Confession # 107: I'm Feeling Undervalued

Since the show's rebirth in 2005, and its subsequent booming popularity in the US, the Powers That Be (PTB) have done a pretty good job including fans on this side of the Pond in various events and celebrations that might interest us. They've not generally made us wait for a later broadcast date for new episodes, occasionally even giving us simultaneous access (like the around-the-world release of the 50th anniversary special), and have made an effort to include American stops on their publicity tours.

These last few months, though, I've felt undervalued as a North American fan. Specifically, there are two multi-part storylines that have been delayed significantly for the US audience: Class and The Power of the Daleks.

Power is widely regarded as one of the best stories out there; I often see it at or near the top of "What lost story would you most like to see returned" lists (along with Marco Polo). In the UK, the 6-part animated reconstruction was released online one downloadable episode per day beginning on 05 Nov 2016. Just over two weeks later, the entire serial was available for purchase on Region 2 DVD, with online/downloadable color and blu-ray versions yet to come (31 Dec 16 and 06 Feb 17, respectively).

By contrast, the US got a cinematic version (one night only!) on 14 Nov 16 (Canada, Australia, and New Zealand got similar options), with a weekly episode airing on BBC America starting on 19 Nov 16. For those of us who weren't able to make it to a theater on the 14th nor have ready access to BBCA, the wait extends out to 24 Jan 17, when the R1 DVD will be released from a single outlet (Barnes & Noble, for those wondering).

To be fair, if one wants a digital downloadable version, there are several places to buy it (including iTunes and Amazon Video). The long delay in the availability of the R1 DVD particularly rankles, though, since—speaking as a collector—I'm not going to lay out my money for a digital-only version (in order to see it in a timely manner) and again for the DVD (to match with the rest of my collection). Thus my sense of second-class fandom.

Perhaps even more galling is the scheduling of the spinoff Class. While I've heard mixed reviews so far (with the less favorable ones coming from more firmly paleowhovian types), I'd like to have the opportunity to see this stuff for myself right alongside my fan friends from around the world.

Check this out. The UK got to start watching on BBC iPlayer on 22 Oct 16, when the first two episodes (of eight) were released. The opening air date for Canada and Australia was also 22 Oct 16 (meaning the final episode just aired last Saturday). In Turkey, Dubai, and Singapore, the initial air date was—oh, look: 22 Oct 16. And while Hong Kong had to wait an extra week or so until 01 Nov 16, they got the first three episodes at once, catching them up with the rest of the world.

Then there's the US.

The exact airdate for the US hasn't even been announced yet. All we've got at this point is a vague "2017 on BBC America." One can't help wondering what the PTB have against us to make us wait so long. I'm assuming the lack of specific timing has to do with the as-yet-unannounced dates for the upcoming Series Ten; BBCA will undoubtedly tether their Class broadcast to S10 in some way.

It still feels really strange to be odd-country-out, though. We've been such a big market for the show (and its merchandise), I really can't help but wonder what the reasoning behind this particular decision was. Maybe it's just some weird corporate nonsense between BBCA and the Beeb/BBC Worldwide. Who knows.

Whatever, the case, it's really not giving me any warm fuzzies to be shoved to the fandom sidelines this way. I try not to get all entitled—after all it's a TV show, not, say, clean water—but the fact that the US alone out of the usual large markets has been delayed in this manner makes one feel, shall we say, unappreciated.

All I can hope for is that, in Doctor Who as in many other things, 2017 will be better than 2016 has been.

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Comments

I have no specific knowledge but I suspect that it's a corporate thing. BBCA has made some strange programming choices over the years.

I'm not chomping at the bit to see Class. I'll watch it when it's available but I guess it's target audience is teenagers. I liked the Adventures of Sarah Jane that I saw but they felt a little silly sometimes.

I've seen the first 3 episodes of Power of the Daleks and it is a cracking good story so far. The animation is... a little basic. But the plot is certainly keeping my attention.

And in a couple of weeks we'll have the Christmas Special to watch. The Doctor vs Superheroes according to the advertisements. Well, it's a new idea. Can't wait for your review.

By Kara S (not verified)
mrfranklin's picture

I love superheroes almost as much as I love the Doctor, but I have to admit I'm not sold on what I've seen so far of the upcoming Christmas special...

I'm sure there's some sort of corporate weirdness behind the scheduling, and Class hasn't really ever sounded super exciting to me, either, but it's the principle of the thing. :) I want to keep up with goings on in the entire Whoniverse, and it would be nice not to get left behind my international peers.

By mrfranklin
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