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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

oh my god oh my god oh my god ‘Doctor Who’ is back

The hotel I stayed at in Paris last week got two BBC channels on the cable, and on both of them, it was nonstop geeking out over Doctor Who, which was returning for a fourth season of the new series last Saturday night, April 5. This promo was airing all week:

And every time Donna got to the “He looks like a man, but he’s a legend, and his name is the Doctor” bit, I would just be a screaming melting fangirl puddle of goo on the floor of that tiny Parisian hotel room. It was sad and pathetic. But this is who I am.
But even more than the constant promos leading up to that night were the things like, oh, the sportscasters talking about some big horse race coming up and invoking Daleks to explain some obscure aspect of the event. I mean, sure, there can be no doubt that the BBC is synergistic and certainly told all its on-air personalities to mention Doctor Who whenever possible, but you can tell the difference between a guy who’s been giving a script that includes the word Dalek that he’s contractually obligated to say on the air, and a guy who’s all “Oh my god, Daleks! Can you believe it?! I’m such a dork and I don’t care who knows it!” It’s truly bizarre to see how geeked the entirety of England is for Doctor Who when it used to be this silly nerdy cult show that only weirdo misfits like me were into.

And then, on Thursday night on BBC One there was a late-night talk show on which David Tennant and Catherine Tate appeared, talking about the new series. And she was all, “Oh, I never watched the show as a kid,” but he seemed to know every detail about everything — again, in that way that goes way beyond PR obligations to talk up the current project and well into the realm of “you know way too much about this silly show, and you, sir, are a dork.” It was hilarious. Tennant was actually being a nerd about Doctor Who. It was adorable. Even if he does not, apparently, like cats or dogs as pets.

Damn! If I had stayed one more night in Paris I could have seen that first episode and not had to torrent it. Oops, did I say that? No, I didn’t…

What’s astonishing to me is how quickly the Sci Fi Channel is jumping into airing the fourth season: it debuts on Sci Fi next Friday night, April 18, not quite two weeks after the debut on BBC One… though, of course, Sci Fi will be starting with the Christmas episode, “Voyage of the Damned,” which aired in England on Christmas Day but has yet to air here. The point is, though, that with the first season, we waited almost a year before we got the episodes here, and then less with each subsequent season, till, last year, it was mere months that we had to wait. Now, it seems, the powers that be on both sides of the Atlantic know that everyone is torrenting the episodes anyway — which we shouldn’t do because it’s wrong, and be sure to watch the Sci Fi cablecasts, okay? and no zipping through the commercials — so the quicker they get on the air here, the better.

One tidbit from the new season that I came across: Richard Dawkins — atheist extraordinaire, proponent of reason and science, and hubby to Lalla “Romana No. 2” Ward — will be making an appearance on the show this season. (There’s a sorta-spoiler for the season down further in the story linked above, which I won’t reveal here, but which makes me go, “Damn, I must get my old fan fiction posted soon… and I must get around to writing the new stuff that’s been rattling round my head since the new show arrived.” Which I promise to get to in the next few months.)

So: Doctor Who is back. I am happy.

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  • OMG. I am so excited! Very, very so. (Almost a puddle of goo)

  • Ryan H

    But… but… but… where is your review?!? Don’t leave us all in suspense.

  • angel

    I’ll join you in being ridiculously happy that the Doctor is back. And not just because of David Tennant this time; I’m really looking forward to the return of Donna – Catherine Tate is hilarious.

    Now if they could just have an episode where Ten meets Nine and Eight I could die of bliss.

  • Erin

    OMG. I didn’t know it was going to be on SciFi that quick…Thanks!
    I still can’t wait that long, to see the rest of the eps (the first one was awesome) and I will have to watch on youtube or veoh..If they were smart, they would sell the eps on Amazon or itunes as soon as they air.

  • Ide Cyan

    O.M.G…. Donna Noble is Keyser Söze!

  • joy

    I, too, will absolutely join you in being supertotally happy DW’s back, and thanking our stars that SciFi picked it up, and lagging only a few weeks behind. (By the by, you lucky thing, my sister and I are threatening to visit the UK…to just sit in a hotel room to watch BBC all night long – which is both sad and pathetic, I know.)

    And, speaking of, TPTB totally know that we’re watching the eppys online, otherwise, they wouldn’t be pulling episodes down so quickly. I was firmly on the side of big corporate about copyright violations – up until my discovery of BBC shows like RH, TW and, of course, DW.

    I know I’ll watch them again (and probably buy the DVD sets) when they hit the States, so I have no qualms in watching the online content.

    *shrugs* Sorry, I know it’s terrible, but oh, so true.

  • The video doesn’t work now… :-(

  • OK, now it does. (???)

  • Yay!!! Munchkin (Dr. Who geek at 10) and I will be glued to the set…. as soon as he’s done with being grounded. :(

  • MaryAnn

    But… but… but… where is your review?!? Don’t leave us all in suspense.

    I won’t post discussion of the new Whos until they air here (the vast majority of my readership is American; only a small percentage is in the UK), because they will be spoiler-laden, as all my DW stuff has been.

  • Ryan H

    Ah, but if they are willing to wait a month to see it instead of making use of… *cough* *cough* other means they aren’t real Who fans anyways so they hardly count, right? :)

  • MaryAnn

    Well, there is that… Maybe I won’t wait till stuff starts airing here…

  • Drave

    So awesome! I just watched it! Can’t wait for your discussion! Glad to see the creative team is showing no signs of slowing down. If this episode is any indication, this season’s future looks bright.

  • Dawn

    Loved the first episode (although the UK seems to be split on this – some must have no sense of humour!) and I KNOW what is on my Christmas list… Oh – you must try to see some of The Friday Night Project – must be on you-tube somewhere…hilarious…and DT is AMAZING!

  • Jackie

    The horse race was the Grand National, the once a year race which we all watch as the result is often so random. So, with Doctor Who back the same night and a horse called “Comply or Die” we the punters thought “Daleks”, backed it – and it won. That’s me £20 better off ;)

    We are proud to be a nation of geeks.

  • Katie

    YEAH the Doctor is back!!! Really looking forward to your reviews, as always. YEAH SciFi for not making us wait. And how amazing are Friday nights now? Doctor Who AND BSG?! I might never have another Friday night out again.

    And I guess here is as good a place as any to ask if you’re going to be blogging the latest season of Torchwood? Oh wait, we were suppose to have waited for BBCAmerica…woops.

  • MaryAnn

    Yes, I will blog the new season of Torchwood… as soon as I finish the first season. :->

  • Danielle

    I watched the new DW a few nights ago, and really enjoyed it. I admit I was not a fan of Donna’s before, but it seems that a few months pining after the Doctor has improved the character.

    And it’s nice to hear about Sci Fi airing the episodes so quickly, although it’s still not going to be enough to convince me to buy cable service, so it’ll be online DW viewing until the DVDs come out!

  • soundacious

    In the immortal words of Lyle Lovett:

    <spoiler>Fat Babies got no pride!</spoiler>

  • Lisa

    Tennant is such a nerd about Who. I love that. It means that even if the BBC pimp it too much you don’t mind cos all the people who work on it clearly love it

  • boz

    actually Tennant is why we can accept 10th so easily after Eccleston’s marvellous 9th. He is clearly enjoying being The Doctor and he’s also showing it. You have no chance to resist being captured by whirlwind of this doctor.

    still I can’t stand Tate :)

  • Joanne

    I was thinking this after watching episode one last week. Doctor Who makes me proud to be British. :) I think it’s wonderful they’re making such stunning television. And you couldn’t have a better ambassador for the show than David Tennant, who seems to be absolutely revelling in the whole experience as well as being adorably geeky about it.

  • Joy

    You should be proud to be a Brit. Excellent show.

    Wow, all these US fans. I feel like I’m coming out of the closet with my geeky love for Dr. Who. Would love to be an extra on the show. That would be the ultimate.

  • allochthon

    Joy, which show is RH? I recognize the rest… =)

    MaryAnn, I will happily wait forever, but just a little nudge to remind you that some of us (well, one of us) is desperate to read your reviews of LoM…

  • MaryAnn

    “RH” is *Robin Hood,* I’m guessing. Which is the only good thing about that was Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisbourne. :->

    Yes, I know, allochthon: *Life on Mars* is demanding to be written about. God, I need more hours in the day.

  • Rackon

    Some of us Yanks have been nuts for DW since…well, since Tom Baker (eek I’m really dating myself – I am a hopeless sick fan).

    It’s grand to see the doctor in such wonderful shape and we are SO lucky to have the current creative team, not to mention two perfectly smashing doctors in a row. May the sci-fi gods rain torrents of favors down upon Tennant’s head for sticking with the character for so long. I don’t want it to end anytime soon…sigh.

    And yes, please, something on LoM. I’m looking at the promo pics from Ep7 right now with fave rave Matthew Macfadyen, hair in a mullett, sitting in a bath of baked beans.

    I wish BBC America didn’t suck so much. Thank goodness for TW and DW.

  • The Matthew Macfadyen pic will be from Ashes to Ashes, the ‘meh’ sequel to LoM.

  • Danielle

    The PBS station where my grandmother lives has been showing the new DW (they’re just now getting into season 2), and grandma has become addicted! At 80, she’s officially the oldest DW fan I know. It’s adorable, so I’m getting her the DVDs for Mother’s Day.

  • MaryAnn

    Some of us Yanks have been nuts for DW since…well, since Tom Baker (eek I’m really dating myself – I am a hopeless sick fan)

    Yes, me too. I’ve been in love with the Doctor since Tom Baker, whose episodes I first saw when I was 13 or 14.

  • Paul Hayes

    “It’s truly bizarre to see how geeked the entirety of England is for Doctor Who when it used to be this silly nerdy cult show that only weirdo misfits like me were into.”

    To be fair the show has pretty much *always*, since the 1960s, been part of general British popular culture, long before the new series ever existed.

  • blake

    Your You Tube clip went the same way as the Dodo.

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