Man, is it contemporary! New Who is definitely a product of 2005. Think about any major TV show being made this year in the UK and that is the feel of this show. Fast-paced, frenetic... My head is still spinning. Damn but it moves!
Doctor Who has always been a product more or less of its time, and so is the first episode. I think that a hell of a lot of fans are in for some serious culture shock. Previously we had a gradually building change, with the occasional jump here and there. Compared to the last series of the show, and the TV movie, it's like comparing the first story, Unearthly Child to the Third Doctor story Spearhead from Space. Radically different shows that have a central core idea.
Alien travels in time in a police box.
I found it a bit jokier than I would have liked, but at the same time that is preferable to some of the humour that at times plagued the original series i.e. Tom Baker in Nightmare of Eden. To quote - "Oh, my arms! Oh, my legs! Oh, my everything! Arrrrhhhhhhh!"
I can see why so many fans dislike it. They want the original series. This isn't it. If the concept of Doctor Who had never existed before and had only been first realised with this show, this is the show we would have gotten. It is a new TV show, in the same way that Star Trek Next Generation shared a history with original Star Trek. They share a history, but they aren't the same show and neither should they have been.
The new series can't be judged on the strength of Rose. It's one story out of a season. There will be other stories and they will be different. Some will be better, some worse. The same season that gave us the wonderful Remembrance of the Daleks also gave us the woeful Silver Nemesis. The only fair way for us as fans to judge the new series is to watch a chunk of the entire series and then give an opinion.
Do I think a non-fan audience will like it? Very probably. Doctor Who is now and cool. It's not likely to be something that people are going to be embarrassed about admitting to watching. And lets face it, they are the ones who really matter, because they will keep it on the air.
My long-suffering and wonderful wife, who is not a DW fan, thought it was fun. So she'd be willing to watch another episode.
Russell T. Davies and the cast and crew have done their jobs well, and I applaud them.