TV: Sci Fi: You and WHO’s army?

Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Television

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SCI FI CHANNEL PHOTOS

Doctor Who fans in the U.S. have been patient. Most of us. I know some who have resorted to less-than-legal means to watch the show between its U.K. debut and eventual American broadcast, rationalizing that they’ll watch every commercial when it finally comes out on Sci Fi or buy the DVDs eventually.

The agony is almost over. Tonight’s episode, “The Stolen Earth,” is the penultimate of the season, and next week’s season finale “Journey’s End” will last 90 minutes and start a half-hour earlier, at 8:30 p.m. After that, it’s a yearlong hiatus as star David Tennant appears in the title role in Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet with Patrick Stewart as Claudius. Four Doctor Who specials, including one at Christmas and Easter in the U.K., will fill the void until a fifth season picks up in 2010.

After last week’s continuity-bending episode “Turn Left,” the Doctor now knows that Rose (Billie Piper, above) is back from the parallel universe where he was forced to leave her at the end of Series 2, and that the ugly specter of “Bad Wolf” has returned to threaten the universe.

Now, for “The Stolen Earth,” a veritable “Who’s army” (sometimes’ referred to as “the children of time”) is forming as the Doctor’s companions, new and old, join forces to fight the darkness — aka, the Daleks.

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From left: Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen), Mickey Smith (no relation; Noel Clarke); Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri), Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), the Doctor (David Tennant), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Capt. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). Sladen was the Doctor’s traveling companion in the early-to-mid-’70s, and now has her own spinoff, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Barrowman began as a companion in the first season of the 2005 revival, then went on to his own spinoff, Torchwood (an anagram of Doctor Who). The others have traveled with the Doctor at various times since the revival, beginning with Piper’s much-loved Rose character.

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