After a long, long hiatus, Doctor Who has returned to Channel 11, WTTW Chicago's Public Television Station on Sunday Nights at 11pm central with a repeat on Saturday nights at 11:30pm central.
The first episode of of the new Series One, Rose, premiered in Chicago on Sunday, April 22, 2007, so if you are just seeing this for the first time, you can see it on Saturday at 11:30pm.
Of course, the sci-fi channel has been running the new Doctor Who for awhile now, but perhaps you have not seen it yet, or like me, do not have cable, or satellite TV.
Perhaps you've heard of Doctor Who? No? Sigh... Well, this is really big for me, I watched Doctor Who on 11 all through the 70's and 80's with my brother when we were in on Saturday nights all too often. Initially Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker were primarily in rotation, but eventually Peter Davison and the others followed.
WTTW management did not miss the fact that the pledge volume and dollar value was really high during Doctor Who and the show lasted a really long time. We loved it. Here was interesting, stimulating, and dangerous SF. Much better than Battlestar Gallactica or Knight Rider. Though Kit gave Pertwee's jalopy a run for its money.
But the new series has a lot more to offer in many ways.
BBC Television. Science Fiction. Doctor Who started in the mid 60's as a children's television program, but hugely successful. CF., Batman but with a much, much, much longer run.
When an actor playing "The Doctor" leaves the show, rather than stop the series, "The Doctor", a Time Lord who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, which looks for all the world like a blue Police Box (a small phone call box for Bobbies in London), regenerates, literally transforms into a new shape and person.
While the original series has an incredible depth of plot, history, characters and content, don't worry, you need know nothing going into this new Doctor Who series.
I can give you some things to interest you.
As science fiction, the new season (I have seen all of Seasons 1 and 2 now) is outstanding with tremendous special effects, engrossing thought provoking plots and adventures, and surprises and fun at every turn.
As television, its a romp, fast moving, highly paced, it has the rhythm of "24", the humor and warmth of "Friends", the terror (sometimes) of CSI and "Aliens", and a really good score.
At the same time, the characters of the Doctor and Rose are very compelling. There emerge strong feelings and partnership between them. Both are forced to grow beyond themselves. Other characters such as Mickey and Rose's Mother also become very important.
As an actor, I enjoy the heck out of this show. Some of the best acting on TV and I mean this. If they were not doing some of the best special effects on TV (a complete reversal of the past), if all they had was a bare stage a few chairs and a 40 watt bulb, the acting is so compelling from the leads that you might still be drawn in to watch week after week.
Some of that is Chris, some of that is Billie. A lot of that, is the chemistry between them, and it is not just romantic chemistry, but the whole package, humor, intelligence, timing, the whole lot.
If you are impatient, both Series 1 & 2 (with David Tenant as The Doctor - for reasons I shall not go into) are available for rental from Blockbuster Online. Series 3 has started to air in England so it will get to American Cable eventually. Of course you can also buy Seasons 1 & 2 through the Amazon links on this blog below.
If the embedded videos do not work, click here to go to the WTTW page to see a clip of the opening of Doctor Who.
The WTTW Chicago Broadcast Schedules appear at this link.
And to get information from the Gallifreyan Embassy, the source of the Podshock Podcast, just click here or the link on my sidebar. I entered their "Best Doctor" contest early in Podshock history and much to my surprise, I scored in one of the top 5 places. To find out which one, you will just have to subscribe to Podshock through iTunes or the Embassy and puzzle it out!
I hope you give Dr. Who a try. By the way, there are not only a lot of laughs, but quite a few scares in the world of the Doc, I did mention that, didn't I?
Oh, yes, here are some fun quotes:
The Doctor: Do you wanna come with me? 'Cause if you do then I should warn you, you're gonna see all sorts of things. Ghosts from the past; Aliens from the future; The day the Earth died in a ball of flame; It won't be quiet, it won't be safe, and it won't be calm. But I'll tell you what it will be: the trip of a lifetime.
[referring to the TARDIS] Rose Tyler: The inside's bigger than the outside?
The Doctor: Yes.
Rose Tyler: It's alien?
The Doctor: Yeah.
Rose Tyler: Are you alien?
The Doctor: Yes.
The Doctor: Is that all right?
[shocked] Rose Tyler: Yeah.
The Doctor: That's OK. Culture shock. It happens to the best of us.
Captain Jack Harkness: Okay! This can function as a sonic blaster, a sonic cannon, and a circle-and-hold sonic disruptor. Doc, what've you got?
The Doctor: I've got a sonic
[fishes around in pockets, gets out his Sonic Screwdriver]
The Doctor: ... uh... oh, never mind.
Captain Jack Harkness: What?
The Doctor: It's sonic, okay, let's leave it at that.
Captain Jack Harkness: Disruptor, cannon, what?
The Doctor: It's sonic! Totally sonic! I'm soniced up!
[shouting] Captain Jack Harkness: A SONIC WHAT?
The Doctor: Screwdriver!
[monsters break through the walls]
As Sycorax Leader celebrates cutting The Doctor's hand off]
The Doctor: You cut my hand off! And now I know what sort of man I am. I'm lucky, because quite by chance, I'm still within the first 15 hours of my regeneration cycle, which means I have just enough residual cellular energy to do this.
[spontaneously grows hand back]
Sycorax Leader: Witchcraft?
The Doctor: Timelord!
Peter, Chief Editor and Spell Wrecker
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