The DLB had the good fortune to preview the upcoming season premiere of the long-running BBC sci-fi show Dr. Who Wednesday night, and it’s crackerjack stuff. As part of just three audiences worldwide to preview the episode (entitled “The Impossible Astronaut), we were hosted by “InnerSPACE” hosts AJ Fry and Teddy Wilson and dedicated the evening to much-loved Dr. Who actress Elisabeth Sladen, who played companion Sarah Jane Smith and died this past week from cancer. In addition, we learned that Episode 4 will be the much-discussed Neil Gaiman-penned episode.

As for the premiere, Matt Smith returns for his second season as the peripatetic Time Lord, as do his companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and her now-husband Rory (Arthur Darville), as well as mystery woman River Song (Alex Kingston). The initial episode is difficult to talk about without revealing spoilers so suffice it to say that it starts with a bang (literally) and sees our four principals meeting after a significant amount of time in the American Southwest. (Allowing the doctor to utter the immortal phrase: “Stetsons are cool!”) From there they venture back in time to 1969 in order to solve the mystery of a mysterious astronaut, a race of aliens in snazzy suits, and a little girl with a direct line to Richard Nixon.

The frisson between the Doctor and River Song is most definitely there and the tragedy of their ongoing relationship is hinted at, and the writing by show runner Steven Moffatt is quick and witty. We’re also liking the casting of Mark Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural) as a maverick ex-special agent brought in to solve Nixon’s problems.

Dr. Who premieres at 8 pm EST across Canada on SPACE, for the first time day and date with the BBC.

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