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BBC's 'Doctor Who' is plenty entertaining

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2006-06-17 Daily Journal.jpg


The doctor is in.

Doctor who?


Cheesy joke, yes. But somehow it seems a fitting introduction to the BBC's marvelous new series of "Doctor Who (first series available July 4 on DVD).

Starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor (the ninth Doctor over the course of the character's now 43-year history), this latest chapter involving the Doctor is an enjoyable piece of sci-fi that's equally thrilling, funny, romantic and emotional.

The new series begins as an introduction to Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), a London shop clerk who runs afoul of an army of mannequins come to life. Just when things seem to be at there most dire, here comes the good Doctor to save the day.

"I'm the Doctor, run for your lifer he says as a way of introducing himself to Rose.

As she learns more about the Doctor, she becomes more firm in her decision to join him in his time travels.

(After all, he is a Time Lord. Last of his race, actually. See, there was this Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks — they're like mobile salt-and-pepper shakers, whose favorite word seems to be "Exterminate!" — and the Time Lords managed to wipe out the Daleks, but not without wiping out the rest of the Time Lords, as well.)

Rose's mum, Jackie (Camille Coduri), and Rose's boyfriend, Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke), are less than thrilled with the fact that Rose wants to up and leave with some strange man she just met. But leave Rose does, and that's when her life and the show really take off.

Speaking of taking off, what the Doctor and Rose travel in is called the TARDIS, a Time and Relative Dimensions In Space

machine (the last one in the universe). On the outside it's a blue police box, but inside is a whole other matter. A spaceship like none other, the TARDIS is bigger and rounder than its exterior would lead one to believe.

It also has a power source like no other ship before it. The heart of the TARDIS has powers that have to be seen to be believed. And those hearty enough to join the Doctor and Rose will see that power firsthand before the end of this first series.

As the twosome journey through time and space, they encounter.

■ Charles Dickens in Victorian England

■ An infected child and others during the Blitz who repeatedly ask in an oh-so-creepy voice, "Are you my mummy?"

■ Rose's long-dead father

■ Aliens taking over 10 Downing St. and

■ Going back to the Blitz for just a sec, the introduction of the one... the only... Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).

One of the great things about "Doctor Who is that it's fully aware of the fact that sci-fi can be fun. Another example of this is Joss Whedon's "Firefly" series and its feature film spinoff, "Serenity!' The wit in all these projects flies as fast and furious as the action set pieces.

Eccleston is so unbelievably good as the Doctor that its both hard to believe yet perfectly understandable why he would leave after the first series. It would be hard to sustain such manic energy over so many years. Thankfully, he is given a beautiful exit which paves the way for what is probably one of the best introduction of recast part ever (David Tennant takes over in time for a Christmas special and series two). Just for the record: Never seen any other "Who."

Piper is simply awesome as Rose. Newcomers to the series will relate easily to Rose since she's experiencing everything for the first time, too. Piper brings spunk, a ready-for-anything spirit and just a touch of naivete when it comes to the ways of the universe. Which is not to say she's the epitome of the dumb blonde stereotype. Far from it. She learns as she goes, and is more than capable of saving the Doctor's behind when the situation warrants it.

Which brings us to Barrowman. A true showman, he puts his theater experience to excellent use as "the dashing intergalactic rogue (per the BBC/"Doctor Who Web site). Suave and charming to both sexes, Captain Jack is looking out for No. 1 when we first meet him. However, it's not long after meeting Rose and the Doctor that he learns to look out for his new friends and other innocents, as well. Fans of the character already know this, but a spinoff titled "Torch wood" (itself an anagram of Doctor Who) is set to debut in the U.K. in late 2007 with Barrowman returning as everyone's favorite captain.

Series one of "Doctor Who" is an entertaining ride with strong characters and strong writing (writers include exec producer Russell T. Davies and "Coupling" creator/writer Steven Moffat). Sci-Fi channel recently finished airing the first series, and fans are chomping at the bit for more adventures with the Doctor and Rose. And you best believe they want to see "Torchwood" as soon as humanly possible.

So let's sum up, shall we? "I'm the Doctor, run for your life!"

Yep, that pretty much covers it.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to

  • APA 6th ed.: Thornborough, Joanne (2006-06-17). BBC's 'Doctor Who' is plenty entertaining. The Daily Journal (New Jersey) p. B9.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Thornborough, Joanne. "BBC's 'Doctor Who' is plenty entertaining." The Daily Journal (New Jersey) [add city] 2006-06-17, B9. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Thornborough, Joanne. "BBC's 'Doctor Who' is plenty entertaining." The Daily Journal (New Jersey), edition, sec., 2006-06-17
  • Turabian: Thornborough, Joanne. "BBC's 'Doctor Who' is plenty entertaining." The Daily Journal (New Jersey), 2006-06-17, section, B9 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=BBC's 'Doctor Who' is plenty entertaining | url= | work=The Daily Journal (New Jersey) | pages=B9 | date=2006-06-17 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=26 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=BBC's 'Doctor Who' is plenty entertaining | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=26 May 2024}}</ref>