AN UNCLE SAM REVIEW
Last night was the U.S. premiere of “Doctor Who” starring Christopher Eccelston and Billie Piper on The SciFi Channel.
Last year’s British return of Doctor Who finally has made it to American television sets thanks to an agreement between the BBC and The SciFi Channel. For months before its trip to the colonies Doctor Who has been highly anticipated and hyped throughout the media and we here at Slice of SciFi were no exception. But, the big question is, now that the two-hour premiere has come and gone, did the show live up to all the hype it has been given?
Don’t worry kids, there will be no spoilers here in this review. If you have Doctor Who DVR’d or TiVo’d you are safe to read on.
My job is to be honest in my assessment of programming of any kind that I review, so keeping that in mind, let me quote a famous Brit by the name of Simon Cowell when I say, “I am not being rude, and to be perfectly honest with you,” I was a bit disappointed in the Doctor Who grand entrance. Keep in mind that this was the first video version of Doctor Who in a long time. Most lovers of the series have had to settle for old rehashed audios of the program. Since my Rabbi is from England and a scifi uber-geek like myself, he has kept me, to my sheer delight, endlessly supplied with cassette taped and CD Doctor Who shows starring the likes of Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davidson. Also keep in mind that I haven’t seen a video Doctor Who since the days of the best Doctor, Tom Baker. But, with all that said, I have had to rely on my own imagination to fill in all the gaps and blanks as I have listened to those much loved audio Doctor Who sessions.
As I was watching the premiere of Doctor Who last night on the “tele” I struggled to get through many of the scenes. I sat waiting for the pace to pick up a bit and sadly, at least in the first episode “Rose,” it did not. The second episode, “The End of the World” was far better than the first, but even that fell short of my expectations. I suppose relying on my own imagination while listening to the audio Doctor Who has dampened my excitement. The scripts by Russell T. Davies were good, not excellent, but good.
I felt Eccleston’s performance was underplayed. I still have the exciting flamboyant performances of Baker in my mind as a comparison. Although, Billie Piper saved the show in my opinion. Her character “Rose” was engaging, naive, sexy, witty and charming all at the same time, just what you’d expect a sidekick of the Doctor to be. Watching and listening to Rose’s mother was like having someone’s fingers grate over a chalkboard everytime she opened her mouth. I found her quite irritating and hard to watch. I only hope we don’t have to suffer through too much of her in future episodes. And Rose’s boyfriend? One word – Wanker!
What redeemed the program for me was the second episode, after seeing a side of the Doctor we have rarely ever seen in the past, his softer side concerning his own origins and how he came to be Doctor Who. Also Piper’s line about Michael Jackson leaves me laughing even now when I think about it.
I will continue watching the show because I have faith that it will only get better, but for a premiere, Davis could have been a bit more , how can I put this?….”Irreverant and Over the Top.” Afterall, that is one of the Doctor’s qualities that fans have always loved and appreciated. The Doctor is never one for PC and I hope in the times we currently live, he will remain forever the Doctor we have all grown to love and want to see week after week.
On the Uncle Sam scale of 0 to 5 I will give the Doctor Who U.S. premiere a 3 with a hold-out of anticipation of better things to come.