15 days to go

by Harry on March 11, 2005

I suppose that every Brit who reads this site already knows about this, but the rest may not. The die-hard fans seem pleased, but it is very hard to tell whether that is just a function of the relief they feel.

When I first heard about the return I had a conversation with my favourite pop star (no, I won’t tell you who that is) who expressed skepticism: on the grounds that the only way the series can sell is by Americanising it. My skepticism is more based on the fact that the post-war social-democratic consensus is so long dead that a show that self-consciously embodied it would now seem weird; but if the doctor were not a social democrat he would not be the doctor. However, at least the Americanisation thesis seems false, given the star’s disavowal of both sexism (ha!) and RP.

{ 18 comments }

1

Roger Mexico 03.11.05 at 1:18 pm

Well, they tried the Americanisation of Gallifrey with the lamentable Paul McGann incarnation, so maybe they’ve learned some lessons. He should mind how he goes with an assistant who’s a SE19 girl though . . ‘feisty’ doesn’t begin to describe ‘em . . .

2

Steve LaBonne 03.11.05 at 1:25 pm

High production values, no wobbly sets? What fun is that? Oh well, we’ll probably have to wait years to see it on this side of the pond anyway…

3

Russell Arben Fox 03.11.05 at 1:28 pm

According to Christopher Eccleston, “the central message of Dr. Who is to love life.”

Umm…somehow, that’s never the vibe I got from the show. The good Doctor never struck me as a New Agey, carpe diem, motivantional speaker-type. But then my PBS station while I was growing up just kept showing the Tom Baker episodes over and over again, so I’m probably misinformed.

4

Urinated State of America 03.11.05 at 1:32 pm

“the only way the series can sell is by Americanising it.”

Eat lead, Dalek Mothafucka!

5

kevin 03.11.05 at 2:54 pm

Actually, it premieres on “this side of the pond” on April 5th…on the CBC. I can’t wait!

No word on whether the Doctor has been Canadianized…

6

Steve LaBonne 03.11.05 at 3:07 pm

Hmm, yet another reason why we in Northeast Ohio should secede from the more backward parts of the state, build a bridge across Lake Erie and petition to join Ontario. ;)

7

John Quiggin 03.11.05 at 3:29 pm

Harry, I disagree with your pessimism about social democracy, and would argue in reverse that the continuing appeal of Dr Who, Star Trek and so on is indicative of continued strength. Of course, there are also plenty of shows that embody old-style conservatism, and plenty that simply appeal to greed, lust, gluttony and sloth, but I can’t, off-hand, think of any that present a good case for neoliberalism.

8

Nick 03.11.05 at 3:53 pm

Surely a sign of any Canadianisation would be if the series was renamed Doctor Eh?

From what I’ve heard, I think the important thing is that they’ve stuck to the essence of the show and kept it as an adventure show that appeals to kids and adults, rather than try to turn it into a glossy SF show.

9

Cheryl Morgan 03.11.05 at 4:14 pm

Well they failed to sell the series to SciFi Channel, but the word is that was because of quality not because it was too “British”. Some fans who have seen the leaked episode seem to agree on the quality angle. But I guess the BBC thought us Brits would be nostalgic for wonky sets.

Still, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The World Science Fiction Convention is in Glasgow this year (first time in Europe for a decade) and we are very much hoping we’ll have something to celebrate rather than something to hang our heads over.

10

fafnir 03.11.05 at 4:55 pm

I seen the new Doctor on accounta they were showin it on the internet an I caught the matinee an it was a light-hearted entertainin smart romp through established adventure serial tropes. But the cleavage on the Daleks! Shameful!

11

Tom Bozzo 03.11.05 at 9:51 pm

I hate to comment after Fafnir, but wouldn’t this be an ideal thing for PBS to air during the next fundraising period to either raise funds from nostalgic long-time PBS viewers, or at least to stop us from going all Giblets on them for preempting Sesame Street on our not exactly understanding two-year-olds…

12

Antoni Jaume 03.12.05 at 10:36 am

What is an “SE19 girl”?

DSW

13

Roger Mexico 03.12.05 at 12:04 pm

Antoni – it refers to the part of London she comes from: Norwood in this case (SE19 being the post-code for that district). Ace, you will recall, was from Perivale (post-code unknown at time of writing)

14

Antoni Jaume 03.12.05 at 1:13 pm

Thanks, however I can’t recall much about Dr Who as here, in Spain, this series has not been much on the air. I could only catch fragments in one of the occasion it was aired, some 20 years ago.

DSW

15

nick 03.13.05 at 2:09 am

SE19 is the part of London easiest reached by Tardis.

16

Skippy McGee 03.14.05 at 11:09 pm

Dr. Who is an exciting adventure series about a communist who travels around through time in a heavy overcoat using a call box that obviously is as complex as english technology will ever get with the empire in sharp decline for over a century.
He fights evil people and aliens by using longwinded discussions on the implied subtext of gay erotica or the merits of centralized health care (in spite of displaying teeth clearly a product of the British health care system) until his opponents fall asleep or go into a mad frantic fit of self-destructive rage. At this point there is usually a really cheap looking explosion using flash paper that is supposed to signify the alien’s logic circuits overloading and blowing up. Then a cardboard set wobbles in the background.
The show nearly always concludes with another seemingly endless debate on some utterly useless philosophical point. This is because Dr. Who is not going to be having any sex with his costar due to his flaming homosexuality showing in his every gesture.
Then there is some cheesy special effect that looks like a laser light effect from a 70′s rock concert with the credits. The next week is pretty much the same.

17

g1lgam3sh 03.15.05 at 9:59 am

“Dr. Who is an exciting adventure series about a communist who travels around through time in a heavy overcoat using a call box that obviously is as complex as english technology will ever get with the empire in sharp decline for over a century.
He fights evil people and aliens by using longwinded discussions on the implied subtext of gay erotica or the merits of centralized health care (in spite of displaying teeth clearly a product of the British health care system) until his opponents fall asleep or go into a mad frantic fit of self-destructive rage. At this point there is usually a really cheap looking explosion using flash paper that is supposed to signify the alien’s logic circuits overloading and blowing up. Then a cardboard set wobbles in the background.
The show nearly always concludes with another seemingly endless debate on some utterly useless philosophical point. This is because Dr. Who is not going to be having any sex with his costar due to his flaming homosexuality showing in his every gesture.
Then there is some cheesy special effect that looks like a laser light effect from a 70’s rock concert with the credits. The next week is pretty much the same.
If only that weren’t true :-)

18

Steve LaBonne 03.15.05 at 10:34 am

What do you mean “if only”? I’ll have you know that’s a perfect description of what many of us LIKE about Dr. Who! ;) That’s why I’m alarmed about the purported elimination of cheesy special effects from the new series, though it sounds like the other essentials have been left intact.
No money from me for PBS until they bring the new series to the US! ;) It’d be nice if they’d rerun the old ones too (years ago the PBS station where I then lived reran _everything_ from the first surviving William Hartnell episode on, so I may be one of the few Americans who’s seen a lot of the first three Doctors) but at least we can get those on cheap video cassettes from Amazon (DVDs somehow seem inappropriately high-tech. ;) )

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