Fortunately, that was not the case. The new Dr. Who is thoroughly enjoyable and stands up well on its own merits: knowledge of previous continuity is not a pre-requisite (although I would imagine that it would enhance the viewer's enjoyment). I've only seen the first three episodes, and I'm solidly hooked. The talent of the actors that play The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and his companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) are a huge reason: not only are they skilled individuals, but their chemistry is fantastic:
The Doctor: Tell you what... with a little bit of jiggery pokery...
Rose: Is that a technical term, "jiggery pokery"?
The Doctor: Yeah, I came first in jiggery pokery, what about you?
Rose: Nah, I failed hullabaloo.
I'm very disappointed that Eccleston is leaving the show before the end of the first season: he's got great charisma and he delivers a strong performance without being self-aware. He steps into the iconic role with skill and grace, and I'll just have to hope that his replacement can maintain the high standard he set.
I like everything about the show; the stories, the special effects, the scripts: nothing bad to say about any of them. I don't want to give synopses of the episodes I've seen - if you haven't seen them, I'm sure you can get a hold of them somehow, and if I tried to summarize the shows, I wouldn't be doing them justice. Essentially, what I'm trying to get across is that Dr. Who is a very good show, and if you like science fiction, tales of adventure, or the medium of television, you should be watching it.