Doctor Who and a "Parting of the Ways"

Well, this Saturday marks the season finale of the legendary BBC science fiction series, Doctor Who.

After running on the BBC as a series from 1963-1989 and returning with a one-shot, “Americanized” TV movie co-produced by the BBC and FOX in 1996, Doctor Who came back to the BBC as a regular series earlier this year.

I first started watching Doctor Who probably around 1984 when I just happened to catch the episode called “Robot” starring Tom Baker as the scarf-wearing — and most popular — Fourth Doctor (for the uninitiated, the time-traveling character is called “The Doctor” — NOT Doctor Who — and he can regenerate his physical form 12 times for a total of 13 lives) on WOR Channel 9 on a Saturday afternoon. I soon learned that it aired every Saturday night at 9 p.m. on New Jersey Network/PBS and became a huge fan.

I was so excited last year when the BBC made the announcement that Doctor Who was coming back in 2005. Unfortunately, Sci-Fi Channel turned down an offer to air it in the United States and no other broadcaster stepped up to the plate. The original Doctor Who series was known for its clever science fiction and plot twists, but it was also known for cheap sets and cheesy special effects. The 2005 update still has some campiness, but the production values are state of the art, making it a bit more expensive to produce.

Obviously, that means it would have taken a decent amount of money to buy the U.S. television rights…and any buyer could wind up looking foolish if American Doctor Who fans turned their backs on the updated version of the show.

So I have been downloading the episodes via BitTorrent…yeah, I’m admitting it. But I don’t see what is wrong with that. It’s the only thing I use BitTorrent for and it most likely would have been on a cable channel for which I am already paying. Plus, I have every intention of buying the DVD set when it is released in the United States later this year.

Anyway, I have thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Doctor No. 9 (Christopher Eccleston) and his time-traveling companion, Rose (Billie Piper) through the first 12 episodes of this new season of Doctor Who.

Unfortunately, time is running out for The Doctor as he tries to save Rose and the Earth from the menace of the dreaded Daleks (since Eccleston only signed on for one season, he is leaving the show and will be replaced by Doctor No. 10 to be played by David Tennant…Piper also will be leaving the show at some point next season).

[EDIT: Actually, since this posting, Piper has agreed to return for all 13 episodes in 2006.]

As I mentioned earlier on this site, the season finale is called “The Parting of the Ways.” In tribute to this fine season of Doctor Who, I would like to dedicate my latest song, “Parting of the Ways.”

I had known the title of the season finale for weeks when I wrote the lyrics to the song, which I did by singing into the microphone and keeping whatever sounded decent. When I blurted out “…and doing that means we have to part ways” in the chorus, I knew I had my title.

It’s actually quite appropriate, too. Doctor Who had been off the air practically the entire time I stopped doing music (although it got a year or so of a head-start on me) and had a one-off reappearance that came about the time I wrote my only song of the mid 90s, “The Greatest Love.” And now, I write my first new song in ages and it comes the same year Doctor Who returns to the BBC.

Maybe The Doctor and I are in the same time stream?