“Doctor Who” fans both old and new found much to love at the 50th Anniversary Live Pre-Show held at the YouTube Space in L.A. on Saturday. The screening of "Who's" 50th anniversary special mirrored thousands of such gatherings from theaters to pubs to living rooms, and the resulting global simulcast set a Guinness World Record for the largest-ever simulcast of a TV drama, airing in 94 countries at precisely 7:50 p.m. GMT.
The "Doctor Who" screening occurred at the same time and in the same building as a One Direction event (“1D Day,” where, presumably, the band members staged a re-creation of the invasion of Normandy), but the noise from that crowd was easily dwarfed by the cheers that went up for the "Who" opening credits, done in the style of the original 1963 incarnation of the show.
Including the “Night of the Doctor” minisode, six former and current Doctors put in an appearance, and all of the rest were represented in some fashion with archival footage. In the audience, there were plenty of the Eleventh Doctor's trademark bow ties, suspenders, and fezzes, as well as the Fourth Doctor's multicolored scarf.
Tom Baker's surprise cameo near the end suggested that he may, in fact, be the Fourth Doctor. Peter Capaldi — who will be taking over the role with this year's Christmas special — didn't say anything, but his eyes were enough to set hearts thumping. The irritation of a weary John Hurt as he dealt with the near-childlike demeanor of David Tennant and Matt Smith's Doctors was a delight, but the way the younger/older Doctors came back to help Hurt's was where the episode (and the series as a whole) really demonstrated its power.
The L.A. pre-show was hosted by Veronica Belmont and featured YouTube's Phil DeFranco, L.A. Times' Noelene Clark, and “MythBusters" star Grant Imahara, along with roving reporter Anthony Carboni. Many fans were still choked up after the episode, and had difficulty speaking through bittersweet tears.
Similar screenings were held worldwide, including the U.K., where they take their "Doctor Who" cosplay seriously.
“Doctor Who” is best seen with fans of the show, so if you get a chance, the special will be showing on hundreds of screens Monday, Nov. 25. The cheer that fills the theater on the line “All 13” will make it worth your while.
Still want more? Here's a deleted scene from the special, and for fans of old "Who," “The Five Doctors Reboot,” written and directed by Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor) and starring Doctors 5 through 8 (Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann), or catch a re-airing of the BBC-produced docudrama “An Adventure in Space and Time” about the creation of the series. Hopefully, that will tide you over until the Christmas special.