The Doctor's Return: A Look Back at the Ninth Doctor
ED NOTE: we wanted to play a little catch-up with our fans, so with a new writer in tow at LG, we wanted to share a bit of Doctor Who retrospective for ya! A weekly series that will culminate with Mackensie sharing her thoughts on the Eleventh Doctor... before Capaldi takes the reins.
written by Mackensie Baker (@MackensieBaker)
Finally! August is here! Put down those popsicles and put away your swim suits, ladies and gentlemen, because—you guessed it—Doctor Who is coming back. The hiatus has been particularly painful this time around due to Matt Smith's regeneration in the holiday finale (as if we could forget). Now that they've given us enough time to grieve and come to terms with Peter Capaldi's step up to the role, however, it is the perfect time to look back in an obligatory review of times past. So hold on to your hats, g33ks! We're going back to 2005!
When Doctor Who left off again in 1996, countless fans were left waiting for the return of a show they thought might never return. But then in 2005, almost ten years later, it regenerated into the show we know and love today. McGann, the eighth Doctor for those ignorant few, was replaced after only one movie by Christopher Eccleston. Now, you may start arguing about the numbering here after the confusion in Day of the Doctor, but I stand by my counting. Think of the War Doctor as a commercial break, or an interlude, between McGann and Eccleston.
So here we are, given the Doctor's freshest face since 1996, and he's a Northern fellow with a leather coat and ears that hang very low indeed. And who is that cheeky blonde beauty by his side? The ever-memorable Rose Tyler, of course, the first character we meet in New Who. I still love that they chose such average people to play the Doctor and his companion. Billie Piper did a wonderful job playing the 19-year-old who lived in a dull apartment building with her talkative mum.
The thing is, while Rose may not have been an unearthly child or a spunky journalist, she felt far more real than many of the TARDIS's previous passengers. We saw that right from the get-go in the first episode, "Rose." She had a job, a boyfriend, along with an overbearing and talkative mother. She didn't believe the Doctor at first (I mean, who would?) but once she was convinced, she jumped at the chance to do something different. Whatever people might say about her making the new season too "dramatic" or "romantic" I say was relatable. Rose was one of us, the everyday people who go unnoticed, wishing their lives were more of an adventure.
As for the content and writing of the episodes themselves, it's in my opinion that Russell T. Davies was by far one of the best eras we've had. He wrote the majority of the episodes in Series 1, though one was written by the wonderful Mark Gatiss, and the scariest ("The Empty Child") was written by his later successor, Steven Moffat. That one, you might remember, as being the episode with the terrifying gas mask-wearing child with the haunting question: "Are you my mummy?"
It was also the episode where we meet the unforgettable Captain Jack Harkness, a con man from the 51st century. He is, by the way, the first (openly) non-heterosexual character in the whole of Doctor Who! Subsequently, he has become something of an icon in Who history. The same can't be said for Mickey or Adam, the other early male companions. Jack has even received his own spinoff show, Torchwood, as well as a fair number of comics, novels, games, and action figures.
Alongside the fabulous cast of characters, the monsters themselves were varied. The first to be faced as the Nestene Consciousness and the Autons, while the last were the Doctor's oldest enemies—the Daleks. But it didn't stop there. We had the weird and wacky in the Slitheen ("Aliens of London" and "World War Three") and the creepy Paradox parasites in the "Fathers Day" Reapers. The effects weren't terribly convincing, especially by today's standards, but to be perfectly honest that's part of the charm with this show. It doesn't need to look real to feel real. As Davies himself said, "The marvelous thing about 'Doctor Who' is that it tells stories that no one else can tell."
Despite being in only the one season, Christopher Eccleston made the difficult decision to leave the show due to personal reasons. The series finale, split into "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways," was a magnificent ending, though, where we experienced a major character death (even though it wasn't quite a death, per se...), saw an onscreen kiss between Rose and the Doctor, and watched as another regeneration took place. I knew, watching that last episode, that I was completely and utterly hooked and that I would be a fan for years to come. There was no going back for me. But was this the moment I knew that the show was going to be, as the Doctor would say, "fantastic?" Not at all. I knew from the very moment that the Doctor grabbed Rose's hand in that first episode and told her to run.
Anywho (ED NOTE: I see what ya did there Mack), stay tuned because next week I'll be looking back again, this time to the Tenth Doctor...