The Torchwood Institute - A Doctor Who and Torchwood Blog

Friday, March 31, 2006


One of the interesting pieces is that the new Sci Fi series Eureka is going to be airing on Monday nights.

While there is no word about when, or even if, Sci Fi will air series 2 of Doctor Who, this means that there may be space for Doctor Who to continue immediately after they finish series 1 on Friday nights. I'd previously believed that the earliest opprotunity for Sci Fi to air series 2 would be in October -- and that's still possible -- but it could be earlier as well...

I'd certainly hope that Sci Fi airs the second series earlier rather than later -- and ideally, right after The Parting of the Ways...

The Invasion

According to this story, dated April 1st, Bill Gates will be appearing in Doctor Who.

I understand that this will probably be in connection with the re-appearance of the Cybermen, as the new story will take it's cues from the Patrick Troughton story The Invasion....

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Twin Dilemma

You can't really miss that The BBC Doctor Who Site is getting all ready for the 2006 season of Doctor Who. And that's where the main focus is really going to be as the publicity really gets going over in the UK.

It is possible that might overshadow what is going on over in America as the 2005 series continues to air on Sci Fi. One of the (few) negatives about the series coming back into production is that it appears to me that instead of one international Doctor Who fandom there are a lot more barriers between Doctor Who fans in different countries. The Canadians feel frustrated when they get ignored and have nearly as many people watching the series on CBC last year as are watching it on Sci Fi. now. American fans were frustrated that it took a year to get the first series to air here, and we've got no word about the 2006 series at all, though I'm optimistic we'll see it later this year. It's difficult on a site like Television Without Pity to not trip over references to either later episodes or get caught up in some of the Series 2 hype, and Outpost Gallifrey has always been caught up with what is happening with Doctor Who in the UK.

It is interesting that two other Sci Fi series that are arguably part of The Doctor Who Effect are getting quicker distribution deals than the new Doctor Who did in the US. Life On Mars is going to be picked up in its British form for BBC America, and then is also going to be remade for ABC in an American incarnation. Likewise, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is also going to BBC America.

Both series have new Doctor Who connections, of course. Life On Mars writer Matthew Graham is writing Fear Her for the second series of Doctor Who and Elwen Rowlands was one of the script editors of both series, and Julie Gardner was involved in her role as Head of Drama for BBC Wales.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is going to be Stephen Moffat's new series, who of course previously brought you Coupling and the Hugo-nominated Doctor Who story The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.

All of this is quite exciting for fans of British SF Television -- the return of Doctor Who has triggered a revival -- other series going on include a new Robin Hood, Torchwood, and then there are those rumors of an additional Doctor Who spin-off...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fear Mars

One of the consequences of the failure of the 1996 TV Movie is that it probably innoculated the series against the most common way for UK television series to transfer to the US -- the American remake.

I was reminded by this on the news that Doctor Who writer Matthew Graham's primary series, Life on Mars, is getting an American remake for ABC for the fall of 2007.

Doctor Who is probably too well known at this point to have had the obvious American remake for the new series. Would lots of planets have a Brooklyn? Would you remake The Unquiet Dead and set it in St Louis or New Orleans with Mark Twain instead of Charles Dickens?

One of the problems with the 1996 TV Movie is that you really don't get a solid scope of the series in the one story. You don't really have an idea about what a story set in a historical setting would have been like, or what something in the future would have been like.

While there have been other Sci Fi shows with a similar sense of whimsy as Doctor Who, they've all really been international productions like Farscape, Lexx, or Xena.

Thankfully, Doctor Who is being imported -- not remade -- for this market. But I think the exercise of trying to figure out how one might remake Doctor Who from scratch for an American market is an interesting one if it brings some different ideas about what is truly essential in the Doctor Who concept.

(I've got general thoughts on Life on Mars at my Train of Thought.)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Big Fish In A Small Pond

One of the interesting things about the recent Hugo nominations is to see how they're viewed depending on the location.

The new Doctor Who has picked up a variety of UK-specific non-genre awards; and is likely to pick up even more -- it's amongst Britain's best and brightest television series. But for an American audience, they're all awards in a far away land -- if you weren't a Doctor Who fan, in other years the BAFTA would be going to a television show that you had probably never heard of.

Of course, the Hugos are a genre award, and as such are limited only to the genre audience. And the Hugos have their strange quirks for someone outside of the Worldcon attendees -- was a sketch before last year's Hugo ceremony really better than any episode of Lost? Was the nomination list heavily influenced because last year's Worldcon was held in the UK?

One of the big differences right now is that in the UK, Doctor Who is truly a pop culture phenomena -- last year there were billboards, and it certainly sounds like everyone was aware that it was back.

Where in the US, it's the show that's coming on because they've shown all of their episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Stargate until the fall. And while it sounds like the ratings are ok, it's still got a long way to go to repeat anywhere near the same sort of success it had in the UK.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fast Return Switch

Now Playing Magazine has an article going on about the DVD releases of Doctor Who.

It points out one of the things that I know is controversial in some circles, but a decision that I agree with -- instead of rushing a bare-bones set of boxed sets out, tne series releases individual stories going throughout the show's history. I believe that the Doctor Who DVDs are some of the best produced television DVDs out there. I'm fine that they're taking the time to do them right -- and unlike something like Star Trek -- are coming out at a rate that it's generally affordable to get them all as they come out.

It doesn't mention one of the important things about the marvelous The Beginning Collection -- the documentary for The Edge of Destruction contains spoilers for the 2005 Doctor Who series. It's a consequence of the fact that the Beginning DVD was put together after the series aired in the UK, but is coming out during the series run on Sci Fi.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rose Recapped

I enjoyed Television Without Pity's recap of Rose. It realized one thing that I had not -- that Rose's first word is "Goodbye". I'm anxiously awaiting the recap for The End of the World.

The Unquiet Dead is on Sci Fi. tomoorow. The first three episodes of the new series really cover a lot of the ground of the series -- the present, the future, and the past. That this is both a funny series and a scary series -- frequently at the same time.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ratings thoughts

Following up on Jack from Torchwood.TV's comment about the ratings on Sci Fi.

I think it's really too early to make any solid conclusions about how successful Doctor Who is on Sci Fi. It's not the obvious hit that it was in the UK, but that was never going to be in the cards.

I wouldn't be surprised to discover that it was the most successful show on Sci Fi this week. I also wouldn't be surprised if it was the most successful British important of the week, as it'll do better than anything on BBC America. I believe the only other competition at the moment for that is Hustle.

Really, at the end of the day "success" for Doctor Who in the United States will be determined if Sci Fi picks up seasons 2 and 3, and the bonus prize will be if they pick up Torchwood.

One of the nice things about the Hugo nominations is that they aren't just a national award in the UK, but an international award. At this point we're almost used to the idea that Doctor Who was amongst the best shows on British television, but we also have a chance to see how it compares against Science Fiction and Fantasy series from multiple countries as well.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hugo Nominated

The following Doctor Who episodes were nominated for Hugos for best Dramatic presentation, short form, according to a post on rec.arts.sf.fandom and I would imagine will be posted on this year's Worldcon website.

  1. Doctor Who "Dalek" Written, Robert Shearman. Directed, Joe Ahearne. (BBC Wales/BBC1)

  2. Doctor Who "The Empty Child" & "The Doctor Dances" Written, Steven Moffat. Directed, James Hawes. (BBC Wales/BBC1)

  3. Doctor Who "Father's Day" Written, Paul Cornell. Directed, Joe Ahearne. (BBC Wales/BBC1)

Dalek airs 04/14/2006 on the Sci Fi channel.
Father's Day airs 04/28/2006 on the Sci Fi Channel.
The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances should air in May, but have yet to be scheduled.

Sci Fi Wire on Torchwood

I'm happy to see Sci Fi Wire write about Torchwood, as I'm hopeful that Sci Fi will also pick up that series along with more episodes of Doctor Who. If Sci Fi's plans are to have new episodes of something year-round on the channel on Friday nights, Torchwood would be another series that I'd love to see...

I'm also hopeful that any interviews that mention series two only increase the likelyhood that they'll continue to air it for the second series.

In both cases, what we want to see is that both series make it over here in some easy to access fashion.


As a UW-Madison alumni, I have to post the review from The Capital Times. It picks out something that will also be a part of one of the panels that we're planning for a local SF convention I work on this year, about how two of the best SF series of the year are called Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica, and have their best critical reviews ever.

Doctor Who Sci Fi Ratings

Joey Reynolds of American Who, a Doctor Who radio show, posted some preliminary ratings reports on the Outpost Gallifrey forums.

Friday, 3/17
9pm- "Rose" 1.58 million
10pm- "The End of the World" 1.61 million

11pm- "Rose" repeat .78 million
12am- "The End of the World" repeat .78 million

Of course, we'll probably have official results later, and I don't think we have enough context to really just but I think there's enough anecodetal evidence for it to look like it's probably doing about as well as the usual Sci Fi Friday programming, and certainly better than if they had just aired repeats of Stargates and Galactica. All that really matters is that it does well enough for them to pick up future seasons from the BBC....

Monday, March 20, 2006


In one of the more through examples I've seen of Doctor Who American press coverage, The LA Daily News has a nice flash display contianing a whole lot of things about both old and new Doctor Who. I haven't been able to link directly to it, but you can find a link to it about halfway down the page currently, There's also a link to it on their review of the series.

Love and Monsters

Slate has an article about the new series.

They reference Mannequin from 1987 in connection with Rose, the first episode of the new series. Of course, the geek in me must point out that the whole plastic mannequins aren't a reference to anything but the original Doctor Who itself, back in 1970.

Admittedly, the reviewer comments that he'd rather not dwell to deeply into the the past of the series. But it's one of those strange challenges of this new series that people may see things as referring to other series when actually it's a reference to itself. The second episode, The End of the World, obviously shares roots with Douglas Adams, but that's as much because Douglas Adams came out of Doctor Who as anything else.

It's interesting how they identify this new series as a romance; it's something that original series most certainly wasn't -- but it's been an adventure series from the start. But this is definitely what brings along the time and chips crowd, and it's nice to see that as well as those that want more pictures of Billie Piper.

The latest Doctor Who news story on the sci fi wire is interesting because it's both looking ahead to the second season as well as on the start of the first season. My thoughts onthe first two episodes is not that they're flawless pieces of Doctor Who, but they're unapologetically and obviously new Doctor Who. It's recognizably the same series that I watched as a twelve year old -- even with the modern effects, change in costumes or accents, pacing, and episode structure. That's not an easy job, really.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

More articles

A nice summary article on Fanboy Planet.

The Talking Points

I know my Doctor Who fans, and I can bet we'll have three main topics of conversation and controversy about the new series launch in America..I haven't logged on anywhere yet, but we had about a dozen people for our viewing party tonight.

The three controversies will be -- or almost certainly are:

  1. Doctor Who being labeled a "Sci Fi Original", when it was originally made by the BBC.

  2. There were some edits to The End of the World. Nothing major, and perhaps only noticable if you had seen it previously.

  3. Cardiff is in Wales, not England, as the "coming next week" stated.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Tonight's The Night!

Outpost Gallifrey has collected a bunch of today's press clippings...


Doctor Who on Sci Fi

Thursday, March 16, 2006

One Day

I suspect that this will be the last time I'll be able to write before Doctor Who premieres on the Sci Fi channel.

First of all, touching on our Torchwood heritage, <Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood star John Barrowman is interviewed in Eclipse Magazine. It'll be a couple of weeks until American Sci Fi channel viewers meet John Barrowman's character Captain Jack.

Scripps Howard News Service has an article about the new series.

iFMagazine gave Rose an A- -- and if they give Rose an A-, what will they think of The Empty Child in two months!

If you're having a gathering of people to watch Doctor Who tomorrow, you could try for a Chocolate Dalek. (I won't have one, as there's no time or talent for such things!)

One thing that is interesting as we're getting the American launch of the series is how there are differences in how the series is viewed in the UK contrasted with an American view. The Behind the Sofa blog interpreted this article from the Mercury News as a sign that the series wouldn't do well, where I read it as quite a positive article, and one saying that this new Doctor Who still has the British charm that was always part of the American appeal of the series.

Obviously, the new Doctor Who won't be proportionately the same sort of success in America -- it would have to be more successful than Lost or Desperate Housewives for that to happen. But almost all of the reviews I've seen so far have been at least generally favorable in this country.

It's taken almost exactly a year, but at last, Doctor Who returns to national American television. For only the second time, after all...

A Trip of a Lifetime....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Today's Sci Fi Wire and Renee

Today's Sci Fi Wire Doctor Who story does demonstrate one of the problems with the year delay to get the series on the air in America -- Christopher Eccleston has moved on from Doctor Who now, instead (allegedly) going out to dinner with Renee Zellweger.

Of course, one of the first questions about that news story is it claims that they met during Eccleston's promotion for 28 Days Later in 2002 -- when they were in a whole movie ( A Price Above Rubies) together back in 1998.

But hey, that's gossip for you.

Ok, anotherr press note...

KRT Wire | 03/15/2006 | Who's returning to TV? Doctor Who, that's who

Two Days - Sci Fi is all about Who

I haven't seen many news stories today -- apparently both msnbc and yahoo have brief mentions on what is coming up on Friday on television.

However, as one would expect Sci Fi's website is now leading with Doctor Who, and has a nice behind-the-scenes video feature on their main page.

naladahc is another site that is doing a countdown to Sci Fi's launch of Doctor Who.

Cats Exterminated!

Following up on my cats encounter with a Dalek we have this unfortunate result...


(Thanks to Christopher Jones for image alteration.)


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Three Days

More articles at and The Village Voice.

Sci Fi Wire has an interview with Russell T Davies, and the main page has a behind the scenes story at the moment. And since they posted another story tonight, I suspect we'll see other stories the rest of the week as well...

I thought it was interesting that think geek is now selling (original series) remote control Daleks. Posting it this week is, well, interesting timing....

Cats vs Daleks

Ok, this is just one of those standard blog cute cat posts. But it's on this blog because it has one of those remote control new series Daleks. (Which are very, very cool if you can get ahold of one.)

Caspian and the Dalek

Caspian, Sutekh and the Dalek

Caspian, Sutekh and the Dalek

Sutekh and the Dalek

Sutekh and the Dalek

Sutekh and the Dalek


Monday, March 13, 2006

More news..

Hopefully we'll see more local papers like this one pick up the Doctor Who story in the coming weeks

Four Days and Counting

Cinescape has a positive editorial on the series on their website.

I got my copy of Entertianment Weekly today, with a nice full-page write up on the new Doctor Who. Especially nice that unlike TV Guide, the biggest picture is from the new series instead of Tom Baker!

Of course, BBC America is serving up Tom Baker at the same time as Doctor Who as the voice of Little Britain. Thankfully, with DVRs and repeat schedules, this isn't as frustrating as it could be...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Torchwood for Adults

One of the comments that was made in a recent post of mine was about whether the more adult nature of Torchwood will have much impact on how the series is received in America, both by potential stations and the audience at large.

Honestly, I don't think it'll be any more difficult for the American audience than the UK audience -- Doctor Who doesn't have quite the tradition of being a show targeted for families and children in the US as it does in the UK.

I doubt that Torchwood will be much more "adult" than the new Battlestar Galactica. And as Sci Fi has purchased the first series of Doctor Who, assuming it does well for them they'd be the natural first home for Torchwood as well.

Five Days until Sci Fi Launch

A bit more press coverage...

First of all, Sci Fi had Doctor Who as their primary item in their weekly program e-mail.

The San Antonio website has a very positive article about the new series. And it points out two important things about this new incarnation -- it's the best version of Doctor Who for girlfriends and wives, and it's also a kid-friendly show, suitable for any kid reading or watching Harry Potter.

The ContraCostaTimes also has a reference.

In unrelated news, I was also rewatching the entire series of Freaks and Geeks on DVD yesterday and cheered when they had the geeks go off to a Sci Fi convention in one episode, and one of the geeks dressed up as the Fourth Doctor (with a scarf) at the end of the episode. Of course, that's a five year old reference on a show that was cancelled after eighteen episodes, but it's always fun to spot Doctor Who references on American shows....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Eclipse Magazine on Doctor Who

What's Hot in the UK? Doctor Who?

Another article. It's one that points out one thing that's not been frequently covered in the American press -- Doctor Who absolutely has appeal across the entire family. The same kids that read Harry Potter should also find much to enjoy in Doctor Who.

Seven Days for Sci Fi

More press coverage:

The Des Moines Register has a good column. Iowa has been one of the few places to still air the original series. And hopefully the new series will do well there as well.

And this website has Doctor Who on Sci Fi as one of the top ten reasons to watch television in 2006.

And I've heard that Entertainment Weekly has an article about the series as well...

Seven Days.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More Press Coverage

The Dayton City Paper has an article about the new Doctor Who.

Also, I saw that the series was covered in the latest issue of Starlog. It's an article that they've pretty much had on ice since last year, as it was ready to go out at any time the new series sold to America.

I haven't seen it, but apparently there is a brief write up in the TV Guide for next week as well.

There's a full page spread about David Tennant in Sci Fi's magazine. Which I think is especially interesting, since that's the second issue that I can think of with Tennant coverage, and I don't remember any coverage of the Eccleston era. I take that as a generally positive sign that unless the series tanks on Sci Fi, they'll pick up Series Two.

Interestingly, a Stargate site is reporting that the third season of Battlestar Galactica won't air until October.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Launch Party!

I imagine that most of you reading this aren't local, but if you are local and are interested in gathering for the launch of Doctor Who on the Sci Fi channel, feel free to contact me at

Are you thinking of having a launch party for Doctor Who elsewhere in the country? Feel free to comment.....

Monday, March 06, 2006

Doctor Who on TiVo!

The new Doctor Who, which airs on the American Sci Fi channel starting on March 17th, is now available to be scheduled by TiVo. TiVo aggregates viewing information, so it is once chance to register that yes, you're watching Doctor Who. Especially if you have a Season Pass!

I was also intrested to note that TiVo considered it the same show as the previous incarnation of Doctor Who; it remembered that I had triple-thumbed up it when it was last on our local PBS station several years ago.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

US Press Coverage

TV Guide briefly mentions the new Doctor Who as one of shows coming up in the next month.

The New York Times has a full length article going into the new series in a bit more depth. It also includes an interview with new series head writer Russell T Davies. Which is especially nice, as that means they are doing some press interviews in advance of the series launch in America. It also includes a quote from writers Mark Gatiss, Stephen Moffat, and Outpost Gallifrey's Shaun Lyon.

Television Without Pity

It looks like one of the best television sites, Television Without Pity, is going to be covering Doctor Who. I'm quite excited to see this. I'm sure there will be a lot of delightfully sarcastic coments about the series.

It's also, as far as I'm aware, very unusual for a British television series to get this sort of coverage.

K9 and Company

The Sun makes it sound like they're bringing back K9 and Company. I think someone joked about that when the Minnesota Doctor Who Viewing Society sent in a thank you card to Lorraine Heggessey when she announced that the BBC was going to bring back Doctor Who a couple of years ago.

I also understand that Sci Fi aired another, longer, Doctor Who commercial. They didn't air it during Battlestar Galactica though, which is the only Sci Fi show I watch regularly...

Friday, March 03, 2006

The View

I'm going to MarsCon this weekend, and I'm on a Doctor Who panel tomorrow.

What was particularly intersting was that the room parties had a lot more Doctor Who content than I'm used to, and that Doctor Who content was being generated by a greater variety of people than there might have been in year's past.

I suspect that Doctor Who will hold on to Sci Fi's Friday night audience quite well, and am as optimistic as I've been in a long tinme about the future of the series in the USA. And I'm very convinced that Friday night on Sci Fi is a very good home for the series.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Who Conquered North America

The issue of Enlightenment with my article about the sale of the new series to the Sci Fi channel, and what it means to the USA, is available through the Doctor Who Information Network. You can even order the individual issue on line!