Sometimes I love living in the 21st century.
Somebody in Canadian Broadcasting leaked a screener copy of the premiere episode of the new Doctor Who series to the internet this weekend. The DVD copy had been sent out by the BBC to sell the series to broadcasters outside of the UK. So, thanks to bittorrent and my iMac’s ability to burn DVDs,
Aside from the pacing, it very much felt like the original series — which, in my obsessive, fanboy opinion is brilliant.
I can see why the Sci Fi Channel passed on it, since it’s not too glossy. Definitely shot on video, very “British TV” look to it. Besides, Sci-Fi has to keep filling their schedule with giant alligator and bug movies, after all. We US sci-fi fans obviously need “Mansquito” more than we need “Doctor Who.” Or something.
There are one or two elements that made me groan a bit due to cheesiness (but that happened with the original series as well), but overall, it felt like I was watching Doctor Who….except the pace was very 21st-century: lots of quick cuts, the show starts with action, has several scenes of action throughout, and ends with a bang. The whole story is told in 45 minutes. I think if this was done in the old series, they would have padded it out with a few “sneaking around or running around in corridors” scenes, and made it a McCoy-era 3-parter, at 66 minutes. On the whole, I don’t really miss the padding, but I am looking forward to the “meatier” two-parters that are coming later in the season.
Christopher Ecclestone’s Ninth Doctor reminds me very much of Tom Baker’s Fourth. (The sudden swings from darkly alien to grinning maniac, etc.) He had been onscreen for mere seconds when I felt “yup, he’s the Doctor.” There was no period of adjustment at all. Gone is the foppy Edwardian gentleman look–the Doctor wears a beat-up thrift story leather coat, and speaks with a working-class accent. (Favorite line: Rose: “If you’re an alien, how come you sound like you’re from the North?” The Doctor (in a huff): “Lots of planets have a North.”)
There are 12 more episodes coming this season. God bless my DSL connection.