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Friday, May 05, 2006

DOCTOR WHO goodness tonight on Sci-Fi (and last week on BBC)

The American run of the new episodes of Doctor Who (which actually aired over in Great Britain a year ago) continues tonight with "The Empty Child". By far among the best of the show's first season (or twenty-seventh season, depending on how you count these things). This one ranks among my favorites of Christopher Eccleston's run as the Doctor, alongside "Dalek", "Father's Day" and "Bad Wolf" (one of the most outrageous Doctor Who stories ever... you'll soon see why if you're still one of the uninitiated). Tonight's episode is set during the height of the London blitz during World War II, the first of a two-part story that concludes next week with the equally good "The Doctor Dances".

But while we Americans are getting last year's vintage now, our Brittish brethren have been enjoying season 2 (or 28) on the BBC with David Tennant as the Doctor. Which some of them have kindly been providing torrent downloads of the new episodes for those of us on this side of the pond. For which we are especially thankful for being able to watch last week's "School Reunion", which heralded the return - after three decades - of Sarah Jane Smith (portrayed once again by Elisabeth Sladen), widely considered to be one of the most beloved - if not THE most beloved - of the Doctor's companions. The reuniting of Sarah Jane and the Doctor - now six regenerations past the last time she saw him when Tom Baker had the role - was handled beautifully. But that wasn't the only return of a Who favorite: stowed away in the trunk of Sarah Jane's car was K-9 the robot dog, who gets repaired by the Doctor and once again has John Leeson's voice. Throw in a weird plot at the local high school involving super-smart students and evil aliens led by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anthony Stewart Head, plus a healthy mix of humor and geek-boy references to the original run of the show and it all made for one of the most potent (and poignant) Doctor Who episodes in recent memory. And it must be said: after all these years, Elisabeth Sladen is still a beauty to behold. Well worth tracking down with bit torrent and taking in now, instead of waiting for Sci-Fi Channel to run it next spring.


Anonymous said...

I hope SciFi picks up Torchwood as well.

Chris Knight said...

Yeah, and the upcoming K-9 series too!!

Tonight's Doctor Who probably confused a lot of people watching it. Some of it seems pretty hokey: the thing about all those people wearing gas masks especially. But this WILL all make sense in the next episode, "The Doctor Dances".

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