Do you know what the longest running sci-fi show in television history is? I’m guessing the title of the post gave it away, but yes, it’s Doctor Who.

Doctor Who is an interesting phenomenon with curious staying power, no matter in what era it’s televised. Each rendition brings fans old and new along for the ride while the BBC sticks to what’s tried and true. Much like ‘In and Out Burger‘. Focus on what you do well.

For me, Doctor Who was confounding. When I’d come across it, I’d get sucked in and watch it to the end. What’s that about?

In case you didn’t know, Doctor Who is about a 900-year old Time Lord known as “The Doctor” who saves humanity time and time again, no pun there. His only tools are his trusty sonic screwdriver and sharp wit. And the ship that he travels through space and time in, the Tardis, which looks like a phone booth.

Doctor Who started to germinate in mid 1962, when the BBC’s ‘Head of Drama’, Sidney Newman, wanted to replace a children’s drama show that had a time slot between a sports show and a pop music program and do it with a show that entertained but also dispensed some form of fact. He balanced his desire for a show with what I’d consider a timeless survey that was conducted earlier that year, in March of 1962 that concluded that more people watched sci-fi due to compelling character portrayal and not because it was sci-fi. …Huh. Interesting. What does that remind you of?

These facets, along with the desire to keep the show on a shoestring type of budget is what culminated into the first episode of Doctor Who which played on November 23rd, 1963. The rest is history. In present day, that basic character appeal of the show is so compelling across so many variations of society that as of September 2007, the revived series is telecast in 37 countries.

It has quite the following to say the least, and BBC recognizes this. Thus, this season’s Doctor Who finale from BBC, like last year, has 20 additional minutes of air time. A whopping 65 minutes of time-traveling fun compared to the usual 45 minutes, and that’s pretty neat. Unless your only avenue of watching the show is here in the U.S. on the Sci-Fi Channel.

The Sci-Fi Channel is expected to air the usual 42 minutes of time with the finale episode, “Journey’s End“.

This is expected because they did the same thing with last years Doctor Who season finale, and according to a few fans, some of the best parts of the show were cut out from last year’s show. So while they’re already under the scrutiny of the general public for how they’re handling Battlestar Galactica‘s final season, we’re all looking at this new juggling act they’re doing with the worlds most popular science fiction show by editing out the extra time to keep it packed into the advertising schedule of their hour, which includes things like the same ads for their own shows, repeated over and over again.

I expected more from Sci-Fi at least this once, since their new head of the channel is from the BBC but alas, at least England doesn’t bow to the advertising powers every time.

Sources: Teletronic, Wikipedia, io9