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Monday 1st April 2002

This Week In Doctor Who - April 1, 2002
(posted 1st Apr 2002, 12:36pm - TWIDW post #0085)
by Benjamin F. Elliott
Welcome to the weekly guide to Doctor Who wherever it airs, except in France. We don't care about France.
Now that we're back on the venerable Bing Bang Ding Dong Mondas website , I'll give a little primer on the column to bring people reading this for the first time up to speed.
This Week In Doctor Who (TWIDW) covers the broadcasts of the various versions of Doctor Who around the world. We cover the classic Doctor Who (1963-1989), US remake Docta McBeal (1997-present), and the UK relaunch called Dr. Who (2000-present).

Classic Doctor Who is obvious. Everything from An Unearthly Child through Survival, and we tack on the TV Movie as well. It doesn't air in very many places at the moment, as the suits finally realized that the prints were in need of restoration work. Allegedly the classic stories will be back in 2003.

Docta McBeal airs Monday Nights at 9PM on the FOX network in the United States. After the TV Movie (1996) failed to ignite US audiences, FOX looked for a way to utilize their rights in a more profitable franchise. When presented with a David E. Kelley pilot with a good cast and a pathetic storyline, the decision was made to utilize their US rights to the Who franchise and create a hybrid show. Docta McBeal is a comedy-drama starring Calista Flockhart as a struggling timelady-turned lawyer. Her lawfirm - Cage, Fish, & Chips - deals with civil and criminal cases in the past, present, and future as the first time travelling lawfirm. Controversial issues are the order of the day, though really they're just an excuse to show off really short skirts, use very foul language, and make lots of sexual innuendo, with a sci-fi veneer. A breakout hit in its first year, it has won Calista emmys along with awards for the co-stars. Now in its 5th season, its ratings have suffered from the lack of her Dalek Boyfriend Lenny (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) and a general loss of direction. The show is currently on hiatus while "The Mondassian Embassy" is tried out in the time slot. Docta McBeal is expected to return April 15 to finish its season, but some wonder if it will return in the fall.

Dr. Who airs Thursdays at 8PM on BBC1 in the UK, 32 weeks a year, with same week reruns on BBC Choice. Starring Paul McGann, this is essentially the classic series returned with a slightly higher budget. For instance, where old stories had just 4 Dalek props to represent an army, this show has 7 props. One notable change - the TARDIS gave birth to a baby ship named TARDA (don't ask why) which is now under the control of Sabalom Glitz.

Due to nasty court battles, Docta McBeal cannot air in the UK until at least 2004, and neither Dr. Who nor the original Doctor Who can air in the United States or Canada anymore until Docta McBeal is canceled. It is a weird situation, which causes a lot of heartburn to fans. However, DVDs of the UK series sell big in the US, and DVDs of the US series sell big in the UK, and sales of multi-region players are soaring.
In other Doctor Who news this week, BBC Books author Jonathan Blum has been cast as Sylvester McCoy in a biography about the early years of Syl's life. With a working title of Ferrets In My Trousers And Other Wackiness, this biography is being co-produced by Channel 4 in the UK, the CBC, and TVNZ New Zealand for broadcast in fall 2002. The script is being written by Ben Aaronovitch on his computer, which has led Jon Blum's wife to start screaming "Oh No! Not Again!" for some reason.
And now, the listings:

Dr. Who - firstrun
Thu 8PM BST "The Ordeal" pt 2 of 2
Season ending cliffhanger. The Doctor (Paul McGann) finds himself in a cyber-conversion cubicle about to be turned into an emotionless monster. Will Sally and Joe arrive in time to save him? And why is TARDA leaving crop circles on Mars?
{BBC Choice
Dr. Who - Time-shifted
Sat 8PM, Late Sun 2AM BST "The Ordeal", pt 1 of 2
A distress call brings The Doctor, Sally, and Joe to Telos, where a terifying discovery is made. An army of Cybermen have been slaughtered by an unseen force. A force that is now planning to attack Joe.
UK Old
Doctor Who - classic
Sat 6:10-8AM BST Earthshock movie
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of math computations. The Adric knows.
Dr. Who - reruns
Sun 4-6PM, Late 12:30-2:30AM BST "Labour Pains" movie
The TARDIS goes into labour, to the surprise of the Doctor, Grace, and Joe. What no one realizes is that, for a TARDIS to give birth to life, it must take a life. The second season premiere story, these 4 episodes left viewers in shock and anger.
UK Old 2
Dr. Who - reruns
Sun 11PM-1AM BST "Labour Pains" movie
See UK Old for details.
BBC Platinum
Dr. Who
Sat 8PM, Sun 6PM, Tue 10PM, Thu 11AM CET "Sing A Little Song Of Sixpence" pt 2 of 5
The Doctor and Joe find themselves accused of the murder of a popular children's poet. Indeed, the extrapolation of the murder weapon is remarkably similar to Joe's fifth hand. But no one thinks they committed the crime. How could the people be so certain? And how does their lawyer know all about time travel? Rumpole: Leo McKern.
Danke 7 http://www.dankedankedanke.grr.argh/
Docta McBeal
Fri 8PM CET "As The Wheel In Space Turns"
Lenny wants to move in with Docta. Cage and Fish try to mediate a case of sexual harrassment on the Space Wheel in the 2050s. Chips sues the firm to try to become a partner again. Chips - Angelo Muscat. Lenny - Robert Downey, Jr. Fish - Abe Vigoda.
Sat 8PM CET "Oh Susannah"
A simple small claims court case gets out of hand when Docta insists on basing her client's defense on a woman's right to vote - forgetting that this is 1874.
Dr. Who
Tue 11:45PM AEST "Some Assembly Required" pt 3 of 4
As "Sally" nears completion, a search for better screws for the voicebox leads the Doctor and Joe to a gang of hitch-hiking Frebbles.
Docta McBeal
Wed 9PM AEST "Departure"
Lenny skips town without speaking to Doctor. Fish gets a request to return to his old job in New York City. Shannon Simon, the Singing Silurian, previews a song from her new album during this episode.
Wed 10PM AEST "Prom"
Suffering from depression and rejection again, Docta decides to attend her high school's prom, something she never actually did before. She assures her friends she will be mature about it all. Her prom date - Captain James Kirk.
Dr. Who
Sun 4PM "Lord Of The Onion Rings" pts 1+2 of 4
In the second story of the first season, the Doctor and Grace try to end a centuries old war which has killed Trillions of people. No one is completely certain what started the war, but references to 'stolen onion rings' pop up periodically in the war propaganda. No one will listen to them, except for Joe, the war hero from the Battle Of Onion Valley.
Docta McBeal
(With Prime's recent reformatting, they are now getting lots of US shows. Docta premieres this week, and will air 4 episodes a week till they get to season 3, when it will air 1 episode a week.)
Mon 8PM "Pilot"
A lonely Time Lady with a Law Degree signs up at the firm of Cage, Fish, & Chips, the galaxy's first time-travelling lawfirm. She soon finds that the only things in the universe stranger than her or the firm's clients are the other lawyers.
Tue 8PM "Gadzooks"
Docta defends a child accused of retroactively wiping the Daleks out of existence, and inadvertently ruining someone's perm in the process. The defense should be ludicrously simple, but the Prosecutor is the Valeyard, so you never can tell.
Wed 8PM "Blake's 7 Deadly Sins"
A sojurn in the 28th Century brings the lawfirm into contact with greed, gluttony, and the other deadly sins, not to mention some odd behavior by people outside the firm, too. Ray Walston makes his first appearance as Judge Fuggedaboutit.
Thu 8PM "Jail"
Cage is put in a cage for 72 hours due to his lecherous comments about Lady Nimons. Docta refuses to pay a speeding ticket in 1968, which has become a major felony with Shoot To Kill orders by 2015.
Docta McBeal - still on hiatus - returns April 15 with Jon Bon Jovi as Omega and Matthew Perry as Rassilon.
Docta McBeal - still on hiatus - airs the same episodes FOX airs at the same time.
Docta McBeal - Sundays 2 to 4PM EDT, Weeknights 11PM EDT
Sun 2PM EDT/PDT "Lenny"
A new lawyer in the firm gives Docta high blood pressure and strong romantic feelings. Fish goes out on a date.
Sun 3PM EDT/PDT "Just Two Good Ole' Boys"
Cage and Fish ponder with fear what their lives will be like when they're 1400 years old and on their final regenerations.
Mon 11PM EDT/PDT "Goodbye Mr. Chips"
Chips resigns the firm so he can join the Psychic Circus. Lenny makes a mess of the goodbye party by asking to take Chips' position on the Firm's letterhead.
Tue 11PM EDT/PDT "R-rated"
On a bet, Doctor, Cage, Fish, Wanda, and Lucy all try to get through a day using only profanities. Their plan is endangered when they arrive at a monestary to defend a Monk accused of breaking his vow of silence, during the festival of Clean Living. Monk: Fred Rogers.
Wed 11PM EDT/PDT "Coup"
After seeing Lenny cook "fish" for Docta, Cage and Fish set out to destroy Lenny's career and send him back to New Varos where he came from. Unfortunately for Cage and Fish, they are very incompetent at being bad. Fortunately for the comedy value, the firm is in an alternate universe where Mayberry is real. Sheriff Taylor: Andy Griffith. Barney Fife: Don Knotts. Opie: Ron Howard.
Thursday's episode pre-empted by "The Shield"
Friday's episode pre-empted by a NASCAR race, which is odd since NASCAR races aren't held on Fridays.

Thanks for reading. Until next week, take care. And please, get the real Doctor Who back on the air.

Doctor Who is a BBC Trademark, etc, etc. Blah blah blah.