If it is it doesn't matter

Friday, February 10, 2006

WHOoray! (I hope)

Finally, this March, we in America will be able to see the New DOCTOR WHO series that has been running on the BBC for a little over a year. And from what I've seen of the clips, this is the REAL Doctor, unlike the horrible Americanized telemovie that ran on Fox in the nineties. (That was, fortunately, the only tv appearance of the 8th Doctor, though there have been a whole series of books featuring him that make him a real, if somewhat dull incarnation of the ever-changing Time Lord from Gallifrey.)

The upcoming series features Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, though he's already regenerated into the 10th (played by David Tennant).

As you have probably already gathered, I'm a DOCTOR WHO fan, and have been since several local PBS stations began running the series. I've seen almost all the available episodes -- the BBC wiped the tapes of most of the First and Second Doctor adventures, a decision they have greatly regretted. (As have I, and most fans. Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor was one of the more interesting ones, judging from the few fragments that have remained available and from the novelizations and 'further adventures' that have appeared in book form. World Game which i just finished in particular is a fun adventure in which the Second Doctor finds himself dealing with Napoleon, Talleyrand, and Wellington.)

I know I'll be enjoying the new series, as will most of those who saw the Doctor on PBS. (The first episode brings back villains from the 3rd Doctor who are authentically scary -- and I think there's been only one other time when a tv show actually scared me, and I was in my early teens then.)

What worries me is whether there will be enough people who know the series to keep it going, that and the fact that it is the Sci-Fi channel that is running it. This isn't the first time they've tried to deal with Doctor Who. In fact the commercials they ran before they went on the air featured shots of William Hartnell (the 1st Doctor) at the controls of the TARDIS. Unfortunately, once they started they slotted the Doctor in an odd time period and rather quickly dropped him -- I didn't see how the episodes were presented then. Brooklyn had just been wired for cable and with their usual incompetence Cablevision had somehow managed to miss the fact that the building I lived in existed. It took, literally, a call to a City Councilman to get us wired, and by that time the Doctor was gone from the air. (Even more annoying, by buying the rights, they kept the PBS stations from bringing the show back.)

Will they do better this time? It's hard to tell. So far they have done nothing to publicize the acquisition, even on their web site, which bothers me. (They have been known to publicize mini-series six months in advance.) And their track record on shows is spotty, to say the least. They've done a wonderful job on the new BATTLESHIP GALACTICA, and they kept STARGATE SG-1 alive long enough for it almost to get back to the level it was when it was running on SHOWTIME.

On the other hand, they've also given us STARGATE ATLANTIS. (Other shows tend to have poor continuity between episodes. Sometimes watching ATLANTIS I wonder if the writer remembers in the last half -- of a one-part episode -- what he wrote in the first half.) And their "Movies of the Week" make me wonder who they think their audience is, and scares me that they might be right.

I can only hope. But if I were running the show, I'd take the week before the preview to run episodes from the classic series during their daily marathons, episodes that would give their audience some idea of the background that the new series assumes. That and start giving this background and some publicity on their web pages. If they don't do something like this, well, I'll enjoy the episodes for as long as they last, and maybe after that I'll be able to get the DVDs.


Blogger Orac said...

My family happens to live in Detroit and was able to tape every episode for me. I've seen them all. Christopher Eccleston is the best Doctor since Peter Davison, and the reinvention of this show was very well done. You're in for a real treat.

8:12 PM  

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