For years, I have maintained that the only difference between the 4th Doctor episode, "The Ark in Space" - in which a lone insectile alien is feasting upon and laying eggs in a colony of humans held in suspended animation on a vast space station - and James Cameron's Aliens is special effects and a few one liners, that the former would be as terrifying as the latter if it had the same budget and didn't have monsters unfortunately made of green bubble wrap. I've always wanted to see a quirky British man thrust into helping a crew of space roughnecks fighting a H.R. Gieger monster. Doctor Who has always been properly sci-horor, but it's amazing the effect you get when you take the old Cthulhu evil entity that the silly humans can't help but let loose from his aeons long imprisonment and you combine that with the set designs and acting from something out of Aliens or (the lamentable but appropriately gritty) Event Horizon or films of that ilk. You know, a crew of marines or criminals or prospectors who all wear grey tshirts and camo pants and work in some drag, largely metal environment with a lot of corridors with the pipes showing. Add in one wandering Time Lord and you get something that is paradoxically very much in the tradition of all the old and overdone Bug Eyed Monster plots - so overused in the old Who (and subsequent books, and audio plays, and spin offs) - and yet which feels almost nothing like anything that has come before tonally. My what a difference a budget makes! This is classic Who rendered as only your imagination could have done so before, when it took active participation to fill in the holes in the wobbly sets and to make Sutek or Azal genuinely scary.
Never mind how could Satan have been imprisoned for an eternity AND woven into the fabric of earth (long range telepathy?), or how something that's only 500 (light?) years away from earth can be outside the TARDIS' knowledge (but maybe that's just cause it's past the event horizon of the black hole, not that it's distant), I'm totally into seeing the Doctor injected into a Ridley Scott sci-horror cinema. I'm so behind this! More please, more!
And I love how all the old cliches - he shows up, they automatically trust him - are totally sold by the strength of the writing and Tennant's acting. And he may look like Peter Davison with the young mug and the tennis shoes, but he's really somewhere between Tom Baker (for alien wackiness) and Sylvester McCoy (lonely god). Tennant could easily become my fav if he sticks around long enough, (but I am easy and I love them all).
Oh and Tardises are grown? Written language is translated as well as spoken words? Once again they've gone and confirmed some fan-speculation/books continuity. Never in a million years would I expect the new television show to be so respectful of continuity or to be able to work so much of it in without overburdening the new viewers. I'm really impressed.
So many things are finally being done right - Batman, Who, Lord of the Rings, Battlestar Galactica. Almost makes one wonder if Hollywood (and the BBC) isn't evil anymore. Of course, there's always X-Men III to restore my lack of faith.