The first series of the re-booted Doctor Who series that launched in 2005 is seriously under rated. I know that Christopher Eccleston only stuck around for one series, but what he, Billie Piper and Russell T. Davies did was re-launch a legendary show and brought Doctor Who back for a whole new generation of fans to fall in love with.
I know a lot of the fans of the older Doctor Who serials complain that they have changed the Doctor by making him more modern and less like what they remember, but as far as I’m aware the show evolved over the decades that it had been on before it got cancelled, and the new beginning with the Ninth Doctor was just the next logically step in the journey of the show.
Now I will hold up my hands and admit that I was a bit late to the re-launch party, in fact I was beyond even being fashionable late to the second series. David Tennant is very much my ‘Doctor’ as it was with him I saw my first episode. But I went back to watch Series 1 and I immediately fell in love with the series that introduces Rose and the Doctor to a modern audience.
The episodes are fast paced, exceptionally well written and come with a diverse mix of characters and plots to entertain for the entire series. Being the geek that I am I have read further into the making of the series, in particular the writing of it by Russell T. Davies. There are various versions and re-launches of ‘Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale, by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook’, and it is about the journey that Davies goes through as he is writing for the show. What you see on screen is not as effortless as you would imagine but the finished product is utterly brilliant.
I use Doctor Who as a reference for several posts I’ve written about writing, but the most notable one I use is ‘Bad Wolf’, the very best story arc and foreshadowing device I have ever seen used whether in television, films or books. It still gives me goose bumps, and it is utterly hilarious that it was a last minute idea conceived to help tie the series together. Well let me tell you Russell T., it was an astronomically brilliant idea.
The opening episode ‘Rose’ and the series finales are no brainers. They are epic and highly recommended, as is the entire series really, but these are my particular favourites.
I love ‘Father’s Day’, because at the very heart of the story is Rose and the relationship she never got to have with her father. It is also about the brutal truth about time travel; you can’t always change the past. (Though admittedly the Doctor does every now and then, but Time Lord so he’s allowed.)
I also still get creeped out by ‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances’, which marks Steven Moffat’s debut for writing for the re-launch, and in his typical style the episode is sinister, sexy and superb all at the same time. The idea of the ‘villain’ is innocent but as scary as hell. It’s amazing.