Doctor Who: Rose   Rewatch 
June 10, 2014 5:20 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Rose Tyler is an ordinary shop worker living an ordinary life in 21st century Britain. But that life is turned upside down when a strange man calling himself The Doctor drags her into an alien invasion attempt.

Series 1, Episode 1 of the 2005 Doctor Who relaunch.
posted by zarq (59 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thank you for unleashing this upon the world.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:18 PM on June 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


There's a marked step down in production quality for this season as compared to the newer stuff. Still... Christopher Eccleston is wonderful though. His Doctor is so sad, but manages to put forth a sort of optimism and lightness in spite of it. It takes a tremendous kind of bravery to pull lightness out of a personal darkness like that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:16 PM on June 10, 2014


So when I first noticed that this was on Netflix, I'd never seen any episodes of the old "Doctor Who". My daughter had just turned seven, and I knew that old show was (a) a children's show according to some people and (b) notoriously scary for certain of the people who had seen it as children.

Therefore, before springing the show on my daughter, I screened this episode by myself. "Hmm," I thought, "that seems about the right level of scariness. Just a little bit spooky, with the moving mannequins in the basement and the trash bin eating the boyfriend, but goofy, too. This will be great for a seven year old!"

And thus began our trip all the way through the new Doctor Who. No spoilers, but I will say that this episode did not accurately represent the level of scariness that the show can attain. I don't think it's done her any harm, though, and we're both still big fans, very excited for the next season to start.

The show's wildly uneven, but as something I've shared with my daughter, I can't help but love it a lot.

When, after we'd been through more episodes and made my wife sit down with us to watch THIS episode, she was really shocked/impressed by how quickly Rose made the decision to walk away from Mickey.
posted by Ipsifendus at 9:29 PM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Similar story with me. My five year-old adores Doctor Who. "He only helps. He never hurts." We haven't seen all of the new series. We skipped "Blink" and a few others. "The Waters of Mars" freaked him out. And the one with the doll people bothered him.

But mostly, he loves it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:43 PM on June 10, 2014


YAY I'm so excited that this is happening.
posted by librarina at 9:46 PM on June 10, 2014


Finally an excuse to watch all the way through and learn to put up with Matt Smith!

Christopher Eccleston is one of my favorite doctors, probably second only to Tom Baker. He's the best actor of the NuWho Doctors, at least until we see Capaldi.
posted by Sara C. at 11:02 PM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I remember being so excited about this coming back. This episode works very well, for the most part. I think Rose's relationship with her family (and Mickey especially) comes across as a bit goofy here, but the show fixes that later on. I love the way the Doctor is introduced, slowly built up as this figure across history. We learn towards the end that he is heart broken over something called the "time war". Its a lovely bit of myth making, and sets the show up brilliantly for old and new fans: its actually pretty clever for Davies to introduce back story to the doctor that no-one knows about, as it means everyone has to play catch up.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:09 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love the Doctor having to check out his reflection in the mirror. And coming back to take Rose along.
posted by RainyJay at 12:56 AM on June 11, 2014


Oh my, oh my thank you for starting this. I tried to rewatch with my youngins and this one is totally off the rewatch list. But I need a rewatch habit so I can curate these as "watch this Who" and "not watching this Who" with my youngins.
posted by tilde at 5:39 AM on June 11, 2014


They say your favorite Doctor is whichever Doctor you were first introduced to. I occasionally caught broadcast of Classic Who on PBS on our old rabbit-ears as a child, but Eccleston's Doctor was the Doctor I first watched when I decided to get into Who, and, sure enough, he's my favorite.

I outlined my reasons why in this comment.

Having said that, this episode fell a bit flat for me; it felt very pilot-y and like a show not yet on its legs. I wouldn't use it to introduce people to Doctor Who even though it was my own introduction.
posted by gauche at 6:35 AM on June 11, 2014


OK, so I've added three recaps to the thread, including The TARDIS Data Core's Doctor Who Wiki, which gives extensive information about the production elements of each episode. Their recaps are especially fun because they tend to point out continuity between episodes, series and various media. I've also included TWOP and TVTropes, which are usually pretty high quality. For consistency, I'll do this for every Doctor Who post I make, and try to add them to any others I see posted. If anyone wants to link to other great recaps, please do!!

I hope no one minds that I labeled this season 1, episode 1. It might have been more accurate to say "Season 27" for the reboot but I thought it might confuse people.

Am thinking of posting a rewatch episode thread for the show every day or two. (Anyone else should feel free to beat me to it, please!) Is that schedule okay with everyone?
posted by zarq at 6:41 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


All these rewatches are so damn tempting. I think I need to quit my job in order to keep up with FanFare.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:51 AM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I would like to vote for a thread every two days at most, to give each one time to breath.
(Also I can try to watch along on that schedule)

Given the way Classic Who was screened I bet pretty much no one would call it Season 27, so although Season 1 is incorrect it is no more incorrect than Season 27 would be, and arguably less so.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:53 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Agreed, I'd go with "Classic Who" when screening the "original" ones that survive on NetFlix.
posted by tilde at 7:07 AM on June 11, 2014


There are also excellent AV Club rewatches as well, if you're looking to add to the sidebar. Here's the one for Rose.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:09 AM on June 11, 2014


Added, thanks!
posted by zarq at 7:20 AM on June 11, 2014


Oh, i got to doctor who via a link on a webcomic. I was running maybe two year behind. By the end of the week i had gone down a very dark hole and come out a very different person. A very happy person that could not stop talking about the Tadis and the Doctor. My mother thought i had finaly gone insane.
This was before megavideo and before fast streaming, at least in the swiss mountains. I watched via Youko with subtitles. Very crapy quality. When i watched again normal quality it took away some magic from the memory.
Yet i still love the slow build up to who is the Doctor, and how we never get to learn eveything, not because it is a big secrets, but because we are seeing it by Rose's perspective, one bit at a time, getting to know the Doctor.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 7:28 AM on June 11, 2014


If you want to get really finicky the accepted nomenclature is "Season X" for Classic Who and "Series X" for NuWho, but I can't imagine that a single person here cares.

Anyhow, this was the first Doctor Who episode I ever saw, and going back to it after catching up on the classic series the thing that strikes me is how coy they were at first about whether this was a relaunch or a total reboot that was going to start from scratch with its own storyline. Obviously it's set up so people who weren't around in the McCoy years can still jump on board, but if I'd seen all the old stuff first, and then watched this and someone told me that it was a new continuity with a new Doctor that was including classic monsters as a nod to the old show, I'd probably have believed it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:33 AM on June 11, 2014


After being told by a bunch of friends that I absolutely HAD to watch, miss_lapin finally insisted and convinced me to start watching.

I wasn't thrilled with Rose. The show had promising bits, but I wasn't sure if I liked either Chris Eccleston (too manic, too angry) or Billie Piper (too clueless). The plot seemed contrived. Special effects didn't seem all that special. Most sci fi shows (perhaps most shows of any genre) start out the same way -- perhaps because the actors haven't become comfortable with their characters yet, and the narrative world being created feels new and unexplored.

Looking back at this episode seven seasons later, I find I'm filled with nostalgia. The episode's the same, but my perspective is very different. I know about the war he refers to. I'm searching for Bad Wolf references. But yes, I agree with gauche. It's not an episode I'd choose to introduce new viewers to the New Who.

Holy Zarquon's Singing Fisht: "If you want to get really finicky the accepted nomenclature is "Season X" for Classic Who and "Series X" for NuWho, but I can't imagine that a single person here cares."

Heh. Plus you can only choose "Season" and not "Series" in the "Post a thread" interface! :)
posted by zarq at 7:37 AM on June 11, 2014


One thing that's really interesting to me about this first season, considering how finicky fans are about the nomenclature, is Eccleston being listed as "Doctor Who" in the credits.

It's nearly impossible to Google; does anyone know why this was done?
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:24 AM on June 11, 2014


Zarq, since you asked about timing, my vote would be for one episode/thread per week, so that people could get used to it the same way they get used to what particular day a show is "on."
posted by jbickers at 9:08 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


One thing that's really interesting to me about this first season, considering how finicky fans are about the nomenclature, is Eccleston being listed as "Doctor Who" in the credits.

It's nearly impossible to Google; does anyone know why this was done?


Evidently fanboy David Tennant made them change that.
posted by jbickers at 9:09 AM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


When I first started watching Doctor Who, I watched "The Christmas Invasion" before backtracking to watch "Rose," but it was definitely "Rose" that hooked me. In hindsight, the production values are not particularly great, and the performances and tone hadn't quite settled yet, but I still have an immense amount of affection for this episode. It's one I frequently rewatch when I want to revisit Doctor Who.

The moment the show really had me was this quote from the Doctor:
Do you know like we were saying, about the earth revolving? It's like when you're a kid, the first time they tell you that the world is turning and you just can't quite believe it 'cause everything looks like it's standing still. I can feel it...the turn of the earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. The entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty seven thousand miles an hour. And I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world. And, if we let go...That's who I am. Now forget me, Rose Tyler. Go home.
Great performance from Eccleston there, and it was the moment I really believed he was a centuries-old time travelling alien.
posted by yasaman at 9:55 AM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Eccleston was my first Doctor. But, all the same.... he's not my favorite. I just don't get him, as the Doctor. The AV Club's reviews helped me see a little bit what people like about him, but, all the same, I just don't see the complexity and depth in his performance that everyone raves about. I've tried so hard to appreciate his performance, but it always looks to me like he's just phoning it in -- saying the lines to get it over with.

But! He was still my first Doctor. And Rose was the first episode I ever saw. The cheesiness of the PlasticMickey is soooo over the top, but what drew me in were the few bits of dialogue between the Doctor and the plasticine entity, towards the end. The Evil Bad Monster is given reasonable motive. Even though it's just a hint, just a few brief moments of dialogue in which we really only hear the Doctor speak, we get a notion that it has its own psychology, its own regrets and pain and frustration, its own narrative in which it, in fact, is the protagonist. That impressed me: a show as cheesy as this, but which will allow its monsters to be complex.
posted by meese at 10:31 AM on June 11, 2014


I really love this episode (which should be s27e01 imho) because Rose is so incredibly normal, today, living. She doesn't forget about her family, she doesn't want to remove herself from her life and go On An Adventure. She wants to have a good night out and be back for breakfast tomorrow.

That, and I love how Mickey gets replaced by a plastic person for the rest of the series and no one bats an eye.
posted by rebent at 10:33 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love how Mickey gets replaced by a plastic person for the rest of the series and no one bats an eye.

He's a plastic person for a fair amount of the episode, but not the rest of the series. They find the flesh-and-blood Mickey, who had been kept prisoner.
posted by meese at 12:27 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Contrary to popular belief, Noel Clarke is not actually made of plastic. He is a biodegradable aliphatic polyester blend.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:31 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rose is the more important member of the cast in S1E1. With the possible exception of Ace, she was by far the most active and independent companion to date. In a sense it's her story told from her point of view, and the Doctor is just there to facilitate it. She hung around too long, but in these first couple of seasons I think she's the reason the show revived.

As an old-who fan I saw Eccleston and recoiled. It didn't help that the first time I saw him was the fart-monster episode. He seemed thuggish, unrecognizable as the Doctor I knew. I quickly stopped watching and didn't start again until midway through the Tennant run. It was only later when I went back and did a netflix blitz that he started to make sense to me.

"Just this once, everybody lives!" is absolutely perfect as the Doctor's battle cry. He made the Daleks a real threat again (no spoilers). S1E11 "Boom Town" has one of my favorite moments in the history of the character (spoiler link). He's still an outlier, oddball Doctor (for me at least) but he works.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:56 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


meese, I'm afraid your interpretation simply isn't headcannon ;)
posted by rebent at 3:03 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a rewatch, we're allowed spoilers here.

(In that vein, Day of the Doctor did a really good job of giving context to Nine's personality, I thought.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:10 PM on June 11, 2014


My favorite Eccleston moment:

Rose: Look at you... grinning like you're Father Christmas.
The Doctor: Who says I'm not? Red bicycle when you were twelve.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, hey, a rewatch thread for NuWho. Which I just started rewatching a couple of weeks ago on Netflix. I'm a season ahead of you already, but that's okay, I can slow down, especially since I'm about to be away for a couple of weeks anyway.

They say your favorite Doctor is whichever Doctor you were first introduced to.

Nope -- I started watching with this episode, but I'm much more a fan of 10.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


They say your favorite Doctor is whichever Doctor you were first introduced to.

Not for me either. I started with reruns of 4 and got into new-who watching 10 but my favorite is 11.

Still, I have to admit, ridiculously long scarves are cool.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


if I'd seen all the old stuff first, and then watched this and someone told me that it was a new continuity with a new Doctor that was including classic monsters as a nod to the old show, I'd probably have believed it.

I had seen the show previously (mostly Three, Four, and some Five), though not the more recent miniseries or the last of the 80s Doctors, and thought exactly this until I started hearing people call it "NuWho" and "a reboot" around the time of Eleven when Who was really beginning to be a part of the general American consciousness.

Nothing about any of Eccleston's episodes marks it as a Completely New Approach To What Doctor Who Is, aside from the transition away from the 15-minute/4 episode story arcs. To my eyes as someone who skipped straight from Five to Nine, it just felt like more Doctor Who. I'm still fairly sure I'd consider it part of the same general continuity, though I trailed off with Eleven.

The existence of Sarah Jane in both iterations of Who strongly implies to me that there's no real "reboot".
posted by Sara C. at 5:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I watched someone as a kid, but can't decide between 9 or 10 as a favourite. (11 is behind whatever I watched as a kid, and possibly behind the other doctors I have never watched.)

I rewatched Rose a while back, and it really has something special. I see the problems with the episode, but it's where I started. The angry, grieving doctor . . . it annoys me that we retconned away the Time War.
posted by jeather at 5:15 PM on June 11, 2014


In hindsight, the production values are not particularly great

It wouldn't be Doctor Who if it had great production values.

I kid, but seriously I'm relatively sure they kept the effects budget low for at least the first series so that it felt like Who to old viewers. If they'd gone too slick, people probably would have had the same problems folks have with NuTrek.
posted by Sara C. at 5:18 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


When I was in college one of my close friends kept trying to get me into this kooky old British sci-fi show that she loved, to which I wasn't especially receptive – to the point of being a bit rude about it in that breezily dismissive fashion typical of nerds who think their nerddom is better than yours. Luckily she didn't hold it against me, and now when we manage to get together (we live on different continents) we always put aside some time for a Classic Who serial or two. All because of this episode, and the four new series that existed when I finally got into the show.

It's true that parts of Rose haven't aged very well, and these days The Eleventh Hour is a more popular intro story. I love TEH in all its fairy-tale-esque, Matt-Smith-and-Caitlin-Blackwoody goodness, but there's a lot to be said for the immersive richness of the world Rose creates in forty-five minutes – starting with the two minute whirlwind tour of Rose's life (with charmingly zippy music) that tells us everything we need to know about her life with barely a word. Despite how little we know of the Ninth Doctor and the bit of his life that's intersected onto Rose's – how much the episode draws our attention to how little we know – the universe already has a texture to it.

I have to take a minute to rep for Mickey Smith. Though horribly underserved by both the writers and the other characters – Noel Clarke was one of New Who's best actors who was given the least to do – he has a great development arc and is no less a hero (though a quieter one) than any of the more prominent companions.
posted by bettafish at 5:22 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but why would anyone start Doctor Who with "The Eleventh Hour"? That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard. It makes no sense at all, no matter how I turn it over in my mind.

That's like starting all of Star Trek with "Best Of Both Worlds".
posted by Sara C. at 5:38 PM on June 11, 2014


On a rewatch, it's really striking how unsure of itself this series seemed until Dalek (and even then, not really hitting its "moment" until... I'd say emotionally, it clicked with Father's Day, but as a total package, The Empty Child). I'm really interested to see the conversation three threads from now, with an episode of farting Slitheen... in my experience, that two-parter is the rock that sank a million newbie ships when introducing them to the show.

That being said, Rose is a strong episode, except (imo) for the climax. Rose's moment of truth, swinging on the chain to defeat the Nestene Consciousness, was maybe stronger in the script (because she really was impressively up to what the Doctor's world had to offer!) than it was on the screen (because it was... kind of lame, tbh). Everything else was great, though.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:38 PM on June 11, 2014


I'm sorry, but why would anyone start Doctor Who with "The Eleventh Hour"? That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard. It makes no sense at all, no matter how I turn it over in my mind.

That's like starting all of Star Trek with "Best Of Both Worlds".


I can't start anybody on anything but Rose. That way they see the rough patches towards the beginning, so their expectations are realistically set for the high highs and low lows (and the way that both can often come in the same episode) that the show can deliver.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:40 PM on June 11, 2014


"I'm sorry, but why would anyone start Doctor Who with "The Eleventh Hour"? That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard. It makes no sense at all, no matter how I turn it over in my mind."

I can testify that it works – or at least it works after trying and failing to get a friend interested in the show via "Rose." I agree it doesn't offer as broad a scope of the show's best and worst, but if it wasn't a strong opener the population of Who viewership wouldn't have exploded as it did, no matter how aggressive BBC's Stateside marketing campaign was.

Oh, and on that "your favorite Doctor is your first" meme, it doesn't hold true for me either. I adore Eccleston's Doctor but my favorite is a perpetual tie between whichever Doctor I've seen/read/listened to the most recently, and Paul McGann's Eight. I'm not a big fan of the "X is my Doctor" framing, though I can't decide if that's because it implicitly downplays the other Doctors and their actors or if it's just reverse snobbery on my part.

I forgot to link to this last comment – Phil Sandifer's TARDIS Eruditorum is an "ongoing critical history of Doctor Who," of the sort that's always worth reading even when one vehemently disagrees. Here's the entry for Rose.
posted by bettafish at 6:09 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mickey is one of the select few to act in both the Star Trek Franchise and the Whoniverse.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


The existence of Sarah Jane in both iterations of Who strongly implies to me that there's no real "reboot".

Well, yeah, but Sarah Jane doesn't show up for almost two years. They do a very slow burn before finally saying "yes, all the stuff from the 60s, 70s and 80s still happened."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:26 PM on June 11, 2014


But I don't think that's because they left it a mystery. It's because that was always assumed. I guess I can't speak for all other viewers, but as someone who had seen lots of Classic Who before watching NuWho, it never occurred to me that it wasn't a continuity at all, anymore than it would have occurred to me that Star Trek TNG wasn't in the same continuity as TOS. Though of course Trek made it very clear by putting Bones in the pilot. I think British TV just doesn't think viewers need that reassurance.
posted by Sara C. at 6:35 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


zarq: “I hope no one minds that I labeled this season 1, episode 1. It might have been more accurate to say "Season 27" for the reboot but I thought it might confuse people.”
I was going to at least jokingly object, but I found that it is listed on Amazon Prime as "Season 1."


It seems to me that the whole thing holds up really well. The only things I thought were a little dated were the phones, some of the cars, and especially Rose's and Mickey's clothes. I guess they were supposed to be something that were realistic for people who lived in housing estates a decade ago. They're at least as embarrassing as anything anyone wore in the 1970s.

As far as it being a "reboot" or not, I can see it both ways. I mean, it obviously isn't. Still, when Clive was showing the historical records about The Doctor, I was surprised more of the previous Doctors weren't in there.

The bad guys were classic Doctor Who cheese. Which I kind of like. I mean killer trash bins? Perfect.

All in all I enjoyed this more than I really expected to and am excited to continue to rewatch with y'all.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:30 AM on June 12, 2014


Sara C.: Finally an excuse to watch all the way through and learn to put up with Matt Smith!

Likewise. Being up the front for this is still the only time I've seen him do it.
posted by vbfg at 6:30 AM on June 12, 2014


I guess they were supposed to be something that were realistic for people who lived in housing estates a decade ago. They're at least as embarrassing as anything anyone wore in the 1970s.

It's so weird thinking of the early 2000s as another decade with funny clothes and dated tech.
posted by Sara C. at 7:46 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I hope no one minds that I labeled this season 1, episode 1. It might have been more accurate to say "Season 27" for the reboot but I thought it might confuse people.

If, when we get around to the Matt Smith years, we start listing the show as being in "season fnarg", I would be very happy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was a late adopter to Doctor Who (I started watching via Netflix in late 2012). For a show that had already become something of a cultural phenomenon, I managed to remain pretty ignorant about it (which was nice in terms of having very little spoiled). The only thing I knew about the series was that it had starred David Tennant for awhile and now starred someone named Matt Smith.

When I started watching on Netflix and saw that the rebooted series actually began with a different Doctor altogether, I honestly thought about skipping to the first Tennant season, based on the faulty logic of, "I've never heard anyone talk about this guy, so i guess these episodes must not be any good". I'm glad my need for completeness won out.

Maybe it's just imprinting, but Nine is definitely my favorite Doctor thus far. Honestly, having gotten used to his portrayal of the Doctor as someone dark, damaged, but also bad ass made it really difficult for me to get used to the transition between Nine and the silly, goofy, quirkiness of Ten (Ten to Eleven was easier since there wasn't such a dramatic contrast in portrayal). I came to enjoy Tennant's run quite a bit as well, but it definitely was an acquired taste.
posted by The Gooch at 7:51 AM on June 12, 2014


"I'm sorry, but why would anyone start Doctor Who with "The Eleventh Hour"? That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard. It makes no sense at all, no matter how I turn it over in my mind."

*raises hand*

I guess I didn't technically start on Matt Smith, as I would occasionally watch random Tom Baker episodes on PBS with my Mom back in the day, but I never thought of myself as a fan of the show. I remember hearing about the reboot when it started, but I didn't even realize it was airing regularly in the US until the hype for Matt Smith started, which is why the first episode that my daughter and I watched was "The Eleventh Hour". After that first season/series/skein/whatever we went back and watched Nine and Ten on Netflix and now we are both pretty rabid fans.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:21 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still don't have a favorite doctor. For me, the way he changes is the most fascinating part of the character. Eccleston and Tennant and Smith are all great. I get why people don't like Tennant and Smith sometimes, but it works for me.

(TBH, while I get the criticism of the younger, flashier doctor Smith played, it was kind of a relief that he didn't seem to be significantly older than his female companion, at least in appearance.)

I might have started with The Eleventh Hour too. I didn't grow up with Who so I didn't really know what it was. Or it might have been a Tennant episode. I think I actually watched Eccleston's episodes last because I wasn't sure I would like him and because people weren't talking about him much, but they turned out to be great.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:53 AM on June 13, 2014


When I say I don't know why anyone would start with "The Eleventh Hour", I'm not saying I don't understand that sometimes people see the first episode that happens to be on when they start watching the show.

I'm saying I don't understand why anyone would do that deliberately.
posted by Sara C. at 8:23 AM on June 13, 2014


Next rewatch thread is up.
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on June 13, 2014


I'm saying I don't understand why anyone would do that deliberately.

If you haven't seen the show, you might not know how the episode compares. Maybe you've read opinions about it, and maybe you haven't. It seems reasonable to pick the first episode of the current season as a place to start. That way, you won't be confused by jumping in mid-season, but you're also close to watching the current stuff that people are talking about.

My own opinion is that either Rose or The Eleventh Hour are the least confusing introductions to the New Who, both being written with newcomers in mind. Rose is definitely a better episode, but The Eleventh Hour is really easy to digest.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:46 AM on June 13, 2014


I started with Eleventh Hour because I watched 5 minutes of Rose, went 'ugh, I don't like this' and decided to watch the first episode with Matt Smith because someone had told me I'd enjoy Vincent and the Doctor. Also, I get a kick out of watching Matt Smith; it's like watching a drunk, slightly insane kitten.

It worked out fine; I doubt I would have made it through the first season (which I watched last - I did seasons 5 and 6, then 2/3/4, and then 1.) if I'd tried to stick with it. I'm still not a huge fan of the first season, but I like it better than I did originally.
posted by punchtothehead at 8:53 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Plus if you wanted to start watching the stuff that was currently airing, it's probably better to jump in with the introduction to the then-current Doctor than to the guy from two regenerations ago.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:54 AM on June 13, 2014


I really got into Doctor Who in the early 90s when a roommate had a large collection of taped-off-PBS VHS tapes covering Pertwee through McCoy. I loved it all. And when the 1996 TV movie was broadcast, I was crushed at how thoroughly it missed the point. So I guess I heard about the 2005 reboot and didn't have the heart for it. I figured I was too old for Doctor Who anyway. And how could I get my wife up to speed anyway? I mean, she made me watch Highlander, but 1970's BBC pacing is a whole other story, right?

Finally, I guess not long after Matt Smith made a big splash in the US we start hearing about it from friends. And it's on Netflix. So, with some trepidation I put on Rose. And found it to be perfect. I mean, it's a modern TV show, but it retains the flavor of Doctor Who right down to the cheesy effects, just updated to modern cheese. (In fact, one of my main beefs with Moffat is that he makes the show look too slick.) Now the modern show has had some misfires, and trying to top every season finale with a bigger, louder one is the worst of the new traditions. But season 1 is as perfect an encapsulation of modern Doctor Who as our universe could possibly get.

And as far as I'm concerned, the callback to Spearhead from Space was just enough continuity. In fact, it worried me a little at the time that we'd get something like the first season of TNG, which was mostly just redressed episodes of TOS.
posted by rikschell at 12:16 PM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, and now we're having great fun introducing my son to the show by starting with the first doctor and watching Classic Who (not all of it--we've done maybe 50% and it's taken six months of nightly watching). The first time he saw Rose at age 10 he found it too scary (he's always been really sensitive about TV).
posted by rikschell at 12:21 PM on June 13, 2014


The Eleventh Hour is a fantastic entry point to Doctor Who, IMO. But it depends on "which" Who you want to introduce a person to. TEH marks the line in the sand in which Moffat decided the show was no longer going to be sci-fi/fantasy, and was now going to reside squarely in the genre of Fairy Tale. And as a fairy tale, the Matt Smith years were absolutely fantastic.

Please note that I am hugely biased toward the Matt Smith years because they were my daughter's introduction to Who, and watching them alongside her has been a singular pleasure. He will forever be HER Doctor. It also didn't hurt that she was approximately the same age as young Amy Pond when it aired, and my daughter is also red-headed, so she had the best imaginable on-screen proxy/hero.

All indications point to the Capaldi era being much darker and much more of a piece with classic Who, which sounds like what everybody's ready for. I think in retrospect, the Matt Smith stories will be a kind of self-contained unit that some people love and everybody else is happy to forget about.
posted by jbickers at 1:23 PM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


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