Much to my friend Ashley’s delight, I finally started watching Doctor Who. I should say re-started: I’d watched the first two Christopher Eccleston episodes when they first aired, but, since I wasn’t already a fan of the original show, I couldn’t get over the cheesiness. Ashley’s been trying to convince me to give it another chance for years. I didn’t doubt that it had found its footing and developed into a great show; I just never felt compelled to give it another go. What finally convinced me was a comment from producer Russell T. Davies in last week’s Entertainment Weekly about drawing inspiration from Buffy in terms of focusing on characters’ relationships with each other (by the way, Buffy topped EW’s list of the 25 greatest cult TV series!).
I’m not madly in love with Doctor Who yet, although I can see myself getting there. I’ll probably always feel like a relative newbie because I never watched the original show, but there’s still plenty to enjoy. I’m impressed by how, despite what I assume are often deliberately cheesy effects, the show generates some truly creepy moments, as it does in “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” (who would’ve thought a little kid in a gas mask could be so eerie?). Then there’s the pleasure of seeing Anthony Stewart Head in “School Reunion,” in a deliciously sinister departure from Giles (it must be weird for Tony not to be able to take off his glasses and wipe them thoughtfully). And finally, there’s the unexpected poignancy of a stand-alone episode like “The Girl in the Fireplace,” bolstered by an intelligent, grounded performance by Sophie Myles.
Obviously I’m rather unqualified to say much about Doctor Who, since I’m still only in season 2. I assume I’ll have more to say as the seasons progress; till then, if you’re a long-time fan (Whovian, is it?), feel free to drop some knowledge in the comments section!