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New Doctor Who Preview: Episode 1: Rose
Reviewed by Alan Riquelmy, © 2006

Format: TV
By:   Russell T. Davies
Genre:   Time-travelly sci-fi
Review Date:   March 16, 2006

When I sat down to watch the first new Doctor Who episode since the old series (and I'm not counting that Paul McGann thing from the 90s), I was somewhat apprehensive. I didn't know what to expect. Would I find the beloved papier-mache aliens of my childhood? Would there be special effects to rival Star Trek: The Next Generation?

And, seriously now, people: Would there be a female lead that could really rival thigh queen Louise Jameson? I was not disappointed.

The new Who rocks, and don't you forget it. This show promises to not only stay true to the original series, but improve on it. The special effects may not be movie quality (this is the telly, folks), but they are a helluva lot better than a cardboard box over the producer's head.

The ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, makes his first appearance in "Rose," the first episode of the new series named after his soon-to-be newest companion, former pop idol and my personal heartthrob, Billie Piper.

With the speed of the show (a quick 45 minutes without commercials), you don't have time to wonder if the program will live up to the hype. Things move fast. Five minutes in and Rose is already in the thick of it, trapped in the basement of the department store she works in with an old alien fiend and about to get the whack.

Enter Doctor No. 9 to get her bleached butt out of there. The pair escape the basement, the Doc disappears and moments later Rose is out of a job. Bam. All in less than 10 minutes. Rose returns to her mum's flat and we get a quick introduction to her and the boyfriend -- a seemingly innocuous character development aspect of the show that didn't really happen in the old series.

I have to say, the pace of the show is refreshing after reviewing some the older, 90-minute episodes. And don't get me started on some of the 1st or 2nd Doctor serials. Hey, I'm all about the classics, but I don't like snoozing through more than two hours of fuzzy black and white.

The new show must appeal to the instant gratification generation of the 21st century and so far it's doing a pretty good job.

We don't know a whole lot about the new Doc, except that based on a quick glance in the mirror he appears to have recently regenerated. At first he's standoffish and doesn't want to get Rose involved in what's going on. That changes, though, once Rose starts researching the Doctor online.

And she's not the only one who has an interest in a man who has apparently been around for centuries.

New and old fans should get turned on quickly to the new series because of its appeal to both. The newbies should like the fast pace of the show, the good effects (I've always wanted the angle of looking into the TARDIS from the outside perspective. Thank you), It's taking place in the current day (as opposed to 1973) and there's the lead female hottie.

Old fans will like it because they've immediately got an alien from the classic series. They've also got the show's makers staying true to the original series The Doc's got his sonic screwdriver and he's got his TARDIS. And because of the lead female hottie.

And something both kinds of fans should like is that the new Who lets us see the wonders the Doctor has to offer through the Rose character's eyes. She doesn't say "Oh, it's bigger on the inside than the outside" then continue with life as normal. When Rose steps into the TARDIS for the first time, she's genuinely shocked -- and she runs away.

It's what a normal human would do, I think, when confronted by the impossibility of a massive time machine stuck in the space of a telephone box.

But the first episode isn't titled "Rose" because Billie returns to her typical, everyday life after the alien menace has been thwarted.

As that old, familiar theme starts to play near the end of the show, Rose begins to run toward the TARDIS. Thus symbolizing the . . . oh, just watch it.

Alan Riquelmy regenerated into his 2nd incarnation while in Japan in 2001. He now likes sushi, working with computers and Billie Piper music.

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