2MTL 203: In Defense of BBC America

Some U.S. fans accustomed to waiting for iTunes or using "other means" to get their Who Fix (TM) found it hard to deal with commercials, promos and additions to the day-and-date broadcast of "The Impossible Astronaut" on BBC America. Patience, folks: not only are those changes unavoidable in the TV biz, but they're ultimately a good thing even for Doctor Who in the U.K.!

(Record ratings in the U.S. and Canada! Solid A.I.!)

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  1. Hi, Chip! I'm actually glad to know that what I've been thinking of as the "Farscape-style opening narration" wasn't a part of the show in the UK. I presume that means it won't be on the box set! I didn't personally care for it, but I suspect I will get used to it as the series progresses.

    I do think, however, that the distinction between "commercial" and "publicity" material is a fine line. When I hear the phrase "limited commerical interruption," I equate that, as I bet most viewers do, with "limited interruption." I have no objection to BBC America selling audiences here in the US hard on the show; but I think it could have been more artfully done. In fact, BBC America *has* done it more artfully in the past — just last year, in fact, for the premiere of "The Eleventh Hour"; and again for "A Christmas Carol." The breaks included both ads and "Insider" material, but came far less frequently than every nine minutes!

  2. I completely agree with you. I think BBCA did a very good job presenting Doctor Who to its American audience. This was the first time ever that I got to sit down with friends and family and watch Doctor Who on my TV. It was great, but I really don't know how a bunch of Americans would have been able to watch it without the commercial breaks. We are used to having them, and every time one came on, a flurry of comments, snark, bitching, and speculation broke out. This only died down to a mummer when the story came back on. I needed to watch it over again as it was to catch some of the things that are likely to be important later on. I hate to think how much I would have missed had we not had those decompression breaks.

  3. The problem for me was not that there were ads, but that the jumps to the ads were very poorly edited. They cut the last second of many scenes, which doesn't sound like much, but detracts from the overall viewing experience.

    They should wait until the scene actually ends and THEN cut to commercials.

  4. Chip you hit a home run with this one. After seeing some of the whining in my twitter feed and the open letter to BBC America I was a little miffed. BBCA has done an outstanding job promoting series 6!
    I’ll back that up with two personal examples.

    • For the first time ever in 14 years together and 12 years of marriage my wife set down to watch Doctor Who with me!

    • My wife looked at me and said even if she was not living with me she still would have known about the premier due solely to BBCA’s exemplary work in promoting the show!

    Doctor Who has to continue to bring in new fans. If only the hard core fans are catered to the show could not support its self. Steven Moffat recently said it takes about one million pounds to produce and episode of Doctor Who. With the BBC only supplying about seven hundred thousand pounds the extra money has to come from merchandizing and co-production deals. The USA is a huge untapped market for Doctor Who and every attempt needs to be made to reach it. My wife said she appreciated the short sequence before the credits to help on board her with the series.

    In the week heading up to the premier BBCA also took some other measures to onboard potential new fans. In iTunes all the DW new series seasons were on sale and season 5 was made available for Netflix streaming.

    So just to sum up:

    “BBC America you did an exceptional job and thank you for all your hard work!”

  5. What I found most annoying about Amy's extra narration was it's placement. I think it would have been far less jarring had it opened the show, instead of being placed in front of the opening credits. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a little tag like this that ran at the top of every episode for the first two seasons, and it's placement worked a little better than this.

    As far as the cuts to the commercial breaks, they were terrible and I don't understand how or why this happened. With such an important and well promoted premier you'd think they would have done a better job with it's presentation.

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