Over the past few years, a number of friends have urged me to check out the most recent version of Dr. Who. I’m on holidays at the moment, and there are some Dr. Who DVDs where I’m staying.
I watched the first two episodes, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, and Billie Piper (who I previously knew from Secret Diary of a Call Girl).
I had low expectations. I’m on vacation, after all. But, seriously, both episodes were pretty awful.
Eccleston seems to be acting in an entirely different show–a 30’s vaudeville act?—than the rest of the cast. The dialogue is clunky in an early Star Trek vein, and rarely amusing. Speaking of Star Trek, the special effects look like they belong in The Next Generation, circa 1990. All in all, it felt like television from a different era.
I should interject here that I’m a sincere lover of plenty of British stuff, from Martin Amis to Father Ted. So this isn’t some New World bias.
What is the appeal of this show? Does it depend upon familiarity with earlier versions of the show? Is there a kind of intertextual dialogue that I’m totally missing? The second episode’s story draw from Douglas Adams’s Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but that’s the only reference I picked up.
It seems apt to compare the newest Dr. Who to the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. I found the latter show consistently terrific–dark, contemporary and culturally relevant–without being dependent on its predecessor.
What am I missing about the good Doctor?