Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why You Should Get a Doctor (Part 1)

The question is...

Obviously, I'm not trying to convince you to get a medical doctor, seeing as I haven't been to one regularly in years. This post will serve to try and convince you to watch Doctor Who. If you're not already dying to get on the TARDIS, then this post is for you. I STRONGLY suggest you read this post if you haven't seen Doctor Who or have seen an episode or two and didn't enjoy it. I didn't find out about Doctor Who until I began watching it on Netflix a year or two ago, but I am glad I took the time to catch up.

First note: I have NEVER seen anything from the original Doctor Who series. All of my knowledge starts with the first season that came out in 2005. You, like me, do not need to do any research or watch old episodes to jump into the series. It may help, but I can't speak towards that; I have a hard time watching older shows/movies if I don't already have nostalgia goggles for the given items.

Second note: Anyone who ever reads this, please comment with your personal opinions that are opposed to mine or helped you become a fan (or not, though I doubt that is the case) that I missed.

Third note: I'll break it down one post per Doctor. There will be some mild spoilers, but nothing that would detract from your enjoyment of the series. They may even explain a few things to those wondering why the main character has had three different actors over the course of six seasons (more actors if you go before that!).

On to the main course!

Doctor Who is a show that has characters travelling through time and space (and the odd dimension) on a myriad of adventures, always helping when they can, and causing more trouble when they can't.

There are some fans who say that your first Doctor will always be you favorite. For a long time, I thought this was true. I really enjoy the first season because it introduces (or re-introduces) you to The Doctor, the main character of the series. He is a Timelord, an humanoid-looking alien species that have excessively long lives, two hearts, and a unique perspective of time, aided by the machines/spaceship they created to travel through time. The Doctor travels in one such machine, a (the) TARDIS (which stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space).

The TARDIS always looks like a Police Box due to a faulty chameleon chip (or just the ships temperment) -- it should be able to take an inconspicuous disguise based on where it travels to, but the TARDIS has become stuck as a police box. Trust me, it's bigger on the inside.

The first actor to portray The Doctor is Christopher Eccleston. You may (or may not) remember him as a villainous military commander from 28 Days Later. He portrays a man who has become hard-hearted after the destruction of his entire race during something called the Time War. We only learn about the Time War from The Doctor, there is no episode it takes place in prior to this series. The Doctor finds his first companion during the first episode in the character of Rose Tyler. A companion is a character who travels with The Doctor during his adventures and provides the viewer with the human element The Doctor lacks. The Doctor almost always has a companion. Without one, he becomes lonely and erratic (more so than he already is). Rose is my favorite companion out of the six current seasons (and four/five major companions); she develops the deepest relationship with The Doctor and experiences a lot of firsts with him at the same time as viewers.

The first season has the smallest budget of the six. This leads to some campy visuals (the first enemies/aliens are possessed mannequins) and strange storylines. It does pick up, however, and by the end you should be well and truly be addicted. There are enough twists and turns and things you pick up on only as they are revealed to you in the last episode of the season. I won't spoil the story elements leading up to it at all, but the last episode does witness the first act that allows Doctor Who to change actors: The Doctor regenerates.

When The Doctor takes mortal damage, he goes through a process of regeneration. It takes a lot of energy and dramatically changes The Doctor, both in body and personality, as it heals him. For the viewers, this is when a new actor steps in to the role of The Doctor. Same character, different face and personality, which keeps things fresh.

Recap: Season one is campy and very silly at times -- this continues in the later seasons but loses most of the camp as the budget is increased and the visuals become much improved. You do get introduced to a lovable cast in this season that will stick with you for some time to come. The Doctor's scenes with Rose's mother are priceless.

I've convinced my wife to watch the first four episodes with me (with an option to fast forward through one if she finds it unbearable). I'll make a post detailing that as an additional note to this post when we finish the four. Based on that, I'll include how long I think it takes to watch the first season and become hooked. Initial estimate is three episodes.

For next time:

The second season introduces my favorite Doctor. He isn't my first, but that doesn't matter; he is the right mix of quirkiness and seriousness that The Doctor needs. After his introduction, the series starts to pick up in production value. He spends another season travelling with Rose and the character relations with the entire supporting cast are phenomenal.

More on him in the next post, keep an eye out for it -- it will be a bit longer because it spans 3 seasons, but I won't make it excessive, promise!

Note: This series of post will feature the tag "Get a Doctor". Keep an eye out for it in the near future!


  1. You are correct, sir. The second doctor, or to my knowledge the tenth doctor is absolutely my favorite. I watch this show on netflix as soon as the season are updated. This is a must watch for anyone that likes sci-fi or if you are like me, someone who likes very interesting characters and imaginative plots.

  2. Your numbers are correct, of course!

    If you haven't checked recently, they added the most recent Christmas Special (following the conclusion of season 6). It's ending almost made me cry.