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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who: The Complete First Season (review)

This is actually something like the 27th yearly batch of the classic British TV series, but calling it the “first season” is oddly apt: This is one of the most astonishing reimaginings of an old TV show ever to grace our screens, and there is no praise of creator/writer/producer Russell T. Davies (Queer as Folk) that would be undue. Acclaimed British actor Christopher Eccleston (28 Days Later) takes on the mantle of playing a character who has become iconic in the minds of science fiction fans everywhere — the mysterious Time Lord and intergalactic do-gooder known only as the Doctor — and makes it so much his own while also acknowledging his deep history that tears of joy are the only response. And that’s what Davies does, too: reintroduces old villains, like the robotic Daleks, and revisits old concepts — like the Doctor’s relationship with his human traveling companions, here spunky 19-year-old Rose (pop star Billie Piper) — in order to force the audience and the Doctor at the same time to reconsider them in a new light. Funnier and sexier and far more emotional than the old series, which rose above its roots as entertainment for kiddies only in the minds of dedicated adult fans, this is TV ahead of its time, 13 episodes of pure brilliance that push the boundaries not only of what constitutes fannish devotion (Davies is a longtime lover of the old show) but of what TV can do: The satire here (of the media, of willful ignorance, of Internet nuttery) is almost vicious and simultaneously loving, but the interpersonal relationships are devastatingly touching. As if more were needed, the set features five hours of making-of featurettes and other behind-the-scenes material and cast and crew commentaries.

see also: my episode-by-episode analysis over at Geek Philosophy

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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