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That Doctor fellow ...
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mumpish
I watched the premier of the new series of Doctor Who last night. I had to give it a shot; I grew up on PBS imports of the original series, primarily the Tom Baker and Peter Davidson years, in the middle 80s.

They certainly do a good job of pushing nostalgia buttons. From the very first moment, the opening music is the same. They also use the theme a lot, in various styles and compositions, as background music during the show, something I don't remember them doing in past shows. I'm not sure previous versions could afford a score. They certainly couldn't afford an effects budget; the new opening title sequence probably exceeds the entire effects budget of the show to date.

Stylistic continuity is important, because for a story that's been being told serially for parts of five decades, the story continuity train left the station years ago. Not that anyone would notice, as the first eight years or so of the show are lost. If you weren't watching in 1963, you missed it. Thus I'm relieved that they resisted the urge to tinker unnecessarily. The Tardis still makes the vworp-vworp-vworp noise it always did, and it simply fades in and out, no new visual tricks. The control room is different, a correction of the horrible update it got in the 1996 film and an improvement on the sterile original, but still recognizable as the same place.

Plenty of other stylistic elements are intact. I'm hugely relieved to say that while the effects budget now exceeds 5 pounds per episode, the same sense of corny, unlikely peril that characterized the original survives. In most shows this sort of story-telling might well be fatal, but in this narrow context you expect it. The dialog is as good as I remember - the best line from last night was an admonition prohibiting the use of 'weapons, teleportation, or religion.' The Doctor's haphazard method of collecting companions is familiar here, as well. There's a nice in-joke that Rose (the new companion) had no idea what a police box was.

I think my main gripe is the Doctor himself. He's notbad exactly, he's simply not what I was expecting. My initial reaction is similar to the one I had when Colin Baker took over the role. There's nothing specifically that I can point to, just a gut feeling that he's wrong somehow. I've only seen two episodes; I'm hoping I'll like him better as time goes on. I'll definitely watch it again next week.


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IIRC, each new Dr. redecorated the main controll room. There was also an auxiliary controll room that I don't think ever changed...

I finally made a tag for my Doctor Who posts, and in going back and adding it to appropriate entries, I came upon a link to this review of yours in the comments. It's kind of funny to look back on it now. :)

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