K-9 (A Spinoff too far?)

Posted by: Dr. Geek

K-9 (A Spinoff too far?)

Faced with yet another void of Doctor Who related material till December, I figured now would be a good time to discuss the new K-9 series. Unlike Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, K-9 is not produced by the BBC, but instead filmed in Australia, for Disney XD and Network Ten.

Whether this series is considered part of the Doctor Who canon is a complex question. K-9 was co-created by Bob Baker and the BBC. Therefore, Mr. Baker had the right to use the character of K-9 while the BBC controlled the image of K-9. Ultimately the BBC declined to be involved in the series fearing that with so many other spin-offs, this may be an extension too far. So where does this leave us? To find out, join me behind the spoiler bar.

With the BBC not participating, the production has an extremely limited access to The Doctor Who Universe. The original K-9 appears in the opening episode. The producers have said this K-9 is the K-9 Mark I that was last seen with Leela. I found this to be a extremely cool idea, as it then sets this show apart from SJA and New Who in so much as there is no need to fit this robot dog into the history of the other shows. Just do not ask me how K-9 escaped Gallifrey. From what I have seen of the show, this series does not even attempt to address The Time War.

The only other references to Doctor Who are: the first few notes of the theme tune (played while K-9 is being repaired in the first episode) and some pictures of classic series aliens in the episode The Curse of Anubis. Putting this all together, I would say this show is as much cannon as anything else, or at least could be. if the BBC brought it within the fold for a series 2, they could easily incorporate the show.

I have not seen the entire series, but so far, the setting, the sets, and the casting have worked for me (Once I got past the obvious Harry Potter inspired casting decisions). Placing the show in London of 2050 was a good idea. It may take a moment to get use to but the good thing about it is it tells the viewer all bets are off. We have no idea how the world became the way it is so some of the fun is learning the mythology of the new world. The stories are on par with first season SJA so far. Some episodes are better than others. I think SJA wins out because of Sarah and the history she brings, which this show really cannot duplicate.

The new K-9 or should this be The 2nd K-9? also worked for me. I was not originally a fan of the redesign, but in a weird way it makes sense that K-9 Mark I may have been given a regeneration ability upgrade sometime during his stay on Gallifrey, and if his 2nd incarnation is a bit odd well it happens to the best of them, just ask The Doctor. I am sure everyone remembers how odd The 6th Doctor’s clothes were. :)

Okay so what did not work? Well I am not a big fan of some children’s television conventions. I could do without the bodily function humor that shows up from time to time, and the adults are always inattentive at the right moment or absent minded at just the right moment to pad the plot for another 15 minutes. I guess stuff like that sticks out more when you realize the story was doing just fine without it, or the kids would get in enough trouble without having the adults be inconsistent. But with that basic complaint aside, I am not sure K-9 is a strong enough character to have his own show. This could easily been Torchwood 2050 than anything else. K-9 is more a mobile sonic screwdriver with a low capacity battery (two shots and he has to power down or else the problems would be solved too soon). Sure Sidekicks can become heroes in their own right, but I am not convinced K-9 has made that transition even after this regeneration.

Has anyone else seen this show? What do you think?

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About the Author

Dr. Geek holds two doctorate degrees and is an archaeologist and an attorney who has done extensive research on myths and their impact on modern archaeology and modern storytelling. He appreciates the history and mythology woven together in the Doctor Who shows.


  1. Erik  September 8, 2010

    I saw a few epsiodes at the last Gallifrey and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Yeah, it is obviously aimed at kids, but was quite the enjoyable show. I, too, had problems with the new K-9 design when I first saw it, but I was surprised how much I accepted it in the show. I also laughed at your line of “obvious Harry Potter inspired casting decisions” as about five minutes into the first episode, I leaned over to my friend and said “Do you think they intentionally set out to cast a girl who looks just like Emma Watson?” :-)

    I think they were wise to essentially have the three kids be the lead characters and K-9 be a more animated sonic screwdriver as, yes, he works better as a supporting character…much like Mickey the Idiot. Tin dogs unite! ;-)

    All in all I enjoyed it as a piece of children’s fluff. Not something I would stay home to watch but if I had kids I would be happy to show it to them. especially considering the usual shows aimed at this age group.

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  2. Dr. Geek  September 8, 2010

    I just saw the episode where the kids go back to 1963. Overall it was a nice homage to Back to the Future. Would have been better if they could have had a police box on screen if only for a moment. After all the events take place at a police station. Unfortunately the BBC now owns that design.

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