It was always going to be a risk for the BBC to revamp Doctor Who--few television programmes inspire as much rabid and cultish adoration. With the 2005 series, however, the BBC have really outdone themselves. Their updated Doctor Who is a revelation: a cult science fiction series that has real mass appeal, and works for both children and their parents. Christopher Eccleston is an inspired and charismatic Doctor--he leaps around the sets with an unrestrained glee, like he's a child running amok in a toy shop. His enthusiasm in downright infectious. His sidekick Rose (Billie Piper) adds a real human touch, particularly as she gradually and believably matures from in-over-her-head city kid to tough-minded interplanetary hero. Much of the credit must go to writer Russell Davies, who has a much-practiced knack for finding popular appeal without dumbing-down his ideas, and who appears to have let his imagination run riot. Even the special effects, whilst not of a big-budget cinematic quality, still manage to strike a balance between cheesiness and realism. Thrilling, funny and thoroughly entertaining, this Doctor Who is a hero for the new millennium. --Robert Burrow
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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