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Superb 'Doctor Who' movie likely pilot for new series

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A guy travels through time and space in what looks like a London police call box. A whole mythology grows up around him, and the show attracts an international cult following. The serious fans call themselves Whovians. They've got a "Doctor Who Appreciation Society," a comic book series and a museum. What's the deal?

Didn't you have to be a Brit, a Jules Verne fan, a sci-fi nerd or all three to truly appreciate the series?

Judging by the new two-hour Fox movie based on the BBC series, no. Even skeptics will appreciate "Doctor Who" for laughs as much as for the action. Devotees will spot numerous pop-cultural references and props from the old BBC series. And - who knew? - those of us who skipped the cult the first time around will have no trouble joining in.

"Doctor Who" will be broadcast tomorrow, 7-9 p.m. on Channel 31. Fun, funny and boasting the best pre-millennial New Year's Eve party on film so far, the movie bodes well as a pilot for an eventual series. The cast is super, the special effects are lavish and the script is equal parts comedy, adventure and science fiction.

H.G. Wells meets Arthurian legend in a story about time travel, good vs. evil, melodrama and a lovable hero who happens to be half-human and all heart. Well, two hearts. It all comes clear as the story unfolds with grand effects and feature-film-scale budget and sets.

The longest-running science-fiction TV series in this or any other world measured by Nielsens, "Doctor Who" was on the BBC in England from 1963-89, in the U.S. on many PBS stations, and in a total of 80 countries. Now it's time to cultivate a new generation.

The latest misadventure finds the Doc in San Francisco. Somehow his Victorian-era velvet waistcoat fits the pre-millennial party mood.

One thing you ought to know about the good doctor: as a Time Lord, he has 13 lives and different personalities. That conceit has allowed the writers to turn the character over to eight different actors over the years. The Doctor is from the planet Gallifrey, has a body temperature of 60 degrees, is roughly 950 years old and has four lives remaining. The Doctor has always been celibate, snacks on "jelly babies" and likes opera. He travels in his TARDIS, that's Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, that looks like a blue English police call box on the outside but is magically revealed to be an infinitely spacious, Edwardian-Victorian world inside.

Pour a cup of tea, snuggle up to the telly and hang on to your willing suspension of disbelief.

William Hartnell starred as the first Doctor and makes a cameo in the beginning of the movie, handing off to Paul McGann ("Withnail & I"). Eric Roberts ("Runaway Train," "It's My Party") portrays The Master, the Doctor's old nemesis, the evil force who threatens to destroy the universe. Roberts also threatens to go over the top in his bad-guy part, doing Cruella da Ville, the Wicked Witch of the West and a black-leather road warrior rolled into one.

So this is what all the fuss is about. If the movie clicks, expect a Fox-BBC "Doctor Who" series, starring McGann, that could transport devoted Whovians and newcomers alike.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Ostrow, Joanne (1996-05-13). Superb 'Doctor Who' movie likely pilot for new series. The Denver Post p. F-01.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Ostrow, Joanne. "Superb 'Doctor Who' movie likely pilot for new series." The Denver Post [add city] 1996-05-13, F-01. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Ostrow, Joanne. "Superb 'Doctor Who' movie likely pilot for new series." The Denver Post, edition, sec., 1996-05-13
  • Turabian: Ostrow, Joanne. "Superb 'Doctor Who' movie likely pilot for new series." The Denver Post, 1996-05-13, section, F-01 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Superb 'Doctor Who' movie likely pilot for new series | url= | work=The Denver Post | pages=F-01 | date=1996-05-13 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 October 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Superb 'Doctor Who' movie likely pilot for new series | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 October 2021}}</ref>