Continuing my plan to post what I think to be the highlights of every season of Doctor Who, old and new.
For each series I choose 2 or 3 of what I consider to be the best stories, and a selection of also-rans. "Stories" may comprise any number of actual episodes (somewhere between 1-14, typically 4 or 6). Older Who is nearly always episodic, with NuWho most episodes are self-contained. Feel free to expand on my brief comments, agree, disagree etc. This is, after all, purely subjective.
Well, I realised it was a Monday and I've had this sitting around a while, so it's time (fanfare) to move on to the revamped series.
Overall thoughts; it took me a while to warm to Ecclestone's Doctor but by the end of the series he's portrayed quite a nuanced character, hiding bitterness beneath a facade of foolishness, something that has been continued in all the new era Doctors. The Doctor has always had an edge, of anger over injustice, and of annoyance at those less intelligent than him (everyone, as he sees it), to differing degrees in each incarnation. Adding the scars of the Time War (and the gradual revelation) is a good move, even though the continued resurgance of the daleks makes you wonder how much use the Time Lock is.
The other major difference to earlier series is that the companion is given a continued connection to home (most previous companions have been orphans of one kind or another, actual or metaphorical; none have ever popped back home as often as Rose does). This is reinforced by the fact that, for this season, all the action takes place on or around Earth in various time zones. I can see the reasoning for this; we the audience care more about Earth than some distant future planet inhabited by people with silver hair. For my tastes it's a bit overdone, but I did quite like the Pete Tyler arc that runs through into the next season.
Series One (2005)
– A mainly character-based personal story on a theme that wasn’t tackled in the old series, but is a pretty obvious thing to try if you have time travel. At times it feels a little too claustrophobic, like it needs a B-story, but really it doesn’t.
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
– I loved this one. You don’t need loads of special effects for truly creepy monsters, just a little boy in a gas mask. The first appearance of Captain Jack, making the story slightly less of a simple monster chase.
– Yes, we’re back to the daleks again, but it's good to see the updated version. My original notes said that this episode made them dangerous again, but actually Remembrance manages to do that. However, it helps reveal the darker side of the Ninth Doctor and sets us up nicely for:
Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways
– Marred, for me, by the Big Brother stuff (how to date your show very quickly) and by the God-Power Rose, demonstrating a penchant for Deus Ex Machina which RTD would pull out of the box a few more times before the end of his run. The stuff with the daleks attacking Babylo… er, Satellite
Five was good, though, and Capn Jack gets the best lines: “Do I look like an out of bounds kind of guy?”, “Am I naked on television? Ladies, I think your ratings just went up!” and my favourite - Dalek :”Exterminate!” Jack (in world-weary fashion) “Yeah, I kinda figured that.”