I’m a newcomer to the world of Doctor Who, and yet in a way, I’ve been living with the show for quite a while. I saw a few episodes of the classic series when I was a kid, though not enough to really understand it (very understandable if you know how the classic series structured its episodes). My husband of over 17 years is a big fan of the show, from the time he was a boy in the 70s, filling his dreams and fancies with Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy. He’d tell me about the Doctor Who universe, but as the show spanned 26 years, it was prohibitively expensive to try to gather a collection of tapes of the show, so I never got to see it. The idea of a man traveling though time and space, exploring new worlds and saving people from horrible monsters was enchanting, but not something I had the opportunity to explore.
In 2005, the BBC resurrected the show, with Christopher Eccleston playing the ninth incarnation of the Doctor. I thought this might be a great opportunity to get into the show, but my husband did not want to watch it, as he felt it would destroy his wonderful memories of the classic show. He had already experienced this when the 1996 Doctor Who movie came out: the movie was disappointing and my husband was devastated. (The movie did very well in Great Britain, and we have not viewed it since then, so maybe it’s better than we remember.) Years went by, and the Doctor changed into David Tennant, then Matt Smith, and everything we heard about the show was wonderful, and still, he wasn’t interested, so we continued to ignore it. Finally, a couple of months ago, we purchased the Christopher Eccleston season DVD and watched the first episode.
I was completely hooked.
The last two months has been a whirlwind of Doctor Who. When we’re not watching the new series to catch up (we’ve just started on the Matt Smith seasons), I’m watching whatever classic episodes I can find. (They’re still too expensive to buy individually, by the way.) The first few weeks of conversation between me and my husband were constant questions about what he knows: “Why did the Time Lords do this?” “Had the Doctor encountered the <insert species name> before?” “How does regeneration work?” What he couldn’t answer, I searched online for. More recently, I’ve been working on Fourth and Fifth Doctor costumes for Halloween.
Like I said, completely hooked.
Now, some of my friends are starting to watch the new Doctor Who. One of them, while familiar with British TV (he introduced us to Red Dwarf), is having a lot of trouble finding Doctor Who interesting or good, and I’ve been wondering why. The characters are compelling, the episodes are fun and exciting (and heartwrenching a lot of the time), and the dialogue is great. And then I realized:
This show has a 50-year history, and that cannot be easy for someone who knows nothing about it to jump into and enjoy.
The first season of the new show tried very hard to explain old concepts as it went along, but so much falls through the cracks. I had a head-start on it, because I’ve been hearing information about the show for 17 years, but for a complete newcomer, the Ninth Doctor’s address to the Nestene Consciousness “according to Article 15 of the Shadow Proclamation” sounds like something the writer pulled out of thin air to explain why the puddle of plastic didn’t just kill the Doctor outright. The moving dummies looked stupid even to me, until I researched what Autons were.
And that’s the purpose of this blog, to give a little bit of background to the show, for people like my friend who have no context in which to place what they’re seeing. The blog is divided into three sections:
- DW Basics: For people who are looking for information about Doctor Who, but not too much. No spoilers. Just context.
- DW Info: More in-depth discussions about Doctor Who stuff, assuming some knowledge of the new series.
- Journal: My personal thoughts on the show and my experience becoming a dedicated fan.
I hope this helps anyone who is willing to give the show a try.
To days to come…