Well the first (new) series of Doctor Who is drawing to a close, and appears to be going out with a big bang (this evening's trailer for next week promised a war on the Daleks - always good value). I've enjoyed this series. It's so nice to see good sci-fi, and particularly British sci-fi, on prime-time telly. For so long now we've been inundated with stock US fare (Buffy, Xena, Star Trek in all its various incarnations, Andromeda etc) which have all been very good, but I feel they lack that 'edge' which British-produced stuff has in spades. I think that has a lot to do with the stringent restrictions imposed on US shows by the broadcasters, who don't like anything too challenging to upset the viewing audience. God forbid the audience might be asked to think whilst watching their fave tv show! The last US show which was starting to show promise was Star Trek: Enterprise, which in its later episodes was exploring some edgy themes and new Trek territories - and guess what? They axed it in America! Tsk-tsk!
Anyway, back to the main point. Eccleston as Doctor Who. It was very exciting to hear that an actor of such stature was taking on this role, and I do believe he brought some real gravitas to certain points. He even provided (for me) one of the more touching moments of the series, when, at the end of the episode 'The Doctor Dances' he declared: "Everybody lives! Just this once, everybody lives!" I was so overcome with emotion I almost choked on my spag bol! But I agree that Eccleston should not continue. Yes, when it was announced early on that he would not be returning for a second series I, like many others, felt very disappointed; but now, having seen almost the entire series, I think that in some ways it's right that he steps aside for someone else. I felt that the lighter, more goofy side of the Doctor as written by Russell T Davies, did not sit well with such a distinguished, gritty actor. In certain episodes, the Doctor character came across as a bit of a buffoon, which just didn't work for me. The Doctor should be eccentric, yes. But silly? No, ta.
Still, overall the series was well-written, well-produced, and has raised the bar not just for sci-fi tv shows, but for all tv drama. It's a long time since I've watched anything on telly which has made me laugh, cry (and I mean proper blubbing) and sit enthralled throughout. I look forward to the second series with that David Tennant bloke off Casanova. I wasn't that thrilled when I first heard that he was taking over the role, but then I didn't really know who he was or what he'd done. But the little I have seen has assured me he could definitely fill the Doctor's shoes, if not the size twelves of Mr Eccleston.
My biggest hope is that, apart from seeing more Doctor Who, the success of this series will inspire BBC bods to commission more sci-fi shows. (Remember Blake's 7, The Tripods, and all those other creaky 80's shows?). Imagine what they could do now with modern technology? Let's hope, eh?