12 Days of Doctors – The 9th Doctor – Series 1, Episode 1 – “Rose” – The Consequences of the Time War

Nestene_consciousness

We continue 12 Days of Doctors with “Rose” and the first adventure for the 9th Doctor. “Rose” is the episode that brings the Doctor back on the air, this time under direction and show runner of Russell T. Davies. The episode was also written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Keith Boak.

Before I get into the details of the episode, I love it. It has mystery in how the reveal the main premise, and the minor characters are treated with respect (Jackie and Mickey) which makes Rose’s world real that she leaves behind…which we hadn’t seen as much before with past Doctors. Suffice to say, I can see why this series planted the seed that keeps the modern Doctor Who and continuation of the series running to this day.

The story of “Rose” is that Rose is pulled into the Doctor’s world when he arrives on the scene to save her from an attack by Autons (the plastic men from “Spearhead from Space”) who are here to colonize Earth since the Nestene Consciousness’s worlds were destroyed by the Time War that the Doctor fought in. From here the Doctor and Rose must face this threat with each other and Rose tries to make sense of this mysterious stranger and help the Doctor save the day.

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Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The 9th Doctor / The Ninth Doctor – Christopher Eccleston is like how his Doctor describes things, “Fantastic!” He has a chip on his shoulder from the War (the details of which we learn later in the series) but even here we see how he is trying to write the wrongs of the Time War he fought in, and how impossible it feels for him. He still doesn’t kill as a first resort and though he is standoffish, he is kind. He clearly cares for Rose and for humanity as he defends humanity by their potential to the Nestene Consciousness on why they deserve to live. I know he didn’t stay because of trouble with the Producers and others on the show, but I wish he’d gotten more than a season. The 9th Doctor had the most complete arc, which we see the beginning of here. He is the PTSD Doctor healing from the war, and it is here with Rose that the healing really starts. Without a doubt, one of my favorite Doctors.

Rose Tyler – A controversial companion because of how she is romantically involved with the 10th Doctor later and other things, shows herself a very good companion in her first episode. She saves the Doctor from the Nestene Consciousness and is willing to leave her life behind to go on adventures with the Doctor by the end of the episode, even being in a romantic relationship with Mickey and caring for her mom aren’t enough to keep her there. She also sees the things the Doctor misses, like the Ferris Wheel being the giant device the Nestene needs to control the plastic in the city. Suffice to say, she starts out great! Rose will get her own blog post another time.

The Minor Characters – Mickey her boyfriend is well meaning but kind of oblivious making him a very human character, and he does see the big picture too as he is fine with Rose adventuring with the Doctor. Jackie is the concerned Mom who is single and lonely, but also practical, once Rose’s work get’s destroyed by the Doctor when he is trying to stop the Nestene Consciousness, Jackie is the one trying to help Rose get money and find work.

The Nestene Consciousness – It is great seeing this antagonist again, though the bad CGI was worse than the tentacles that were props used in “Spearhead from Space.” I’ll take real props and models over okay or bad CGI any day. Still a great character though, this creature is a survivor from the Time War and just trying to live. It knows it is more powerful than us so sees it having a right to Earth by that alone. As a desperate refugee you can kind of see how desperation probably lead it to thinking that way. RIP Nestene Consciousnesses of the Time War.

The Consequences of the Time War – The Nestene is the first of the refugees we will meet and shows us for the first time, the Doctor is not all good and has done and been a part of great wrongs…the Time War being one of the greatest of these. Because of these he and the Universe is scarred and episode shows that without explicitly telling us. It is brilliant.

Okay: The Doctor’s Past Regenerations – We see that the Doctor has lived for a long time when a conspiracy theorist shows Rose pictures of the 9th Doctor throughout Time. Sadly there is no reference to the other Doctors, which I think doesn’t help the episode. We get that later, but this time it would have been nice to see that the 9th Doctor was connected to the ones before.

Con: The Special Effects – I’ll stress what I said before, give me models and props over bad CGI anyday. The bad CGI shows in this first season and doesn’t help the case at all. In many ways it limits creativity and the realness of it since the Doctor is just talking to a Green or Blue Screen in the end. If it was good it wouldn’t be so bad, but when there is bad CGI it really stands out.

I recommend this episode for sure. Christopher Eccleston is great as the Doctor, and the episode begins Rose’s arc into self confidence and the Doctor’s healing and dealing with the consequences from the Time War…which is an arc I’ll be covering later and eventually doing an entry about. This is where I think people should start who don’t know about Doctor Who, it introduces you to the world, the Doctor and the adventure as well as setting a few arcs in motion that payoff later in this new series.

My Final Score for this episode is 9 / 10. It is very good.

christopher eccleston Ninth Doctor

12 Days of Doctors – The 3rd Doctor – Season 7, Episode 1 – “The Spearhead From Space” – The Beginning of an Exile

Spearhead_from_Space

We continue 12 Days of Doctors with the count up to 12th’s first Adventure with the 3rd Doctor. This was the first time Doctor Who appeared in color and also the first episode that had UNIT helping the Doctor against the current threat, as well as the introduction as well as the introduction of Jon Pertwee at the Third Doctor.

“The Spearhead From Space,” was written by Robert Holmes and directed by Derek Martinus. Producer Derrick Sherman oversaw the change between Troughton to Pertwee and the new direction the show would take.

The story begins with strange meteors crashing into the Earth, one of which is the Doctor in the TARDIS. He is taken in by UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Task Force) as UNIT tries to figure out what happened as only a piece of one of the strange alien cylinders that fell is found by them and it is broken. Liz is brought onto the scene by the Brigadier to help solve things and after the Doctor is attacked by assassins from the life-form that landed he begins working with The Brig and Liz ┬áto find out what it is…at least until Liz gets him his key to the TARDIS and he finds that the Time Lords have permanently exiled him on Earth in the time period it takes place in forcing him to help solve the crisis and accept his exile. From here the story unfolds.

Dr Who: Spearhead From Space

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Brig – Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is the most famous leaders of UNIT and the only person who had met the Doctor prior in this episode since he met him during the 2nd Doctor’s run. He is the prime factor helping and hindering the Doctor, as he knows he needs the Doctor but also respects the Doctor. He is the one who listens when the Doctor gives advice and acts on it. He is definitely a companion, though not in the fly around in the TARDIS way companion. In this episode we see him help focus the Doctor on the threat at hand and protect him from the threat. He makes a deal with the Doctor at an end to give him a lab and supplies to help fix the TARDIS as well as clothes and a car.

Liz – Liz is one of the famous companions during the 3rd Doctor’s run. We see her as indepdent and a skeptic when we first meet her, not wanting to be used by UNIT until her curiousity is made strong enough and we see her complex relationship with the Doctor too. She is the one who helps him fight the Nestene Consciousness (that later appears to face the 9th Doctor in his first adventure with a companion) and save the people who have been paralyzed so their Auton (plastic people) forms can reek havok. She is one of the companions I have a lot of respect for as she holds her own and her identity isn’t dependent on the Doctor.

UNIT – It is great seeing UNIT mostly competent and in action. The Brig is the leader we see be the most effective, as his superior gets captured by the Nestene’s human speaker Channing and turned into one of the first Autons to infiltrate society. They have a big battle at the end which helps limit the damage the Nestene Cons. causes.

The Nestene Consciousness – Is a great threat and an interesting looking alien. It is an alien made of pure energy that separates itself into different parts and once combined together is able to form a tentacle monster that nearly kills the Doctor. My one issue with it is we don’t know why it wants to conquer Earth. It is a great threat in the episode though.

The Use of Color – The use of color is used really well, from the Doctor’s black gentelmenlike outfit he steals from a doctor…too the dark coats with the pale faces of the Autons. You can see everything happen and it makes the story beautiful to watch.

The Third Doctor / The 3rd Doctor – Jon Pertwee is fantastic. While the First Doctor was the Professor, and the Second Doctor was the buffoon manipulator…the Third Doctor is the gentlemen. We see this in the clothes he chooses and how apologetic he is about every time he messes up. We see him try to run we when he gets the key, and that is when he discovers his punishment for getting involved with humanity and time was more than a forced regeneration…it was exile on the world he was so active in. You can see the sadness in his eyes when he realizes this and this informs his performance too. He is here on Earth because he has to be and also he is still the Doctor a protector. We see his scientific mind at work in helping defeat the Nestene Cons. and that Liz and he have great chemistry when they team up.

Okay: The Supporting Cast – The Factory owner and former factory owner who eventually turn against the Nestene Cons. are pretty one note. They aren’t bad but their roles are predictable and their performances aren’t elevated in anyway. Same goes for the poacher who finds and keeps part of the Nestene’s Cons.

Okay/Con: Channing – He isn’t all that unique as a villain. He takes control of a doll making faculty and the Nestene Cons. promises him power, but other than that he has no motivation. He has power over the Autons I guess, but what was he promised beyond survival. He does alright in the role and he’s not a bad villain, there just isn’t much there.

The 3rd Doctor’s run had a fair amount of episodes saved thankfully, and Jon Pertwee is a pleasure to watch. This episode is a good episode and a good introduction to him as the Third Doctor. It definitely gets a recommendation from me, even though the story and baddies aren’t as good as those from “The Power of the Daleks.” Jon Pertwee is one of the best, you can never go wrong with the Brigadier and Liz is a great companion.

Final score for this episode is 8.5 / 10

Spearhead from Space (3)