Doctor Who Season 6 on BBC America - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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TV Review
'Doctor Who' Makes a Dazzling Return, and Who Are We to Resist Its Charms?
By Maureen Ryan, AOL.com's 'TV Squad' - April 22nd, 2011

Just about anyone with a pulse can enjoy 'Doctor Who' (9PM ET Saturday, BBC America) -- it's that good and that much fun -- but if there are 'Lost' fans out there who've never tried this frisky British import, now's the time to get on board.

Never mind that 'Doctor Who' has been going for decades. You don't need to catch up on a lot of backstory unless you want to. Anyone -- whether they're 'Lost' fans or not -- can jump right in this weekend.

But the important thing for 'Lost' fans to know is that, as was the case with the ABC show, 'Doctor Who' doesn't dabble in time shenanigans just for kicks.

It may have a crunchy and delicious candy coating, but at its heart, the current era of 'Doctor Who' thoughtfully meditates on the intersection of time and memory and how one is inseparable from the other.

Both 'Lost' and 'Doctor Who' present characters who can't always be sure where they are in time and space, and all they have to cling to is their relationships with each other and their memories of how those relationships came to be. They don't fear death as much as they fear not remembering who they love and what they believe. It's a great foundation not just for adventures that take place across various timelines, but for stories with palpable emotional undertows.

As 'Doctor Who' executive producer and head writer Steven Moffat posits once again in the show's season premiere, a truly frightening villain isn't someone holding a ticking bomb. Okay, that can be pretty scary (and the show has its share of tense scenarios like that), but the worst kind of villain is someone who messes with what's inside your head.

Given all that, I'm forgiving when it comes to Moffat's affinity for stories that have dizzying structures or hinge on, as a classic Moffat 'Doctor Who episode from 2007 called it, "wibbly wobbly, time-y wimey... stuff."

Normally when a character utters a sentence with the words "time" and "paradox" in it, as happens in the two-parter that opens the new season, my brain begins to protest. They can be exhilarating fun, but sometimes the kind of puzzle plots Moffat unleashes begin to resemble the story problems that haunt my memories of grade school. Wisely, Moffat cannily packs his whizbang stories with so much wit, invention and heart that I'm willing to go where he leads.

And this 'Doctor Who' season premiere has more than its share of delightful bells and whistles. As FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware and time traveler River Song, respectively, Mark Sheppard ('Supernatural,' 'Battlestar Galactica') and Alex Kingston ('ER') provide terrific supporting performances, and the core cast of Matt Smith as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy and Arthur Darvill as her husband, Rory, have a crackling yet relaxed rapport.

For the season premiere, 'Doctor Who' shot scenes in America for the first time, and seeing the Doctor and his companions in such a truly alien setting gives the two-parter an epic sweep. The only downside to the location filming is that it makes the scenes shot in a very cheap and fake-looking Oval Office look that much less impressive (another minor discordant note: The fact that an actor who's allegedly playing Richard Nixon looks and sounds a lot like LBJ. Perhaps all American presidents look more or less alike to the Brits?).

Among the show's many pleasures is its dialogue, which may be the best on television right now. For me, the show's clever conversations recall the golden age of the Joss Whedon era, and, as was the case in the Jossverse, it's not all shiny smartness on display: There's a scene between River and Rory that is heartbreakingly written and acted, and Amy and Rory are put through different emotional wringers as well. Whatever the tone of a scene, however, Smith may be the perfect delivery system for Moffat's words.

I've been watching a lot of the Tom Baker era of 'Doctor Who' lately, and at times, Smith echoes Baker's line delivery style: Smith will hurtle through a line in a near-monotone, enunciating every word just so, and the way he stops in the middle or near the end of a long speech is sort of like a car hitting the brakes and screeching to a stop. Because you're always wondering when he'll stop and if if he'll crash (verbally), you pay more attention to what he's saying and how he's saying it. The charming smirk and the wrinkled forehead that he unleashes at the end of string of sentences are the perfect grace notes.

They're all delicious tricks, but if they were the only ones in Smith's arsenal, his Doctor wouldn't be one of the all-time greats. But, as he proved in his debut season last year, Smith's rubbery face and great range made him the perfect choice to play this mischievous character who, underneath the jokes and intelligence, is extremely serious. He hasn't just traveled around the universe having adventures, he's traveled around having his heart broken by the people he's had to leave behind during his thousand-year lifespan. Exactly how River Song fits into all that remains to be seen, but it's a treat to see Smith and Kingston play the flirtiness and the underlying sadness of that relationship with perfect pitch.

It isn't giving away a spoiler to say that, in some early scenes in 'The Impossible Astronaut,' the Doctor looks heartbroken, but hides it well from his friends. Not many actors could hunt evil supervillains while holding a sonic screwdriver and make you absolutely believe in the serious stakes that he's facing, but Smith makes it all look easy.

My only issue with BBC America is that the network could have been kinder and shown the two-parter all at once. I completely understand the business reasons for dividing the episode into a couple of installments, but making people wait a week to see how the thrilling story turns out seems cruel.

Sometimes, time is the enemy.

DOCTOR WHO
Saturday at 9PM ET/PT on BBC America


http://www.tvsquad.com/2011/04/22/do...-karen-gillan/
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post #2 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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HitFix.com's Alan Sepinwall has interviews with the new "Doctor Who" cast: Matt Smith (Part 1 & Part 2); Co-Star Karen Gillan and Co-Star Alex Kingston (Part 1 & Part 2).
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post #3 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Tech/Business Notes
New Time Warp for Doctor Who'
By Brian Stelter, The New York Times - April 23rd, 2011

The namesake character in Doctor Who can travel through time and space, but he cannot outrun the Internet.

When new episodes of that long-running BBC science-fiction drama were broadcast in Britain last year, executives at the BBC America cable channel observed a major spike in illegal file sharing of the show in the United States. Some stateside fans, it seemed, were unwilling to wait the two weeks between the British and American premieres. Many other Who fans who did wait were frustrated by online spoilers on blogs and Twitter.

The BBC's solution is to compress time and space. Taking a page from the same-day worldwide premieres of blockbuster films, the new season of Doctor Who will start on Saturday not just in Britain, but in the United States and Canada too.

Frankly, there are compelling reasons to do it more quickly, said Perry Simon, the general manager for channels at BBC Worldwide America, citing an opportunity to make the telecasts feel like worldwide events for fans. But the main reason relates to online piracy.

The moment it airs in the U.K., it's open season for pirates around the world, Mr. Simon said. It's the dark side of living in a global media village.

The simultaneous broadcast date is a boon to American audiences, who have typically waited months or even years for British series to be shown in the United States. Other television networks are also rethinking their release strategies to address both the potential for the stealing of shows and the potential for spoilers.

AMC arranged for its international partner to start the first season of The Walking Dead in dozens of countries almost simultaneously last fall. Executives there said such a premiere was unprecedented.

I think you'll see a lot more of that, Gale Anne Hurd, an executive producer of The Walking Dead, said at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas last week.

Like Mr. Simon, she cited piracy as a primary reason. While I think fans very much want to do the right thing, she said, they're not going to wait months and months and months for something that they're that eager to watch.

Like The Walking Dead, Doctor Who has a fervent base of fans, many of whom write about each episode on Twitter and other social networking Web sites. At the Las Vegas conference, Chloe Sladden, the director of media partnerships at Twitter, cited the Doctor Who release-date strategy as an example of social media's possibly affecting programming decisions.

That's because the Internet overcomes time-zone borders. Twitter data in the United States indicates that there are fewer tweets about the West Coast broadcasts of television shows than about East Coast broadcasts.

Population differences aside, a theory postulated by Twitter is that people are less interested in chatting online about a show when they know that the same chat has already occurred three hours earlier. Twitter, Ms. Sladden said in an e-mail, emphasizes one shared experience.

Mr. Simon said the so-called online water-cooler trend contributed to the decision to speed up the Doctor Who telecasts. While they will not happen at the same hour in each country, they will at least happen on the same day. There's a tremendous amount of social media interest in all of our programming, particularly Doctor Who,' and we want to tap into all of that, he said.

In the first episode of the new season, the sixth since the franchise was restarted in 2005, the Doctor zips to the United States for the first time another reason BBC America executives were keen to compress the scheduling. Steven Moffat, who took over as the lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who about a year and a half ago, said the characters also wound up on a 17th-century pirate ship and on an asteroid in coming episodes.

The BBC is splitting up the 13-episode season into two halves, with the first ending in June, and the second picking up in the fall.

By then, the bicontinental schedule will have been interrupted by an American holiday. BBC America is running old episodes of Doctor Who on Memorial Day weekend because television viewing levels are generally low that weekend so the June episodes will be a week behind Britain.

Mr. Simon said BBC America was working on collapsing the window of time between local and global premieres of other shows too. Episodes of The Graham Norton Show are now shown in the United States only a week after they are in Britain.

Piracy continues to be television's dirty little secret, he said. The bigger the show, the bigger the secret.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/23/ar...FDAA86A4A5B271
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post #4 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 01:08 PM
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Gotta love the genius/lunacy of Perry Simon, who cites online piracy as a reason for airing Doctor Who the same night as the UK, then promptly schedules a Doctor Who repeat on Memorial Day weekend, pretty much ensuring that Who fans who know how to "find" their favorite shows online soon after they air in the UK will do just that, rather than wait a week!
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post #5 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 01:09 PM
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I love Doctor Who, but unfortunately I have to wait for the BDs. The SD PQ of BBCA on DirecTV is too horrible to watch. Not to mention all of the BBCA screen clutter. While I don't like waiting months to watch it, I do find the wait worth it in the case Doctor Who.
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post #6 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 03:31 PM
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Before I had BBC America HD... or back when it was on SciFi... I was happy to watch in SD so I got to watch it... then watch again when I buy it to keep at home.

I get wanting to watch in HD instead of SD... but I wouldn't deprive myself of watching it just because I didn't have the HD channel.

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post #7 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by HDMe2 View Post
Before I had BBC America HD... or back when it was on SciFi... I was happy to watch in SD so I got to watch it... then watch again when I buy it to keep at home.

I get wanting to watch in HD instead of SD... but I wouldn't deprive myself of watching it just because I didn't have the HD channel.
It's not just HD versus SD, it's also that the SD show has black bars left and right AND top and bottom so the actual picture is minute. THEN there is the screen clutter of the "BBC America HD" logo on the SD channel! AND the title of the program I am watching on the bottom left of screen AND an advert for an up-coming programme on the bottom right of the screen!

It is, actually, very difficult to see ANY of Doctor Who on the BBC America SD channel.
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post #8 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 08:29 PM
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I must be the only person in the world who never seen this show.

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post #9 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I've never seen a single episode of "Doctor Who" either. Tempted to dive in but honestly I wouldn't know where to start (i.e. which Doctor). Maybe after I retire from work around... 2038.
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post #10 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_man View Post

It's not just HD versus SD, it's also that the SD show has black bars left and right AND top and bottom so the actual picture is minute. THEN there is the screen clutter of the "BBC America HD" logo on the SD channel! AND the title of the program I am watching on the bottom left of screen AND an advert for an up-coming programme on the bottom right of the screen!

It is, actually, very difficult to see ANY of Doctor Who on the BBC America SD channel.

This:



versus this:



It appears the image was cropped a bit horizontally as well. File size for the Comcast BBC/America SD broadcast was all of 810 MBs, what a joke, no wonder I don't bother with that channel.



"Do you think you can just shoot me?"
"They're Americans!"

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post #11 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Lone Wanderer View Post

I must be the only person in the world who never seen this show.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

I've never seen a single episode of "Doctor Who" either. Tempted to dive in but honestly I wouldn't know where to start (i.e. which Doctor). Maybe after I retire from work around... 2038.

I would start with the re-boot in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor. While I've known about the show since I was a kid, I've only seen a few of the earlier episodes, not being completely hooked until the Series 1 (2005) re-boot. Torchwood is a must see as well in my opinion

Doctor Who

Torchwood
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post #12 of 237 Old 04-23-2011, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

I've never seen a single episode of "Doctor Who" either. Tempted to dive in but honestly I wouldn't know where to start (i.e. which Doctor). Maybe after I retire from work around... 2038.

Doesn't matter which order you watch them in - everything else will pale in comparison to the Tom Baker/Elisabeth Sladen/Louise Jameson years.

It was the darkest, most engaging, least dumbed-down and most intelligently well-written (no countless holes and gaps like now), well-directed and acted and adult-geared period of the show's run. It also had what was regarded as the best Doctor and the best, two assistants. It was easily the show's apex (may not be every last person's favorite, but it's universally agreed by the majority of fans that have watched it from early on that it was the all-around best era).

Otherwise, if you want to start somewhere and watch straight through in order, I'd probably just start with Troughton, and continue on all the way through Colin Baker (stop at McCoy, though - he is just plain godawful. The episodes themselves were not very good, either. They should've stopped at C. Baker). Then pick up with the "new" show (just don't expect it to be like the old one, because it's not in a lot of ways. For one thing, the old series wasn't geared towards the modern, "ADD Generation").
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post #13 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 12:47 AM
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Might as well post this here, because it's as good a place as any:

http://www.in.com/videos/watchvideo-...h-9955975.html

Goodbye, old girl, RIP - you're in our hearts forever. You were the best (and thanks for being my #1 infatuation of all time on the TV screen).
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post #14 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 05:10 AM
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I grew up with Tom Baker as the Doctor, but I remember watching some earlier series with the Daleks and some creatures that looked like hair brushes (someone told me these were CyberMen babies). I am enjoying the reboot series but I think they're making the Doctor a bit too stuck on himself. Every episode, he has to proclaim "I am the DOCTOR!" in a "don't mess with me" fashion.

I do like the chemistry between the Doctor and Amy Pond. Not sure where that's going to end up. And the doomed connection between the Doctor and River Song is intriguing. I could do without Rory. He seems to be the fifth wheel even though there's only four characters.

Also, it seems that last season's shows were really creepy, weren't they? My young girls are becoming interested in the show, but I have to pick out shows that are not to scary to show them...No weeping angels, no vampire girls, etc. Sure all episodes have their Monster of the Week, but last season really amped up the scariness factor.
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post #15 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_man View Post

It's not just HD versus SD, it's also that the SD show has black bars left and right AND top and bottom so the actual picture is minute. THEN there is the screen clutter of the "BBC America HD" logo on the SD channel!

Use the ZOOM button.

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post #16 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

Use the ZOOM button.

In Canada the situation is similar with Space, who don't have an HD feed, and their SD feed looks like cr*p. They were having a Doctor Who marathon before/after the 8 PM current episode, I took a look at the Christmas special at 7 PM, and decided to just download a 350 Mb torrent instead. The worse part is that they had great HD promos on other channels (i.e. CTV) from the same owner.
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post #17 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_man View Post

It's not just HD versus SD, it's also that the SD show has black bars left and right AND top and bottom so the actual picture is minute. THEN there is the screen clutter of the "BBC America HD" logo on the SD channel! AND the title of the program I am watching on the bottom left of screen AND an advert for an up-coming programme on the bottom right of the screen!

It is, actually, very difficult to see ANY of Doctor Who on the BBC America SD channel.

I still don't get it... Why deprive yourself of a show you like just because you can't watch it in ideal/perfect settings?

If you aren't really a fan, then I get it... I don't watch SD programs of things I've never seen before... I will try new HD things, but I don't often try as many new SD... but for something I already know I like... I watch it however I can get it.

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post #18 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by HDMe2 View Post

I still don't get it... Why deprive yourself of a show you like just because you can't watch it in ideal/perfect settings?

If you aren't really a fan, then I get it... I don't watch SD programs of things I've never seen before... I will try new HD things, but I don't often try as many new SD... but for something I already know I like... I watch it however I can get it.

Who said I can't watch it in much better settings than the ones I outlined?

I can and I do!

I was just giving reasons why I do not watch BBC America SD. (I can't even receive BBC America HD so I don't have that choice).

Oh, by the way. I am a fan and I want to watch the program in the best possible settings I can! (I will buy the BR's when I can in the future.)

BBC America make it very difficult, for me, to watch their SD channel and impossible, for me, to watch the HD channel.

AND. I really enjoyed episode 1 of series 6 last night.
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post #19 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 01:36 PM
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I do have BBCA in HD (TWC) and last night's episode did look nicer than the picture you would get from "other means". BBCA also did not cut the episode at all. However, the insertion of commercial breaks really upsets the flow of the show. They also inserted an unneeded "Amy recap" between the prequel and the theme song which was obviously not part of the original episode. Also, they take away the cliff hanger sting which is silly. To give BBCA kudos, their Lis Sladen tribute at the end of the episode (with the video of her waving) was nicer than the mere caption the BBC gave at the start of their broadcast. I probably won't continue watching on BBCA for the rest of the series.

As for the episode itself, WOW. Can't wait to see how the Moff writes his way out of this one!

-John
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post #20 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 01:58 PM
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To give BBCA kudos, their Lis Sladen tribute at the end of the episode (with the video of her waving) was nicer than the mere caption the BBC gave at the start of their broadcast.

The BBC in the UK ran a 15 minute tribute to Lis Sladen on the CBBC channel (home of The Sarah Jane Adventures) at 1845 - as soon as Doctor Who had finished on BBC One. (So not just a caption)
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post #21 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 06:46 PM
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The BBC in the UK ran a 15 minute tribute to Lis Sladen on the CBBC channel (home of The Sarah Jane Adventures) at 1845 - as soon as Doctor Who had finished on BBC One. (So not just a caption)

Fair point, but that's a different program on a different channel. And, I'm not really being critical of the BBC here - just pointing out that I found BBCA's short video more poignant than a mere dedication (and trying to say *anything* nice about BBCA which continues to get worse and worse by the month). But, in regards to Lis Sladen, I found both channels did a proper job of paying tribute.

I still want to know why Nicholas Courtney got no tribute of any kind either in the US or UK. I hope it's coming later in the season.

-John
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post #22 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 07:20 PM
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I still want to know why Nicholas Courtney got no tribute of any kind either in the US or UK.

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post #23 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 08:26 PM
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Although our Comcast BBC America is not in HD, they did put the HD version in the On Demand section. No cropping, no bars, full HD picture, NO commercials (just fade to black and straight back in) a small bug in the bottom right and great picture.

Look for it there...
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post #24 of 237 Old 04-24-2011, 09:18 PM
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Same here, on demand via Comcast in great HD. (the linear channel is not available in HD here) I honestly wonder why they don't have commercials on demand, but I'm not complaining.
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post #25 of 237 Old 04-25-2011, 02:30 PM
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I agree with the commercials being jarring comments. Looks like I will be switching to on-demand. HD too!

I thought the episode was so-so. Too much table setting, we barely got a whif of the main course. Hope it pays off next week.
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post #26 of 237 Old 04-25-2011, 05:39 PM
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Same here, on demand via Comcast in great HD. (the linear channel is not available in HD here) I honestly wonder why they don't have commercials on demand, but I'm not complaining.

Is Comcast On Demand showing Season 6 yet? I checked and it was just Season 5, and not even all of them.
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post #27 of 237 Old 04-25-2011, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Nielsen Notes (Cable)
'Dr. Who' Premiere Sets Ratings Record For BBC America
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com - April 25th, 2011

The sixth-season premiere of Doctor Who drew 1.3 million on BBC America on Saturday to become the cable channel's most-watched telecast ever. It was up 6% from the previous record holder, Doctor Who's season premiere last year. Meanwhile, in the U.K., Doctor Who posted 6.5 million viewers for its season debut Saturday, down 17% from last season's premiere.

http://www.deadline.com/2011/04/dr-w...r-bbc-america/
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post #28 of 237 Old 05-02-2011, 10:08 AM
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So at the conclusion of the 2nd parter "The Impossible Astronaut" is the Doctor alive in our time or not?
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post #29 of 237 Old 05-02-2011, 08:17 PM
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So, who's the little girl at the end of ep. 2? She regenerated too ...
Is she the Doctor's daughter? Will there be a female doctor?

.
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post #30 of 237 Old 05-02-2011, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJO View Post

So at the conclusion of the 2nd parter "The Impossible Astronaut" is the Doctor alive in our time or not?

Not sure how to answer that question... since the Doctor exists out of our normal time... His timeline doesn't follow our timeline necessarily.

Assuming everything we have seen so far isn't a trick... The Doctor that died was 200 years older than the one that showed up later... so for the Doctor his time ended at that point and he wouldn't have any further adventures that he had not already experienced.

However...

The Doctor in his many incarnations has been all over the universe in various time period... so if you went back to 1963 to the junkyard at the right time, you would find the William Hartnell Doctor... similarly, you could (if you were a character in the show of course) find other versions of the Doctor in those periods of time.

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