Yes, this is the designed “cheap” episode of the season, as it’s set in contemporary times and brings back the Slitheen, but actually it’s a charming “week-off” for our heroes – there should have been more of the awesome foursome of the Doctor, Rose, Jack and Mickey. 7.5/10
12-13. Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways
The first Doctor Who finale raises the bar so high that it’s hard to beat to this day. The Dalek emperor is a great big bad, there’s lots of thrills and drama, the “Bad Wolf” resolution is genius and Eccleston’s regeneration is still one of the great Doctor deaths: noble, moving and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Down side: the reality show stuff really dates it. 9/10
Showrunner Russell T Davies should forever earn Whovians’ gratitude for bringing Doctor Who back with aplomb. He made some risky decisions in picking and choosing which elements to revive from the classic series and what to invent and modernize but nearly all of them pay off. The result is a series that perfectly marries sci-fi wonder with terrific character development, pathos and humour. Christopher Eccleston is wonderful as a Doctor who is less of an eccentric wizard and more of a broken man suffering from survivor’s guilt. The creation of the Time War to add some extra texture to the Doctor’s character is a stroke of genius. Likewise, Billie Piper provides the heart of the show as Rose. She’s flawed, occasionally rude and selfish, but she feels like a living, breathing person. There are hiccups – or burps – as the series sometimes struggles to find a consistent tone, though. While John Barrowman is a brilliant addition to the team, Adam is awful and poor Mickey is underwritten. Mostly, however, it’s a masterclass in how to kick off a TV show.