Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Rx for Pleasure: A New "Dr. Who"

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For science fiction fans, the name "Dr. Who" is well established. For more than three decades and all across the world, the popular time-traveler has been a staple on television. The show debuted in England in 1963 and ran there for 26 years and almost as long on PBS in the United States.

Although the series ended in 1989, Fox brings out a brand new "Dr. Who" movie at 8 tonight on Channel 2. Like any long-running series, "Dr. Who" has many die-hard fans out there. If you thought people were addicted to "The X-Files," forget it. The good doctor's legion of fans have been waiting years for this.

But the good thing about tonight's movie is that you don't even have to know who "Dr. Who" is. The two-hour Fox movie stands on its own. It's a fun romp into the sci-fi world and something of a throwback, in that it's got an old-fashioned love story in the middle.

The series has been through a number of Doctors in its time. It seems when the first was ready to quit, the writers as all good sci-fi writers are wont to do came up with an escape clause. The Doctor, they said, actually has 13 lives. Presto: nice save. Each time one Doctor dies, he regenerates into a new one. And so we begin tonight's movie with Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, a member of an alien race called the Time Lords. Usually, they simply scan through time, taking notes and making observations. But the Doctor has always been a bit of a rebel, stepping in to change things when necessary.

McCoy's Doctor is bringing his dead nemesis, the Master, back to his original planet for burial, using his time traveling machine (called a TARDIS, for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space). But something goes wrong and the TARDIS which looks like an old police phone booth on the outside crash lands in San Francisco in 1999. The Doctor senses the Master is up to no good, but soon as he steps out of the contraption, he's caught in a Chinatown gang shoot-out and ends up in the hospital. That's where he finds a real-life Dr. Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook), who promptly kills him because she doesn't know he has two hearts.

Enter the new Doctor, Paul McGann, who regenerates in the morgue. Meanwhile, the Master has taken over the body of the ambulance driver, played by Eric Roberts. The Master, of course, wants to get some lives back (he used his up in nefarious ways) and destroy the universe.

Now the Doctor and Dr. Holloway (our budding love birds), must rush to save the day. Standard fare, really. But there's something pleasant about "Dr. Who" that covers up a lot of flaws. And at least for most of the movie, there's a great deal of cleverness. Puccini plays a part in one nice moment, and as McCoy regenerates into McGann, the hospital worker in the morgue is watching "Frankenstein" a nice touch.

"Dr. Who" suffers from some over-the-top antics as the Master's scheme unwinds. It can become a bit too cartoonish, but ultimately the movie is no more of stretch than the endless feature films that have been released recently.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Goodman, Tim (1996-05-14). Rx for Pleasure: A New "Dr. Who". Contra Costa Times p. C1.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Goodman, Tim. "Rx for Pleasure: A New "Dr. Who"." Contra Costa Times [add city] 1996-05-14, C1. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Goodman, Tim. "Rx for Pleasure: A New "Dr. Who"." Contra Costa Times, edition, sec., 1996-05-14
  • Turabian: Goodman, Tim. "Rx for Pleasure: A New "Dr. Who"." Contra Costa Times, 1996-05-14, section, C1 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Rx for Pleasure: A New "Dr. Who" | url= | work=Contra Costa Times | pages=C1 | date=1996-05-14 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Rx for Pleasure: A New "Dr. Who" | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>