Dr. Who DVDs Delayed
January 12, 2006

They’ve moved the US release of the Doctor Who DVD set back so they can show the episodes on the SciFi channel Fridays at 9 PM ET, starting in March. The box set is now scheduled for July 4.

I’m curious to see how this goes. Most of the people I know in the US who were interested have already downloaded and watched the show, and isn’t Fridays at 9 the traditional TV graveyard for SF? I hope 3 things: I’m being unnecessarily pessimistic; this brings new viewers to the show, which is good; and this allows them to add the Christmas special to the box set.

22 Responses  
Scott writes:  

SciFi Channel has had a solid block of Friday night science fiction for the past year-or-so that draws a large viewership (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Battlestar Galactica) and I think Dr Who will be a good addition.
I, for one, would like to see it, but have never had the chance (and likely, the skill) to download it and watch.

kalinara writes:  

They’ve finally gotten a clue and picked it up? That’s fantastic news! :-)

Lyle writes:  

Agreed, I’m looking forward for the chance to see it. I haven’t had the chance to become a big Dr Who fan, so I’m not inclined to download or buy a DVD set (or restart my Nexflix subscription), but it’s easy to program the DVR. It was thanks to SciFi that I got around to checking out (and loving) Firefly.

As for the state of SciFi on Fridays, SciFi’s friday night block pulls in some pretty strong numbers. In fact, when the lineup debuted, Battlestar Galactica was pulling in a bigger audience than Enterprise (two weeks later, cancellation was announced, I don’t think that was coincidental). That was a pretty good showing considering all the disadvantages Galactica faces compared to Enterprise.

Lyle writes:  

Whoops, one thing I forgot…I wonder how the schedule will play out. I suspect that, by March, the regular line-up will have completed their seasons. I wonder if SciFi is planning on offering alternate new programming instead of reruns.

Rob Staeger writes:  

I think you might be overestimating the importance of downloads. There’s a big difference, I think, between being so interested in a show that you actively seek it out and being interested enough to watch a show when it’s broadcast. Certainly my interest level falls in that category, and I imagine that there’ll be plenty of other people with fond memories of Dr. Who that’ll be willing to check it out once they start seeing promos. The people who downloaded the show were the people who were already planning to watch it with no marketing push whatsoever. If SciFi does its job (and the show is any good), I’m confident any abscence of downloaders won’t make a significant dent.

The one place it could hurt, however, is in word-of-mouth. The hardcore fans have already buzzed and moved on, I imagine. That in itself might stunt the show’s growth.

James Schee writes:  

As others have said, Fridays have been a strong setting for Sci Fi channel in the last few years.

I’m still on dial up so downloading the show has never been an option.

I can’t wait to start TIVOing it!:)

Alan David Doane writes:  

It’s a great season of episodes, and although as Johanna notes I have seen most of ‘em already, I’m betting a lot of people are in Rob and James’s boat, and will be delighted to see it on TV. I’m disappointed the DVD is delayed, but if this means more people get to see it, so be it…

And yeah, the Christmas special would be a great addition to the set.

Michael Denton writes:  

That’s very exciting news. I know almost nothing about how to find and download this kind of thing and was sorry that BBC America wasn’t broadcasting it.

I watched Dr. Who on PBS during the Tom Baker, Peter Davidson and some of the Colin Baker period, being a fan enough to buy some books on the show at the time, so I’m very interested to see this new incarnation (although of course I’m lost as to what happened at any point well into Colin’s run or past it).

Martin writes:  

Wouldn’t it make more sense to put Christmas Invasion as the start of the first David Tennant season box set? That’s what they’ll be doing in the UK, after all.

kalinara writes:  

As for downloads actually, before Battlestar Galactica premiered on Sci-Fi, it was shown on the UK stations and downloaded by a lot of Americans. When Sci-Fi started showing it, the premiere episode had higher ratings than anyone expected, because the Americans who downloaded wanted to see it on a real tv screen and told many others about it’s quality.

It’s probably not a coincidence that this year, while the UK and US and Canada were all synchronized to start the new half of the season this January, new episodes of Stargate Atlantis leaked out a few months back.

Sci-Fi Fridays are very strong (many of us geeks have no social lives, I guess. :-P). It’ll do fine. :-)

Augie De Blieck Jr. writes:  

One thing to be worried about with Sci-Fi, though: How long are the episodes? Will they have to be chopped up to fit the 42 or 44 minute “hour” series format? Those extra commercials certainly have ways of destroying episodes. You might be better off waiting for the DVDs. . .

James Moar writes:  

The shows are 45 minutes long without breaks (but with a couple minutes off for BBC trailers), so they should fit into a US hour just fine. Hopefully the commercials will be well-timed.

As for buzz among hardcore fans, there’s always the possibility of watching series 1 while downloading 2, I suppose…

Lyle writes:  

It’s interesting to hear that this series was made 45 minutes long.

IIRC, the reason why SciFi didn’t air the old Dr Who episodes was that the rightholders wouldn’t allow for the show to be edited for commercials, a dealbreaker for an advertiser-driven network. I wonder if these episodes were made shorter to accomidate the American market… the dramas on BBC America certainly don’t seem to be missing anything airing on an hourlong slot with commercials. (Plus the network hasn’t had problems in the past with extending a time slot to add commercials, many of their comedies are programmed to run 45 minutes.)

Chris Galdieri writes:  

BBCA often edits down hour-long dramas to fit in commercials — there were a number of, uh, numbers excised from Viva Blackpool to keep it within an hour-long timeslot, and Waking the Dead is often edited to the point where we budget time into our TV schedule to figure out what happened in a given episode. I don’t get why they do this rather than just airing the shows in a 75 or 80-minute block; as Lyle notes, they’ve had no problems making the timeslots for comedies 40 minutes, and their recent State of Play marathon aired each episode in its entirety in 80-minute airings.

Dave Carter writes:  

IIRC, the CBC versions of the episodes were edited down slightly to approx 42 min, so I’d suspect that SciFi will use those versions. (The Christmas special was a little longer, and CBC expanded it into a 1:15 running slot.)

Those of us who are close enough to the northern border got to see the Doctor Who episodes this past summer. I think they will appeal to the casual SF fan in addition to the hardcore fan.

According to TVShowsOnDVD.com the season set of DW will still go on sale in Canada in February, so if you’re willing to pay a little extra shipping you can still get it early on DVD if you want.

Augie De Blieck Jr. writes:  

A&E, from all reports, butchers MI-5 on a regular basis to bring it down to 44 minutes. Each episode is a complete 60 minute program. I’ve heard from people who hated the show on cable, but loved it on DVD. That’s why I skip the episodes on TV and wait for the DVDs. (New season ships by the end of the month!)

Johanna writes:  

I’m glad to hear that I was grossly overstating the number of people who’ve seen it, and that so many people are looking forward to the show. I’ve really enjoyed watching it, especially once Captain Jack appears. I’ll probably tivo it again myself, if only to add my tiny part to the numbers.

Dorian writes:  

Ah, Captain Jack. Nice that they went for a nice little piece of eye-candy for both the women and gay men in the audience.

Johanna writes:  

Isn’t it? And I keep noticing him now in other movies, like The Producers and De-Lovely. He’s got such a classic matinee hero look, and that voice!

Dorian writes:  

I’ve got John Barrowman’s album of Cole Porter songs. It’s very mellow and probably could have used a wider variety of Porter songs than just the slower ones, but it’s still quite good.

His film work is apparently whats keeping him out of the second series of Who. In an interview, the producer mentioned that they have to book Barrowman far ahead of time for his appearances, so they’ve got him for series 3 and Torchwood, but he couldn’t make time for series 2.

Johanna writes:  

He has an album?!? Oooh, I must look for that.

I’m sorry to hear he’ll be missing temporarily, but I’ll look forward to his return. Is series 2 also 13 episodes?

cirkyl writes:  

Great website! Bookmarked! I am impressed at your work!


»  Substance: WordPress   »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa
Copyright 2009-2015 Johanna Draper Carlson