Saturday

Reasons you should binge-watch Doctor Who

Level with me, my beloved. What are you doing this weekend? Nothing exciting or fun, I bet. I'm assuming because the country is covered in a sheet of ice that you're going to sit inside, watch TV, eat Oreos and pass out on your couch.

Allow me to do you one better.

You can eat all the Oreos your heart desires, but what will be on your screen won't be your usual lazy day programming. You are going to fire up Netflix or Hulu, and you are going to watch Doctor Who.

You've been missing out for too long. There's so much that I want to tell you about Doctor Who and why it's an important show to me that would just be lost on anyone who doesn't watch, so I'm going to state my case in hopes that one day, you'll be as obsessed as I am and we can talk Who until the cows come home.

Source: Wikipedia
A primer

If you really still don't know, Doctor Who is a long-running British adventure about an alien named the Doctor. He's a Time Lord who travels in time and space, often with a human companion (he's fond of our species) and manages to find and neutralize trouble through his supreme intellect, resourcefulness, and devastating charm. His species avoids death by regenerating into brand new bodies when mortally wounded. As a result, the Doctor has been played by a dozen actors.

You'll hear references to the classic series and the new series. The show began in 1963 and ran through the eighties. There was a TV movie in 1996, and then the show picked back up in 2005. It wasn't a reboot in the sense of erasing the previous series, because it is a continuation. I've seen all the adventures of the Ninth through Eleventh Doctors and only some stories with the First, Second, Third and Fourth Doctors, so I'm much more knowledgeable about the modern era and recommend you start there, too, with the 2005 episode "Rose." Once you get into the show, you can and should delve into Classic Who.

Here, a few compelling reasons to watch:

1. "He has saved your lives so many times and you never even knew he was there."*

When you watch Doctor Who, you start seeing the world differently. "Royal blue" becomes "TARDIS blue," meaning, the color of the Doctor's spaceship, which looks like a retro police public call box but is bigger on the inside. Capes, striped scarves, trench coats, Converse sneakers and bow ties become inside jokes. And the words "Bad Wolf" will no longer conjure images of Little Red Riding Hood.

You'll think of history differently, too, because you'll know that Shakespeare's most famous lines were the ones he heard from the Doctor. You'll know the royal family has werewolf in its DNA. You'll see this Van Gogh painting and know Vincent was painting the TARDIS (I want to believe). You'll know what really caused the fall of Pompeii. And you'll know that Queen Elizabeth I and Marilyn Monroe had one peculiar common  thread — at their point in time, they were married to the Doctor.

And you'll know the future. You'll know the sun expands five billion years in the future and mankind has long abandoned Earth. That there's a Queen Liz X. That scientists will live on a planet orbiting a black hole without getting sucked in.

*Spoken by Tenth Doctor companion Martha Jones. She was a brilliant, gorgeous physician who loved the Doctor, but he didn't fancy her back. His loss.

2. You're shallow.

There's no shortage of beautiful eye candy on the show, starting with the Doctor. In recent years, the Doctor has been played by younger and younger men with cheeky grins and nerdy-hip wardrobes. That's going to change this year, with the casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, but you know what? I'm on record as saying that Capaldi is kinda foxy for an older gentleman. He scares me in a good way. And I have a soft spot in my heart for the dandy Third Doctor from the classic series, bad special effects and all.

But if the Doctor doesn't do it for you, the companions might. Doctor Who always has something for Daddy, from the Fourth Doctor's sexy savage companion Leela to my favorite of all, Rose Tyler. The Doctor also travels with eligible bachelors, including the brutally hot Captain Jack Harkness. Go ahead and Google his picture. Return once you've placed your jaw back in its proper position.

3. You probably already love the actors.

Doctor Who has become the Harry Potter of my adulthood, and if you love Harry Potter as much as I do, you'll be delighted to know that there's been a lot of crossover with the actors. The most notable is David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor and also the villainous Barty Crouch Jr. This post has a list that surprised me, even though it excludes notables such as the actor who played Arthur Weasley, Mark Williams, playing the father of Rory Williams, one of the Doctor's companions, and further investigation reveals another interesting casting overlap. John Hurt, who played a very special character on the Doctor Who 50th anniversary, was wand-maker Ollivander in the Potter flicks.

4. You love challenging your brain.

No one is as smart as the Doctor, and no one is as twisted or demented as current showrunner Steven Moffat, who you already know and respect/despise if you watch Sherlock. The Doctor travels to future worlds so beyond anything we can imagine. He faces enemies and challenges straight out of your worst nightmares, like terrifying monsters that delete themselves from your memory as soon as you look away, but who plant orders in your brain you can't ignore. That funny feeling you have when you forget what you're saying midsentence, or when you feel a chill up your spine like you're not alone, but when you look again, no one is there? That's them.

The show has challenged my imagination and expectations. The scenarios seem insurmountable, but the Doctor always finds a clever solution. That doesn't mean he always wins. There's loss in Doctor Who that breaks your heart, and the Doctor himself is a difficult man. He's a champion for good, but he has destroyed lives simply by being who he is. He's watched planets burn.

So you've got imaginative scenarios, complex characters and exciting stories. But if that's not enough for you, I can promise that if you watch the show, you will be treated to plot twists, mysteries and surprises that will leave your brain scattered in pieces across the floor. There are episodes I rewatch that still leave me shouting even when I know what's coming.

5. You're a romantic.

This has to be experienced. I can't tell you about the love story of the Doctor and Rose, or his later relationship with River Song. I can't get into what those characters represent for me because that's enough for a dissertation. But I promise you, no chick flick has made me cry or been as life-affirming as Doctor Who.

The Doctor's love life, while tragic and poetic, is a source of great comedic moments. I love the episode "School Reunion," where the Doctor's current companion, Rose, meets Sarah Jane Smith, a companion we saw in the classic episodes. The verbal sparring between jealous Rose and reminiscing Sarah Jane are brilliant.

6. The Internet will get exponentially funnier.

Once you're a Whovian, your Pinterest time will become consumed with pinning Who-related images. And you'll find these two videos enthralling. I particularly love the Teens React clip, because it gives me faith in our children. They make good television choices.






I've done as much as I can do without writing you a novel. Must I get on my knees and beg? Consider it done. Go watch Doctor Who and I'm sure your life will be changed.

12 comments :

  1. i only remember the dr who when i was a wee kid (like, in the late 70s). i remember the weird theme music and the beginning of the show but i never watched it....if it's weird, then maybe i will! :)

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  2. Pete was watching this not too long ago and I just couldn't get on board with it. The aliens and whatnot... nuh-uh. Please don't break up with me. :/

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  3. Does Pete like it? It's hard to get into, I understand, and I'll forgive you! But it's just so good. I gave my friend a list I curated of some of my favorite episodes, and I think he enjoyed it more like that than if he tried to watch from the beginning like I recommended here.

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  4. It is very weird. The theme music is the same! The stories move much faster and have better graphics now than the episodes you remember.

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  5. He said he liked it but I haven't seen him watch it since... of course, he binge watches entire seasons in a day so he could've finished it w/o me knowing! haha

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  6. My family and I decided to give it a go a month or two ago and watched 3 episodes in a row...I feel like I can definitely see why people are so passionate about it...it's quite memorable, we watched an episode about mannequins that were moving and I thought it would give me nightmares! I'm not a very big sci-fi fan in general...

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  7. I imagine that if you like Star Trek, you'd have fun with Who! It's campy but has a lot of soul.

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  8. I can't think of another science fiction show that I've watched or enjoyed, at least not with as much fervor. So I don't think you have to be drawn to sci fi to enjoy the show. Especially in later seasons, the show has more elements of fairy tales, comedy and action.

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  10. Yasss! I love Doctor Who, but I am so behind!!! :)

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  11. Catch up! I hate how only half of the most recent season is on Hulu and it's not on Netflix at all. It's been long enough!

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