THE NEW WHO-NIVERSE
We meet an old friend and plenty of new ones
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.