Join 3,432 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Doctor Returns
March 16, 2005 2:43 AM   Subscribe

Dr. Who Returns to the BBC on Saturday, 26 March at 7pm on BBC One. To those of us of a certain age, this is good news. Russell T Davies, creator of "Queer As Folk", is the writer and executive producer. North American fans with access to the CBC won't have to wait long to see the new series. It starts Tuesday 5 April at 8pm.
posted by paddbear (46 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
It better be spooky!
posted by asok at 2:48 AM on March 16, 2005


Good news: The first episode is out there, somewhere, on BitTorrent.
Bad news: I don't have a link.
Good news: The word is that episode one is rather good.
Bad News: The BBC is scheduling it opposite Ant&Dec, the opposition's brain-dead ratings winner.
Good News: Billie Piper is (and you'll excuse the l33t speak) ALL teh hotness.
posted by scaryduck at 2:50 AM on March 16, 2005


Any one got a sofa I can borrow?
posted by fullerine at 2:57 AM on March 16, 2005


It is indeed rather good, with the exception of some of the acting by supporting characters. The effects are kind of cheesy, too -- it felt like the producers wanted to make the effects cheesier than their budget would allow, and it works. Christopher Eccleston plays the Doctor with a kind of absent, manic charm. And Billie Piper is pretty. She's pretty vacant. And I don't care.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:00 AM on March 16, 2005


Good News: The first episode is excellent, and a link can be easily found on some of the large BitTorrent search engines.
Good News: Billie Piper's character is also sharp and by no means cowed by Eccleson's strange and brilliant Doctor (as I don't have a favorite, I think he may become it).
Good News: I am probably somewhat of a horror wimp, but it's scary as all hell, in the excellent tradition of using shadows and psychology, rather than gore, to frighten the audience. It felt scarier than when I was five; I did jump, more than once.

Sorry, I don't have any bad news, except for American fans, as it doesn't look like it's going to be picked up by an American network anytime soon. BBC America may be interested in carrying it, and DVDs are also expected. Needless to say, being a cult show, it will be available on p2p networks.

While I was very impressed by the first episode, I am doubtful as to whether it will ever sell to an American network, as they've made no bones but that this is a British show, in dialogue, setting, manner. Which is also one of its strengths.
posted by jb at 3:04 AM on March 16, 2005


Is he the creator of the British Queer as Folk or the American one? I happen to like the American one rather better.
posted by jaded at 3:31 AM on March 16, 2005


Most US cable providers along the northern border carry CBC on basic cable, so some US fans will get to see it.

BBC America is notoriously cheap (that's why Eastenders isn't on anymore), though it's new president has said that the network has got to be more than home and garden decorating shows. BBC America is owned by Discovery Channel, btw.

SCIFI channel might purchase it, though they may have blown their budget on the (successful) Battlestar Galactica.
posted by paddbear at 3:34 AM on March 16, 2005


SCiFi Channel doesn't want it, preferring, instead, to spend money on things like Mansquito.

NBC/Universal are looking into it, which could mean that it'd be syndicated in the States — plus, as said before, BBC America might have it.

And P2P, naturally. But I didn't say that.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:02 AM on March 16, 2005


Good News: google is exceedingly useful
posted by stefan at 4:07 AM on March 16, 2005


I liked Eccleston as the Doctor. "Absent, manic charm" is a pretty spot on description -- nice and distinct from previous incarnations; but from what I've heard I expect there to be more to the character than this. Billie Piper seems to work well as the sidekick, too. The premise was *classic* Whoness, but the plot lacked depth and any sort of SF geekery. Production values were suitably piss-poor, which generally paid off. Some of the dialogue could have been sharper and funnier, but was generally good. I'll be watching, but from what I've seen it doesn't help me get over my mourning period from reaching the end of the Firefly season on DVD.
posted by nthdegx at 4:32 AM on March 16, 2005


He's great, she's great, it's great, and I'm very happy with it all. Good, solid fun. I'm glad CBC is getting their crap together these days and picked it up. I'm telling many people that they must watch.
posted by blacklite at 4:36 AM on March 16, 2005


...get over my mourning period from reaching the end of the Firefly season on DVD.

November 4th, nthdegx. November 4th.

(so not soon enough.)
posted by Katemonkey at 4:50 AM on March 16, 2005


One consolation is that it can be my birthday film ;)
posted by nthdegx at 4:58 AM on March 16, 2005


The BBC isn't dependent on advertising, and the government has recently ordered the BBC to stop trying to get ratings for ratings' sake. P2P'ing BBC material really is ethically equivalent to recording it off the telly.

They still want you to buy the DVD of course.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:32 AM on March 16, 2005


stefan: shh! You'll get the MPAA shutting down Google any day now.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:34 AM on March 16, 2005


Katemonkey, NBC/Universal owns SCIFI Channel, so expect to see Dr Who there first.
posted by paddbear at 5:42 AM on March 16, 2005


Sounds great! I look forward to seeing it. But when? If any of you are from New York, you may remember the days when you could watch one full show (six, seven half hour episodes) on WNYC (PBS channel 3) on Friday (followed by Blake's 7!) and then watch another full set on Saturday on WLIW (PBS channel 31). The really amazing thing was that the stations would re-work the broadcast schedule to accomodate a 5-part show one week and a 7-parter the next. Pledge drives were staffed by the Lond Island branch of the Friends of Gallifrey (in costume). Now those were the golden days of public broadcasting!

If PBS wants to stay out of trouble with middle america, it should stop teaching our nation's children about tolerance of gays and lesbians and start teaching them about how to kick some Dalek and Cyberman ASS.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:55 AM on March 16, 2005


I loved Dr. Who and yes I did hide behind the sofa. Bout time the franchise came back...But....

I dont like Billie Piper much though. Her plastic noise records like 'because we want to' are beyond forgiveness. And I don't much like her ex-husband, Chris Evans, either and the fact they were together suggests a lack of soul on both parts.

In fact the youthful female sidesick thing seems a bit like Scrappy Doo. No need. Have different lithe eye candy for different adventures like in the 70s.

Eccleston is OK though. It needs to be dark and knowing, with less kiddie wish fulfillment and fake peril...
posted by The Salaryman at 6:09 AM on March 16, 2005


More about the leaked Dr. Who episode here.

Having met every Doctor (except William Hartnell and, if you're being picky, Paul McGann) I'm eagerly awaiting to see if this guy is up to snuff.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:03 AM on March 16, 2005


What a most excellent birthday present.

Scaryduck: And now I want you to sing the Red Dwarf theme to the tune of Dr Who while the gorgeous Samantha tots up the scores...
posted by salmacis at 7:06 AM on March 16, 2005


Civil Disobedient - Peter Cushing?
posted by nthdegx at 7:58 AM on March 16, 2005


I've seen it, it's great. Eccleston is fantastic as the new Doc.

Someone at SciFi should be fired for not getting this on the air over here.

salmacis: Will the Doctor Who theme vs. Goldfrapp do for you instead?
posted by 40 Watt at 8:26 AM on March 16, 2005


I couldn't imagine the series without a companion. For one thing, you'd be watching hours of someone doing stuff, with no one else to talk to, no reason to explain what he's doing or why. A one-character show? In any genre, it would be boring, but in sci-fi, it would be boring and incomprehensible.

Also, the companion is a surrogate for us. They are our way into a strange and alien world - when things are explained to the human stumbling around, they are explained to us. They are the essential connection back to our reality that makes it possible, without the narrative of literary sci-fi, to draw the viewer into this new world.

That said, there is no reason the companion needs to be female, or just one of them. Wasn't there a period of multiple companions on the original series? Ever a male one? The only thing with having a male companion, is that it might change the dynamic to have only male main characters.
posted by jb at 9:02 AM on March 16, 2005


jb: There were plenty of male companions, and the original line-up was Barbara, Ian and Susan - three companions, one of which was obviously a man.

I've seen the episode, and it felt almost like a 45-minute trailer for what was to come. If every episode is so devoid of detail, it's not going to be a whole lot of fun to watch; they've admitted to taking Buffy as their secondary inspiration (next to the original series), and what made that show so fun was the knowing dialogue and the little nods to this and that.

So I'm hopeful. My only real complaint is that they shot it on video; in the 21st century, for the love of God, why?
posted by bwerdmuller at 9:24 AM on March 16, 2005


I'm glad it's shot on video. The production values were, to me, as much a part of the charm of the older series as the plots and characters. Certainly there were some truly laughable moments (the giant plastic Nessie comes to mind), but I can't imagine the show any other way.

Sidekick Rose is cute, but no-one can take the place of Sarah Jane Smith in my heart. Eldrad must live!
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:43 AM on March 16, 2005


40 watt- that is awesome.

jb- you're right about the companion being a stand-in for the audience. That concept is part of what made the series great. My least favorite companion was Leela (sp?), from the Tom Baker days. Since she was also a Timelord, she knew too much and lost that connection with the audience that most companions had.

(I didn't analyze it that way at the time, of course, I just knew "something" was missing.)

I'd LOVE to see this new series, but since we don't get BBC America, I'll have to hold out for the DVDs.
posted by BoringPostcards at 9:44 AM on March 16, 2005


40 Watt - isn't that The Timelords a.k.a KLF?
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:16 AM on March 16, 2005


You can all rest peacefully knowing that someone, somewhere is now writing Dr. Who slash fanfiction.
posted by taursir at 10:36 AM on March 16, 2005


40 Watt - isn't that The Timelords a.k.a KLF?
posted by MrBobaFett at 1:16 PM EST on March 16


I know you didn't ask me, MBF, but yes, it is.
posted by BoringPostcards at 11:00 AM on March 16, 2005


bwerdmuller: Good points on the different companions - I guess then they may experiment with companions over time. I haven't actually seen much of the older Doctor Who, only some from the mid to late 80s, and it's been so long that I don't remember the companions.

That said, I don't know why people are complaining about the production values - I thought they were excellent for what they were going for. And this is just after recently watching episodes of Farscape, which was a much more expensive series. The colours are crisp, the special effects are (I thought) purposely kept simple (and it, of course, much, much scarier that way), and the whole cinematography has a very fresh and imaginative feel, right from the opening (which I liked a lot too). I'm must not be sensitive to the difference between video and film, but at the same time video has very much improved. There was only one point when I though the special effects were a bit weak (though no weaker than most U.S. sci-fi television shows), but that could have been improved by doing less, not more. Sound and cinematography can do so much more on their own than often they are given credit for. If Dr Who is to stand out against higher budget productions, I would definitely go the root of good writing, acting, cinematography and sound design - and let the viewers' imaginations do more work providing horror more realistic than any CGI.
posted by jb at 11:02 AM on March 16, 2005


40 Watt - isn't that The Timelords a.k.a KLF?
posted by MrBobaFett at 1:16 PM EST on March 16

I know you didn't ask me, MBF, but yes, it is.
posted by BoringPostcards at 1:00 PM CST on March 16


I know BoringPostcards already answered this, but yes, it is. I just figured people wouldn't know/wouldn't care. Technically speaking, considering the Timelords track is really "Dr. Who vs. Gary Glitter", then I should have said:

salmacis: Will Gary Glitter vs. Doctor Who theme vs. Goldfrapp do for you instead?
posted by 40 Watt at 11:07 AM on March 16, 2005


</pedanticFilter>
posted by 40 Watt at 11:09 AM on March 16, 2005


My least favorite companion was Leela (sp?), from the Tom Baker days. Since she was also a Timelord

As a geeky sidenote, Romana was the timelord you're thinking of. Leela was the animal-skin clad cavewoman who kept trying to stab people.
posted by unreason at 11:35 AM on March 16, 2005


My least favorite companion was Leela (sp?), from the Tom Baker days. Since she was also a Timelord

Leela wasn't a timelord, she was from the tribe of the sevateem. You're probably thinking of Romana (I or II). btw, Loiuse Jameson, who played Leela, autographed my thigh at a convention years ago.

It's nice to see all the Doctor Who fans here and elsewhere on the web recently.

I've seen Rose, and feel very optimistic about the new series. I'd been put off the show by the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy years, but I feel like a hard core Doctor Who fan again.
posted by Malenfant at 11:38 AM on March 16, 2005


Of course though Leela wasn't a Timelord, she did marry one.
posted by juiceCake at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2005


My least favorite companion was Leela (sp?), from the Tom Baker days. Since she was also a Timelord

Leela wasn't a timelord, she was from the tribe of the sevateem. You're probably thinking of Romana (I or II).


Yikes, you are probably right. It has been a LOOONG time since I saw Dr. Who, though I used to watch it religiously in high school and college.
posted by BoringPostcards at 1:07 PM on March 16, 2005


Yikes, you are probably right. It has been a LOOONG time since I saw Dr. Who, though I used to watch it religiously in high school and college.

So did I. In Chicago it was Sunday nights at 11, so I was always tired for school on Monday.

I'm jealous of Admiral Haddock upthread who got an evening of Doctor Who and Blakes 7 on Fridays. I had to import my Blake's 7 from elsewhere in the U.S. Speaking of B7, Seasons 1 and 2 are now available on region 2 DVD. I ordered them from Amazon.uk. If you like Doctor Who, there's a good chance you'll like Blake's 7.
posted by Malenfant at 1:32 PM on March 16, 2005


Speaking of companions, I always liked Turlough of the Teegan, Nyssa and Peter Davidson era. He was plotting to kill the Doctor and kind of creepy. He added a lot to the menace factor for me.
posted by stevis at 1:36 PM on March 16, 2005


I have passed on the Rose torrent on so many sites, not for ethical reasons, but because I am forcing myself to wait for the 26th. It's been really hard to do.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:00 PM on March 16, 2005


Can someone who's seen it explain how it links to the previous stuff? Does if reference McGann, or Doc7 or just jump in?
posted by Sparx at 2:09 PM on March 16, 2005


Just jumps right in, for the most part. There's one quick shot of Eccleston admiring his new body's features in a mirror but that's about it. No mention of McGann at all.
posted by 40 Watt at 2:27 PM on March 16, 2005


Of course though Leela wasn't a Timelord, she did marry one.
posted by juiceCake at 1:02 PM PST on March 16 [!]


Well, nearly. Leela married a Gallifreyan, not a Time Lord. All Time Lords are Gallifreyan, but not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords.

I'm zipping up my anorak right now.
posted by Ridge at 5:15 PM on March 16, 2005


Must... move... to britain...

Call... of best... show ever... too strong... can't... resist.
posted by shmegegge at 5:57 PM on March 16, 2005


Actually this new DW is fairly expensive. The Tardis console room cost £100,000 to construct which was a budget for a whole season or two in the old days ...
posted by feelinglistless at 2:27 PM on March 17, 2005


Everyone in this thread who considered hiding behind a sofa is a bona-fide idiot.
In the Troughton-era episode, "The Invasion", a Cyberman swiped some kid from that vantage point.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:02 AM on March 21, 2005


Do you think that was intentional - to play on the tradition of children watching from behind the sofa?
posted by jb at 9:53 PM on March 24, 2005


« Older "A theory that can't predict anything is not a sci...  |  The greatest cover ever.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments