Eccleston is playing too brusque and detached for me, and I was a fan of Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee. I don't want a wimp like Peter Davison (please never that again), but Eccleston didn't seem to have any rythym. Colin Baker was over-the-top hostile, but the act fit like a glove. Eccleston looks like he's trying to reprise some of his less impressive moments from Cracker while playing a character he doesn't believe in enough to inhabit, so maybe it's a good thing he's moving on after all.
I was actually looking forward to the one-hour (45 minutes with 15 minutes of commercials and Sci-Fi spots) format because I thought it would allow the writers to tighten up their storylines. The old Doctor Who serials tended to start strong with new characters, a premise, and clues about which historic enemy was lurking behind the curtain, but many of them dragged through the middle episodes as if the writers never got beyond a basic premise and finale.
Alas the first two episodes were anything but efficient or tight. First the Nestenes were revealed to longtime fans almost immediately. In the old days we'd have gotten a murder at the store with the doctor standing accused and having to solve the mystery and then convince the humans that plastic could come to life. The big ear splitting climax would have been one of the dummies coming to life and trying to kill the girl. Those shows unfurled. This show sort of spilled out onto the ground.
It's not as if the modern requirement for action can be used as an excuse. The finales of both episodes were extremely ponderous as the Doctor struggled, the kids looked on, the dummies shot people, the doctor struggled some more, the kids kept looking, back to the shooting... how many times did the director cover that loop in the five minutes it took the girl to realize that if she didn't do something, they would all be lost?
Followed by the sun shield going down, no going up, no going back down again, look at the giant propellors, take your sweet time, no rush whatsoever, etc. Both stories were essentially tossed at the feet of the audience. Both climaxes felt horribly stretched. I liked Eccleston in Cracker for the most part and I've liked Doctor Who for years, but I find myself wondering if these episodes were better or worse than "Horns of Nimon" or other historically weak Doctor Who serials from the good old days.
JUst seeing how this works out. I've been curious about it and how long it would take me to do these this way. ----- Here's what's coming out new to DVD January 17th 2005. --Feature Films-- THE DEVIL AND MAX DEVLIN (The W at Amazon)