On a flight watching “Rose”, the first episode of the new Dr. Who as rebooted by Russell T. Davies and produced by BBC Wales.
As Hammersley says – if this hasn’t been deliberately leaked by the newly bittorrent-hip Beeb to get fanpersons to blog furiously about just how good it is, then it really should have been.
I will now blog furiously (with minimal spoilage) about just how good it is.
Right from the start.
Honestly – I really won’t spoil anything… But just in case…
The theme kicks in with the (literally) awesome unearthly sounds of ultimate geek goddess Delia Derbyshire, making the faithful 30somethings dewey-eyed over teatimes-purdu and 8 year olds (who have never heard of The Doctor but have probably been pressganged into watching with nostalgic Dads) wide-eyed and not quite sure of what the hell is going on; other than it’s left them with a slightly uncomfortable but exciting feeling that it’s going to be way weirder than Yu-gi-oh.
It proceeds to reveal itself as a new version of Grainer and Derbyshire’s orginal theme – a slightly heavier, richer, throbbing, looping mobieusriff that will be perhaps slightly familiar to you if you’ve ever heard Orbital’s take on the theme.
If you have delapidated your serotonin gateways in your 20’s, then you’ll get quite into the last 10 seconds of this and start nodding along to it like the rave-casualty bicycle courier from “Spaced” at a pelican crossing.
Talking of “Spaced” – this is definately post-Pegg*, post-Wheedon mainstream scifi adventure. It’s got layers – not many – but enough to give knowing winks to Dad and thrills to Junior. [* let’s hope he gets a part somewhere along the line. He’d actually make a great companion, in the ‘handy with a cricket bat’ tradition cf. ‘Shaun of the Dead’]
Ecceleston plays it a bit like one of his manic sociopaths from Cracker or something veined with Troughton-esque childish glee and darkness. It’s a bit all-over-the-place but you sense he’s going to settle into it nicely in a few episodes time.
The promise is evident in a scene when he’s explaining to Rose (a suprisingly good Bille Piper) who he is, and the look on his face is perfect Time Lord. Gallifreyan physionomy can obviously dump DMT at will into the augmented nervous system pumped by its twin hearts – as you just know this guy can not only see the machine-elves but he’s telling them where they should move the scenery next.
Other highlights – it has scary bits.
Just as you think it’s getting silly it gets dark. Just as you think we’re into an absurdist low-budget moment, there’s widescreen superexplodo battle scenes with legions (well, cohorts) of aliens. In Cardiff.
“Lots of planets have a north” with the right level of Gallifreyan / Leeds petulance.
The clever open-ended psuedoexplanation for n00bs of who (!) The Doctor is or might be that leaves plenty of room for further exposition – post (that word again) X-files style. The sonic screwdriver getting plenty of action.
Oh – and The Tardis.
The Tardis is definitely post-Wheedon, post-neogothic radiophonic VernePunk meets Nanotech/Biotech perfect.
Which leads me too… Well, just look who Russell T. Davies got for his Ralph McQuarrie:
I’d love to see his development sketches if you can get them, BBC Web team. Hell – I can’t wait to see what Hitch would do with Cybermen, Sontarans – perhaps he’ll even bring back K9, but he’ll be the size of a Hummer with nuclear capability. Or the size of a continent crusing interdimensional instices for something to pee on. The Carrier had a nose like dog, remember…
Despite downloading this early – I’ll be wishing I could watch the first episode on BBC with my sister’s kids – all boys under 11 – and share that moment as Delia Derbyshire’s otherworldly score fills a family living room with anticipation, trepidation and cosmic possibilities again.
And seeing this at the end just makes you proud…
I’m so very, very glad it’s good.
And it’s Welsh… 😉