Masterminds, can you believe that Doctor Who has been around for 50 years? Most of us have parents younger than that! The upside of being a show that has been around for so long is that a lot of new series and movies are bound to be influenced by it. Whether it’s something as tiny as a character name, or something much larger like an entire species, here are five shows and series that have been influenced by Doctor Who:
1. Star Trek: On the surface, the only thing that Doctor Who and modern Star Trek really have in common is space travel. Still, there were more little influences on Gene Roddenberry’s beloved franchise. In the episode “The Naked Now,” one character asks for a “sonic driver,” directly referencing everyone’s favorite Doctor Who gadget. In a bigger way, the recurring enemies the Borg are so similar to the Cybermen that it's hard to argue that there wasn’t an influence there. Both are collective minds with a robotic element that assimilate their enemies into their ranks, and both are among the most feared baddies of their universes.
2. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Just about everyone’s favorite comedy sci-fi was influenced in a more obvious way. Long before Douglas Adams was writing his famous series, he was actually writing for classic Doctor Who. Even then, his sense of comedy was showing in stories he wrote like “City of Death.” Doctor Who really gave the writer the perfect sandbox to play in before he made his own fame with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
3. Blake’s 7: This particular sci-fi show may not be well known to audiences outside of the U.K., but it ran from 1978 to 1981 and was clearly influenced by Doctor Who. It didn’t have the same consistent “feel-good” tone of classic Doctor Who, but was created by Dalek creator Terry Nation, and featured the music of longtime Doctor Who composer Dudley Simpson.
4. Red Dwarf: On again, off again cult sci-fi show Red Dwarf may be another obscure reference for a lot of folks, but there are few places where Doctor Who’s blend of sci-fi and comedy has shown its influence more strongly. Red Dwarf uses the sci-fi elements mostly as plot devices for what is basically a clever sitcom in space; think of a particularly silly episode of Doctor Who and you’re just about there.
5. Arrow: The influence in this new series based on DC hero Green Arrow doesn’t show it’s Whovian influence in an obvious way, but show runners Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg claim Doctor Who and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have been big influences on their show’s structure. As if just plain saying it wasn’t clear enough, Captain Jack himself (John Barrowman) was cast as a villain on the show! How cool is that?
Did we miss any awesome shows, series, or movies that show the mark of Doctor Who?