Fantastic! "Doctor Who" back in the USA

Sci-Fi Channel and the BBC announced a deal today that gives Sci-Fi the U.S. rights to broadcast the first season of the BBC’s new “Doctor Who” series. “Doctor Who” will be part of the network’s Sci-Fi Fridays and will air Fridays at 9 p.m., beginning March 17 with the inaugural episode titled “Rose.”

While this news is fantastic (a favorite word of last season’s Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston), it does come with a price for U.S. Whovians.

The 2005 season of “Doctor Who” was scheduled to be released on DVD in the United States on Feb. 14. However, within the past couple of days, many TV-related Web sites began reporting the set would be delayed. Well, the reason for the postponement was this impending deal with Sci-Fi. Now that Sci-Fi will be airing the series in the USA, the DVD set will not be released here until July 4 (and my birthday is two days later…hint, hint).

Also, Sci-Fi Channel will be a full year behind and only has an option to pick up the rights to the second season, which begins airing this spring on the BBC with David Tennant playing The Doctor. Therefore, Americans — like me — who want to stay up-to-date with “Doctor Who” will still need to download current episodes via BitTorrent.

Still, I hope the BBC and the Sci-Fi Channel can put together an effective joint promotional campaign to get people watching the new “Doctor Who” here in the States. The modern version of “Doctor Who” is light years from the grainy looking show with cheesy special effects that you may have come across on PBS stations in the 1980s and early 90s. New “Who” is sharp, crisp, intelligent, witty and even a bit edgy.

If you decide to give “Doctor Who” a try, here are two words to remember…Bad Wolf.

Forgot to mention this when I first posted this, but a big thank you to my friend Jason for being the first to tell me the good news about “Doctor Who” coming to Sci-Fi Channel.