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Doctor Who Returns in 2005
December 3, 2004 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Doctor Who returns in a few months, here's a teaser for those of us übergeeks who cannot wait. (Realplayer warning on the link!). The "new" Doctor Who returns to BBC sometime in the first half of next year. While this topic was discussed several months ago, more new details have surfaced on the new series. What other TV series have you seen 'resurrected' that you once loved, and what success do you think there was in that resurrection? What made the revived series work or not work?
posted by tgrundke (60 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Man... That tells me a lot. Apparently it has to do with Earth, and a police callbox...

Resonant voice:
"In a world gone mad..."
posted by jpburns at 7:53 AM on December 3, 2004


I felt much the same - but for those of us who have been sans new Doctor Who since 1989 (and the 1996 movie, other than the cool TARDIS console room and Paul McGann's Doctor) it's the best thing we've seen in 15 years.

Remember - I did say übergeek. Haha.
posted by tgrundke at 7:56 AM on December 3, 2004


well if christopher eccleston's eye for material hasn't been corrupted by a quick pay-day it should be a decent revival.
posted by lucksmonday at 8:00 AM on December 3, 2004


That was the least-satisfying trailer I've ever seen.

And why did they cast the guy from Married With Children as the Doctor?
posted by rushmc at 8:01 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm kind of of two minds about it. On the one hand, I can see them really making this suck, a la George Lucas. On the other hand, it's Doctor Who and therefore innately awesome.
posted by unreason at 8:02 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm not saying anything until I see the pilot.
*envisions Janet Fielding running through the TARDIS corridors, screaming, "I demand to speak to the pilot!"
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:16 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm not saying anything until I see the pilot.
*envisions Janet Fielding running through the TARDIS corridors, screaming, "I demand to speak to the pilot!"


Will the Master kill your relatives if you don't watch the show? :)
posted by unreason at 8:28 AM on December 3, 2004


The only good thing about this uber-minimalist "trailer" is that since it reveals nothing it can't be deceptive.

What other TV series have you seen 'resurrected' that you once loved...

Never resurrected but for some reason I would have liked to see a finale to Hogan's Heroes. Would they have told Klink about the entire operation? We all have our moments don't we...
posted by juiceCake at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2004


The sound of the Tardis materializing always makes me incredibly happy. Odd leftover from my really geeky High School days. I'll have to dig my scarf out from the attic now.
posted by atlatl at 8:34 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm looking forward to seeing how they resurrect the 'feel' of the original series without the campiness and hokiness of the 1963-1989 variant. I'm really hoping that we get stories with excellent 'ideas' that are more maturely flushed out than they were in the original.

In Dr. Who's original run, many of the scriptwriters had excellent stories to tell, but for a multitude of reasons had these stories hobbled by very hoky plot devices and very weak characterization. Take "The Happiness Patrol" for example. The themes in this story were fantastic, but the way they were portrayed on screen was abysmal.

On the upside, the new producers have publicly stated that one of their goals for the new series is to introduce characters that are very well drawn and complex - no more "straw" characters with weak plot devices to prod the stories along. If this is the case, I will be very happy indeed.
posted by tgrundke at 8:38 AM on December 3, 2004


Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease be good. Please.

I think that trailer, while basically content free, was great. I had the biggest dumbest grin on my face when "...but not yet" came up.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:46 AM on December 3, 2004


Sweet jesus. Christopher Eccleston! I had no idea. This could be unbelievably awesome. The sound of the Tardis gave me tingles. I hope to hell the BBC doesn't drop the ball on this one.
posted by apiaryist at 8:51 AM on December 3, 2004


This new series of Dr Who has some good things going for it - decent writers, good actors, a budget and being shot in my home town. I just hope the finished result is not a dissapointment.
posted by johnnyfive at 8:53 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm not sure that Dr. Who can survive good writers and a good budget. I mean, the whole attraction of the original was that, yeah, the sets were bad and so was the acting, but at least the plot was bad! Don't get me wrong, I loved Dr. Who, but it was no Firefly. IMO the whole appeal of Dr. Who was the campiness, the corny plots, the horribly effects, etc. Somehow the sum of all those bad things passed through bad became dab. Not really good, but sort of the opposite of bad. Like the "food" at Weinerschnitzel, it isn't good, but isn't it good?

Even if the new series isn't dab, like the old series, it can't possibly be worse than the Dr. Who movie they made a few years back.
posted by sotonohito at 9:11 AM on December 3, 2004


(blinks)

Saying "Dr. Who is good, but it's no FireFly" is like saying "listening to the radio is good, but it can't beat television."

Skipping the fact that we're talking an entire generation of media evolution between the two shows, shows like Firefly wouldn't even EXIST without earlier groundbreakers like Dr. Who.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:21 AM on December 3, 2004


You know, I haven't heard a peep about any new British sci-fi television that isn't Dr. Who related. Love the Doctor and all, but isn't it time you guys branched out a little? Is sci-fi just not all that popular over there? Or are there a bunch of shows I've never heard of?
posted by picea at 9:32 AM on December 3, 2004


Good to see the BBC conserving energy by seemingly nicking large parts of that trailer from the pre-game introductory sequences on Match Of The Day

(Oh, and picea, google Blake's 7, Quatermass, Star Cops, Space 1999, Red Dwarf, Survivors and Sapphire and Steel in roughly that order for starters. Sorry for the totally unlinked post but my holiday started five minutes ago)

(Oh, and Hitchhiker's Guide of course)
posted by Hartster at 9:54 AM on December 3, 2004


it's too bad really, i liked the paul mcgann dr. oh well. I really, really, really, hope they stick to the spirit of the thing and keep him winning out through brains and not weapons. that's what i always loved about the dr.

Never carried a gun.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2004


I loved Dr. Who, but it was no Firefly.

That's true. People actually watched Dr Who.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:59 AM on December 3, 2004 [1 favorite]


PST: Burn!

I tried Firefly a couple of times. I just couldn't get past how awkwardly everything was telegraphed. It was like Andromeda with better dialog, but no better plots.
posted by lodurr at 10:07 AM on December 3, 2004


Anybody ever see the (very) short-lived Dr. Who spinoff, "K9"? My local PBS affiliate showed the first episode as a come-on during a pledge-drive Dr. Who marathon. Now there was a spinoff concept without legs....
posted by lodurr at 10:11 AM on December 3, 2004


Riiiight, Red Dwarf. How could I forget that? Still, not much that's actually that recent in your list there, Hartster. Is it a matter of small budgets or lack of interest that keeps things so non-geeky in the UK?
posted by picea at 10:13 AM on December 3, 2004


Blakes 7 appears to be coming back...
posted by jazon at 10:19 AM on December 3, 2004


... and from 2001 The best British Science Fiction Shows You've Never Seen
posted by jazon at 10:21 AM on December 3, 2004


that was a clip?
posted by kamylyon at 10:24 AM on December 3, 2004


(disclaimer: I have all the Tom Baker years on dvd)

I will watch, but a long scarf will not be far from mind.

Outside that, that theme song is like my Rocky.
posted by orange clock at 10:40 AM on December 3, 2004


I tried Firefly a couple of times. I just couldn't get past how awkwardly everything was telegraphed. It was like Andromeda with better dialog, but no better plots.

i felt the same way 'til i watched the entire series in proper order - the network didn't air all the eps, and the ones they did air were out of order, plus they failed to air the actual pilot/first episode - then i felt like a right twit for having not recognized it's worth the first time.
posted by t r a c y at 10:49 AM on December 3, 2004


Wow, it appears the new series will be using extremely-low-bitrate shoddy proprietory encoding.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:15 AM on December 3, 2004


I am so glad I saved my Dr. Who pin. I did lose interest when Tom Baker was replaced by the veterinarian with the celery on his lapel, but the cheesy FX have a special lure. Did you ever see an old sci-fi film in which the "rockets" look like tented aluminum foil?
posted by Cranberry at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2004


Anybody ever see the (very) short-lived Dr. Who spinoff, "K9"

I'll one up you: I had the K9 song on record.

Oh, and I would just like to add, Paul McGann would have been perfect. [sigh]
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:49 AM on December 3, 2004


I have a guilty fondness for Blake's Seven. It was so self-serious, and the scenario (a "found" super-space-ship single-handedly tearing down an entire galactic empire) was so adolescent... but still....

Aside: I also admit to occasionally watching Andromeda. Something about it kept bothering me. Then I started putting it together: Blake was drugged into oblivion ("asleep"), and Dylan was in hypersleep; both lead a small group of misfits and criminals; both are in command of an ultra-powerful sentient warship; etc.

Andromeda: a rip-off of Blake's Seven?
posted by lodurr at 11:55 AM on December 3, 2004


Civil: Maybe this isn't quite a one-up, but I had a major thing for Elisabeth Sladen (a.k.a. Sarah Jane Smith)....
posted by lodurr at 11:56 AM on December 3, 2004


When I said Dr. Who was no Firefly, I was referring to the quality of writing, and budget. Like I said, I love Dr. Who, and I'm well aware of its history and influence over other shows. But Dr. Who is like a Troma film: fun but not high quality.

I hope they manage to keep all the stuff that made Dr. Who fun, the trailer showed that they've kept the music and TARDIS sound effect; I hope the got the cheesy production values too.

Cranberry, you aren't the only one who kinda lost interest after Tom Baker left. I liked the post-Baker shows well enough, but IMO he's the quintessential Doctor.
posted by sotonohito at 12:23 PM on December 3, 2004


When I said Dr. Who was no Firefly, I was referring to the quality of writing, and budget.

I'll give you the budget, but after six seasons of Buffy and four of Angel, I felt like I'd seen every play in the Joss Whedon style book and was pretty bored. I really didn't see that the writing on Firefly offered anything new or exciting, to me anyway (I saw the series in proper order on DVD, dunno if that counts for or against me). Dr Who could certainly be incredibly cheesy, but in a way that I found entertaining and compelling, and that was consistent with the feel of the series. I just started watching Farscape on DVD and get a similar kind of feeling: there's cheese (hell, there's muppets) but in a way that totally works for me and makes the show very engaging.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:41 PM on December 3, 2004


I refuse to download RealPlayer.

Does Dr. Who have a buzzcut? Geez man, I think they've gone and made me cry.
posted by xammerboy at 12:52 PM on December 3, 2004


I *can't wait* for the next Dr. Who season. The only thing that would make it better is if they made Pierce Brosnan the Doctor. But then my dedicated allegiance to Tom Baker as my favorite doctor would come into question, and that could tear me apart inside.
posted by Sidthecat at 1:07 PM on December 3, 2004


And one more note- geek knitters everywhere rejoice:

Christmas is coming, and what could be a better gift for your favorite Whovian?
posted by Sidthecat at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2004


I did enjoy Peter Davison's run as the Doctor, and Sylvester McCoy was okay (we shall not speak of Colin Baker), but I'm primarily a Tom Baker man. Got a coffee mug with his...er... mug on it. And apropos of the BBC America talk in this thread, Baker's the narrator for the show Little Britain.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:40 PM on December 3, 2004


PinkStainlessTail: I'd never actually watched any Joss Whedon shows before I saw Firefly, so maybe it was just new to me.
posted by sotonohito at 1:45 PM on December 3, 2004


Blimey - that was 'just' a teaser!

I think the new version will be interesting to see, especially as it's being written by Russell T. Davies, the guy behind the fantastic 'Queer as Folk' series (the original and better UK version). Christopher Eccleston will make a great 'Doc but I'm not so sure about Billy Piper (dodgy child pop star turned actress) as the side kick.

K-9 used to be my fave character when I was a kid and the Darleks still scare the crap outta me.
posted by floanna at 2:40 PM on December 3, 2004


What other TV series have you seen 'resurrected' that you once loved...

Well the new Battlestar Galactica is currently airing on SkyOne
posted by Tenuki at 2:58 PM on December 3, 2004


I'm glad someone else posted this. I've thrown enough Who related material up here, it makes me look like a fan.

Anyone who's been reading Doctor Who magazine lately (what do you mean you're not) can see it's going to be very good indeed.

Outpost Gallifrey has all the new news about the new series here.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:15 PM on December 3, 2004


we shall not speak of Colin Baker

Get off the drugs! He was 2nd best after Tom.

But then, I also think Timothy Dalton was the best 007.
posted by rushmc at 3:15 PM on December 3, 2004


As the article states, for the series to "look nostalgic or self-referential, he decided, would be fatal," and notes that the new Doctor, Christopher eccleston, "will not, he discloses (and probably shouldn’t) be regenerated from his predecessor Paul McCann [sic] ... That would puzzle the children and hold back the story's momentum."

That oughta be interesting...
posted by rushmc at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2004


Firefly can lick my ass. You little pups wouldn't know quality speculative fiction if it announced itself in neon lights.

Doctor Who, for the most part, worked because of its ideas. It worked because it had a budget that forced its writers to come up with imaginative concepts and use wit and carefully constructed story to carry the show along. The Silurians who existed before humans, a planet constructed of war zones from various moments in Earth's history, humans being experimented upon in "The Sontaran Experiment," a decided Gothic feel mixed in with science fiction, followed by a brief run with Douglas Adams as script editor. The melodramatic heights of "The Caves of Androzani." The surprise on my part that I can remember any of this years after having seen all this.

But, regardless, what other show went through so many different feels while retaining its essence?

Doctor Who's very limitations created some truly inspired moments. It included the notion of replacing an actor who was in ill health and coming up with the concept of regeneration (and constantly rotating companions) to regularly breathe new life in a show that listed something like thirty years.

By contrast, Star Trek, which has continued on for roughly the same period, producing rehash after rehash, sacrificing meaningful human moments with insufferable technobabble, and existing primarily as a way to gouge its feverish fanboys. It is Berman beating a dead horse next to Doctor Who's fun and gripping mythology. And it's about time that Who came back. If it fails, it can always reinvent itself without bastardizing its own history (a la Enterprise).
posted by ed at 3:31 PM on December 3, 2004 [1 favorite]


I've never really followed Doctor Who, is the Paul McGann movie considered cannon or just a failed American experiment?
posted by Tenuki at 3:32 PM on December 3, 2004


I had a major thing for Elisabeth Sladen

No, dude. Sorry. Ace. Definately Ace. Althought I did have a thing for Romana (the second) when I was young, I now see the folly of my ways (Mary Tamm r0x0rs.)

Oh, and of course, Leela was hot as hell.

Get off the drugs! He was 2nd best after Tom.

He was better as a guard on Gallifrey.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:48 PM on December 3, 2004


PinkStainlessTail: Don't read Astonishing X-Men then, 'cause, dude. I never realized that Wesley Wyndham-Price and Lilah Morgan had so much in common with Scott Summers and Emma Frost until Joss hammered it into my skull over and over and OVER again.

Meanwhile, back on BBC, I don't have RealPlayer installed, so I can't enjoy the geekiness, but they had me at Christopher Eccleston. And then they got Mark Gatiss writing episodes and yeah. I've sat through both Bakers, McCoy, and McGann in my husband's DVD collection, and this is the first Dr Who that I'm excited about.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:01 PM on December 3, 2004


Colin Baker didn't hold a candle to Tom Baker.

::gets back to attempting to fix her computer::
posted by kamylyon at 4:32 PM on December 3, 2004


I refuse to download RealPlayer.

If it's any help, I believe that the BBC version of RealPlayer is considerably less annoying than the standard one (fewer nags, less grabbing of media types, fewer demands you upgrade, no things in the notification area et cetera).
posted by alasdair at 4:40 PM on December 3, 2004


What other TV series have you seen 'resurrected' that you once loved.

The new Battlestar Gallactica on Sky One is great. It feels different from the original, is smarter and more realistic, and yet still has a certain familiarity with names, characters, and props. I'm hoping Doctor Who accomplishes all these, too.

That said, the new Doctor is the evil army guy from '28 Days Later'?
posted by stevis at 4:45 PM on December 3, 2004


Tom Baker was the quintessntial Doctor, tis true, but some of us grew up in the 60s & 70s with Jon Pertwee - his wry grimaces and knowing style attracted me back then (even if I really did, as every brit of a certain age claims, hide behind the sofa when the Cybermen and the Daleks came on!)
posted by dash_slot- at 6:06 PM on December 3, 2004


A lot of the charm with the original series was a combination of things: a somewhat stereotypical England (under)populated and with eccentrics, like a Brigadier who commands half a dozen privates; cute little technical contrivances, like an inertia-less car and the overused "sonic screwdriver"; villains that are menacing, but not entirely threatening; and the great inside gag of the Doctor being a space alien, which everyone seems to take at face value. Well, he certainly seems British, so he can't be dangerous.

The "rules" or parameters of time-space travel are rarely mentioned, except as needed at the moment. There is no effort to clarify for the viewer how technology so advanced as to be "magical" really works. It just does--and half the time it's falling apart, and what do we do to fix it?

Then when the planets Skaro and Gallifrey were introduced, they almost seemed to represent the past (WWI) and the (bureaucratic) future of England.

Always in the background are the Daleks. Ironically, they could have been given much more dialogue, but that might take away from their utter mystery: how *did* those silly machines conquer half the galaxy? They can't even turn a doorknob. And yet they captivated every British schoolboy for a generation.

And good old Earth never seemed to have amounted to much in the future--but without much explanation. Humans for all their qualities just didn't have that special something that made so many of the other intelligent species succesful. Lots of other "good guys" died off, too. Either killed by villains or just unsuccessful. Instant nostalgia for what they could have been.

One last thing about the series that was both annoying and contributed to its success was its brevity. A 20 minute episode each week? Cliffhangers constantly, or maybe not. And no idea when a mini-series within the series would end. You had to catch every episode or you were lost.
posted by kablam at 6:33 PM on December 3, 2004


Interesting and refreshing to view differing opinions on this series and others as well.

the whole attraction of the original was that, yeah, the sets were bad and so was the acting, but at least the plot was bad

Wasn't the appeal for me. Though the bloke who played Turlow wasn't particularly good, and Mathew Waterhouse we need not speak of, I thought the acting was fine and the series succeeded in spite of the budget which resulted in rather garish sets, including reusing the Ark in Space set when convenient. Some of the dialogue the actors had to deal with has been truly atrocious. Looking forward to the new episodes.

By contrast, Star Trek, which has continued on for roughly the same period, producing rehash after rehash, sacrificing meaningful human moments with insufferable technobabble, and existing primarily as a way to gouge its feverish fanboys.

Totally disagree as well. Star Trek has its share of bad episodes, gaffs, mistakes, and traits (as has Doctor Who and many long running series) but again I'd argue the quality of the stories, the ensemble casts, etc. have made it survive. When they do indeed attempt to bow to the "fanboys" the result is usually a bad reaction by many, such as the last movie. Enterprise is, in my humble opinion, second only to DS9, which was also all about the characters.

Of course to each their own.

My first Doctor was Pertwee. Couldn't believe Baker as a replacement but came to favour him. Have seen most of the Troughton episodes including War Games and didn't mind Davidson. Lost track, and interest, after that.

As for the new Doctor, I am totally unfamiliar with him but will give him some time, such as a season, before making a judgement. Would have liked to see Grant get it but it was not to be I suppose.
posted by juiceCake at 7:11 PM on December 3, 2004


is the Paul McGann movie considered cannon

The Canon Keeper's Guide ...

Unlike pretty much every other franchise, *everything* is canon in Who. There was a story on bubble gum cards in the 70s and that's included. There was even a plotline in one of the novels to justify this and that fact that the stories sometimes contradict each other (three ways that Atlantis fell and what not). Which means that as you can see here, Paul McGann has a whole era of stories which is longer than Tom Baker, but it all happens on audio, in books and comic strips -- yet he has a distinct voice and characterisation. And to a degree he's my favourite doctor because the stories haven't been handstrung by production problems so you can sit back and enjoy the adventure without having to make exceptions all the time. Certainly if it hadn't been for this stuff, the series wouldn't be happening.
posted by feelinglistless at 12:24 AM on December 4, 2004


Other good british Sci-Fi TV series not mentioned above -

Day of the Triffids and Tripods.

The temptation with British Sci-Fi always seems to be to add a comedy element to steal your attention away from the limited budget, but by no means does this detract from the sheer coolness of the Master who comes across as a wonderful mixture of Dr No and Ming the Merciless...
posted by longbaugh at 3:30 AM on December 4, 2004


Christopher Eccleston won't suck. I'm not as convinced by the casting of Billie Piper though (even though she was good in the Canterbury Tales).

I have high hopes for the series as a whole. With an übergeek like Russell T Davies in charge - who, incidentally wrote one of the finest original Doctor Who novels ever, Damaged Goods - I doubt the more open-minded fans will have much to complain about.

(By the way, I loved the trailer. Like all Who-geeks watching it for the first time I had a huge grin on my face!)
posted by Ridge at 9:31 AM on December 4, 2004


I just clicked on that Billie Piper link (I had no idea who she was). I'm going to have to change my vote for hottest companion.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:20 PM on December 4, 2004


oh, hmm... she looks quite vacuous. but admit i tend to arbitrarily dismiss blondes (male or female). i'm going to assume she's super talented and has what it takes to create a good character - providing the writers have written one for her of course. my fave companion was sarah jane, for all the obvious brunette reasons, heh.

Firefly can lick my ass. You little pups wouldn't know quality speculative fiction if it announced itself in neon lights

oh brother. shut up and eat some jelly babies. *grudgingly passes candy bag to ed*
posted by t r a c y at 10:42 PM on December 4, 2004


I was also completely unaware it would be Christopher Eccleston. I was one rooting for Izzard early on, but CE's a pretty damn good actor.
posted by oraknabo at 12:12 AM on December 6, 2004


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