Do Star Trek and Doctor Who have something in common? Every franchise is different from one another, each possessing a distinctive quality that makes them stand out and gather their intended, loyal audience. However, it’s somehow a creative endeavor or a creative outlet for an artist to sometimes draw inspiration from the works of others to be able to demonstrate what he thinks is going to work, like what James Cameron said when he said he’s trying to parallel Avatar: The Way of Water with Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.
In an interview with GQ, Russell T. Davies, who's returning as showrunner for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, said he will try to live up to Star Trek’s success with his expanded Doctor Who universe, as he now delights in a bigger budget and the potential variety of spinoff shows. He specifically noted the power of streaming, which audiences seem to be into these days, making things somehow easier for viewership.
“The world has changed. And we're now in the age of the streamer. I watch the Star Trek empire with vast envy: the way that's turned itself from an old archive show into something fantastic. The cast is so progressive, so good, and so beautiful. And very cleverly I think Star Trek is reaching out to making something like fifty-two episodes a year. So that's your yearly show, genius. And there's a problem with the BBC, it's a public service broadcaster, so there's only so much they'll ever commit to.” he said.
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He continued, “So I thought — with no criticism whatsoever towards the people who were running it at the time because they were running it within the BBC's measures — it was time for the next stage for Doctor Who. I thought the streaming platforms are ready, the spin-offs are ready; I always believed in spin-offs when I was there. I did Torchwood as a spin-off, and The Sarah Jane Adventures as a spin-off. Those spin-offs declined when I left, and I can see why. And I very much left after 2008, when the money became scarce, I think that's fair enough for the public service broadcaster that the money is spent on other things.”
Before his comeback, Davies was responsible for Doctor Who’s revival in 2005, making the show a global phenomenon and one of TV’s biggest hits until he left in 2009, and despite the show continuing to thrive, for some, it was never the same without Davies as showrunner. But fans have begun to have more faith as Davies returns with bigger plans for the franchise.
Doctor Who debuted only three years before Star Trek, but the latter dominated the media empire and became widely popular due to its various films and television shows that span genres and all revolve around a simple premise. But with Disney+ catering to Doctor Who this time around, it’s possible for the TARDIS franchise to achieve that larger viewership.
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Despite not being on the same “budget level as Star Wars and the Marvel shows,” according to Davies, Doctor Who's 60th anniversary could be one of those shows that shows how the era of streaming services can impact any franchise.