Eccleston is In
In 2005 one of the greatest science fiction shows in the history of television returned after a 16 year absence and shook the television world upside down. Doctor Who, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, was a daring new take on the series that made it a little more dark, humorous, and action-packed. The beginning of the series has The Doctor on his own, and the feeling you get from Eccleston's presence is that it's been that way for sometime, probably the whole 16 years no one has seen him. When he meets Rose, the spitfire shop girl, the two instantly form a connection through the loneliness that they've suffered in their lives. It's no surprise that the two of them would eventually start traveling around together through time and space, but the fact that the girl actually had more of a backstory and personality was a huge change from some of the past incarnations of the franchise.
The real thing that set Russell T. Davies version apart from the others was making the Doctor a very tortured soul who is trying to make up for a horrible event from his past. The gap from the 16 years he wasn't on the air is explained through a Time War in which the Time Lords took on their mortal enemies The Daleks. It's revealed in the show that it was The Doctor who destroyed both sides in order to save the universe, and that he has the blood of entire star systems on his hands.
Eccleston's Doctor was sort of the suave leather jacket type, often acting a little goofy when meeting people, but trying to have the presence of a "Doctor of the year 2000" feel to him. It wasn't a bad vibe, just not my personal favorite. I will say that his emotional scenes, especially the ones where he reveals his true feelings about The Daleks and the war, were astounding. You can feel the emotional pressure pushing through the TV screen as the Doctor watches the resurrected Dalek rip through the security members in the underground base in Utah.
The series on a whole was about the developing relationship between Rose and The Doctor, who really didn't know how they felt about each other until 3/4's of the way through. There was always the hint at something romantic, but it was unsure whether it was something more than a crush.
The verdict on this series is that though it didn't have the biggest budget or the best special effects, it was groundbreaking in the way that it tried to "regenerate" the franchise and bring back everyone's favorite TARDIS jacking Time Lord. It also paved the way for the David Tennant years, which would redefine the Doctor again and bring a whole new atmosphere to it's universe.
If you're looking for a science fiction show that can combine wit, action, drama, horror, suspense, and thrills, this is the only one I've ever seen that can fit the bill.