March 17, 2006

Doctor Who in America

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It’s been nearly a year since Doctor Who premiered to great success in the UK and Canada and now it’s the turn of the United States. The new (Christopher Eccleston) series debuted last night, Friday March 17th, on the American Sci-Fi channel. As part of a double premiere Sci-Fi aired both “Rose” and “The End of the World”.

During the build-up to the American premiere we’re seen more and more US media coverage of the series including coverage in American TV Guide, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly.

It is fantastic to welcome yet another important country to the new era of Doctor Who. The new series has already aired in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, France, Italy, South Korea, Israel, Belgium, Spain, Hong Kong, and Hungary.

What did American fans think of the debut and the new series?

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Cheers!

-rod

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March 06, 2006

Happy Anniversary to the New Series!

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It was one year ago (the weekend of March 5th and 6th) that the new series was made available to and watched by fans worldwise, when Rose was leaked onto to the internet by a Canadian fan. Ironically, the date that this happened is also the date on which Rose takes place, according to the “Missing” posters that can been seen in Aliens of London.  The leak gave fans a chance to experience the new series, the new Doctor and gave the show a ton of publicity, leading to many industry insiders calling it the best thing that could have happened to the new series prior to its initial transmission.

Season 27 turned out to be a massive, un-paralleled success and it all started one year ago.  Time for a well-deserved celebration for one of the great dates in Doctor Who history, March 5th 2005!

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February 28, 2006

The Gallifrey Chronicles 2006

This Doctor Who Blog correspondent must be upfront in saying that he was only able to make the latter half of 2006’s Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles. The details as to why this occured for this would take up too much space, but can be summarized thus: Air Canada Sucks.

Nonetheless, for what I was able to attend of Gallifrey One in the 17th 1/2 Century was quite enjoyable (although the Dealer’s Room had 2/3 of their new series merchandise sold out by then!).

As ever, Shaun Lyon and his team put on what must be the premier Doctor Who convention in the world. A great sampling of new series guests (all the non-RTD writers from Season One and Noel Clarke, plus Alan Ruscoe and the guy who said the lock had a billion combinations in Dalek) and some great classic series guests (Louise Jameson, mainly) were in attendance and the programming was superb.

Unlike last year, where the new series was the elephant in the room no one wanted to talk about (and the guests with any knowledge likely had to sign non-disclosure agreements), there was a great excitement and energy around the new series this time. That said, this Gallifrey marked the very real shift between pre-and-post 2005 world of Doctor Who.

Back in the days when Doctor Who was run by a variety of cottage industries, Gallifrey (like other big cons, following the tradition in comic book fandm) was the place of the Big Announcement: who can forget the Gallifreys where the BBCi/Big Finish agreement was announced, or the trailer for online Shada debuted, or the big news about novel or audio releases for the year ahead was given.

Now with a new TV series and an age where it seems to be official BBC policy to not court the fans, Gallifrey is no longer the place of the Big Announcement. I think this is a shame. Other SF programs have learned that organized fandom and cons are a worthwhile thing, or at least are a necessary evil—while fans probably only make a percentage of the 9 million or so viewers watching Doctor Who, fans are often the first people interviewed by newspapers for reactions, so you would think it would be in their best interest to keep fans ‘sweet’. Would it really hurt to send some clips from series 2, or even a rep from the press office? Obviously the powers that be disagree with me, and I think that’s a shame: such an effort would cost comparatively little and would result in a lot of goodwill. Leaving that aside, the new series guests were absolutely delightful—Noel Clarke is a powerhouse of energy and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were a nice new addition, and it was great to have Paul Cornell and Rob Shearman now able to talk in greater depth on their work.

Some other random observations:


  • A Dealer’s Table had the new series box set (the R1 Canadian import) for $150 US. (It retails for roughly $90 Canadian).  You would think people would avoid such a staggering mark-up and just wait till the US release in July (or order it online from amazon.ca or even whona.com)...but they sold steadily all weekend.
  • Best moment of the con: when Mark Gatiss read a text message from David Tennant to those present in the closing ceremonies!
  • The new location is far better located than the Airtel Plaza in Van Nuys, but the ground floor facilities at the Airtel allowed for better interaction with the outside environment (a big plus for non-west coast people) than the lower-level facilities at the LAX Marriott.
  • Following from Luca’s post a few weeks ago, general—and often willful—ignorance of Canada’s contribution to the new series while crowing about the US broadcast continues to abound.


Nonetheless, Gallifrey 2006 was an excellent time and continues to be the jewel in the crown of Doctor Who conventions. Here’s hoping next year’s is even bigger and better.

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February 17, 2006

season one

Three years ago, before the news that there would be a new Doctor Who, I thought it couldn’t be done. Even when I heard the news that Russel Davies was writing it, I was skeptical. I mean how can you remake Doctor Who? It was a great show 20 years ago, but TV has changed so much since then. How would it ever work? I didn’t really believe there was a new show until I finally saw those opening credits.

But never mind all that. The first season is not only the best season of Doctor Who, it is some of the best television ever. And watching it on DVD with surround sound is like seeing it again for the first time.

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February 13, 2006

Doctor Whom


“So, do you stil like Doctor Whom?” Barry had sewn a Doctor Whom patch on his Army jacket last year, simply for irony’s sake, and while most people Barry’s age got the joke, Serious didn’t. The first time Serious had met Barry, Barry was going through a Doctor Whom phase - wearing long, ugly scarves, mucking about in police boxes, perming his hair, the whole lot. While Barry hand’t seen the show in five years and hadn’t liked it in seven, that was clearly still stuck in Serious’ head. Barry equals Doctor Whom. Until death.

from Michael Gerber’s weird book, Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parody

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February 06, 2006

Charlotte Church for Torchwood!

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Its the calm before the storm in terms of news for the new season and the Torchwood, so what better time to take the opportunity to voice our approval for the suggestion published in UK tabloids a few months back that singer Charlotte Church be cast in the new Doctor Who spin-off series starring John Barrowman. In fact, I think this new photo of her and Russell T. Davies that I came across is a photo from the current Torchwood casting sessions that are apparently happening right now.

Well, I don’t honestly think that, but I can dream can’t I?

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January 25, 2006

More Toys!

The official BBC site and Outpost Gallifrey have reports on the next wave of toys coming from character options. Amidst the dizzying range of new action figures and toys that make me wish I was 10 so I could play with them instead of collect them, came this description:

March

TARDIS Electronic playset - 39.99

The TARDIS Electronic Playset features authentic light and sound effects and its console is a faithful reproduction of the one seen on screen. Its motorised ‘time column’ rises and falls (with lights) when the TARDIS is in ‘flight’ and it has ‘lift out’ access panels in the floor to reveal the mechanisms and circuitry hidden in the floor


I so want this. Sod adulthood. I’m spending the spring playing with my action figures in my TARDIS Electronic playset.

(4) Comments

January 18, 2006

Will they make the books run on time?

The official BBC website has the interesting news that the first three Tenth Doctor books (plus the ‘quick read’ book for younger ages I am a Dalek) will be coming to Canada and the US in April—at the same time as the UK.

Now this is interesting news to us, as last time we looked, we only just received here in Canada September‘s Ninth Doctor books in the past month or so. Does this mean with a new deal with Sci-Fi Channel, the BBC now has the collective might (or a good reason) to get Diamond to better distribute these tomes in a more timely manner? Or have they inked a deal with another distributor?

More importantly, would this mean seeing Doctor Who getting out of the specialty shop ghetto and into actual Chapters, Indigos, Barnes & Nobles and Borders across the continent?

This is one situation where time will actually tell.

(1) Comments

January 16, 2006

Attn: UK - Canada exists!

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Today’s blog entry is just a polite reminder to the Doctor Who world, with a special hello to the UK, that Canada exists.  Its unfortunate that the reminder is needed, but with the recent fantastic news that the new series of Doctor Who has been sold to the US, Canada appears destined to be shunted further into the nether regions of existence.

Already we’ve had Executive Producer Julie Gardner mention on BBC radio how thrilled she was that Doctor Who has at last “made it across the pond” with the sale to the US. This has followed countless comments from fans (unfortunately, mainly British fans) to the effect that the series had not yet been seen across the Atlantic, not to mention a programme that has never had a story set in Canada, on tv, radio, audio or even a full novel (this gives Canada the unfortunate distinction of being the only country that has had a Doctor Who story filmed on its land, but never had one set there). There has barely been any explicit Canadian characters in Doctor Who, leading fans to desperately clutch at characters like Mr. Huckle from Terror of the Zygons and proclaim them to be Canadians in a last-ditch effort to prove that Canada as a country exists in the Doctor Who world.

There have barely been any references to Canada in the show’s history, many Canadian fans can recite them off the top of their heads thanks to their scarcity. One reference occurs in The Claws of Axos, where Canada is only deemed worth of one unit of Axonite when everyone else in the world is entitled to more (including some places I still haven’t even heard of). In the DVD release of this story, a documentary about the return of the colour versions of the episode to the BBC archives claims that the re-conversion to the British format was done from “the re-covered American tapes” when in fact they were recovered from Canada (along with a whole host of other colour Jon Pertwee episodes). The diagram in the documentary showing the conversion process between North America and the UK ommitted Canada from it, for no readily apparent reason.

A Canadian created Doctor Who. We were the first country on this side of the Atlantic to buy the original series, and the first country anywhere to buy the new series. A plethora of missing colour Pertwee episodes were recovered in Canada. Doctor Who has been filmed here and we currently are “co-producers” of the new series. Canadians usually don’t ask for much, but I think we are entitled to the acknowledgement of our existence. Can the TARDIS not land here once?

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