Whovians, rejoice! In less than one week Amazon Prime will begin streaming the British classic, Dr. Who.
Millions of television watchers in the United States were devastated in February when streaming giants Netflix and Hulu released that, due to exclusivity difficulties, they would no longer be able to feature the extremely popular series featuring a time-travelling Doctor once their license expired. Dr. Who fans were left feeling as betrayed as Rose on the beach, blaming BBC, Netflix, Hulu and Daleks for their loss.
As it turns out, Amazon Prime is becoming increasingly insistent that they hold exclusive rights to the television shows and movies that they make available to subscribers. According to their website, such Amazon exclusives include seasons of Downtown Abbey, True Blood, and most Nickelodeon series such as Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants. While Netflix certainly suffered at the loss of Dr. Who, Inverse reports that Hulu took, by far, a bigger hit. Hulu was host to not only the more modern episodes of Dr.Who, but also classic episodes spanning 50 years, spin-offs such as Torchwood and the Young Adult series The Sarah Jane Adventures, along with several documentaries. However, much like the Fourth Doctor, BBC and Amazon did not question their right. They simply “touched a wire and [it] ceased to exist.”
When the cancellation of streaming options was announced, BBC America hinted that they had another plan up their sleeve, though no one knew what they would be. Desperate Whovians, loyal as the mechanical K9, were determined to soak up as much screen time with their favorite Doctor before their options were limited.
Meanwhile, according to Tech Times, BBC’s general Director Tony Hall released the following statement.
“Over the next few years, we intend to work with global partners to grow Worldwide further, taking advantage of the demand for British programming and new digital opportunities Next year, we’re launching a new OTT video service in America offering BBC fans programs they wouldn’t otherwise get.”
The Verge reports that Dr. Who will once again be available in the United States through Amazon Prime beginning March 27. Subscribers will then be able to stream seasons one through eight, featuring beloved Doctors that include Matt Smith, David Tennant and Christopher Ecceleston. The most recent series, featuring Peter Capaldi, will be available later in the year, as will several holiday specials.
Dr. Who, featuring a Time Lord from the planet of Gallifrey, began as an educational series in 1963, according to About Doctor Who. The main focuses were science and history. However, those themes were quickly abandoned for more Science Fiction elements such as aliens and robots. The show fell out of popularity for a time, then began its resurgence in 1985 with the introduction of the sixth Doctor, Collin Baker. While there was some criticism at the more gruesome or frightening aspects of the show, the long-scarved Doctor began the rise to popularity that continues today. According to Gallifrey Base, Doctor Who is now shown in over 60 countries and has a viewership of over 110 million people. Such fans often stand in line for hours at science fiction and fantasy conventions for the chance to spend a moment with their favorite Doctor or companion.
Now, it seems the Doctor’s fate has been decided and he is, once again, safe. Though many wonder if getting into a staring contest with Amazon Prime is akin to engaging with a Weeping Angel, and there is growing concern as to what this means in the long term for fans of various shows, Dr. Who fans are able to breathe a sigh of relief. And if six days seems too long, remember the words of the Doctor himself.
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to affect, but actually, from a non-linier, non-subjective point of view it is more like a big ball of wibbily wobbly timey wimey…stuff.”
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