And so, after too many years away, Doctor Who came roaring back.
At the time, I had almost no reaction to the casting of Christopher Eccleston, simply due to not being at all familiar with his previous work. I was rather more concerned about Billie Piper as the companion, although in the event she was fine. Indeed, it turned out that they could not have picked a better actor to spearhead the returning series - although Eccleston is third in my rating of the 'new' Doctors, what's more due to Tennant and Smith grabbing the #1 and #2 spots rather than CE dropping it. (It remains to be seen where Peter Capaldi will sit in the list. At the moment, he's #4.) I was, of course, somewhat disappointed he didn't return for the 50th Anniversary celebrations in any capacity, in fact being the only living Doctor to have no involvement, but that was of course his choice.
I do have a confession to make though: I almost dropped the new "Doctor Who" after two episodes. I felt that the first, "Rose" was really cheesy (especially Auton-Mickey), and although the second episode has grown on me in repeat viewings I didn't rate it at the time. Had it not been for an excellent third episode, it might have been gone. Which would have been a shame, since the second half of that first new season is probably the best it has been - after "Father's Day" it really didn't look back, and the two-part season finale is pretty much perfect.
The Ninth Doctor story for this month is "The Beast of Babylon", by Charlie Higson, and it is the best to date. This one is actually slotted in to the episode "Rose" - after Rose declines to join him, the Doctor leaves in the TARDIS and then comes back, and it fits into that moment. It features a new, short-term companion, a trip to Babylon, a fair amount of action and comedy, and even some musing on how and why the Doctor chooses his companions. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and as I said was the best of the bunch to date - knocking the Fourth Doctor story off that perch.
And this month's novel, "Only Human" by Gareth Roberts, is a good one, too. This one is set in the latter half of that first season, after Jack joins the team. And, again, it features a good amount of action, the trademark banter that made that TARDIS team work so well (and, especially, the 'happy' Jack from "Doctor Who", before he moved to "Torchwood" and become all morose). And it also manages to explore a big theme, about what makes a human, whether they can be 'improved', and whether that would really be a good thing.
I highly recommend it - as with the short story, this novel is the best to date, this time knocking the Sixth Doctor novel into second place.
And so September has been a good month for the Doctor. Next up is David Tennant's Tenth Doctor, my favourite of the 'new' Doctors and my second favourite overall. So that's something to look forward to.
#47: "Only Human", by Gareth Roberts