There are a number of questions here, actually. There are things I like about the old series and the new. They did a lot with the limited special effects and budget of the old series. The new series is more polished. The writing is good from both time periods. However I'd give the node to new series because of the generally faster pace of story telling. What do you think?
This doesn’t quite answer the question but I was interested to hear Russell T Davis say that his work on ‘Doctor Who’ went against all his expectations as a writer – so thought it might be interesting for others to see: “I’m now in the really, really weird position of having written something with ‘Doctor Who’ where I’ve really, really thought about the audience. You know, it’s a big public, expensive show so I’ve really, really aimed it at women; aimed it at children; aimed it at men; aimed it at all those demographics … and it’s the most successful thing I’ve done! So that’s a nightmare! It f***s every writing theory in my head […] It's a very focus grouped show, ‘Doctor Who’, it was invented from a focus group in 1963. It was planned by a committee full of people to fill the gap [left by] ‘Grandstand’ and ‘Juke Box Jury’. It was a focus-group invented show. Honestly! … And it’s the longest running drama in the country. It’s weird. It’s just wrong isn’t it? It just defies all the rules, ‘Dr Who’, and now I find myself in the position of it breaking all *my* rules and it’s clearly working. And … and that’s wrong!” (From an interview with Charlie Brooker on BBC’s ‘Screenwipe’)
The two aren't easy to compare because the earlier ones feel rooted in theatre and so are televised plays with the odd bit of outdoor filming but the recent run (of Ecclestone / Tenant / Smith) are much more influenced by cinematic conventions. It's not just the budgets that are bigger but the plotting, storylines and dialogue have the faster pace of cinema (it reminds me of comparisons between the BBC 'I Claudius' from the 1970s and HBOs 'Rome'from the 2000s if you know those). Tom Baker (I think) had a lot more opportunity to give quite long monologues in extreme close up which let the actor do the telling more than the camera. I think I prefer the new Davis produced Doctors overall but it's a shame to lose some of those soliloquies from the studio shot earlier days.
Tom Baker remains my favourite incarnation ("Jelly baby, anyone?") though I thought Christopher Ecclestone did put in a good performance - pity he only wanted to do the one series. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of the more recent series, nor did I like Torchwood. I never visualised the Doctor as a superhero and his involvement was usually involuntary, at least at the beginning of an adventure.
'Torchwood', at least the bits I saw of it, was bibble.
You never forget your first doctor. Mine was Tom Baker. You can get him as your voice for your sat-nav device (at least, you can in the UK).
All the new Doctors have been great but I think Tennant (10th) is still my favourite. Matt Smith had a tough act to follow but I think he's a close second.
Of course, it's the writing team that make it happen. Davis and Moffat have a real passion for the Who-verse.
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