‘Doctor Who’ mania is spreading through American fandom

"Dr. Who" - Press Line - Comic-Con International 2012
SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 15: (L-R) Executive producer Caroline Skinner, Actors Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and writer/executive producer Steven Moffat attend “Dr. Who” Press Line during Comic-Con International 2012 at Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel on July 15, 2012 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

By, Heather Maloney

As any American Whovian will attest, “Doctor Who” is becoming a popular franchise in the states. While at first it feels a tad odd to have other people understand every reference on an Adipose shirt, it is amazing for those who have had to explain “Doctor Who” to everyone for the past few decades. Not only is “Asylum of the Daleks” currently the top television download on iTunes, Matt Smith’s rise in fame is becoming more apparent. The website Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, utilizes a ‘Star Rating’ system to gauge a star’s popularity where a rating of 1 is the most popular. According to IMDb, Matt Smith has risen from a star rating of 1734 after last year’s Christmas special to his current score of 494. Besides the fact that “Doctor Who” is an amazing show, what is causing this sudden increase in popularity?

Television References

While “Doctor Who” has been airing in the United States since the 1970’s, recent television references have showcased the show to those who would not normally be viewers.  Craig Ferguson has been speaking about “Doctor Who” for years on “The Late Late Show”. Not only does he display a TARDIS on his desk, has invited the cast to appear and has his own Dalek, Ferguson has highlighted the show through opening numbers and video pieces about the Gallifrey One convention.

The Nerdist has become a blossoming cornerstone of American fandom. Chris Hardwick, Matt Mira and Jonah Ray constantly reference “Doctor Who” in both their podcast and their television show on BBC America. Many of the show’s stars have been guests on The Nerdist including David Tennant, John Barrowman and Matt Smith. In fact, they recently challenged the current cast and show runner to a game of bowling and hilarity.

Community” on NBC has incorporated their own spoof version of “Doctor Who”. Inspector Spacetime has become popular in his own right. He appeared as a guest at last year’s Gallifrey One convention.

Merchandising

Collecting “Doctor Who” items or even showing one’s fandom on a shirt has been very difficult in America without the internet. Even then, a majority of items have to be ordered directly from England. With the accessibility of items on such American sites as AmazonThink Geek and Who North America, purchasing merchandise has become an easier proposition. Today Cafe Press and BBC Worldwide announced that they will begin partnering to make “Doctor Who” items even more accessible in North America.

Press Coverage

Major American news sites such as CNN and USA Today have recently been covering “Doctor Who” news items and reviewing episodes. In the world of Celebrity news, E Online covered Elisabeth Sladen’s passing and David Tennant’s new child.

Fans

The “Doctor Who” fan community is one of the friendliest and most welcoming groups in all of fandom. Whovians go out of their way to become champions of the show and to spread the word to any and all who will listen. The biggest ingredient to the shows recent popularity is the American fan base and their dedication to all things “Doctor Who”.

As the world is turning the corner into the 50th year of “Doctor Who”, many fans wonder what took so long for Americans to realize how amazing the show is. Now that the time has come, one can celebrate and join in the rise of its popularity.

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Published by: Heather Maloney

Heather Maloney is an avid Doctor Who and British science fiction fan. She attends the Gallifrey One Convention in Los Angeles annually, and facilitates the Doctor Who Panels for the Starfest Convention in Denver. During her active Doctor Who Fandom, she has met four Doctors, countless companions and numerous Doctor Who actors, writers and directors. Contact Heather at doctorwhoheather@gmail.com. http://www.examiner.com/user-doctorwhoheather

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