New “Doctor Who” season one debuts tonight on Sci-Fi Channel.

Just a reminder that my all-time favorite sci-fi series which made a triumphant return to British TV’s last year is about to land on the Sci-Fi channel tonight starting at 9PM. If you weren’t lucky like me to live close enough to Canada to watch the CBC broadcast of the series and couldn’t bring yourself to bittorrent the shows then you’ll want to tune in tonight and check it out. Surprisingly enough, the new show has gotten quite a bit of coverage in the American press and the folks at Outpost Gallifrey have a great roundup of the various press reports:

The Los Angeles Daily News: “Christopher Eccleston (who bears a resemblance to ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ creator Phil Rosenthal) plays the ninth incarnation of the classic British sci-fi character whose series initially ran from 1963 to 1989 (when a star departed, each subsequent actor took the character in totally different directions; this series now boasts a greater longevity than “Star Trek”). Tonight, The Doctor, a Time Lord with a tragic past, rescues working-class girl Rose Tyler (former British pop singer Billie Piper) from, initially, murderous mannequins sprung to life and, later, her tedious existence. He traverses time and the universe in a blue police phone box. His presence, one bit player warns Rose, means ‘One thing’s for certain – we’re all in danger.’ The Doctor, with a gleam in his eye, reframes the debate: ‘Now we’re in trouble,’ he deadpans, surrounded by conflagration. Pros: Eccleston and Piper enjoy a witty, flirty chemistry: ‘The entire world revolves around you,’ she accusatorily scolds him; he replies, ‘Sort of, yeah.’ There’s a visual inventiveness not always supported by the series’ budget: In tonight’s second episode, The Doctor and Rose visit the world 5 billion years in the future to witness the sun’s apocalyptic expansion, only to encounter someone who wants to slip a few murders in before Earth’s destruction. They attend along with all manner of aliens, including some named The Appearance of the Repeated Meme. The Last Human is merely skin with something of a face stretched across a metal frame; Rose dismisses her as ‘a bitchy trampoline.’ Cons: Rose is a little dim, failing to notice a disturbing change in her boyfriend. Fortunately, she’s a quick learner, and helps save the Earth in no time. And, as was notoriously true with previous series, the special effects can be dodgy, though the series’ outsize ambitions obviously called for a budget no TV network could’ve sprung for, let alone the BBC and an American cable outfit. In a nutshell: Blowing up the planet in episode two? How do you top that? But here’s betting you’ll be dying to find out: You needn’t know anything of past series to become quickly addicted to this series’ seemingly endless quirky charms.”

Seattle Times: “Christopher Eccleston is the new Doctor in the BBC’s latest incarnation of ‘Doctor Who.’ But don’t get too attached to him. He won’t be back next year. The superb ‘Doctor Who’ achieves something difficult for American shows: It makes TV look easy by demonstrating that intelligence and escapism are not mortal enemies. But then, ‘Doctor Who’ has experience. The world’s longest ongoing sci-fi series has kicked around the time-space continuum since 1963. Over 40 Earth years, the time travels of the mysterious Doctor and his sidekicks have grown from a British children’s show to a legend. The latest incarnation hits U.S. airwaves at 9 tonight via Sci Fi Channel. Co-starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, it’s Season 1 of a revival launched in 2005 by BBC Wales and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Those not already privy to past splendors needn’t fear. While most space sagas drag a comet-tail’s worth of back story behind them, ‘Doctor Who’ is instantly accessible. Maybe that’s because the series at heart is an old-fashioned romance in the dashing, 19th-century sense. The mechanics of being transported 5 billion years in a moment or using Anti-Plastic to melt an enemy are tossed off with deadpan insouciance; what counts is the distance closed or opened among people and other forms of life. The focus for this epic jaunt is the relationship between the Doctor and his traveling companion, who in the new version is a pretty blonde named Rose Tyler. Rose resembles the Bridget Jones type of Englishwoman, albeit a few pegs down the socioeconomic scale. She labors in a bland department store, dates a bland boyfriend named Mickey (Noel Clarke) and tolerates her antic, overbearing mum (Camille Coduri). … On paper, this formula puts ‘Doctor Who’ in the same territory as ‘Star Trek.’ Both reflect the optimism of the 1960s, along with the Western World’s first self-conscious steps toward global thinking. But the approaches were dissimilar. The one-hour ‘Star Trek’ was indisputably American in its sober and open moralizing. ‘Doctor Who’ took a lighter, ironic point of view and each half-hour installment concluded with a cliffhanger. Even the treatment of technology was different. The Trekkian transporter room looked cheesy and behaved flawlessly; the Doctor’s machine TARDIS (Time And Relative Distance In Space) was, and is, quirkily flawed. … Mainly, though, the series resonates with its message to examine as well as relish life. Today’s audience has moved beyond flip cynicism, and if the replacement isn’t quite sincerity, ‘Doctor Who’ allows room for both.”

Me, I’ll be watching it again because it’s that enjoyable and to show my support for the show in hopes Sci-Fi will pick up season 2 and beyond. They’re showing two back-to-back episodes tonight and will be repeating them throughout the weekend. Now to get my hands on the boxed set…

[Updated: I changed the quoted newspaper articles to a different couple that I thought were better.]

8 thoughts on “New “Doctor Who” season one debuts tonight on Sci-Fi Channel.

  1. Absoloutely bitchin’

    Finally caught episodes: Rose, End of the World.

    I love it.

  2. ther
    show has been purchased for 2 more years in england, maybe sci-fi will do the same.

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