Doctor Who: Series One and Ninth Doctor Summary
The return to the TARDIS was, to quote the Doctor, absolutely fantastic.
There are always rumblings in fandom about the differences between the twenty-six classic years and the TV movie/revival years. Sometimes you get statements that the classics are unwatchable and sometimes you get statements that the revival era Doctors don’t hold a candle to the mythology and precedent of the classics.
I believe that the former, personal preferences aside, can be easily disproved with continued projects like Earth Station Who, The Watch-A-Thon of Rassilon, Next Stop Everywhere, Who’s The Doctor: Talking Outside the Box, and the Timestamps Project… to name but a few.
The latter? I wholeheartedly disagree!
Sure, the Ninth Doctor is a break with the ideal of the Doctor doing whatever it takes to defeat evil and save lives. Across the classic years, the Doctor lamented loss of life when there was another way to solve the problem, and that’s the ticket here. Something happened in an all-out war between the Time Lords and the Daleks, an event that has been brewing since the two sides met all the way back at the beginning of the journey, and the only solution was to extinguish the fire permanently.
That extreme measure was traumatic, especially for a being of peace and love like the Doctor, and it shows in the arc of the Ninth Doctor’s life. The Doctor goes on a journey from Rose to The Parting of the Ways, trying to heal from post-traumatic stress as the sole survivor, and learning to live again in a changed universe. Rose Tyler was key in that therapy with her innocence, wonder, and empathy, and watching the Doctor rebuild in this manner was a fascinating character study.
It was a reconstruction of the franchise, and a regeneration of the character from the roots up. The power and performance from Christopher Eccleston make me wish that we had more stories with him in the lead role, but his conflicts with the BBC are an understandable reason to not come back. No one should be expected to live in a toxic situation if they don’t need to be there.
As I noted in the later entries from this series, I also really enjoyed seeing what happens to those left behind. Rose is the center of the universe for both Jackie Tyler and Mickey Smith, and her selfish decision to remove herself from those equations severely rocked their worlds. It’s great drama and great television.
So where do we stand now? Series One comes in at an average of 4.3, which is third all-time for the Timestamps Project. It comes in behind the Ninth Series and the Eighth Doctor’s run, and just ahead of the Eleventh Series.
Rose – 5
The End of the World – 4
The Unquiet Dead – 4
Aliens of London and World War Three – 4
Dalek – 5
The Long Game – 3
Father’s Day – 4
The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances – 5
Boom Town – 4
Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways – 5
Series One (Revival Era) Average Rating: 4.3/5
The First Doctor was a wise grandfather, the Second a sly jester, the Third a secret agent scientist, the Fourth an inquisitive idealist, the Fifth an honorable humanitarian, the Sixth a squandered cynic, the Seventh a curious schemer, the Eighth a classical romantic…
…and the Ninth Doctor is a hopeful healing veteran.
Series 1 – 4.3
Ninth Doctor’s Weighted Average Rating: 4.30
Ranking (by score)
1 – Eighth (4.50)
2 – Ninth (4.30)
3 – Third (4.00)
4 – Second (3.67)
5 – Fourth (3.67)
6 – Seventh (3.54)
7 – First (3.41)
8 – Fifth (3.20)
9 – Sixth (2.73)
Ranking (by character)
1 – Second Doctor
2 – Ninth Doctor
3 – Eighth Doctor
4 – Third Doctor
5 – Fourth Doctor
6 – Seventh Doctor
7 – First Doctor
8 – Fifth Doctor
9 – Sixth Doctor
I should note that those top six spaces (on both lists) are really, really, really close. I was tempted to make it a tie for first place since I would gladly watch any of those stories at the drop of Tom Baker’s fedora, but it’s far more challenging to actually rank them.
Next up, it’s my Doctor.
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.