With the recent introduction of Netflix into my household, I now am fully into the 2010s and have the ability to watch prior seasons of shows that, for whatever reason, I had missed in the past. I decided to start with Doctor Who: Series One(aka the Ninth Doctor). I only started watching Dr. Who series 5, so I had missed both the Ninth and Tenth Doctors (technically, since I hadn’ t watched the old series either I missed the first 10 Doctors). This looked like a good starting point and, while the season started off slow, the back half of the season made the whole season worthwhile. Let’s check it out.
As we start the season, we meet the new Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston as he meets his new companion, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), as she’s being attacked my mannequins in the store where she works. Rose has a mother, which whom she lives, and a boyfriend, who she’s not that attached to. The first half of the season mainly gets the viewer into the Dr. Who mythology. We travel in time, see aliens, have the doctor save the world/universe and see the misadventures that happen when the TARDIS is tardy.
Then we get to the back half of the season, starting with the episode “Father’s Day”. In the episode, Rose talks the Doctor into going back so she can see her Father’s death (which happened when she was an infant). Rose, as expected, interferes and saves her father. This leads to an attack by Reapers, bird like monsters who protect the time stream from issues such as this. The ensuing hour has the group of people in an ancient church (which affords the best protection due to its age) as Rose has to hide her true identity from her younger father and mother. She learns quickly that the tales her mother told her about the wonderful father are all lies as her father is a bit of a loser and her mother is constantly belittling him. But after Rose clues him into her identity, her father slowly figures out that he isn’t supposed to be alive and makes the required sacrifice, so that he can do one thing right for his family. It’s a moving, effective hour that highlights the type of show that Dr. Who is at it’s best.
The following two-parter was the first Dr. Who episodes by future showrunner Steven Moffat. “The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances” not only was the first Moffat episode and the first appearance of Capt. Jack Harkness, but it was a truly scary, creepy episode set in the London Blitz of World War II. It focuses on several parentless children and an unknown disease that is transforming every0ne it touches into a gas mask wearing monster. Capt. Jack realizes his complicity in the ongoing disease and willingly sacrifices himself to save London. Rose and the Doctor decide to save him and bring him along on their adventures. This pays off later in the season as many of the previous episodes come back to link together in an attack on humanity that the Doctor, Rose and Capt. Jack have to fend off. The conclusion leads the Doctor overloading his cells to save Rose and regenerating into the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant).
As I mentioned above, the season is really split in half. The first half gets the viewer into the Dr. Who universe and mythology while the second half features several great episodes and pulls the season long arc together nicely before moving to the next Doctor. I liked Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. He has an energy about him that just makes him appear in charge, no matter what the situation was. I was a little leery of Billie Piper as Rose early on, but her performance in “Father’s Day” is so wonderfully played by her that she won me over to her side. I ended up loving the season and look forward to the David Tennant years. Recommended.