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Good, but uneven
on April 15, 2007
The 2005 "first" series of the revitalized Doctor Who was astonishing, its darker tone and deeper themes wrapped in humour, warmth, a positive tone about standing on one's own feet, and the astonishing chemistry between Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Even when the production team stumbled a bit in pacing in the first block, the acting carried the show and bolstered the long plot arch that had a few minor narrative weak points; it remains one of the most satisfying series of television I've ever seen.
Unfortunately, with the bar set extremely high, S2 was disappointing; the pace was ratcheted up at the expense of follow through; most of the plots are shaky and one fairly hackneyed plot is actually seen twice in close succession. Rose, the bright, sparky character who gave as good as she got with the Doctor, was reduced clinging cheerleader, although Piper's acting remains strong; and despite a certain energetic presence, Tennant is an inconsistent and, to me, largely unconvincing actor who attempts to make up in volume and speed what he lacks in subtlety and depth - he seems less the Doctor and more an actor fulfilling his lifelong dream to perform the part of the Doctor; what many find "charming" can also seem smug and irritating. The powerful sensuality of the Eccleston/Piper pairing is replaced by an insular adolescent mutual admiration society, and it does tarnish the relationship.
The series has some excellent ideas, but the follow through never seems as thorough as in the first series, and contains some of the most manipulative writing I've seen in recent television. The DVDs have a solid presentation of extras. It's entertaining if you don't think about it too hard, but it's a somewhat hollow experience in the shadow of the first series.