Two and a half years of school has left me a little out of the loop. I knew the BBC was producing a new Doctor Who series but two things prevented me from getting involved. The first was the fact it makes it to the United States late, and the second was that I was I still in school. Be that as it may, a friend at work has allowed me to watch a copy, starting from the beginning. Tonight, I just finished the first two episodes and I am suitably impressed.

It’s been some 20 plus years since I was first introduced to The Doctor. My first experience was in tech school with the Air Force, while stationed at Keesler AFB in Mississippi. One late night surfing through the channels on the television in the day room, I stumbled across this odd English program with a frightened young girl and a curly haired tall man in a long coat and even longer scarf. It looked sci-fi so it intrigued me. The episode was “The Brain of Mobius” or something like that (I don’t really follow these that close), and it ran uninterrupted. Even at the end of the show, I didn’t really understand what I had seen.

The acting was alright, the sets seemed a bit cheesy but the back story was intriguing. Who was this doctor person, and what was the relationship to this Sara Jane Smith person? Well, I didn’t manage to catch any more episodes there but once I got back home, I found this show called Doctor Who on the local PBS station, and it all became clear. I then followed it through the next two Doctors and it faded away. For almost any sci-fi fan, the resurrection of Doctor Who is almost a watershed event.

Tonight as I watched, I found myself engrossed in the same old, but familiar theme. Having only watched the first two episodes I can at least say it was certainly made for old fans. We get a passing quip from the new Doctor as he passes a mirror and comments on his new appearance. We don’t really know what his very last appearance was but he seems to be okay with his new look. This of course plays on the fans knowledge that The Doctor regenerates. Something else the fans knew about, was the TARDIS.

The character of Rose has never seen a TARDIS much less an old 1950’s police call box. To fans, this is the old familiar chameleon scheme The Doctor’s poor TARDIS became stuck in some time ago. The writers did a fantastic job with Rose and Billy Piper did a great job of playing the part. Her confusion on first entry, then hasty exit, and then a long panning shot as she slowly circles the great blue box is precious to the fan, because we know. We know what she has just gone through and it literally gave me goose bumps to know she had just experienced something we all have become awestruck with. And we also knew, she’d have to go back in.

I must say I was a little disappointed with the interior of the TARDIS control room. I’m simply used to the neat clean appearance from the older series, so I must be cautious and let it just sink in. I felt it was a bit too big, too dirty and the control panel itself didn’t seem right. As with getting used to a new actor playing a regenerated Doctor, I’ll get used to this new control room. Perhaps in one way I can rationalize some of my feelings with the fact presented in episode two.

In the first episode, The Doctor shys away from telling Rose where he really comes from. As a fan I already knew and was waiting for him to expose himself, but it didn’t come until episode two. There was something wrong as The Doctor refused Rose’s question again, not telling her anything about where he comes from, who he really is, or anything much about himself. This is partially The Doctor we know, but there was also something more sinister about. One of the other lead characters figures it out after scanning him, and we learn from her later that something devastating has happened, but we aren’t really told what, only that she feels for him and his reminiscent thoughts wax long on his face.

It is a while later, when Earth is finally destroyed that he tells us the shocking story, brief and to the point. This is the real reason my friends wouldn’t tell me anything about the series until after I’d seen the first few episodes. Something tragic has happened to the Time Lords, and Gallifrey has been destroyed. What utter shock this was to me, to know a large piece of the back story had been removed; that the Doctor was now truly alone in the universe, and part of it showed.

So from the moment Rose makes her decision to join The Doctor and runs into the TARDIS at the end of episode one, to the moment we find he no longer has a true home, the writers of the new Doctor Who have tugged at my emotions with an old fashioned, silly sci-fi show. It was wonderfully done, even through the cheesy plastic people, and alien costumes. In the end it isn’t so much the special effects or sets, but it’s the story woven around them. As a fan, I like to see the TARDIS dematerialize on screen, I like to see strange new places and meet new aliens, but most of all, I feel an identity with The Doctor, and that’s what makes the show great, for me.

Asa Jay

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Copyright 2014, Asa Jay Laughton