If you’re anything like us, you always have a few fandoms on the back burner that you’re planning on getting into sooner or later. Today our friend melooza1 is sharing a Doctor Who primer for anyone who might be thinking about checking this whole TARDIS thing out. Enjoy!
Ok I’m here to give you a Doctor Who Primer and I hope it may spark your interest in the show. I’m going to break down the Mythology of the show, talk classic Who versus Reboot, give you starting points, spin offs, and then finish off with the odds and ends! Let’s roll! (I’m going to do my best to avoid spoilers but forgive me if I fail.)
Now while there is much much more to Who, this is just the basic stuff to get you started.
The Doctor: This is our main man. He’s a Time Lord who hails from the world of Gallifrey. The Doctor is immortal and instead of dying he regenerates into a completely new person. There have been 10 regenerations and eleven Doctors. He flies through space and time in his ship named the T.A.R.D.I.S. He almost always has a companion with him in his travels. We don’t know his name and when he has to give a name he likes “John Smith”. Most fans refer to the Doctor based on their order.
T.A.R.D.I.S: Stands for “Time And Relative Dimensions In Spaces” and is the Doctor’s ship. It’s bigger on the inside and has a consciousness all its own.
Companions: They are the fortunate (and sometimes unfortunate) folks that travel with the Doctor. There have been male, female, alien and robot. All bring something to the Doctor and are powerful in their own right.
Time Vortex: The highway they travel on so to speak.
Sonic Screwdriver: Doctor’s favorite tool of choice. It’s like his wand if he were a wizard.
Classic Who vs Reboot
Classic Who ran from 1963-1989. It had a total of 26 (HELLO!) series with 8 Doctors. Now, this was the longest running Sci-fi series and was truly amazing in it’s own right. I haven’t watched much of it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching. I’ve promised myself I am going to at least watch the Tom Baker (The 4th Doctor) series soon.
Reboot premiered in 2005 with the episode “Rose” and shows no signs of stopping. It embraces the old Who as well as bringing in its own vibe. It’s divided into the Russell T Davies, run and the Steven Moffat run (Which we are still on now.) You can definitely tell the difference but each have their own strengths and weaknesses. I, myself am more of a RTD gal but I’m thankful that Moffat is there to keep Who alive and fresh. Be warned tho, RTD will make you weep at least once. (More like a million times but whatever.)
Where to Start
That’s really up to you! I know that netflix has all of Classic Who now so you can start at the beginning if you want! Now, is power watching 33 series of Who seems a bit much but what to give Classic Who a try I would suggest starting with Tom Baker’s Run. He seems to be the most beloved Doctor of the Old School Gang AND he inspired my favorite Doctor, David Tennant, to follow his dream and become an actor. That’s enough for me!! But if Old School isn’t for you, you can do what I did and start with the reboot.
Now if I can stress one thing to you, just one thing, it would be: DO NOT SKIP NINE! DON’T DO IT. I know David Tennant is dreamy and Matt Smith is adorable but you need Nine for so many reasons. He’s sassy, awesome and if you miss his series you really will miss so much in terms of story arch’s it’s sad. Nine isn’t my fave but I would fight for him in a heartbeat. I will admit I did not appreciate the power of Nine in the beginning bc I came in at series three (Martha Jones whaaaat!) so I had to go back as re-watch. I am so glad I did bc SO many things made sense once I did. So please, give Nine a chance. PLUS without him you miss out on the creation for one of my fave Doctor Who man ever. Capt Jack. Which leads me to my next thing…
Now I know you may be thinking “Why do I want spin-offs in my Who primer?”. Well let me tell you! There is a good chance that you will get to a point where you won’t be able to get enough Who (Especially for all my RTD fans out there) and you will need more ergo Spin-offs! There is also the chance that the Spin-off may offer you something you’re missing in Who. These shows also have a lot of crossover storylines that enrich the main Who verse.
Torchwood: This show follows Capt. Jack around and is much MUCH darker. Now I’m not kidding when I say this.. You will cry. A lot. But that’s part of the beauty if this show. It’s darker and grittier than Who but very much a part of the Who family. (You’ll also recognize other cast members from Who in the Torchwood cast *wink wink*) Also, for all my slash fans/LGBT folks out there, this may interest you: Capt. Jack has an open relationship with a male co-star. It’s moving and beautiful. No subtext here. I would start this one after you’ve watched series one of Who (Reboot).
- Sarah Jane Smith Adventures: This is the Yin to Torchwood’s Yang. Where it’s a much softer side to the who verse that can be easier for kiddos to watch. It’s geared towards a younger crowd but don’t let that stop you! It’s nice when you’ve just finished season three of Torchwood and you need to get your hope in humanity back. (I’m not even being hyperbolic here.) Plus you get more David Tennant so Woot! If you started with Classic who at any point I don’t need to tell you why you should watch, right? Right? I would recommend starting this after series two of Who (Reboot).
The wrap up
Doctor Who sounds ridiculous until you give it a try. Then suddenly you’re weeping with the Doctor and wondering where you can get edible ball bearings. It also lends itself to rewatches that will provoke more emotions bc most of the storylines are non-linear. (River!) You get great on liners and visit amazing places in history. There are amazing guest stars (Simon Pegg, Colin Morgan what what?) and truly moving stories. But mostly the stories all boil to love in it’s many forms. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?
Thanks Mel! Any other Doctor Who fans out there? What advice do you have for folks interested in getting involved in the fandom?