[UPDATE: BBC America has released a statement about the forthcoming simulcast. Scroll for details.]
It’s a known predicament for the US based fans of UK based properties: the waiting game, be it hours, days, or even more than a month before you can see the same episode that the folks across the pond get to watch when it premiered. Doctor Who fans don’t usually have to wait too long, but when there is a huge episode like the upcoming 50th Anniversary Special, every second counts.
Thankfully, the BBC has recognized this and are working to ensure that the special will air simultaneously across the world.
Here’s a bit from a statement by the BBC (notice how they don’t even mention the Archangel Network):
“It’s always been our ambition to work with our broadcast partners so that international ‘Doctor Who’ fans can enjoy the 50th Anniversary special at the same time as the UK. We’ll have more details soon about our very exciting global plans for November.”
Now, while this will be a treat for fans, it won’t necessarily be a convenient one, because we don’t know what time the episode will air. Logic dictates that a prime time broadcast in the UK is likely, and that would mean an afternoon broadcast in the US and an even earlier broadcast in other parts of the world. Luckily, November 23rd is a Saturday, so global productivity shouldn’t decline too much. The BBC is expecting record-shattering numbers, airing the special in as many as 200 countries for approximately 100 million people who won’t have to live in fear of twitter spoilers.
Another thing fans don’t have to fear? Overexposure. Steven Moffat always keeps things close to the vest, but for the 50th, he’s surely going to kick things into high gear.
We already know that he threatened to wash away the chance of any future Doctor Who San Diego Comic Con exclusives should the special trailer screened at the con make its way onto the Internet, and it doesn’t seem likely that the BBC is going to nullify the point of those words anytime soon by releasing it themselves.
That doesn’t mean that at some point we won’t see some kind of trailer, but it isn’t likely going to do anything more than break off the tiniest sliver of a morsel of a detail, and for once, that might be okay.
A deluge of spoilers and teasers are the norm now, but for an event such as this that will play out on a global scale, do we really need to be lured in anymore than we already are? Besides that, isn’t it a bit of a throwback to an earlier era when we would all plop down in front of the TV without a shred of inside information or a clue as to what we were about to witness?
There’s a forgotten virtue in not knowing everything. Sure, this information helps us all make informed decisions about what to commit ourselves to watching in a crowded field, but sometimes gathering up too much of it can seem like sitting too close to the TV to get a better look, in turn warping our perspective and ruining the potentially ruining the experience.
The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special may be awesome and it may be garbage, but it seems likely that it’ll be a complete surprise. There’s just something extremely neat and very Doctor Who-y about witnessing this event at the same time as the rest of the world and sharing the experience together.
UPDATE: BBC America has sent out a press release pertaining to the Doctor Who simulcast and 3D theater screenings in the US. You can read a portion of it below:
New York – October 1, 2013 – Announced today, BBC AMERICA will simulcast the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor, in the U.S. on November 23, 2013. For the first time ever, the world’s longest running and most successful sci-fi series will be broadcast simultaneously to millions of viewers worldwide in a global simulcast.
From the U.S. to the UK, Canada to Colombia, Brazil to Botswana and Myanmar to Mexico, fans in at least 75 countries spanning six continents will be able to enjoy the episode at the same time as the UK, with more countries expected to be confirmed within the next month. The one-off special stars Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor), Jenna Coleman (companion Clara), David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) with Billie Piper and John Hurt.
In addition, BBC AMERICA will be dedicating an entire week to Doctor Who in November, including the new film An Adventure in Space and Time, marathons and new specials to be announced.
On top of the worldwide TV broadcast, BBC AMERICA will announce in the coming weeks details of select 3D screenings of the anniversary episode in theaters in the U.S.
The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special will air all over the world on November 23rd, 2013.