THE NEW WHO-NI­VERSE

We meet an old friend and plenty of new ones

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - The sfx years | 2005 - 2009 -

The Doc­tor was back. It was dif­fi­cult not to no­tice. There were bill­boards. Bill­boards! Yes, we had an un­ex­pected wob­ble as Christo­pher Ec­cle­ston an­nounced he was quit­ting af­ter just one episode had aired, but re­place­ment Time Lord David Ten­nant took the show to even greater heights of pop­u­lar­ity, mak­ing nerd- chic ef­fort­lessly cool. We also had the spin- offs: the mar­vel­lous Sarah Jane Ad­ven­tures for the kids and Torch­wood, which re­cov­ered from a rocky, sweary start to de­liver Chil­dren Of Earth, a gen­uine TV event.

The Who phe­nom­e­non in­spired UK TV to try more sci- fi and fan­tasy. Some of it was great – Life On Mars, Mer­lin and the su­perbly creepy Ap­pari­tions. Some of it wasn’t so great. Yes, Demons, we’re look­ing at you. Some­where in the mid­dle was Primeval, ITV’s dino drama, for­ever threat­en­ing to be­come good if it could just work out how to make its mon­ster- of- the­week set- up in­ter­est­ing.

Then there was the whole Mis­fits vs Be­ing Hu­man battle: both were witty, dark, yoof- ori­en­tated tele­fan­tasy and qui­etly built vo­cif­er­ous fan­bases on mi­nor­ity chan­nels. Mis­fits was glo­ri­ously potty- minded while Toby Whit­house’s su­per­nat­u­ral house­share felt like a genre all its own.

Red Dwarf came Back To Earth on Dave for ad­ven­tures so meta that SFX it­self popped up in the ac­tion, with our most col­lectable cover ever – just 50 copies went into shops.

In Amer­ica Lost was baf­fling ev­ery­one, chiefly be­cause none of the char­ac­ters had the word “Why?” in their vo­cab­u­lary. Joss Whe­don gave us the mis­un­der­stood Doll­house while En­ter­prise ap­peared to have killed off Star Trek for­ever un­til JJ Abrams res­cued it with an au­da­cious big- screen re­boot. Syfy ( née the Sci- Fi Chan­nel) was in its “whimsy” pe­riod with Eureka, Sanc­tu­ary and Ware­house 13 – odd, con­sid­er­ing its big­gest crit­i­cal hit had been the hard as nails Bat­tlestar Galac­tica – while The CW was unashamedly turn­ing into “Teen Syfy” with Smal­lville, Su­per­nat­u­ral and The Vam­pire Di­aries.

Along­side Lost and Star Trek Team JJ gave us Fringe. At first we weren’t sure what to make of this techno- X- Files. Then it started go­ing bat’s- arse loco on us with al­ter­nate uni­verses and we adored it.

He­roes de­buted, knocked us all for six, and was clearly go­ing to be the big­gest thing since Buffy. Un­til the sec­ond se­ries, which was rub­bish. The cheer­leader had been saved. The world sud­denly didn’t care.

Vam­pires be­came a defin­ing phe­nom­e­non of this phase with True Blood at one end of the cool spec­trum and Twi­light at the other. 30 Days Of Night proved that the un­dead didn’t have to come with re­la­tion­ship prob­lems while Let The Right One In ef­fec­tively in­jected the art of the Scan­di­na­vian longueur into the blood­suck­ing genre.

Re­venge Of The Sith al­most made Lu­cas’s pre­quel tril­ogy bear­able. Su­per­man Re­turned but few no­ticed. The X- Files 2 be­came the least nec­es­sary movie in film his­tory. And Marvel, un­der new screen supremo Kevin Feige, was fi­nally con­struct­ing a uni­fied cin­e­matic uni­verse. More im­por­tantly, the

And he looked so happy with the role at the start…

Growl, growl, growly growl.

Our Jor­dan hangs with

the Mis­fits bad boys.

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