Doctor Who 2005
Episode 1 - Rose
The first episode of Doctor Who in a good long time. It was good, but it should have been better than good, it should have been excellent. And let me be clear it is not the effects or the acting, or the sets that I had a big problem with. The big problem is actually the plot.
Having to grab hold of and keep hold of a new audience while at the same time not demeaning the old audience is a huge challenge which they did a half-arsed job of. Being heavy handed on some points, and completely leaving other things unexplained.
[Warning the rest of this review has big spoilers.]
So what about the characters?
Rose is established strongly, set up with her life being boring and ordinary (just like my life and presumably most of the audiences), so she is a character I can relate to, she desires more out of life, she wants adventure, excitement, and to actually do something meaningful, and I can relate to all that too.
Rose’s mother and boyfriend are also set up well, even if only really there to highlight how ordinary Rose’s life is.
The Doctor is also established with, he is energetic, strangely happy, always on the move and seems haphazard. There is a lot about him that we do not discover, and that is a good thing on the whole. He does come off as alien, even if this point is very labored every time it is made.
The TARDIS has changed a little, but is still the lovable old ship. The acronym is explained, and in a nod to the old fans they use the original version of what the acronym stands for, but you’ll have to listen carefully. Still not sure if I like the inside being visible from the outside trick... but I’ll let them have fun with trying to get that to work well.
But then we get to the Autons, and this is where the plot goes out the window and ‘chicken or the egg’ logic becomes the way to write a story? Don’t believe me?
Why were the mannequins in Rose’s shop alive in the first place? Because the Doctor was there? Why was the Doctor there then? Because the autons were there? (Rise, lather, repeat)
Was it the Doctor or the arm that got back to Rose’s flat first? If it was the Doctor then why did he un-nail the cat flap? If it was the arm, then why did it return to Rose’s place before the Doctor had even been there?
What about the bin outside the nerds house? Had it followed Rose? And if so why did it think following Rose was a good idea? Was it there waiting for them? Which means if knows how to use google? And knows the nerd lives there but doesn’t try getting any info from the nerd directly? And if all this is about getting the Doctor then what is it the Autons have against him in the first place?
Sloppy, sloppy writing.
And then there is the final confrontations... The nesten gets pissed off because the Doctor has ‘advanced technology’? What... did it think he was human? If that’s the case then why had it been putting in so much effort to track him down? However if it already knew the Doctor to be alien the why would him having advanced technology be a big surprise?
When it does get pissed off with the Doctor, why does it order all the shoppers in a small mall somewhere killed rather than just killing the Doctor?
Why does the auton that took the anti-plastic just stand there with it absently rather than disposing of the dangerous stuff? While apparently holding the Doctor completely immobile, why to they continue to let Rose and her boyfriend free to cause trouble?
What is disappointing about this is that I know what the writers involved in this project are capable of, and all this messy plot is way below standard for them.
The autons could be so powerful an enemy for the Doctor, the whole anti-plastic agenda, the pro-environment ideals, all that hippy stuff still works really well, but wasn’t even touched on. A bit of modern reworking of these old villains would have looked kewl, get rid of those stupid hand-guns, go for a more Terminator 2 morphing thing (which, yes they did do a little), have it be only old oil based plastics that the autons can control, things like that maybe.
Well, that’s my view on it anyway.
Overall: 2 stars - below average but I’ll still watch it over and over anyway, which is more than I can say for some of the older episodes.
Oh, and before I forget... the title sequence was nothing special, it should be revolutionary.