The thing to notice about ROSE, having watched it right after GHOST LIGHT, CURSE OF FERNRIC, SURVIVAL and THE TV MOVIE, and bypassing a lot of junky spinoffs and crap (PROBE, AUTON, WRATH OF EUKOR) is that there is so much right with ROSE and that this is the way to bring back DOCTOR WHO and to do DOCTOR WHO. It's not only the way to bring back the classic series but to add layers to it that the series didn't do but should have. Rose, Jackie, and Mickey are real characters, real people and who all care about each other. Rose has a life and even though Grace did in THE TV MOVIE, what we found out about her was minimal and we didn't meet her family or even the boyfriend Brian who abandoned her for very long and...he, well, abandoned her. We find out Grace's co workers think she's a bit loony and we see her fail at her job...of course, it's not really her fault. But Grace is also played as though she's in a fairy tale story ala BEAUTY AND THE BEAST or ALICE IN WONDERLAND. And we don't stay with her long before the Doctor is there or the Master is intruding.
In ROSE, Rose is seen first and last; Rose is the focus. The Doctor, wisely, does not start out the story, nor do we see TARDIS right away or the Autons all the time. In the TV MOVIE, it is either the Doctor or the Master that dominates the scenes, all the way through. Here, it's Rose, her mum, and her boyfriend. Rose has a boyfriend that wants to watch the matches rather than hear about her life and death story; Rose's mum wants her to make money; there's , unlike Grace, unlike Ace, is a real world, a real life, that she' is not totally happy with. She's like us. She is woken up by an alarm clock to go to work. Who doesn't have to do that? Most of us do. We're suckered in right away to her story, even if we dn't really like her personality. She 's probably a bit of a "give it away free girl" and some girls can relate to that. The Doctor's not instantly likeable, nor cuddly, nor screaming like a loon from a table or the back of a car---he's mysterious, exciting, dangerous, deadly, and above all, a hero with a closed spirit. He doens't want to tell Rose much.
On another note, something I noticed this time out is that the Doctor may have targeted Rose himself. He threw the Auton arm to her and let her leave with it. Did he forget it? Is he stalking her? Did he set her up, as the 7th Doctor might have done? Did it give him an excuse to go to her apartment? Or was he just doing all this unconsciously?
Despite all the great character stuff going on, there are some mis-steps. The Auton arm scene is a bit comical, ditto Mickey being "eaten" by the burping trash bin. BTW, how did the Auton's get the trash bin to activiate and then get an Auton plastic Mickey into the car? Judging from SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE and TERROR OF THE AUTONS, I was sure Mickey was dead. The Auton Mickey was ...not funny, not scary, and not really that exciting to be honest. The banter between Rose and the Doctor is brilliant and carries and saves the episode.
Chris is very good in this but he's not totally comfortable in the Doctor's skin yet, that's obvious in his scenes facing the Nestene ("I"m talking here!") That doesn't seem to come until the end of THE END OF THE WORLD. At times, this Doctor comes off as arrogant, nasty minded, and mean to others. He's closed off and that's deliberate.
Poor Clive. It was a brilliant idea to have the Doctor looked at through CLive and his web site tales and to have Rose meet Clive. The Auton attack seems and doesn't seem to be deadly. I mean were there some bodies laying around? It seemed so. They did kill Clive but took a long time to try to kill Jackie. I'm glad, however, that Jackie didn't die.
ANd unless I"m way wrong, the aired version and the DVD VERSION of some scenes from ROSE look...different. In the opening especially it seems that Rose and Mickey's montage is edited differently. Why do they do that? I'ts very annoying.
All in all, this is a good way to introduce the show again and I felt at the time, that this could go south at any moment and had a "let's wait and see" attitude. I wouldn't know until the first three or four stories were over if this was truly going to be any good. The dialog is snappy and a lot of it is fast paced but some of it feels awkward and stilted but this is DW so it could get better or worse at any time. This Doctor is good, the music FANTASTIC, and the effects much better than anything before in DW...Billie hits all the right notes from day one and is unlike any companion in the past...she's just brilliant and the writing is snappy and funny, interesting, even if some scenes are not.
Rose saying her attributes (gymnastics? really? Who cares?) in the middle of an action sequence is a bit dumb. And the way to introduce the Time War is a bit...wonky but not maknig it the focus is perhaps a good idea..at least not yet. I always hoped somehow there would be a flashback sequence to show the 8th Doc regenerating into the 9th...it was genius not to include a regeneration scene here though. The scenes to next week made me worry...the aliens looked jerky and jerk-like and the Doctor seemed even more awkward if anything and...Cassandra...omg, what a mess already. This could go badly....