A couple of years ago, I was working the graveyard shift in a call center where we didn’t get a lot of calls, and on the weekends, we really didn’t have a lot of other work to do either. Our manager was pretty lenient on what we could do, as long as we stayed awake and were ready to answer a call when it came in. Also, during this time, I was looking for something new and different to get into. I kept hearing about this “Doctor Who” show, and so I wondered what all the fuss was about. The only thing I knew about Doctor Who was that it was on PBS late at night on Saturdays and it always looked really old. And he had a really long scarf. From what I had seen as a kid on PBS, it just looked really low-budget and I just wasn’t interested. So, now I wondered about this new “reboot” that had been happening and I noticed that it was getting a lot of attention from geeks everywhere. I wanted to know if it was any good. I thought about checking it out from the library, but didn’t know when I would have the time to watch it. Then I heard it was on Netflix, and thought that might be doubly useful for me. On the one hand, it would be an easy way to watch the show at my pace, and on the other hand it would give me something to watch on the weekends at work, as I could stream it on my phone. I was in. I signed up for Netflix just to watch Doctor Who.
I always see a lot of people recommending which episodes to begin with (by and large “Blink” seems to be the number one choice), but I can’t do that. I wanted to watch the show from the beginning. So I started doing a little research into Doctor Who and found out the beginning was 1963, and there was a lot to catch up on, and Netflix didn’t have it all. So I compromised, and I started at the new beginning, with Christopher Eccleston. It seemed like a good place to pick up. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the show to begin with. The effects still looked low-grade, but the stories were interesting. I loved the Doctor. Eccleston nailed it, I thought. He was quirky and weird, but not over the top. At the same time he was really cool. I think because of his cool leather jacket. In the beginning, I couldn’t quite get a grasp on this Doctor character, though. Was he a good guy, or really not so great? Then I got to “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” episodes, and that’s when I got who the Doctor was and is, and I was hooked. Doctor Who was becoming my new favorite show ever. My new obsession (my says I tend to get obsessed at times). All of that happened thanks to Netflix. I would have never gotten into Doctor Who if they had not had it available to stream. I wouldn’t have begun my subscription to Netflix if they had not had it available.
As I am sure many of you are aware, there has been quite the recent uproar on the internet about Doctor Who on Netflix. What it basically comes down to is this: if you go into Netflix and search for Doctor Who (Maybe it’s in your queue, so you won’t have to search), and then hover over it, a little word bubble opens with a description of the series and some other information. Included in that other information is the “Availability,” which says “Until 2/1/2015.” That has sent fans of the show into a frenzy. No one wants to lose access to the show through Netflix. Surely you have seen social media posts about this and petitions to Netflix to keep the series, but there has been little news about the series staying. We all know that Netflix cycles through its offerings, but it just seems shocking that they wouldn’t want to keep this series. Sometimes, though, they don’t have a choice. The contract ends, the distributing people don’t want to renew, and that’s it. That is worst case scenario for anything Netflix has.
There are few reports coming out now that it may not be so dire for Doctor Who, and all of the BBC programming on Netflix. According to the web site “The Best of Netflix,” a source has confirmed that Netflix and BBC are in talks to renew their contract for Doctor Who. Netflix realizes this is a super popular show, and BBC realizes that Netflix is a key outlet for growing the fan base of the show, particularly in the United States. According to the article, it is not uncommon for these types of negotiations to come down to the last minute like this. The source comments that the talks could possibly bring an immediate renewal, so the series will not be removed, but if it is a deal will be struck within months, possibly weeks to get the show back on the streaming service. The deal, according to the same source, will be a package deal, not just for Doctor Who, but all the BBC properties Netflix currently offers.
So, hopefully a deal will be done between now and February 1, and there will be no interruption of streaming, but if it does go off the service, don’t worry, it will be coming back. This couldn’t come at a worse time. This is that time between series, so series 8 has just ended and we just had the Christmas special, and it probably won’t be until fall that we get Series 9. Netflix was a place to go to get Doctor Who in the mean time. Hopefully they will get it back quickly. If you are concerned, by all means let Netflix know. It cannot be over communicated how much having this show means to people. We don’t want to think that it looks like everything will be worked out, so we can sit back and relax now, and then everything is not worked out because the heat was taken off them to make a deal.