As the first episode of the series, and the first episode of the revival, this episode needed to be good. And it is, though with a few flaws.
The story revolves around Rose (played by Billie Piper), who is an ordinary girl with an ordinary job in
|The Doctor's first appearance in the series revival|
The most important question on anyone's lips is, is he going to be a good Doctor? The answer depends on if you're new to the series or not. If you watched Classic Who, I would say the answer is 'Who the hell is this guy and where's the Doctor?'. He has some of the right traits; he assumes too much from people around him, he comes across as indifferent, and he's witty... But. He is also younger than anyone's used to, has an extremely derogatory opinion of humans, and shrugs off the likelihood of people around him dying ('I Hadn't considered that...'). For newcomers to the series, he's a fun character. He has fun doing what he does, he's mysterious, he has a vague moral code ('Everyone gets a chance'), and you hope that Rose will improve his opinion on humanity.
|Rose; the Doctor's latest companion|
Mickey is, for this episode at least, loathsome yet pitiable. He acts like an idiot, a coward, and generally clingy and desperate. That being said, he still probably doesn't deserve the derision he gets from both the Doctor and Rose. He is treated as a puppy by both of them, which may be redeemable on the part of the Doctor as he seems to view humans as apes, but not from Rose who is supposed to be his girlfriend- an extremely unbelievable relationship as every moment they share the screen she's rolling her eyes. Rose's mum, Jackie, is also largely unlikeable in this episode. After her daughter suffered the traumatic experience of her workplace blowing up, presumably a terrorist attack in the minds of the public, her first comment is 'find a new job' followed by 'get some compensation'. Her only other notable appearance is when she meets the Doctor and immediately tries to seduce him.
The villains of the story are, like most of RTD's creations, an excellent concept with poor execution. The thought of shop mannikins coming to life is quite a terrifying prospect and enough to make you walk round a shopping mall with paranoia, but then you find out they have guns in their hands for some reason. The Nestene Consciousness itself is not so impressive. It's a big pool of molten plastic, that gets scared when it recognises the TARDIS, which serves as exposition for the Doctor's involvement in the Time War. The lesser villains are plastic Mickey, and a wheelie bin, which is trademark RTD silliness.
The start of the episode showed an impressive planetary view. The end of the episode had some impressive
|The wholly convincing Mickey duplicate|
My final notes concern how it holds up in hindsight, and honestly it's not as bad as I remember. The only truly bad parts of the episode are plastic Mickey and the wheelie bin and the Doctor's complete obliviousness to the London Eye. It's interesting to speculate when the Doctor had time to be at JFK's assassination considering he seems to have freshly regenerated and spends most of his time with Rose, and if the rumours of a 'missing' Doctor are true then it helps to explain why he is so different from the 8th Doctor, and why he has so much residual hate. All in all a pretty good start to the series that was sure to bring in new fans and please some of the less-diehard veterans. True fans of Classic Who are likely to be cringing though.
Next review: The End of the World.