Our rating: 4 out of 5
reviewed by: Charity Bishop
The Ninth incarnation of the time-travel space explorer had one of the highest rated premiers on the BBC in 2005. Since then, the new series has become one of the most popular sci-fi shows on the planet. Its first season is a blend of wit, hilarity, and enough alien madness to make any science geek melt with happiness.
Life is mundane for Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) until one evening when she ventures into the basement of her London job to hand over the lottery cash gathered that day, and stumbles across a fantastic array of mannequins, all capable of moving and speaking on their own. Just as she is about to be pulled apart by these plastic menaces, a strange man known only as the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) pops around a corner, grabs her by the hand, and tells her to run. Shoving her out into the street and telling her to make for home, he vanishes back into the building and moments later the place implodes in a ball of fire and smoke. Left holding a limp plastic arm, Rose heads home to tell her overly anxious mother Jackie (Camille Coduri) and her boyfriend Mickey (Noel Clarke) all about it.
Then the Doctor turns up on her doorstep in search of the plastic arm, and Rose is drawn into a complicated series of events that pit her and her new alien companion against a mighty enemy. Just when she thinks she has seen it all, the Doctor asks if she would like to accompany him in the Tardis, his spaceship, and travel through time. Unable to resist the notion of excitement and danger, Rose climbs aboard. From tea with Charles Dickens to hunting a ghostly child through the streets of a WWII-ravaged London, to protecting the world from malevolent alien invasion, the first season of Doctor Who introduces us to the wonderful and wacky world of time travel. Even though it took me a little while to adapt to Eccleston's performance, having only seen David Tennant in the role (who replaces the Doctor by the end of the season), he has some fabulous moments with Piper and the rest of the cast, and is also unabashedly funny.
Watching him taunt a group of military men before darting into the nearest lift, stop an alien female from breathing poisonous fumes on him with a handy flick of his wrist and a small container of mint breath spray, or even cut up the rug with Rose in the Tardis brought more than one smile to my face. He has some great chemistry with Rose and there are quite a few outstanding episodes that bear either an emotional punch or fantastic shock value. One of my absolute favorite arcs for the season took them back to WWII-torn London, and a ghostly boy who is haunting the streets. It has an alien twist of sorts, but it is nevertheless impacting. For the most part there is nothing significant content-wise for families to be worried about. The show sticks to its pattern of sci-fi violence against robots and other similar creatures, and presents peril to main characters. People are occasionally killed -- electrocuted, shot down, or dispatched by monsters. There are some mildly gruesome elements, such as humans being sucked into alien forms. An arc of several episodes features flatulent aliens. Probably the most gross thing involved is alien entities borrowing the skin of humans as disguises. There's very little profanity, just the occasional "hell" here and there, and minor sensuality.
After Rose turns up after being missing for a year, the police question whether or not she has a sexual relationship with the Doctor. A time-traveling captain is rather flirtatious with both sexes. He kisses both Rose and the Doctor goodbye. It's also implied that he's naked in one scene, but the audience does not see anything. However, the episode "The Unquiet Dead" might disconcert some viewers, since the duo joins forces with Charles Dickens to unearth why dead people are walking the streets. A young woman who works in the morgue has psychic abilities and performs a kind of séance in order to communicate. Alien spirits inhabit the bodies of the dead in order to move about London. It's not as stunning a season as those that come after it, but it was always entertaining and nothing short of fabulous fun for sci-fi fans.