season 2, and you inspired me to go back, and I just finished The Satan Pit. Thanks to Christina and others here I finally know how to pull up my episodes (and those darn Christmas specials) and watch them in order, along with Torchwood. This greatly pleases my OCD portion of my personality. Thanks!

Gareth Williams said...

I know Christina Boulard posted something similar, but I have a slightly different viewing order for where Torchwood fits in with DW, that also includes the episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures where the Doctor appears:

Doctor Who: Season 1 (eps. 1-13)
Doctor Who: Children in Need Special (2005)
Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion

Doctor Who: Season 2 (eps. 1-13)
Doctor Who: The Runaway Bride

Doctor Who: Season 3 (eps. 1-10)

Torchwood: Season 1 (eps. 1-13)

Doctor Who: Season 3 (eps. 11-13)
Doctor Who: Time Crash (Children in Need Special)
Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned

Torchwood: Season 2 (eps. 1-13)

Doctor Who: Season 4 (eps. 1-13)
Doctor Who: The Next Doctor
Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead

Torchwood: Children of Earth (eps. 1-5)

The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, Parts 1 & 2

Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars
Doctor Who: The End of Time, Parts 1 & 2
Doctor Who: Season 5 (eps. 1-13)

The Sarah Jane Adventures: Death of the Doctor, Parts 1 & 2

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

Page48 said...

Speaking of the "The Sarah Jane Adventures", Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane herself) died on April 19th.

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

Old Dr. fan. Began watching in the 70s. It took me some time to watch the new Who's.

One point of clarification. The Daleks were able to conquer stairs by the Sylvester McCoy era of Dr. Who.

selena paul said...

I like your review I really nice and I hope continued this king of blog which impressed us I also like this season it good and the lead charter was very powerful I really like her dressing sense he is looking handsome and attractive in WW2 German Dr Christopher Eccleston Black Jacket I love this man