Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why You Should Watch Doctor Who on Saturday...Yes, You

Saturday, August 23 is a big day for Whovians. It is the day that series 8 (and year 51) begins of our favorite television program, Doctor Who.

We will all be watching this weekend, whether it's in the theaters, at home on TV, or the next day on Amazing Prime (which is what I will be doing).

But you should watch it, too.

Yes, you.

Why? Well, I'm glad I guessed that you would ask that. Here are some reasons.

This is a great starting point.

Doctor Who is a series that doesn't flow in a straight line. There's no obligation to go back to the first episode from 1963 and watch every single episode up to last year's Christmas special. (Thank goodness for that.)

The show has provided many different starting points for fans. Some want to see what the old series was about, and some might just be interested in anything past 2005 (that's when the new series started).

When my brothers urged me to start watching, I began with the first episode of the 2005 relaunch, titled "Rose." It introduced a modern day girl who got caught up in the Doctor's schemes, and decided to follow him as he traveled in his TARDIS through time and space.

For me, that was perfect. I grew to love the Doctor, then played by Christopher Eccleston (#9), and enjoy his many adventures with Rose, played by Billie Piper. But some people might have a hard time getting in at this point. The computer graphics were so-so, and the humor may be a bit too childish at points.

However, there was another great starting point with 2010's "The Eleventh Hour" which introduced us to Matt Smith, the new Doctor (#11). The plot was tight, the new companion knew as much about the Doctor as we did, and Matt Smith proved he was incredibly capable of taking on the role.

However, some people might get lost in the muddy story telling that was exhibited in the later series. If you stuck with it, you came out great in the end, but there's a lot of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff to get through.

So I'm declaring that Saturday's episode, entitled "Deep Breath," is the perfect jumping-off point, even if I haven't seen it yet. The Doctor has regenerated (he's an alien; he can do that) into Peter Capaldi (#12), and he is recovering from this crisis while still having to save the world from something. He has several companions - traveler Clara, and Victorian-era friends Vastra (a reptilian known as a Silurian), Jenny, and Strax (a potato alien known as a Sontaran). These companions have to adjust to a new Doctor, just like the audience will. So as they get to know this new Doctor, so will we!

A new Doctor will be new for everyone.

I can't tell people, "Oh, that Peter Capaldi, he's so sneaky and he has a great catchphrase and he does this thing with the sonic screwdriver that is so cool!" Why can't I say that? Because I know as much about Peter Capaldi's Doctor as you do! That is, nothing.

We all are going into this new series with unsure minds. What will he be like? How will he redecorate the TARDIS? Will he be funny? Crazy? Charming? Insane? We don't know! We'll just have to watch and find out for ourselves.

Relevant plots in Doctor Who are usually told in one series.

There were some overarching themes in the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who, but fortunately those were all tied up before he left the show. This means that any new main plot details will be new for everyone.

Many shows now have a theme that goes over multiple seasons. This can't be done for Doctor Who since it's 51 years old. Instead, since 2005 the main arc works over the 13-episode series, wraps up, and then a new arc begins. There were some minor carryovers once in a while, but nothing a little Googling couldn't fix.

I can explain confusing stuff very quickly. 

Here goes:

The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey. Gallifrey was "lost" in a big war that was fought between the Time Lords (one of the groups of aliens on Gallifrey) and an evil group called the Daleks - the pepper pots you always see in ads or magazines. Gallifrey was thought to be destroyed, but it wasn't, and the Doctor is going to spend a long time trying to find it.

He usually travels with a companion, and right now that's Clara, a schoolteacher from modern day. It's not always a girl, and it's not always one person.

They both go back and forth in time AND space, so one minute they're on an alien planet in the year 5 billion, and the next they are helping Queen Victoria escape from werewolves.

How do they do this? The Doctor stole a TARDIS - his time machine - from Gallifrey a long time ago (back when he was William Harnell - #1), which is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. It looks like an old British Police Box, but it's bigger on the inside.

There are lots of aliens.

The end!

I need more of my friends to watch this show.

It is disappointing that so many of my family and friends thumb their noses at this show because it looks silly. I can, however, understand if you tried starting with "Rose" and got turned off at shoddy production. It is no longer shoddy, people. It is happy and sad and lighthearted and heavy and beautiful and ugly and there are SO MANY PEOPLE who speak in amazing British accents, which automatically makes everything 100% better.

I just want to talk about it with people. It' an amazing show.

(I have the DVDs for the first four series of the new show - I will mail them to you!!!)

If nothing else, just watch this episode.

I dare you to just watch the episode on the 23rd. Just watch it. Let me know what you think, and then if you don't want to continue, that's okay. I'll just be happy that you gave it a chance.

I'll be posting a review here (Doctor RevWho - does that work?) and you can tell me your thoughts.

It's quality television, and it will give you culture!

This isn't Real Housewives or Swamp People or Millionaire Matchmaker or any of those American shows over which you might obsess. This is well-scripted British television with a great cast and a not-shallow premise. British voices aren't that difficult to understand. If you can understand Honey Boo-Boo, you'll have no trouble with this.


So have I convinced you? Probably not. But like I said, just give it one episode. Then I can feel like this article was worthwhile!

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