Your New to Who FAQ: A Guide For People Ready to Meet the Doctor

Categories: Doctor Who

Having taken Doctor Who as an official religion about a year ago, then managing to trick a major metropolitan news outlet in paying me to talk about it constantly, you're probably not surprised to hear that I have a lot of people on Facebook and other social media asking me about my latest and greatest obsession. I get slews of questions from readers who figure that no one would go on and on like I do about something that wasn't worth the time, and want to maybe join in.

That being said, Doctor Who isn't like other shows. The sheer number of episodes alone is often enough to daunt people wanting to sample it. That was the reason I resisted so long myself. So in order to cut down on the number of times I have to answer questions, I thought I'd pen a basic FAQ in order to help anyone who has been putting off joining in the fun get started.

What the hell is this show about?

The Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He travels through space and time in a ship called the TARDIS, which is bigger on the inside and is disguised as a police phone box. When critically injured, the Doctor can regenerate into a new form with a new look and personality. We are currently on the Eleventh Doctor. He usually travels with between one and three human companions, though occasionally alone. That's the basic gist.

Is that it?

Pretty much everything you need to know about how Doctor Who works can be summed up in a single two minute scene.

Do I have to watch the old series first?

Absolutely not. First off, you can't watch all of it anyway because some of the episodes have been lost. Second, Doctor Who is not some continuous storyline. It more or less reboots with every new incarnation, though the basic history is kept more or less intact. You will have no problem following the new series if you haven't seen the old.

But should I watch the old series?

Of course at some point. Lots of it is brilliant. The easiest place to start old school Who is with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker). He has loads of complete serials streaming on Netflix. In addition to being one of the most popular Doctors ever, Baker also had two of the best companions, Sarah Jane Smith and the robotic dog K-9, and a couple of episodes written by none other than Douglas Adams. I suggest "Pyramids of Mars" as a jumping off point for those wanting to explore the classics.

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just watched The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances per your rec, that was one well written story. I'll give a few more a go.


I agree, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances is a fantastic place to start. When I first got obsessed with the show last year I had made it half way through season 2 and wanted to get my roommate and her then boyfriend into it. So I asked if they wanted to check out an amazing show and when they said yes I was like "I'm going to show you these two episodes and that's all, if you like it then cool!" After watching those they were hooked! We immediately went back and started from the beginning. We marathoned it so hard core until we finished season 6 and then had to wait forever for season 7 to start.


Regarding his name... Don't you remember that sequence where the Doctor and the Master are shown the time vortex and they choose their names? According to the Master, the Doctor chose this name as part of Gallifreyan customs to reflect his constant need to make people better. (TV: The Sound of Drums). As for his real name, it is known by a few, like River Song... I think it is also important to mention that this show is child friendly. Sometimes it can be a tad scary or violent, but no more than most cartoons. But, unlike cartoons, this show is intelligent and does impart lessons on tolerance and non-violent solutions.


 @drusilla.grey I remember that, when the Doctor chose his name. I mentioned that in another thread the other day, but I wasn't 100% certain if I was right. I think a few of the episodes might be a tad scary for young children -- everything Weeping Angels and The Empty Child scared the bejesus out of me -- but I agree it is a PG show safe for watching as a family. Which is nice for a change.


@kstabe1982 I guess it depends on the kid. My two were 5 and 3 when they started watching it. The younger loves The Empty Child, while the older is creeped out by it. They both love the Angles and have made a game out of being Weeping Angles. Then again, my two have a goth mother who loves horror and sci-fi and raised them with it...


 @drusilla.grey  @kstabe1982

 Someday I will make a weeping garden gnome figurine, I swear it.  In spite of the last episode of this season, I still like those guys.  Absolutely love "The Doctor Dances."  It was the first completely, totally happy ending of the new series.  "Just this once, everybody lives!"  As for introducing someone to the old series, I got my kids hooked on old "Who" with "City of Death." Timey things are happening, an old fashioned sort of cop is punching things, the Doctor keeps jumping through history so that the time travel is obvious and easy to spot for little ones, there's a squishy alien and a large prop that does special effects. 


Apropos of nothing, I think Amy and Rory were at a gallery in Houston this week: . The clothes look awfully familiar.

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