Friday, July 06, 2007

Doctor Who's Landing in the U.S. Again

The Doctor, you know who, returns to the Sci Fi Channel tonight in his time-traveling blue phone booth, a testament to growing popularity in the United States, I presume.

The third season of Doctor Who just concluded its run in Great Britain last week, while it took a year for the first season to make it to the U.S. If you've visited here often, you know I'm a fan, and Who fans don't just watch, they proselytize, or try to at least.

No Goof No Glory
A mixture of goofiness and hard science fiction, horror and hope, the new Doctor Who is one of the grandest science fiction television shows ever. If you couldn't take the videotaped versions from past years, the production values are on a par with Star Trek: TNG or any of the new Trek series.

The Best Period
And it's one of the best written television shows period. Amid all of the frantic action sequences and time travel that goes further than anyone's gone before, character-driven stories are the series' heart and soul.

A Show For Writers
This is a show that's great for writers--even of the very different prose medium--to observe. In the first two seasons, The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston who morphs into David Tennant) is paired with young British shop girl, Rose (Billie Piper), and their relationship is the underpinning for all of the first two seasons, culminating with an incredible two-part finale that airs as part of a marathon this afternoon (July 6) on Sci Fi. (Check local listings, what am I the TV Guide Channel?)

The new season, Series 3, begins in the evening with the 2006 Christmas special, followed by the first episode of Season 3 which introduces a new companion (Freema Agyeman) for the Doctor and promises to continue the quality of the first two seasons.

Tie-ins
Previous seasons have drawn on the wealth of Doctor Who tie-in material including scores of novelizations, and that continues once again with a two-part story based on a novel actually featuring an earlier incarnation of The Doctor, the one played by Sylvester McCoy. When actors change, ah, just read the Wikipedia entry.

The Human Nature novelization cum tele-story is offered by the BBC in ebook form, so it's a way to get a taste of the Who universe while waiting for prime-time to roll around.

Trust me, if you're not a Whovian, you should be. If you don't like goofy. Wait a few minutes and it's poignant.

After you read or watch, check out the BBC provided online commentaries available by iTunes. Also check out the wonderful Who Podcast, Podshock.

(I know the TARDIS is not really a phone booth, by the way, that's just short hand.)

No image rights implied. Logo belongs to the BBC.

5 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, I'll have to check this out. The editions I've seen before haven't done much for me.

Kate S said...

I love Dr Who - have a concern, though - you said Christopher Eccleston morphs into David Tennant? Is he replaced in later seasons? I've got the biggest crush on Eccleston and I'll be heartbroken if he's replaced, even though I like David Tennant.

Sidney said...

Hope you get to see some of them Charles, they're great. It really is best to watch complete seasons if you can because there are relevant issues sprinkled throughout.

Kate, I've got some bad news. I guess it's a spoiler, but yeah, Christopher Eccleston only did one season. I don't know if you're familiar with the regeneration tradition, but it goes way back with the series. It was devised as a way of replacing the lead every few years when an actor was ready to move on. Tennant is technically the 10th Doctor, I believe. I think he's supposed to cap out at 12 but I'm not sure on that number.

Kate S said...

Alas, all good things must end.

I remember a Dr. Who with a big curly fro when I saw it for the first time many years ago. I never watched it enough to see the bit about the regeneration, though. I'm heartbroken. I did just get a chance to see that scene on the Dr. Who website and that was helpful.

Sigh. I'll have to buy it all on DVD to get caught up.

Sidney said...

That's Tom Baker from the '70s. They have Series 1 on BBC America now with Season 2 coming soon then Sci Fi is showing Season 3 so they can all still be viewed on cable in one spot or another. They are best viewed as whole seasons because of the story arcs.

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