TV Tuesdays highlights TV shows that started in or after the 1980’s, with occasional exceptions.
This week’s TV show is….
Starting in ’63, Doctor Who celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last November. And if you’re anything like me, (aka, already a Whovian,) you showed your Doctor Who pride in t-shirts, purses, cosplay, jewelry, whatever. (I wore a t-shirt.)
For those of you who have never seen Doctor Who, the general premise of the show is about a Time Lord (The Doctor) who travels in his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) that looks like a 1960’s London police box, fixing stuff that’s gone wrong. He picks up people along the way, who travel with him for awhile, until (in rare cases) they’re killed, (or maybe sucked into a parallel dimension… spoilers!) or fall in love with someone and stay behind (or in the case of Martha Jones from Season 3 of New Who, aka 2005-present) fall in love with the Doctor and decide to leave because he’s pretty much oblivious, or just decide to leave because they can’t take the death and destruction anymore. (Yeah, it’s kind of a dark show. My dad calls it “entry-level horror.”)
There’ve been 11 Doctors so far (plus the Time War Doctor from the 50th anniversary) and the 12th Doctor starts off in August. For those of you wondering “how is this possible?” the answer is that the Doctor, being a Time Lord, can regenerate (think a phoenix) whenever he’s fatally wounded/poisoned (Most of the Doctors, notably Five, Eight, and Ten,) or his current body is just getting worn out and old. (Such was the case of the First Doctor and the War Doctor.)
The episodes tend to follow a monster of the week format, which I don’t mind, but I know some people don’t like it. Sometimes the monster’s on Earth, sometimes it’s on the Moon, sometimes it’s billions of light-years away and 200,000 years in the future. Or on Earth in the future. Or the past. Or somewhere in between. It’s not called “Time and Relative Dimension in Space” for nothing. (Or as a couple of the later Doctors prefer to call it, “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.”)
Episodes run the gambit from corny to brilliant, full-blown horror to a nice easy character episode. I’ll provide a list of the best five episodes to start with (in my opinion,) at the end of this post. I recommend you watch those, then start in Season 1 of New Who if you like it. (Season 1, Ninth Doctor.) Once you’ve watched the new stuff, find an episode list on the internet and watch Classic Who. Get episodes off of iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Netflix. (You’ll have to do a bit of searching for some episodes.) Not all the episodes are available anymore, because of BBC’s erasure policies during the 60’s, a lot of early episodes are missing. And you’ll probably have to rent the 1996 movie featuring the Eighth Doctor, since that was his only appearance.
As far as content goes, language is really pretty mild, romance doesn’t go beyond kissing, (there’s some innuendo though) and there’s not a lot of gore (some gross moments when something explodes occasionally.) Overall, I’d recommend New Who for 10 and up, and Classic Who for 8 and up.
Warning – the show tends to be something that once you get into it, it’s easy to binge-watch. At least for me.
Doctor Who Top 5 (New Who)
1. Blink (just watch it. And don’t blink.) (Tenth Doctor, Season 3)
2. The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone (gotta admit, the Weeping Angels make the best episodes. Plus, River Song.) (Eleventh Doctor, Season 5)
3. The Christmas Invasion (David Tennant’s first full episode as the Doctor.) (Tenth Doctor, Season 2)
4. The Eleventh Hour (Matt Smith’s first full episode as the Doctor. Fish fingers and custard.) (Eleventh Doctor, Season 5)
5. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead (RIVER SONG! Sorry, gotta love River.) (Tenth Doctor, Season 4)
These are episodes that I love the most, and I feel give the best intro to the series. (Blink being the single best episode ever, in my opinion.) If you think differently, feel free to leave a comment.
Plus, three bonus episodes once you’ve watched those!
6. Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways (Last episode with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. Lovely season finale. (Ninth Doctor, Season 1)
7. The Waters of Mars (Horrifying, but brilliant. Best of Tennant’s final episodes as the Doctor.) (Tenth Doctor, 2008-2010 Specials, often part of Season 4.)
8. Vincent and the Doctor (Lovely character episode. Plus, alien harassing Vincent Van Gogh.) (Eleventh Doctor, Season 5)
There you go – eight episodes, some two-parters, that to me, are some of the best of New Who.
Have fun traveling in time and space with the Doctor!