9. Doctor Who (2005-Present)What Was So Bad?
So, technically, "Rose" - the first episode of the first series of New Who - isn't strictly a pilot, but in a way it had to do all the same things a pilot had to. I recently re-watched the entire New Who run in preparation for the 50th Anniversary and I couldn't help but feel bored by "Rose". Compared to the rest of the show it's very dull and very little of note actually happens, to the extent that we don't even meet the Doctor until a good way through the episode. Also, the villains are an issue: the Autons are great villains ("Spearhead From Space" being a highlight episode) but if we're being honest, they're not suitable for the 2000s, and they're really not the villain you'd pick to introduce a sci-fi series to a new generation, are they? They're walking mannequins that look like Bruce Forsyth after a plastic surgery mishap. No thanks. Eccleston's performance is all over the shop as well, almost as if he's just been chucked onto the set and doesn't know whether to play it completely serious or with touches of humour, and the result is that his performance comes off a little fake. Let's talk about set design - the lighting is so poor, at times it feels like we're watching a documentary. If you look at the TARDIS interior in "Rose" compared to "The End of the World" you'll see a noticeable difference. In "Rose", the interior lighting is all pink and green, making it look cheap, a bit like a 50s low-budget sci-fi film, it really undersells the massive scale of the TARDIS and, unfortunately, harks back to the 1970s and wobbly sets in TV Centre. How Did They Fix It?
Eccleston's performance is much more nuanced and less in-your-face in subsequent episodes and we actually get to go into space. Imagine that, going into space in a sci-fi programme. Whatever next? The lighting and, it seems, the video quality also much improved, apparently due to their budget being increased and thus they could afford better cameras and lighting. Much more humour and less romance was brought into subsequent Season 1 episodes, along with a vein of darkness and the introduction of a story arc - Bad Wolf - which only helps us anticipate the finale even more and builds up suspense throughout the season. Russell T. Davies, the showrunner, also injected some much needed continuity nods for the fans, and as a result it feels more like a continuation of the classic series and not a rejig for a new generation.