Last night, I watched Global Frequency and the first two episodes of the new Doctor Who. I recommend all three, in short, although I'm going to go into irritating detail. Run!
Global Frequency was good. Parts of it were very good. It had good (if over-the-top) writing, good sets and lighting, and, on the whole, decent acting. The camera work in Miranda Zero's fights was imported from a Steven Seagal movie, which is to say, it blew. But the rest of the time, it was pretty good.
I'm not fond of their casting for Kate. She's an antisocial super-genius. Obviously, because died-blond wanna-be models are exactly what you think of when you think "super genius". I think they must have thought to themselves, "literally everyone else is dark haired. We need a blond for this role." I'm not sure why they didn't get a real blond, if that was the case. Still, despite her egregious miscast, she held up pretty well.
The thing which dragged it down from "really awesome" to only "really cool" was the plot hole which can be best summarized as "go soak your head."
Still,w hen I finished watching it, I felt good. I always feel good after seeing a good bit of science fiction. So I rolled into Doctor Who.
Frankly, Doctor Who blew me away. It was a ton of fun. The first episode was so-so, the second episode was as good as the best episodes of any series you care to mention. Better than Global Frequency.
Doctor who has a unique dynamic available. Because it isn't a team of people running around episode after episode, that means they can introduce characters and have them actually change, grow, and die as needed. It's a fine line to walk before the audience simply dismisses the 'transient' characters - a fine line which can be dealt with by making characters span multiple episodes or by making them highly charismatic.
The first three minutes of the first episode of Doctor Who are worth studying. In that three minutes, we establish and partially develop a group of characters, a setting, and an emotional framework. We establish "normal". It's done very well!
This kind of intro isn't suitable for the pilot episode of an unknown series: it's a little on the slow side, so you'll lose some audience. However, anyone who is likely to watch the Doctor is highly unlikely to give up in less than three minutes, so it was a good choice for them.
The rest of the episode was a bit TOO classic, with silly enemies and bad action.
Episode two, however, was fantastic. They're not afraid to hit hard - laughter, anger, and sorrow were all packed into it. No stupid fake-outs, either. It was really good TV writing, although the dialogue was weak in spots. I imagine that with commercials it would have lost a lot of its punch.
Anyone who is interested in animation should watch the episode just for the spider robots. They are often animated extremely well, with a sense of personality and intertia. They skitter and slip, they emote, they move realistically.
Aside from that, the set design really stands out. The aliens are also a lot of fun, just the right combination of cool and cheezy. The special effects are top-notch - easily Farscape level - and the acting was quite good. Even the last human acted extremely well, and being a face stenciled onto a stretched piece of skin, that's really something.
The actors are well cast in the way that only Britain knows how to do. The main actors have a powerful but extremely accessable charisma. This extends to the primary secondary actors as well, even if they are dressed as trees. The Tardis controls are cheerfully anachronistic and silly.
I love the new Doctor Who! At least, so far.
Of course, it was cheesy scifi - if you're not into cheesy scifi, you won't like it.