For the first few episodes, I thought it was entertaining fluff. The Doctor and Rose go around traveling through time and space and having wacky adventures. Yippee. Every now and then they would quite literally save the world, huh? But was there any overarching story? Would there be some sort of character development? Come on, missus!
After nearly half the season (though remember, the season's only thirteen episodes), finally I saw that the show had some meat in it. And then it started gobsmacking me with the continuity and the impression that they had in fact planned out the entire season in advance because suddenly all the little things were becoming important, they were not forgotten, this was all one story about one world, simply split into episodes. Hell, this was a show where the title of an episode didn't make sense until five episodes later.
Oh, a bonus note: the Brits are way better at previews than we are. The previews give just enough to whet your appetite, and then when you watch the actual episode, you realize they didn't give much away at all. Not that they're misleading, but they don't feel as spoilerrific.
At first, I thought the Doctor was a little too wacky, but as the series progressed, he got more depth. We learned some of his history, what he does, why his life had made him who he is. And Christopher Eccleston plays all the facets of the character with such aplomb, from wacky to serious to terrified to everything in between, that you can see how these somewhat conflicting personalities can all exist in the same person.
For a while, Rose just seemed to be the girl accidentally causing trouble or getting into trouble so the Doctor could save her. But she, too, got some great character development, as she discovered the difference between life with the Doctor and her normal, humdrum life on Earth. She kind of functions as the audience surrogate. And Billie Piper also rocks the hizzouse.
It's silly, it's fun, it's entertaining, it's exciting, it's dramatic, it's clever, it's smart. It's excellently plotted. It's got soul. valancy makes the interesting comparison to Angel, in that it's a series about helping the helpless. It's more than that, though, because the Doctor, because he travels through time, knows what must be done, what must happen. It's also a series about Making the Hard Choices, and the Rose factor makes it a series about Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things. Add those to the bucket of Things Sunil Likes in His Television, people. Along with Identity Issues and Power Struggles. And Hot Chicks and Cleavage.
If you haven't checked this show out, do so immediately. If you have, why follow me into the spoilery portion of the post.
"Rose": WTF living plastic? It was fun, and the Doctor is rather wacky, and shut up, Mickey.
"The End of the World": I keep forgetting this episode even exists. Not that it's bad and I don't like it or anything. It was okay, and still a bit silly with the iPod joke, and I was still getting used to the tone of the series. The Doctor's "Oh, it would be you" was hilarious, and awww for his poor tree girlfriend.
"The Unquiet Dead": WTF Charles Dickens? Decent episode with good zombie action. And I liked the solution of turning up all the gas to draw out the Gelth.
"Aliens of London": Whoa, alien invasion! Fun! Except, weird. I thought the Slitheen's plan to fake an invasion in order to kill the alien experts was terribly clever, though I could have lived without all the fart jokes.
"World War Three": OMG they blew up 10 Downing Street! And aw, how cool is it that
"Dalek": Ah, the episode that hooked me good. All I knew was that the Daleks were the big bad in the Whoniverse. The other thing I knew was that the Doctor laughed in the face of danger, and he didn't hide until it went away. So to see him utterly terrified of this silly robot-looking thing was fucking awesome. And then I loved that the Dalek lived up to the terror as it went around vaporizing people, stopping bullets à la Neo, and setting off the sprinkler system for a mass electrocution. I also loved the conflict between the Dalek and the Doctor: "You would make a good Dalek." OH SNAP. Then there's all this stuff about getting emotions from Rose's DNA and whatnot, but hey. It was still cool.
"The Long Game": Adam is a fuckwit. But I loved how pivotal he ended up being to the plot of this episode. Little things like Rose's giving him the TARDIS key and the Doctor giving him unlimited credits aren't just throwaway actions. I also loved the blatantly obvious social commentary. And like I said above, I can't think of another show where the title of a fucking episode doesn't make any damn sense for five freaking episodes. Honestly, I had been wanting to ask someone. I was like, "I don't get the title of 'The Long Game.'" And then the Doctor said it in "Bad Wolf" and it was like OMG.
"Father's Day": Finally, some time travel hijinks! I had been waiting for them to address the reason they couldn't just go back and fix their wacky adventures from ever happening. And the reason is...gargoyle dragons. Who, if time is altered, eat everyone and everything? That's a dumb system. That's not cleansing the wound, that's killing the patient! Well, maybe they just eat everyone on Earth. While it was a nice episode for Rose and her daddy awww, I was still left a bit disappointed by the hardcore not making sense. I expected a smarter, more tightly woven explanation of how time was affected and how to return things to normal. Instead, it's oh, everyone's alive again and doesn't remember anything. Also, the Rose paradox totally shouldn't have happened that quickly because she was only touching baby Rose's clothing; their skin hadn't even made contact. But I liked the car stuck in a time warp, and I liked that Rose's dad realized the proper solution himself. Though it would have been deliciously sick if Rose was forced to kill her dad. But I don't think it's that kind of show.
"The Empty Child": I really liked Nancy. She was rather pretty. And WHY ARE SMALL CHILDREN SO FUCKING CREEPY?! "Are you my mummy?" Eeeeeeeee. And ooh, Captain Jack, whom I didn't really like at first cause he was a bit full of himself and sort of an ass. He looks like Scott Wolf. This is a really good episode, nice and creepy and it also brings the zombie action! Except the zombies have gas masks for heads. And then OMG cliffhanger!! I wasn't expecting that.
"The Doctor Dances": Run away from the zombies! Oh no you're trapped! WTF teleporting? Bastard! But dude, his Sonic Whatchamawhozit is fucking awesome. Loved the Doctor's Sonic insecurity. And okay, seriously? The nanogene thing is fucking brilliant. Again, something that seems like a throwaway detail turns into a major plot point. And it actually makes sense. I love that the ambulance wasn't empty. I love that the nanogenes stupidly fixed the first lifeform they came across the only way they knew how. I love that they stupidly decided that was the prototype human and fixed everyone else exactly that way. I love that something so menacing, something so potentially destructive...was just some poor little machines trying to do the right fucking thing. I love that they recognized that Nancy was the mother and unless she fucked a gas mask, humans were probably supposed to be more like her. I love the Doctor's ecstatic joy: "Just this once, everybody lives!" See, damn, that almost made me cry just writing that. I love how resigned Jack is to blowing up, and I love that the Doctor and Rose save him. This episode rules.
"Boom Town": Holy continuity, Batman! The Slitheen! The Cardiff rift! It's a decent enough episode, but I think I was too itching to get to "Bad Wolf." I enjoyed the little date, and the Doctor's systematic defense of each one of her attacks. Though I really just wanted her to shut up with the attempted guilt trip. Dude, you tried to destroy the Earth. You get no sympathy. And you probably did something really bad on your home planet too, or they wouldn't want your head. But I liked the Buffy-esque "OMG 'Bad Wolf' is everywhere!!...Oh, it's probably just a coincidence." Also, Rose really needs to quit fucking with Mickey's head, and Mickey needs to move on, stat. It was pretty clear that they were good together, and nothing more. They weren't madly in love or anything. Not that that gives Rose an excuse to treat Mickey like crap or Mickey to throw in a self-pitying whinge every other sentence. Shut up, you two. Just be friends and be done with it. Also, I'm not entirely sure I understood all the weird tripping the rift mumbo jumbo. The heart of the TARDIS thing was...odd, as well.
"Bad Wolf": Ha, reality TV satire now, eh? And ooh, it's in Satellite Five! Anne-droid. Hee. And whoa, "Bad Wolf" was in more places than I'd even noticed. So cool! It's kind of like the Numbers appearing everywhere on Lost, except it actually means something. It's all good fun for a while, and then OMG they killed Rose. And you know, I honestly thought maybe they did. I knew Christopher Eccleston wasn't coming back, so I thought, huh, maybe she isn't either. Damn. Then, whee, Daleks! And how fucking cool is the Doctor? How fucking awesome is his "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing, which is why you'd better be scared as hell, motherfuckers!" speech? I couldn't even wait until dinner to see the thrilling conclusion.
"The Parting of the Ways": Well. Creating Daleks out of humans? Freaky. The Daleks worshipping the Emperor? Freaky. The Daleks killing basically every expendable human we'd come to know? Damn. I don't know if it happened before this, but I definitely liked Jack after this episode. God, there are way too many television characters named Jack. I loved the scene where Rose realizes she can't go back to this ordinary life of fish and chips, and it's not because she's seen too much, it's because she's done too much. She's discovered the ability to change things, to make a difference, to fight. And aww, Mickey and her mum help her out. I also love, again, that the Daleks make the Doctor question his motives. Can he do it, can he kill them all? How does that make him different from them? And then, whoa, TARDIS-Rose. Just whoa. Intellectually, maybe it's an asspull, but it's such a glorious asspull, and the show is behind that asspull 110%, that it works. I'm still not sure I understand the actual significance of "Bad Wolf," that it really did anything for Rose to scatter those words across her own timestream. Except, wait, I think I get it. It's because she realizes the words are following her, and not the Doctor. Nifty. I almost thought she'd go mad with power à la Evil Willow, but luckily, no. At least she brought Jack back to life first. But no more Christopher Eccleston waaaaaah. I don't know how he compared to the other Doctors, but I think he rocked. And I don't know how they dealt with multiple Doctors before, because I thought they were actually different people, but this looks like David Tennant wil be trying to play Christopher Eccleston's character, which will be weird. He'd better not suck.
And now you get to hear the Dalek Song.
Now, to see if I can mainline Battlestar Galactica before the season premiere.