Re: Wading in late
Probably a heretical opinion here, but I find the "new" episodes better than the classic ones, which frankly are quite dated.
Not really fair to compare all of the new ones with all of the old ones. The programme started to change from the first episode and had to invent "regeneration" when William Hartnell decided to quit. Continuing the series with a new actor who looked and acted a lot different than Hartnell was at least as controversial as any of the more recent casting decisions.
The programme was initially about using the Tardis to explain some science to children. Only later did it become part of the science fiction genre it helped create. It was traditionally also produced for immediate consumption, which is why so many of the episodes went missing when the BBC wiped the tapes. Now, it's a medium budget co-production. The budget was a notorious problem throughout the earlier episodes. Don't have the budget for expensive locations? Then you get lots of episodes in shitty sets, quarries and abandoned factories. Filming outside with 16mm and in studios with huge U-Matic cameras was also hugely limiting. The tech was starting to improve by the 1980s but the poor writing and cynicism of the production team really started to show: casting Nicola Byant as an ingenue American student wasn't a bad a idea but having her run around in little more than a bikini all the time was just desperate.
But, nearly all the good ideas (Daleks, Cybermen, etc.) and tropes for the series were established in the original episodes. This includes a tendency for hamming up the acting and treating the companions as sidekicks: Doctor Who took some of its subjects very seriously but itself less so.
I haven't seen much of the newer episodes but those I have seen have high production values, including generally good acting. But I haven't found the stories very engaging. I think the biggest pity is that Christopher Eccleston only got the one series. Without him turbo-charging the restart I don't think it would have got very far.