Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Doctor Who in the nuttiest of nutshells

Ok, here are the BASICS.

(2009 intro music is my favorite: kind of weird, but they PUMPED UP the cellos for this one season and then took them back down when Matt Smith came, so sad.)

Doctor Who is the longest running Sci Fi series ever. It started on the BBC in 1963 and ran through the 80s, had a break with a movie in there somewhere then was revived in 2005, starting the "new" seasons. We're currently in the 7th new season.

William Hartnell as the First Doctor
The Doctor is a Time Lord, a race that polices time throughout the universe. He travels in his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) which is stuck camouflaged as a blue police box. A Time Lord's greatest tool of self preservation is "regenerating", essentially getting a new body and personality when he is injured enough that he can't heal his current body, yet has enough time to regenerate before he dies. This is how there have been 11 actors (that get progressively younger and more attractive...until Matt Smith) to play The Doctor (pretty ingenious).

The new seasons start with the Ninth Doctor (Season 1). In the first episode he picks up Rose, a 19 year old Londoner who shares his travels with him. He usually travels with human companions to temper the spacey-wacey timey-wimey-ness of it all. Rose is my favorite. Christopher Eccelston plays the Ninth Doctor, Billie Piper (the UK's Brittany Spears) plays Rose.
Christopher Eccelston: The Ninth Doctor
The Tenth Doctor (Seasons 2-4, one non-season of 4 specials) is played by David Tennant which is the reason I started watching. He's with Rose for a season, then there's Martha, then Donna (Catherine Tate, currently on The Office as Nellie), then he travels alone for a season.
David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor with Rose and the TARDIS
The Eleventh (5-7) and current Doctor is Matt Smith who travels with Amy Pond and Rory Williams.
Amy Pond and the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith, literally no eyebrows)
The show is a who's who of British actors and historical figures. We've met Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Richard Nixon, Madame de Pompadour, Van Gough and Shakespeare. We've traveled to Pompeii, New New New New...New York, The end of the universe, and lots of other places.

Villains from the past episodes that are good to know are:
The Daleks: The Doctor's greatest enemy: genetically engineered hate machines in salt and pepper shakers
The Cybermen: upgraded humans
The Master: A Time Lord from the Doctor's growing up days.
(Really since I didn't grow up with these guys, I don't get what the big deal is most of the time)

Something of note: The production value in the first couple of seasons is pretty cheeseballs, but the content is there. If you'll stick it out the production gets loads better and the writing just gets more and more phenomenal. That being said, it's the episodes with the commonest and least fantastic villains that really get you.

Episodes that are absolutely fantastic and if nothing else you should give these a try:
Season 1: The Empty Child & The Doctor Dances
Season 2: Tooth and Claw (Queen Victoria!), The Girl In the Fireplace, Army of Ghosts & Doomsday
Season 3: Human Nature, The Family of Blood, & Blink (You HAVE to watch Blink!!!!)
Season 4: Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead
Season 5: Vincent and the Doctor & The Lodger
Season 6: The Impossible Planet, & Let's Kill Hitler

But seriously, if you're not sure about this series watch Blink, it actually has very little to do with the Doctor and doesn't give anything away about the rest of the season. It's just a marvel.

To be honest I haven't been the same Doctor Who fan since David Tennant left. I still can cry and cry when I watch some of his Rose episodes and some of his last. Steven Moffat is the current head writer of DW and the creator and writer of Sherlock. He wrote almost all of the episodes I've suggested. He will MESS YOU UP!

So there you go, it's all on Netflix. If you want a personal guide to which season I think is best for you let me know!

1 comment:

  1. I'm a Blink was the first episode I ever watched and of course it was at like 11:30 p.m. (Iowa PBS used to air it; don't know if they still do.) That was also the same time of night I saw The Empty Child. I kid you not, years after I watched it, I was driving to work in the morning and the memory of hearing "Are you my mummy?" entered into my head and freaked. me. out.

    Most of the other episodes I've seen have been the result of living with a Whovian.