A recent Den of Geek article compares the BBCs Doctor Who with ITVs Primeval, with the ITV show coming off worse as Doctor Who is shown to use CGI sparingly, have more developed storylines and not rely on a big chase sequence.
Furthermore they also argue that the show borrows heavily from Doctor Who, with a recent instalment featuring an important and well connected person contracting a killer plague (the ultimate yeast infection) and becoming a threat to Londoners, even borrowing the railway station setting from The Silurians.
The fact is however that these are two distict TV shows that at best compliment each other, and at worst provide filler space for fans of one while the other is off air. Primeval is going through its own regeneration at the moment, and for hope of British fantasy TV we all hop it survives without going to far. The recent announcement of a Primeval film proves that there is plenty of life in the concept.
However the most fascinating aspect about this whole Den of Geek article is the fact that two British sci fi serials are being contrasted and compared. Not two US series, not a British and American series, but two British series.
Regardless of what we may think about various elements of modern Doctor Who the fact remains that it is recognised as a more sophisticated show than it ever was. It wins TV and sci-fi awards, airs on the Unitted States’ dedicated sci-fi channel and rubs shoulders with other popular and cult shows from across the pond.
It is also strong enough in concept not to lose credibility (Heroes) or the plot (Lost) – but then this is nothing new to hardcore long term Doctor Who fans who have always championed the flexibility of their show’s format.
British TV fantasy and sci-fi programming may not be enjoying the sort of success it enjoyed throughout the 1970s, but with Doctor Who, Primeval and adult material such as Survivors and Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes we’re in the middle of a resurgence that means we can stop looking stateside for genre programming and get on with the job of loving our own television.