Matt Smith, David Tennant
Who knew? Few could have foreseen the enduring success of Doctor Who given its inauspicious origins a half-century ago — a fascinating story of pluck, luck and imagination delightfully rendered in An Adventure in Space and Time, a new TV movie (Friday, 9/8c) airing as part of BBC America's 50th-anniversary Who celebration this weekend.
You don't have to be a Whovian to appreciate this jaunty re-creation of a simpler, scrappier time in TV history. A "year-ometer" (cute touch) dials back to 1963, when the staid BBC's brash new head of drama, Canadian showman Sydney Newman (a marvelously uncouth Brian Cox), greenlights a new sci-fi serial to appeal to kids and fickle sports fans. With a miniscule budget, an overheated "broom cupboard" of a studio and an edict of "no tin robots or BEM (bug-eyed monsters)," Newman appoints an unorthodox team to realize his vision: Verity Lambert (Call the Midwife's Jessica Raine), an ambitious pioneering female producer, and Waris Hussein (Sacha Dhawan), a novice Indian director.
Can you keep a secret? Probably not as well as Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat's two sons, Joshua, 13, and Louis, 11. These days, nearly every television producer, director, writer, actor and caterer is apprehensive about revealing details and plot points from unaired episodes of their shows. But Moffat is the master. He even gave one of the series' characters the catchphrase "No spoilers." He purposely misleads the press. "I lied my arse off," Moffat told 6,500 attendees at this year's San Diego Comic-Con regarding the content of an upcoming episode. He also runs a tight spaceship: Nondisclosure agreements are as ubiquitous as silver alien masks on the British science-fiction show's set.
Joshua, however, is the first to...
Neil Gaiman is a Whovian at heart, and it's never more clear than in the episodes he writes for Doctor Who.
Following the success of "The Doctor's Wife" two years ago, Gaiman returns with "Nightmare in Silver," which airs Saturday at 8/7c on BBC America. Showrunner Steven Moffat was able to lure back the award-winning writer with one succinct request: Make the Cybermen scary again.
Hordes of Whovians, as they're called, voted for the British sci-fi series to win our third Fan Favorites cover poll — galvanizing support through countless blog posts, message-board comments and tweets. The consensus was it's about time Doctor Who (beloved back home in the U.K.) got the props it deserves in the States. And that the fans love Matt Smith, who currently plays the show's titular time and space traveler known only as the Doctor ("Doctor who?" Get it?). "That's amazing!" Smith shouts on the road to a shoot in Wales, before turning serious. "Thank you to...