When Doctor Who was relaunched in 2005 at the hands of Russell T. Davies, it was returning after nearly a decade away from the public eye. Russell T. Davies viewed the relaunch as more of a picking up where the story left off as opposed to being a complete restart as the current trend for bringing new life to past entertainment properties.
To aid new viewers in getting up to speed with the lore of Doctor Who, a new companion, Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, so the getting to know the world of Doctor Who is told through the eyes of a character that’s meant to be the audience, someone from our time and experience being drawn into this fantastic world for an incredible journey. Old enemies of the Doctor, familiar to long time fans are new to Rose and new audience members and they become educated quickly. The end of the first season taught the audience about one of the Doctor’s greatest tricks to ensure it’s long term endurance, the ability of the Doctor to regenerate.
As Christopher Eccleston left the series and David Tennant took over the role, for the character of the Doctor, what this allows is the Doctor to take on a new face and personality every time the Doctor regenerates. This easy way to change actors also allows each new actor to bring their own touch to an established character. David Tennant’s first season as the tenth Doctor was aided by Billie Piper’s second season as Rose Tyler, as those of us new to Doctor Who had Rose’s getting used to the new Doctor to help aid us through the process as well. Eventually the storyline had Rose depart being the Doctor’s companion and we had a few others take on being the Doctor’s companion during David Tennant’s run.
When Russell T. Davies announced his departure from Doctor Who, David Tennant soon after announced that his departure would coincide with Davies. However, just as Tennant’s Doctor was reaching his conclusion, Doctor Who was reaching new levels of success unseen with previous generations of the Doctor Who. David Tennant’s Doctor is arguably one of the most popular Doctor’s since the creation of the series as the series achieved popularity even in places where Doctor Who was little more then a cult following, such as America. So with the direction of the writing staff leaving and the main actor leaving, and the property at its peak of popularity, there’s no way it’s going to be ending. Doctor Who’s reigns were being passed on to Steven Moffat, one of several writers on Russell T. Davies’ team who has penned some of the modern Doctor Who’s most popular episodes.
So with a new team taking charge, and a need for a new actor to fill the title role, Steven Moffat has opted to start fresh in much the same way Russell T. Davies did in 2005. A new variation of the iconic theme, a brand new Doctor Who logo, even a brand new TARDIS inside and out so that it allows for a similar restart, however this time, not as much starting from square one is needed. While Matt Smith was introduced as the new Doctor in the final few moments of David Tennant’s last Doctor Who special, the new start was launched a couple of weeks ago in the UK and last night here in the USA on BBC America. Reports show that David Tennant’s final episode set a record number of viewers in the US that was yet again broken by last night’s first episode of Matt Smith’s new Doctor. It seems Doctor Who is very much alive and well and as popular as ever, especially here in the US which seemed to have been able to withstand having the good Doctor becoming a pop culture icon until recently.
I don’t personally have BBC America or access to it without a little help from some friends, so I’ve elected to purchase the episodes from Amazon On Demand in High Definition which feeds directly to my TV through a Roku Media Player. So within a few hours of the broadcast I get billed $2.84 for an episode (normally $2.99 but discounted because I elected to subscribe to the season). And it becomes instantly available shortly after midnight every Saturday night, just in time for me to watch it as soon as I get home from work on Sunday mornings. The episodes are also available from Amazon in a non-HD format for $1.99 an episode.
The new episode was fantastic and I think Matt Smith is going to make a fine Doctor. For me the jury is still out on Amy Pond played by Karen Gillan. I’m not sure if I like her yet or not, but its still early and plenty of episodes to come to see if I end up liking her. I’m sure by the end of the season, I’m sure she’ll be just as loved as all the other companions I’ve gotten to know through the last four seasons and set of specials that brought about the return of Doctor Who for the 21st century. In any case, I think the new Doctor is off to a great start and I’m looking forward to seeing the new episodes in the coming weeks.