2MTL 121: Will Doctor Who Break Big in America?

The prospects for Doctor Who in the United States have never been greater, despite David Tennant and Russell T. Davies' accomplishments. Moffat and Smith are taking the reins at the most advantageous time possible, thanks to BBC America.

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  1. What BBC America are you watching? The one you speak of that's going to turn Who into the 21st century's megahit cultural phenomenon can't be the same one that's on my channel guide, because that one blows and hardly anybody watches it. Seriously, the best they can do is 1.5 million viewers spread across TWO showings of 'Who'; an average of 750,000 per episode. There's probably more people in the city of Manchester that watch it than in the whole of America.

    Fact is, Who – like most sci-fi – is a niche show, and most of the sort of people who would want to watch it are watching it already, and I'd wager any other sci-fi fans that would be drawn to it are downloading the episodes so that they see it faster and so that the flow isn't ruined by the seventeen commercial breaks that blare out at twice the volume throughout.

    "Come on, Amy! Let's get back to the Tardis!" ~ "HI, BILLY MAYS HERE FOR THE SQUEEGEECLEAN 2000!"

    But really, it has limited appeal. Exponentially so in a country where it doesn't have 'classic' heritage. The chances of it attracting several million more viewers is slim. As Andy Kaufman was famously asked by a network executive, "will people in Kansas understand it?" When it comes to Who, they might understand it, but will they tolerate a foreign show with no big name stars on a network they don't normally watch, or will they be watching Lou Diamond Phillips and C Thomas Howell blow stuff up and high five each other in "SlimeDragons Attack" on SyFy instead? I'd say the latter, especially if Tawny Kitaen is showing a bit of cleavage in the trailer.

    Great point about the show having a clean slate, except here we are at episode three and the lazy bastards have gone and brought the bloody daleks back. It might tickle the prostate of the show faithful (although I always thought they were rubbish personally) but any *really* new viewers are probably going to be confused about why everyone is pissing their pants over a rasping upright screwdriver handle with a toilet plunger stuck to it. They might have been terrifying in the 60s when there wasn't much else on, but they're ridiculous to an audience brought up on CGI.

    Finally, even though I sound like a massive douche, I really really like your podcast. It's a cut above the bedroom crap that gets turfed out on a daily basis – the production is excellent, your delivery is compelling and beautifully presented and it's a fantastic concept. Keep up the good work! =D

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