W.T.F. is ‘Doctor Who’?: first four episodes you need to start

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Season 10, Episode One “The Pilot”

Welcome, New Whovians!

So either you want to get into Doctor Who or you want to get a friend into Doctor Who.

What a perfect time for you to do it, too! We are gearing up for season 11 with a new Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), three new companions, and a new showrunner.

You have T-minus 18 weeks to catch up. Let me tell you, you’ve clicked to the right place.

I’ll be your special curator for the day.

“Day of the Doctor” via GIPHY

First things first: you don’t have to start from the beginning. Actually, I implore you not to start from the beginning.

Doctor Who generally follows the anthology model. The episodes are self-contained for the most part, and hardly any of them follow a general arc. There are certain episodes you can jump right into without needing to know anything about Doctor Who beforehand.

More from Doctor Who

Secondly, everybody is different. Each one of you is interested in different things, different genres, tones, styles, feels. Depending on your week, your mood, your personal history, I could curate a top-five list for each and every one of you individually. And trust me, I would love to.

Unfortunately, that’s not practical for an exercise like this. 

What we’re going to do, instead, is discuss the top four episodes I recommend to strangers: people I meet in bars or at brunches, friendly gatherings and even curious strangers passing by who strike up a conversation.

Most of those in my circle would share that our first conversation was about my convincing them to start watching Doctor Who, preferably immediately and preferably with me.

The basic rules are thus: You try three episodes. If, after a careful conversation with yours truly, you still aren’t into it, that’s okay; maybe it’s not your thing. Fortunately for you, however, just like the neighborhoods of New York City, I believe there exists a corner of Doctor Who for everyone.

Regarding the classic series, which is defined by the serials aired between 1963-1989, unless you were raised on original Star Trek episodes and the sci-fi of old, start with NuWho. (Which means “the new series” that was revived in 2005 by Russell T. Davies.)

Once you fall in love, which I hope you do, then venture back to watch Classic Who (Bonus: if you do it between May 29-July 20th 2018, you can see it on Twitch! If not, I suggest BritBox.)

Quick lesson:

Let’s take a quick moment to explain the ever-changing faces of the Doctor and his blue police box. Time Lords have a special genetic ability that when they receive a fatal blow (like if they’re shot in the hearts), their bodies regenerate on a cellular level, rebuilding itself and thus saving their lives. Time Lords are normally given 12 regenerations—or 13 lives.

Sixth Doctor beginning regeneration in mini-episode “Night of the Doctor” via GIPHY

Ninth Doctor regenerating into Tenth Doctor in “The Parting of the Ways” via GIPHY

Tenth Doctor regenerating into Eleventh Doctor in “End of Time Part 2” via GIPHY

The blue police box is called the TARDIS, which stands for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space.” It’s the Doctor’s spaceship and time machine, and it’s bigger on the inside.


Are you ready?

“Day of the Doctor” via GIPHY