Does the Doctor belong on Space?Posted: 13 March 2009
(A follow-up to “Journey’s End” for Doctor Who on CBC)
Tonight, Doctor Who shifts from the CBC to Space for the Canadian premiere of “The Next Doctor”. In the run-up to this airing, Space has probably given it more promotion than the CBC did for all of series 4, with the tagline “back where he belongs”. And it’s technically correct.
When the Space channel launched, one of its initial offerings was Doctor Who. The thing is, Space aired the black-and-white of Hartnell and Troughton (complete stories only), with Pertwee’s first three serials and Sontaran Experiment. It must be remembered that this is the late 1990s, one of the low points in the Doctor Who franchise: years removed from the TV movie, with little hope for a resurrection, apart from continuing lines of original novels. Despite several repeated runs, sometimes multiple times a day, the audience was never there and Space removed it from its lineup. (Disclosure: count me as one who first saw Doctor Who on Space, so I’m grateful for that.)
Now back to my original question: does the Doctor belong on Space? The main reason it does is that it brings back some enthusiasm that is surely needed, especially in the lead-up to the 10th Doctor’s regeneration to the 11th. While it’s not yet confirmed if Space is taking on the remaining gap-year specials, their adverts, as well as their acquisition of Torchwood series 2 and the Children of Earth mini-series, can indicate something new. And Doctor Who does fit very well with the likes of BSG, Stargate, and Sarah Connor.
However, as Space is not as widely available as the CBC, that could limit its potential audience. The fact that future episodes, starting with “Planet of the Dead”, will be shot and aired in high definition, gives Space another disadvantage. (It’s a disadvantage to me just because I’m too used to HD programming now.)
So it’s probably a good time for the change of scenery for Doctor Who. Regardless of whether you’ve watched it or not (I have), show the support by watching “The Next Doctor” tonight at 18:00 PDT (or tomorrow at 12:30 PDT).