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rare female film critic | 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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