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?
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.
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 Amazon, Think 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.
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.
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.