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January 13 2006

Doctor Who will be shown in the US. The hit British show heavily influenced by Buffy and Joss Whedon will be airing on the SciFi Channel in March.

Heavily influenced you say? Well here's what the executive producer Russell T Davies had to say on the matter:

Buffy spawned a host of fantasy shows that appealed to young women as much as men. What else is there to learn from Buffy apart from Strong Female Roles Good?

Good Writing Good. That's the most important thing in that wonderful show. It showed the whole world, and an entire, sprawling industry, that writing monsters and demons and end-of-the-world isn't hack-work, it can challenge the best.

Joss Whedon raised the bar for every writer - not just genre/niche writers, but every single one of us. What a man! I shook his hand once, did you know?


Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell:

Well everyone made Buffy comparisons when the new Doctor Who started because there was a real sense of a season to the whole thing rather than individual stories.

Oh yes. Russell mixes his enormous love for Buffy… I remember popping into see Julie Gardner (one of the Doctor Who producers) about other projects when she was at London Weekend Television and we would just talk about last night’s Buffy for the first 20 minutes. Russell and she are huge Buffy fans, but that’s tempered with his knowledge of what’s going to work on a Saturday night. Which is something I’ve not got. I’m just going to be throwing the cod-Joss at it and seeing if it works.


And last but not least Tony Head:

Russell's a big Buffy fan, isn't he?

We met at the read-thru. He's a great writer, Russell. He said how much of a fan he was and how pleased he was that I was doing it. I did the commentary for the Making Of on Radio 2 and there was a bit where they said they'd watched Buffy and modelled storytelling techniques on it.

Influenced by? Naw man.

Dr. Who v1 influenced Buffy.

Dr. Who v1 had high quality writing if not high quality production values.

"Heavily" eh.
Heavily influenced you say?

Indeed, that was the comment that came to my head when I read your intro, Simon.

I managed to be able to watch (some of the episodes of) Doctor Who, since it was broadcast on the free-adsl/cable-TV here in France. It is a good show, but I would have to work hard to find an "heavy influence" of Buffy. And the "good writing" cannot be considered as a heavy influence (any one good show would be a heavy influence of any other good show, with this criterium ;) ).

I also watched Hex... why mention it? Not for the "heavy influences" (although, if there are, it's more in Hex rather than Dc Who), but for the following point: I am amazed (and pleased) to see that there are good Sci-Fi show from the other side of the channel, and all the more that they make they way through the tunnel. I think we'll have to wait a veeeeeeery long time to see good sci-fi show from france (or sci-fi show... or plain good show, for all it's worth).
Dr. Who v1 influenced Buffy


Really? I'm straining to see much influence, other than that they're both genre shows and have a certain wit about them. Can you point to something more specific by way of influence?
I stand by the heavily influenced comment. In terms of characterisation, plotting and my god the final two minutes of the finale owe a lot to Buffy. And I mean that in a good way. Joss showed other writers and creators that quality genre tv could be made. Russell T Davies took that on board.

Hex on the other hand. Well ummmm.
I saw some episodes of the new Doctor Who this past summer on Canadian television, and I have to say that it was pretty damn good. The production value may be really low compared with American sci-fi shows, but it's easy to see past that and just enjoy the great writing and interesting characters.
Hex rips off Buffy. It takes the genre concept, and combines it with nothing else I'd say.

Doctor Who borrows story arcs, humour characters, telling jokes in bad situations, slowly developing love plots... You name it.
There was a direct ref in the episode 'Dalek' that was edited out where mention was made of a "Buffy revival" on the internet :) Its in the script book. Very excited that there is good reason to delay the US release of the R1 DVD box. Wanted to also throw out a cheer that the work of one of my fave (often underappreciated) writers will be seen - Steven Moffat's outstanding two-parter (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances) blew me away and I'm glad it will get air on this side of the pond.
Outpost Gallifrey says it believes the series 'is likely March 17 (the week after the season finales of the popular "Battlestar Galactica" and two "Stargate" shows), at 9:00pm Friday nights, and it will likely conclude at some point in mid-to-late June in time for Sci-Fi's summer premieres of those shows.'
I just can't say how chuffed I am that the doctor is coming to the US! I've heard about it & wanted to see it for as long as I can remember.
I enjoyed watching the new series of Doctor Who but I don't think it's as good as any Whedonverse shows. The plots are a bit too linear and as someone who was involved is some VERY heated debates about the end of BtVS S5 and what on earth gave Buffy the idea that her blood would work I can only say the the season finale had one of the biggest deux et machina endings ever.

But Empty Child/Doctor Dances and the Dalek episodes were very good. One line worthy to have been on a Joss show was when the Doctor was rummaging through a pile of various alien weapons looking for something he could use. "Broken..... broken..... no battery..... broken...... hairdryer..... broken...."
Doctor Who borrows story arcs, humour characters, telling jokes in bad situations, slowly developing love plots

I'm not denying an influence, but jokes in tough situations were there in the Troughton years, not to mention Baker and Davidson. Story arcs were less well-defined, but definitely there - remember that season which was all about gathering a set of keys? Characters with humour? Hardly unknown. (K9 anyone?) Not much in the way of love plots, though the tension was always there.

Dr Who is built on forty years of storytelling, and it shows. Much of it was low budget with cheap effects, but it held attention in those far-off days, and I'd be surprised if Joss, with his love for all weirdness British did not see it as an influence of sorts in the wonderful pot-pourri of his mind.
I remember watching Dr Who on TV in England before we came to Canada in 1967. I guess the Tardis does move back in time.
Are they talking about Dr Who 2005? Daaaamn!!
I became a Dr Who fan way way when I was in college, watching on the local PBS station.
I listen to BBC radio online and visit their TV sites often. When I found out Dr Who was coming back, and saw the previews online, I wanted to cry 'cause I didn't know if I'd ever be able to see the show.
(Recently I tried to BitTorrent it, but all I got was the audio, gorram it. Gonna have to find out what that was all about.)
Anyway, hoo-rah for SciFi!!! (Hoo-rah for VCRs!!)
I'm not sure if there are direct influences either way but i'd be surprised if Joss didn't see Doctor Who when he was at college in Winchester. I've read that he did A' levels there which would make him 16-18 and he's 41 (?) now so that'd be around about 1980 ish or Tom Baker sequeing into Peter Davison. I remember that being a pretty fraught regeneration so we have the theme of resurrection being difficult and we have a clever and witty authoritarian British mentor figure. Not sure when 'The Key to Time' was on but if it's around that era then we also have series long arcs. Possible connections ? Course he's probably never clapped eyes on it.

As an aside, Steven Moffat's Dad (Bill) was my old headmaster (that's pretty much as close as I get to fame and fortune ;).
Amazongirl - most likely you need the xvid codec (link is to page to grab the win32 binary) to be installed. An alternative to that would be installing something like vlc (for any of several OSs) and using that to view it.

Saje - Very cool! You're famous to me ;)
HORRAY!!!! Can I get a hell yeah?!?
AND a huzzah!!? From what you all have been saying about Doctor Who for some time now, I'm glad we finally get a chance to see for ourselves in the US.
I've only seen the Pertwee Doc, and that was so amazing to me back then. All of us neighborhood kids, mostly girls, would watch an episode, then run outside and play it.

m'cookies, yer a gal after mah heart, ain't 'cha?? ;)
I thank the cable gods constantly, that my local cable provider in Seattle carries CBC. I'm a long time Who fan (but not an "expert"), and these new shows are great. You are all in for a treat.

And just to tempt you further...as good as Eccelston was, I think Tennant might just be better.
...most likely you need the xvid codec (link is to page to grab the win32 binary) to be installed. An alternative to that would be installing something like vlc (for any of several OSs) and using that to view it.


thanks, zeitgist! i'll definitely have to look into that.
you are my tech master!
: )
I can't wait to hear what Americans make of Captain Jack. Indeed I'm having a hard time believing you'll get the full unedited package (so to speak).
zeitgeist: Heh. Today you, tomorrow the worl.. well, probably still you but y'know. Just don't shoot anyone in my honour or anything cos i'll tell ya that gets old pretty quickly ;)

znachki: Agree about Tennant. Judging from the Christmas special he's going to be at least as good as Eccleston (who was, cos someone has to, 'Fantastic !'). Had doubts about his English accent but it sounded pretty convincing over the hour and he's also taller than he seemed in other stuff (or standing on an apple crate ;).

ETA: Hmm. Hadn't thought of that Roadrunner, that is going to be interesting. Is sci-fi a proper broadcast network in the US (i.e. not cable/satellite) ?

[ edited by Saje on 2006-01-13 02:13 ]
Willowy, you bet! (I caught it from you, you know. . . now I find huzzah works in oh so many situations.)
Thank the Time Lords Sci-Fi has decided Doctor Who was too British for the U-S after all (that was the original reason it took so long to get here). I went to some of the big Who conventions in San Jose in the early '80s when John Nathan Turner ran the show. Seeing the rebirth of the show will be a big boost.
And as for comparing the show to Buffy, I don't know if Joss saw the show when Douglas Adams was a staff writer in the late '70's, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did.
About the Strong Female Roles Good bit that Buffy seems to have inspired, they are starting to appear everywhere and in the most unlikely of places. I'm going to sully my good name here and say I watched Into The Blue. No really, my finger slipped onto the play button and I pulled a back muscle that left me paralysed in front of the tv for those 1.5 hours.

The unlikely of places I was referring to (spoiler):


After all that, I look forward to more thinly veiled ri... *cough* I mean homages to Buffy.

Btw, Tom Baker is the only Dr Who for me.
StaffOSimon,
I also have to add my love for Tennant. After Eccleston doing such a great job as the new Doctor, I had my doubts that anybody could fill his shoes. Tennant not only fills the shoes, he splits the sides ;)
I do not try to deny that Russell T Davies owes a debt of gratitude to Joss Whedon and 'Buffy'. As Simon points out, it is something Davies, whose work in bringing this great show back in such a triumphant manner has been little short of a miracle, has fully acknowledged. Like 'Twin Peaks' and 'The X Files' before it, 'Buffy' is a show that has influenced far and wide and continues to do so.

That said, as someone who began watching 'Dr Who' forty years ago, I believe its main influence is... 'Dr Who'. This is where Davies has been particularly brilliant because he has produced a show that does not ignore its illustrious past but is also wholly contemporary.

I’ll always be a Jon Pertwee man, with a soft spot for the much-maligned Sylvester McCoy, but I agree with everyone who looks forward to the David Tennant era. I think we’ve got some good times coming. Mind you, I still remember the (probably apocryphal) rumours that Beryl Reid was once considered for the role and regret that it didn't happen.
No, dashboardprophet , not Jon Pertwee for me - he disliked too much of what had been canon hitherto, and in his time they were much more earthbound. But Troughton, Baker and Davison were as gods. (And I bet the Nerd Trio were all Dr Who geeks as well as "Red dwarf" fans...)

I think you're right that RTD takes his most important influences from the past 40 years of Dr Who - after all, anyone of his generation in the UK grew up with it. Simon's also right that he owes a debt to Buffy. And I'd be astonished if Joss were unaware of the Doctor, as I would be if he'd never come across Arthur Dent.

Good writers cross-fertilise without plagiarising.
Have a beautiful enamaled pin of the Tardis on the lapel of one of my jackets. Like to call it the "geek-o-meter"—if you recognize it, you're geek. Watched pbs re-runs of the whole thing through high school. Still love the jumping eyeball guy, the tunnel runs that were the same tunnel run flipped horizontally, and finding costumes/props reused.

It would be helpful to say Dr. Who 2005; or The New Dr. Who for the title of this item; I didn't realize there was a new one, and I was trying to figure out how Joss managed to influence the BBC in the 1970s from his sand box.
With all due deference to Davies's Buffy fandom, the notion that a 46-year-old TV show is "heavily influenced" by one that debuted in 1997 is a hair, uh, specious. *chuckle*

And humorous dialogue and continuing stories are both things that have been part of Who since Joss Whedon was an infant.
Russel references Serenity in this recent interview.

I do think in the future it’d be lovely to do a middle range, Serenity-sort-of-level film – like, ‘We don’t need that much money, just give us enough so we can see what we can do’.

Yeah, but that was always the ethic of Dr. Who, even if Russel is young enough to think it's kind of new. So it's more like "with all due reference to Russel's fandom." Look at the originals—there was about as much a budget as filming in my basement. In fact, I think that's pretty much what they did.

So yeah, thrifty makes for great theater and Dr. Who (original) influenced Joss Whedon, who introduced Dr. Who (the new one) all the animals start swaying and singing "Circle of Life."
No, dashboardprophet, not Jon Pertwee for me - he disliked too much of what had been canon hitherto, and in his time they were much more earthbound...


I am old enough to have started watching towards the end of the William Hartnell era (!) but the arrival of Jon Pertwee coincided with my reaching an age when I could start to properly understand what was going on, coupled with the fact I had a huge teenage crush on Katy Manning. 'The Daemons' remains my all-time favourite 'Dr Who' story.

I guess that will always inform my opinion of Pertwee - and he is one of just five people who I have ever felt the need to ask for an autograph - the others being Patti Smith, Clem Burke, Alice Cooper and Kinky Friedman, not that it's in any way relevant to anything.
dashboardprophet, it's been said before but age is the key with favourite Doctors. Peter Davison was the Doctor I became aware to and I had similar 'feelings' for Janet Fielding (Tegan) ;).

Occasionally i've seen repeats over the years and as an adult i've possibly come to appreciate Tom Baker's performance more, just for sheer eccentric exuberance and over the top fun but Davison is still 'my' Doctor.

Also have to agree with krad that such a long running show has a lot of material to plumb tho' i'm glad Russell Davies likes Buffy (shows he has good taste apart from anything else ;). Had to smile the other night while watching a Stargate special. Amanda Tapping was saying how at 10 seasons, next year Stargate would become the longest running American sci-fi series, a nice reminder that in the background hovering over all is the Doctor, 27 seasons and still going strong (OK, he had a wee 16 year break;). That's a lot of stories to be inspired by.

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