"Dr. Who," "Dr. Who" and more "Dr. Who." By now even those few Americans still disavowing their inner geeks and/or Anglophiles must know the British sci-fi classic "Dr. Who" is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary (yes, it debuted in Britain on the day of the
Through television's niftiest narrative sleight of hand, a defining characteristic of a Time Lord, along with his two hearts, is the tendency to regenerate every few years. This means he's very difficult to kill, but more important, no one will ever get tired of the guy who's playing him. Ten actors have played the Doctor since
Having jumped the pond with the advent of
Not surprisingly, the BBC and BBC America are pulling out all the stops to celebrate his mid-century birthday. Old episodes of the modern doctor have been running constantly on BBC America (and are also available on
But all of this is just the appetizer. The main course comes Saturday night with "The Day of the Doctor," an anniversary special airing simultaneously in 75 countries, including the UK and the U.S., on theater and television screens. Written by Steven Moffat, who took over leadership of the series two years ago, it promises to be a love letter to the fans, uniting past doctors 10 and 11 (
Allons-y! Back episodes, BBC America, all the time. "An Adventure in Space and Time," Friday, 8 p.m.; "The Day of the Doctor," Saturday, 8 p.m.
"Atlantis." Since you're watching "Day of the Doctor" anyway, you might as well stay tuned for BBC's new fantasy action adventure, a crazy yet undeniably appealing mess of Greek mythology, early mathematics (Pythagoras is a character) and very fake Mediterranean history, perfect for people who still miss
Meet Jason (Jack Donnelly), a super-handsome, super-sad guy in search of his father who disappeared, the way fathers often do, in a tragic submarine accident. Having inexplicably raised enough money to hire his own bubble sub, Jason has just caught a glimpse of the father ship (called the Oracle) when he is drawn into a bright light and quickly finds himself cast naked and gleaming onto the sands of a strange and foreign land.
This turns out to be Atlantis but looks a lot like Morocco, (which it is), not to mention every sandy, colorful market-riven city to ever appear in an action adventure film. It plays more like Crete, though, since the king is Minos and there is a Minotaur, which Jason will eventually defeat with the aid of his new friend Pythagoras (wimpy math-head played by Robert Emms) and a rotund slacker named Hercules (
But, if you're not a classic mythology purist or looking for something more than a pretty fun, occasionally hilarious sword 'n sandal romp, "Atlantis" is worth a look. Family-friendly too. BBCE America, Saturday, 10 p.m.
Fortunately, you can still count on the Peanuts gang. "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, airing Thanksgiving night on