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Help a N00b: Where Should I Start with Doctor Who?

Help a N00b: Where Should I Start with Doctor Who?

By Brandon Specktor

I'm a fan of time travel. I was raised on movies like Terminator and Back To The Future, and video games like Chrono Trigger. (If you're unfamiliar with this title, Google "the best game ever made and actually the peak of human achievement.") But for no apparent or logical reason, I have never seen a single episode of Doctor Who.

Please lower your scary time guns .(As you can see, I'm well versed in the lingo.) I think this series sounds awesome, and I want to give it a shot—not just because my friends keep attacking me with plastic models of the TARDIS, but because time travel ROCKS.

But I need your help, WhoHeads. I don't know where to start.

Early Wiki searches have resulted only in frustration. According to the 'Pedia, there's a good 600-or-so episodes of this series available, excluding those that were junked or lost in the '70s. I'm not sure if I'm ready for a commitment this big. I mean, it took me a whole month just to watch the six frickin' episodes of Sherlock.

Speaking of Sherlock, I'm sure we all agree that Steven Moffat is a badass. He's credited with writing for Doctor Who since 2005, which is about the time that David Tennant came on as Doctor ten. I dunno about you, but my nerdiest friends attest that Tennant is hands-down the best Doctor, and his episodes are the most accessible for a virgin viewer. I'm down for accessibility. But…2005? This show had already spanned 26 seasons and a movie by then. I'm pretty sure the Narrative Geek Lobe of my brain will erupt in tumors if I skip that much action and exposition.

So I need an expert opinion on this. I need your opinion, Masterminds. Here's what I want to know:

  • Should I watch the classic BBC series from the '60s, '70s, and '80s?
  • Should I watch EVERY season, or can I skip to a later incarnation of the Doctor and still be on point with everything going on in the main plot?
  • If I start with the Moffat/Tennant episodes from 2005 will I regret skipping 26 years of content?
  • Is David Tennant really the best Doctor?
  • Will I enjoy Torchwood without having scene DW?

Too long I've stumbled in n00bdom. I'm counting on you to help me see the light at the end of this void, Masterminds. Where should I start?

Tags: movies, tv, doctor who, life

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About the Author
Brandon Specktor

Brandon is a writer and humor editor at Reader's Digest magazine. He was born in Tucson, Arizona, and wants to write a paranormal Western that begins, "First the cows turned up dead." What should the rest be about? Tell him on twitter @beardspeck.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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