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Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Doctor is IN: new Who rocks!

Well, at last, earlier today I finally got to watch some of the episodes of the new Doctor Who series from the BBC.

It still ain't got American distribution though. Not even BBC America, which is the obvious place for it to go if not on the Sci-Fi Channel (and they really, shoulda, oughtta look at getting the rights to this). I've been wanting to watch it for some time but unless you're actually living in the United Kingdom the only way to feasibly see it is download it from a "torrent", which for some reason seemed like too much effort to even learn how to do in order to just download a TV episode. Yeah I'm somewhat of a neo-Luddite, or a Mennonite: I have to be able to trust anything technological before I actually use it for anything. But I really wanted to see this now 'cuz last night was the season finale, so for the past couple of days I made myself learn all about file torrents and the like. Am trying out a few clients but right now it's a tossup between BitTorrent and BitComet, and of the two BitComet was the one I actually used earlier this morning to get the files. Turns out it was far easier than I thought to not only download the stuff but to look for them. Think I've found a whole new toy to play with :-)

But maybe more on that later. Let's talk Time Lord.

Fan of the Daleks that I am, I downloaded Dalek and last night's finale The Parting of the Ways, and Bad Wolf is streaming in right now. I've no doubt that the next few days will see the other episodes from this season filling up my hard drive...

...because this new Doctor Who show kicks serious boo-tay!! And you know, maybe it WAS a good thing that the show has been "on hiatus" since 1989: because this is a Doctor that's completely faithful and sincere to the spirit of the original series, but also EXTREMELY fresh in style and production. It reminds me a lot of Sci-Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica, yeah it's THAT kind of good.

I just wish that I'd caught more of Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor before this weekend, because after just two episodes he's already my all-time favorite regeneration (speaking of which, BBC has said that this is the same Doctor as the one we previously saw in Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy and the rest, including the Paul McGann one that was in the Fox TV movie). Eccleston's Doctor is like Tom Baker pumped-up on amphetamines chased down with a shot of Jack Daniels. He's manic, but also extremely focused on wherever fate or the TARDIS (his somewhat-trusty time machine) lands him. I want to see more of him in the worst way. Unfortunately after I finish downloading all of these other episodes that will be IT for Christopher Eccleston 'cuz last night he bowed-out after just one season, did the traditional "regeneration" scene that had the Doctor changing into a new form played by David Tennant. I hope Tennant plans to stay awhile, 'cuz according to Whovian lore them Time Lords only get 12 regenerations, and he's on life #10 already (let's not even get into that whole Valeyard mess awright?)

Anyway, watching these two episodes was a real pleasure. Dalek had the Doctor and his lovely companion Rose (played by Billie Piper, and the Doctor always winds up travelling with someone - usually a comely young lass - from Earth) materializing in an underground bunker beneath the Utah desert of 2012. Seems that Henry van Statten, an insane industrialist who "owns the Internet" has also been collecting alien artifacts that crash on Earth. The prize of his collection is a Dalek, still alive deep within its life-support armor. I won't say anymore lest it lead to excess spoilerage but Dalek was at once something very outrageous, hilarious... and heart-touching. It was a COMPLETELY different tale than what I would have expected from a Dalek-centered story, but it really delivered the goods. It also made a little bit of Doctor Who history, since I don't think there's ever been THAT good a look at the actual Dalek creature ever before.

I need to watch the episode immediately preceding The Parting of the Ways before I can really appreciate the season finale, but it was the same level of high-quality that Dalek had been, if not ratcheted up a few notches more. The BBC had been putting trailers on the official Doctor Who website in the days leading up to the episode's airing (or "transmission" as our Brittish brethren like to call it) that hinted at something - massive - that would be revealed. That turned out to be the Emperor Dalek: one of the most grandiose and obscene creations in more than forty years of the Who saga. Again, no spoilerage but I have to make note of my favorite thing in the entire episode: it takes place 200,000 years in Earth's future, aboard an orbiting space station that beams out television shows to human colonies. One of them is The Weakest Link hosted by a robot named "Anne Droid"... voiced by none other than Anne Robinson herself! Now imagine Anne Robinson with a particle beam cannon in her mouth and when she tells you "goodbye!" it's goodbye for good... heh-heh.

Darnnit, can't believe I came to this party this late. And after I'd been telling my wife how much I was looking forward to seeing the good Doctor in new adventures, too. Well, I won't be letting THAT happen again... thanks to the miracle of peer-to-peer file sharing :-) So if ya got one of these torrent clients on your 'puter, this is as good a thing as any to download with it. And if not, you've a damned good reason to start learning how to find and download torrents now. Get to work!


Anonymous said...

Awesome review and I agree, the new Doctor Who is very good.