Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Just Call Me Captain Wrack![*]

So, uh, there's this copy of the first episode of the new Doctor Who series that was leaked onto the internet... And all right, normally, I don't download stuff like that, less from any desire to be a good, non-copyright-infringing citizen and more because it takes forever and because I'd usually rather wait and see it in its proper time and place. But the buzz is that there very likely isn't going to be any US distribution for the show in the foreseeable future; apparently Sci-Fi turned it down. (Sigh. Skiffy, Skiffy, Skiffy. And here you were actually starting to regain some of my respect by putting all that great Battlestar Galactica stuff on your website.) So, yeah, I gave in. I downloaded. And I watched. (And, no, don't ask me where I got it from. I'm not going to tell you, and I'm pretty sure it's gone by now, anyway.)

I gotta say, watching the opening credits roll and realizing that I'm actually watching new Doctor Who!! was enough all by itself to induce some kind of embarrassing geek orgasm. As for the episode itself... Well, I'm not going to offer any spoilers, but let me say this: I was worried, especially based on some of the press photos, that they were going to completely ruin the show. I mean, come on, the Doctor in a leather jacket? A collagen-lipped pop-star companion? Aaargh! They're gonna make it all "hip and modern" and ruin everything I loved about it! Right?

Well, as it happens... no. It does have a very contemporary feel to it. You'd never, ever mistake it for something produced in, say, 1980. (And, man, how utterly bizarre is it to see modern CGI effects on Doctor Who?) But, y'know, with a show like Who, there's no point in being a purist. The show's constantly changed in style and sensibility since 1963. That's part of the show, really. Times change, Doctors change, storylines evolve... It's OK, as long as the stuff that's really at the heart of the show stays the same. And, from what I've seen, I do think it's in the hands of people who understand what the heart of the show is. Future episodes could still suck, of course, even though I found the first one entertaining enough. But I'm not sitting here wailing, "But that's not Doctor Who!" And I was a little worried that I would be. So, yay! Big, big, yay!

I gotta say, though, Christopher Eccleston is going to take a little getting used to.


[*] And anybody who actually gets that rather convoluted reference gets a jelly baby.

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