Doctor Who – The Complete First Series (2005)

Doctor WhoNBC isn’t the only network to remake BBC shows. A few years ago, NBC was lambasted for remaking Coupling, but is currently praised for its reigning Emmy winner for Outstanding Comedy Series, The Office, starring Steve Carell. No, no, NBC is not alone. Even the BBC itself isn’t exempt from remaking BBC shows.

In 2005, the network relaunched its landmark sci-fi series Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor and last surviving Time Lord. Joining him on his adventures this time is 19-year old Rose (Billie Piper). Together the two use the TARDIS to travel mainly around Earth, albeit during various periods of the planet’s timeline. They manage to get into (and cause) quite a bit of trouble.

I vaguely remember watching old Doctor Who episodes when I was a boy. Of course, I was usually alone while watching the show because no one else liked it. Or at least I vaguely remember being alone. But it helped becoming involved in the show because being alone helped you feel as if you were The Doctor’s companion, too. Traveling alongside him and knowing you two were the only ones who knew your place relative to the rest of the universe.

That’s what makes Doctor Who so captivating. The show strives to bring perspective to the public consciousness. Things like running water might seem basic nowadays, but this wasn’t always the case, and that becomes noticeable when you travel back in time to the 17th century when well water was still the norm. The inclusion of various alien races also helps to reinforce the idea that viewing differences like ethnicity becomes minute in lieu of more important aspects of individuality like emotion and integrity.

In the episode “Dalek,” The Doctor and Rose meet the last surviving member of the Dalek race. The Daleks and the Time Lords were bitter enemies, and, in the end, destroyed each other in the Time War. The Doctor is surprised at discovering he isn’t the only survivor of the war. Both The Doctor and Dalek want to destroy each other, but over the course of the episode (I don’t want to spoil anything), we learn people can change. The Doctor thinks the Dalek is nothing more than a killing machine, but could the Doctor be wrong?

I used to to think Doctor Who was an entertaining and uplifting show. I was right about the first part, but not the second. This incarnation of the show is drearier and more depressing than I thought it would be. With all of the alien involvement, you’d think the show would be silly. It is, but it’s also interesting how the show tells the tale of The Doctor who strives to fix the endless alien involvement of Earth’s evolution. Yes, The Doctor can be manic at times, and often seems clueless as to the current moment’s task, but his heart is in the right place.

The Doctor is also, at best, less than perfect, and is similar to humans for all of his flaws. His mistakes lead to changes and the consequences aren’t pretty. In “The Unquiet Dead,” the show gives the reason of lost alien souls finding a way to live again for the existence of ghosts and zombies. The Doctor tries to help the aliens find their way back home, but is fooled and his mistake costs many lives.

One mainly views The Doctor through Rose’s eyes. (Man, she’s hot, too.) It’s through Rose that The Doctor gets his new perspective on life. Rose is only 19, and she’s very much enthused by exploring new worlds, meeting new people, and being a part of history. In “Dalek,” it’s Rose who helps The Doctor realize what kind of person he is. She reminds him that his vengeance will only hurt those around him, especially her. Rose and The Doctor share a powerful bond, one that many mistake for a romantic one. But the two share something greater — a thirst for knowledge and experience.

Rose also has a special relationship with her mum. In the early episodes, Rose’s mum has many scenes, and much of them deal with her trying to protect Rose from the rest of the world. She is wary of The Doctor, especially after Rose goes missing for a year (Rose thought only a day had passed). She’s also wary of being alone without Rose (no father in sight), although Rose’s boyfriend is rising up her like-o-meter.

How people interact with each other. It’s fascinating to see how differences shed themselves when bigger things are at stake such as freedom and the lives of innocent people. People will work together when times call for united action. But in The Doctor’s case, it’s usually him during the uniting.

Web clips (QuickTime):

Clip from “Rose” where The Doctor finally convinces Rose to join him in the TARDIS. [56k, 100k, 300k]

Clip from “World War Three” with The Doctor trying to wrestle up some human help while Rose and the future Prime Minister of England run away from some green aliens. [56k, 100k, 300k]

Clip from “Aliens Of London” where The Doctor and Rose watch as an alien spacecraft crashlands in the heart of London. [56k, 100k, 300k]

Clip from “Dalek” where Rose and some friends think they’ve outsmarted the last surviving Dalek with a flight of stairs. [56k, 100k, 300k]

Clip from “The Unquiet Dead” where a very frightened Charles Dickens sees an actual ghost/zombie combination. [56k, 100k, 300k]

The DVD is out now, so spend some quality time with The Doctor and, especially, Rose.

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