Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,
Insomnia
insomnia

Finally saw the new Doctor Who...

Excellent stuff. Really, really good, and a very strong beginning to the series. Christopher Eccleston is quirky, mercurical, charming, strong, and, dare I say it, sexy.

Warren Ellis seems to think the new Doctor Who is too British for American audiences, but I disagree. Doctor Who has *always* been British in language and style, and while that can be too big a leap for some people, I think that it's less of a leap than in the past. Arguably the new Doctor is the most American yet when it comes to its look, style, pacing, and editing. If the SciFi Channel didn't swoop down and acquire the broadcast rights for the new Doctor as Ellis suggests, it probably isn't because of the show being too British. Rather, it is most likely that SciFi saw the new series as a big risk -- it is very hard to breathe new life into any established series, and there was every indication that the new Who could suffer the same fate of its last few "regenerations". From a business standpoint, the new Doctor might've looked like a very bad deal for SciFi, who would have had to pay through the nose if they didn't want to face competition from BBC America and hundreds of public television stations, many of whom must be clammoring to show the new series. Indeed, I suspect that Doctor Who can be much more successful in the U.S. by not limiting itself to cable television. The Beeb needs to rediscover the glory days of Doctor Who fandom in the U.S. That means they need to be generous with the local PBS stations, getting them involved in the act of promoting the series and bootstrapping the fanbase, rather than giving preferential treatment to BBC America. If the BBC doesn't loosen up on the airing rights, American fans will still find ways to watch Doctor Who... royalty-free, using filesharing applications. That would be a bad thing for all concerned, however.

The new Doctor doesn't appear to be the one we grew up with as kids, with 8-episode stories and obligatory cliffhanger endings. Rather, the first show, clocking in at approximately 43 minutes, is a story unto itself. In that sense, Doctor Who's format appears more in line with Star Trek or Buffy... and while that might not lend itself well to sprawling epics, it *does* lend itself to the kind of Doctor that people can sit down, watch, and have fun with, without worrying too much about whether they're "missing something". Americans simply won't notice whether the Doctor's accent is from Northern or Southern Britain. What they will notice, however, if they give the show any time at all -- is that it is very, very watchable.

Interestingly, the new storylines are reminiscent of the first Hartnell days of Doctor Who, with the Doctor playing the role of a time travelling tour guide... indeed, the next stop is the end of the world, followed shortly by World War III. Expect more than a bit of humor, as the Doctor throws a wrench into the fabric of time, possibly daring at times to contradict and even recreate his own history.

At last, the neverending battle through time of good vs. evil is fun again! Should be quite a trip...
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