The Husband and I watched the Christmas special and Season 2, Episode 1 of the new new Doctor Who. I’m glad that they used the special for the regeneration story. Whatever story where the Doctor regenerates is always kind of a wasted story in my mind. The Doctor usually runs around in some state of semi-dress (not always the sexy kind!) and the assistants tend to have to resort to overacting in order to register the appropriate amount of shock and horror followed by total acceptance of the Doctor’s new face. These factors usually take away from the new actor’s first story. This story, yes, had the Doctor running around in a robe and pajamas, and yes Rose (and Mickey and her mother and the Prime Minister, for heaven’s sake) freaked out when presented with regeneration. But I don’t know; I still enjoyed the story more than most regeneration stories.
Come to think of it, Eccleston probably had the hardest time of all the new Doctors. He had to be assured of how he was going to play the Doctor from frame one and come up with something that people liked, or else there wouldn’t have been any more Doctor Who after him. Tennant’s first story was as enjoyable as regeneration stories get, so please don’t get the idea that I don’t like him, because I do. He just got the luxury of wandering around in a bathrobe telling Rose’s babbling mother to shut up and dropping references to Arthur Dent, regrowing severed hands and so on. Veteran Whovians are used to that sort of thing in a new Doctor, and give him some time before passing judgment.
The Husband and I were both puzzled by Cassandra’s reappearance in “New Earth.” It sort of undercuts something we thought we learned about the Doctor in the previous season. We were sure she was dead, but we mightily enjoyed her when she took over Rose’s body. The kiss was about the funniest thing I’ve seen lately, and lately I’ve watched the entire run of The Venture Brothers and House. I particularly liked the scene in the elevator shaft where Cassandra got booted from the Doctor to Rose to the Doctor to Rose to the plague carrier to Rose again. Now, the Face of Boe, I wonder what he has to tell the Doctor. I hope it’s not “You’re in the bottle Universe where Gallifrey was destroyed. You’re not alone. Psyche!” or “The way to have a 13th regeneration is…” Both of those would be cop-outs, so hopefully it’s not one of those. We’ll see, I suppose.
It’s very good that they are making up new characters and reusing those rather than constantly reusing stuff from classic Doctor Who. They’ve gotten that balance right. When they simply say, “No, Martians don’t look anything like that” and leave it there, it’s great. I know they’re joking about the Ice Warriors and laugh. A new viewer just hears a joke and laughs. Something for everyone without dragging the whole thing down with a tedious, “And now, homage to….the Ice Warriors.”
It’s such a luxury, seeing all this new Doctor Who in the same year. It’s been a long time, and I know how lucky we are to be watching it at all.