2 comments / Posted by Bonnie Edgecombe

Having trouble getting someone into "Doctor Who"? We can help!

Man, it is good to be back! After a few months of retooling the new website, The Great AbbyShot Blog is now online and shall henceforth be known as "The Greatest Cosplayers Blog in the 'Verse." And what better topic could we choose than helping you, or a loved one, dive into the timey-wimey universe of Doctor Who? In five easy steps! Can it be done? Let's find out!

Step 1 - Disregard Classic Who (for now)

Now don't get me wrong, I love the rubber monsters. And I am a huge fan of almost all the original Doctors (Colin Baker redeems himself in the Big Finish audios). But starting a first-time watcher with classic "Doctor Who" is going to be incredibly difficult.

Not many people nowadays would find the production values of classic Who as charming as a longtime fan might. And though Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor is perhaps the most well-known and universally loved of all the Doctors, watching his episodes in comparison to modern TV shows might be a little underwhelming at first.

And God forbid if the first episode they see is from either the Sixth or Seventh Doctor eras. As impressive as the umbrella is (shameless plug), the sheer '80s feel of the events from this area will make a first-time viewer never want to watch another episode. Ever. 

TLDR: Don't do it until you get them hooked.


Step 2 - Skip the Ninth Doctor era

Now I'm fully expecting to get some grief over this step, but hear me out! The Ninth Doctor episodes are pretty impressive. There's a number of great characters (Captain Jack) and surprising character development (Rose). But there's just something off-putting in the first series. Like the Slitheen.

The Slitheen are quite possibly the worst monsters I have ever seen in "Doctor Who," and yes, I'm counting the Absorbalof. Monsters who steal and wear your skin, while making really bad jokes about passing gas? Pretty terrible.


And then there's Mickey. Watching him blunder through his relationship with Rose, his reactions to Captain Jack, and the jealousy towards Rose and the Doctor's relationship is can be hard to watch. In fact, the whole "Bad Wolf" theme of the first series could be a bit confusing to a first-time viewer.
So while the first series of the revamped "Doctor Who" is great, the takeaway here is, it might not be the optimal choice to get somebody hooked.
 
TLDR - Mickey is the worst, and fart monsters stink (pun intended).


Step 3 - Shy away from Peter Capaldi


I'm once again expecting the pitchforks to be rattled my way for this one. I'll start with saying I think that Peter Capaldi as the Doctor is just plain excellent. The feeling of alienness to his Doctor hooked me from the start. He's an amazing actor. I loved him as Malcolm Tucker in "The Thick of It." I was enjoying him in "The Musketeers" as Cardinal Richelieu before he got chosen as the Twelfth Doctor.

As the Twelfth Doctor, he can be a very bitter pill to swallow at first, for the first time viewer. His style and mannerisms are very similar to some of the earliest Doctors. He is very rough and alien. He calls people pudding brains and makes the most liberal use of the words "shut up" that I've ever seen on broadcast TV.

But the real problem with Peter Capaldi's Doctor is his relationship with his companion, Clara Oswald. For the first time in recent Doctor Who history, the Doctor doesn't seem to care much about his companion. It's hard to see any connection between Clara and the Doctor in the whole of Series 8, until the Christmas episode. Trying to get a new viewer hooked on this show while the central character seems to care so little for his supposed best friend might prove to be impossible.

TLDR: Hard to feel an emotional connection to the alienness. And he possibly hates Clara.

 

Step 4 - Pick one of these Two Starting Points


Now that I've gone over what not to do, lets get into the to-dos! There are a couple of points in time and space that are ideal for getting someone into "Doctor Who."

The first? "The Christmas Invasion." David Tennant's first outing as the Tenth Doctor brings his Doctor into the picture weakened after regenerating. This allows the audience to get a feeling of how much he means to the world at large, and to his companion Rose (also, Mickey doesn't suck as much here).

You also get to see the turmoil that a companion goes through after a regeneration, especially one that is obviously in love with the Doctor.

Throughout this episode, you get drawn in emotionally, and you get concrete proof that this Doctor is a hero. A hero that always gives his enemies a fair chance to change their ways ... even if it's only one chance.



The second start point is the beginning of the Eleventh Doctor era, the episode "The Eleventh Hour." Fresh off a heartbreaking regeneration from the beloved Tenth Doctor, the beginning of the Matt Smith/Steven Moffat tenure feels like rejuvenated show. You get a brand new Doctor, a badass Scottish companion, and a revamped TARDIS.

Everything about this episode lends itself to new viewers, and Matt Smith can draw in even the most ardent of Tennant fans.

TLDR: Start with either "The Christmas Invasion" or "The Eleventh Hour," and you can't go wrong.


Step 5 - Sit them down to watch one of these two episodes.

So your companion won't commit to starting the series from one of the above episodes. But you did talk them into watching only one episode? What to pick? Let's try to make it easy on you.

One of the almost universal truths among all Whovians is that the Tenth Doctor episode "Blink" is one of the greatest ever made. Even though it is a "Doctor Light Event" (because the Doctor is in it for maybe 10 minutes), it still manages to capture the feeling of what "Doctor Who" is all about.

Frightening new monsters in the Weeping Angels. A compelling story with the Doctor and Martha Jones trapped in the past. And a kickass heroine Sally Sparrow, who has to save people she hasn't met! Everything about this episode seems built to draw in a new watcher and make them want more.


An equally impressive choice could be going with the 50th Anniversary episode "The Day of the Doctor." Some might think it could be a bit confusing with there being three different Doctors in it (four if you count Tom Baker's appearance minus his fabulous scarf.)

But if you stand back and look at the episode as a whole, it's a movie! It has the feeling of an event that was made for the big screen, not just a TV show. You get to see the main character arguing with the different incarnations of himself. We meet a missing Doctor who doesn't consider himself the Doctor. And every Doctor from the entire 50-year history shows up in some way. All in all, it's a pretty amazing episode to show a first-time viewer!

So there you go. Five easy steps and you turn your companion into a raging Whovian. Do you agree? Are there better ways? Let us know!


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Comments

  • Posted On March 14, 2015 by Lynne Nolte

    Not a problem for me. I picked a husband who watched original Hartnells. But please, lay off my favorite all time doctor, Colin Baker:)

  • Posted On March 10, 2015 by Phil Smith

    Everyone has different opinions and this one is okay too, although I feel there are plenty of Classic episodes to entrance a newbie: An Unearthly Child (but not the three Tribe Of Gum episodes); The Dalek Invasion Of Earth; The Tomb Of The Cybermen;The Web Of Fear; Spearhead From Space; The Daemons; The Time Warrior; The Ark In Space; Genesis Of The Daleks; Terror Of The Zygons; Pyramids Of Mars; The Seeds Of Doom; The Robots Of Death; The Talons Of Weng-Chiang; The Horror Of Fang Rock; The Image Of The Fendahl; The Stones Of Blood; City Of Death; The Visitation; Resurrection Of The Daleks; The Caves Of Androzani; Vegeance On Varos; Revelation Of The Daleks; Remembrance Of The Daleks; The Curse Of Fenric. [As a side note Colin Baker didn’t need to “redeem” himself in the Big Finish audios, he was given the opportunity to prove how good he was in the role away from all the political backbiting the show endured as he took over the role – Michael Grade can never be forgiven for his attitude to the show and it is almost satisfying he was back involved in the BBC when NuWho started and proved the show still had a big place in peoples’ hearts!]

    Yes, the Slitheen are not my idea of a Doctor Who monster but Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor is part of the reason NuWho succeeded and Dalek and The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances are so good – one to bring back the Daleks as a race, the other to prove Dr Who can still be scary and introduce a character strong enough to build a separate series around, Captain Jack Harkness. The Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways is also a superb conclusion to his time as The Doctor, even with the Bad Wolf arc being very prominent to the whole double episode.

    Peter Capaldi’s first season has some brilliant episodes (Listen; Mummy On The Orient Express) although I have to admit that, clever though Steven Moffat’s tenure has been, the stories are a bit more complicated to a newcomer. Surprising when Blink IS such a great story from RTD’s era!

    If you do disregard Classic Who; Christopher Eccleston’s and Peter Capaldi’s seasons; then you are left with a very narrow (yet rich) bandwidth to choose from and Blink would seem to be the best choice from that range but with 50 years to choose from it is very hard to really say what is the Best to use to make a companion a Whovian. Some stories are frequently regarded as “weak”, “poor Doctor Who” or even “downright rubbish” but even they are loved by someone who loves Who. As to the “best” of Who then I think using “The Mighty 200”, from Doctor Who Magazine, (even though it omits every episode after the 200th story DOES give a good idea of some great places to start to introduce a newcomer to the Worlds Of Doctor Who. As if to prove this point I am showing my wife, who isn’t a big fan, an episode from each Classic Doctor. I chose what I thought were the best from each incarnation and when I referenced The Mighty 200 I found all my chosen stories were, nigh on, the ones voted the best for each Doctor, which only served to make me confident I had chosen well.

    The Brigadier couldn’t have put it better than when he said “Splendid fellows . . . . all of you!”

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