This highly requested TV movie aired on Fox on May 14, 1995, and is available on North American video for the first time. The Doctor is returning home to Gallifrey with the remains of his arch-nemesis, the Master. Forced off course, the TARDIS arrives in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 1999, where the Doctor is critically wounded in a gangland gun battle. At the local hospital, Dr. Grace Holloway fights--and fails--to save his life. Later, in the morgue, the Doctor wakes up a new man. But he is not the only one--the Master has also found himself a new body. As the clock counts down to the start of the new millennium, can the Doctor stop his oldest enemy from destroying all life on Earth?
Made to re-launch television's most famous time traveler, Doctor Who: The Movie
is an expensive feature-length episode which attempts to continue the classic series and work as a stand-alone film. Transporting the remains of the Master, Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor is diverted to San Francisco in 1999. Regenerating in the form of Paul McGann, the Doctor gains a new companion in heart surgeon Dr. Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) and must stop the Master from destroying the world. All of which might have been fine, had not the most eccentrically British of programs been almost entirely assimilated by the requirements of American network broadcasting. Matthew Jacobs' screenplay is literally nonsense, dependent on arbitrary, unexplained events while introducing numerous elements that contradict established Doctor Who mythology. The Tardis is re-imagined as a bizarre pre-Raphaelite/Gothic folly, while the Doctor, now half-human, becomes romantically involved with his lady companion. From the West Coast setting to metallic CGI morphing, from the look of Eric Roberts as the Master to a motorcycle/truck freeway chase, director Geoffrey Sax borrows freely from James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day
(1991). Doctor Who fans should feel relieved this travesty was not successful enough to lead to a series, though McGann himself does have the potential to make a fine Doctor. --Gary S Dalkin