I’ll keep this brief. Doctor Who is not always great, but it’s frequently very good. It’s certainly not the polished, auteur-driven prestige show that critics reward (at least not usually), and it is fair to say it’s inconsistent. But that’s why this guide exists, to inform newbies of the best it has to offer.
With its science fiction setting, this show can be anything from week to week. In the modern era, there are almost always seasonal stories and a lot of accruing continuity, which this project will necessarily have to ignore. I’ll attempt to assess all the different qualities and structural components of the program, along with every incarnation of the Doctor and his companions over two showrunners and nine seasons. These entries go chronologically, and as much as I can I avoid recaps or spoilers.
It’s okay to watch Doctor Who with gaps, because of its wavering nature and the fact that its plot and characters travel through time anyway, so going backwards with added context and foreknowledge isn’t the worst thing in the world. That said, I would suggest getting through my primary sixteen first before checking out the additional recommendations.
DW has a very humanistic viewpoint, and a fluffy tone that masks some significant pathos. It’s sneakily smart about its characterization, and inadvertently reveals the values and aesthetics of each era. This project will only focus on the modern years, from 2005 to 2016. I had hoped to launch this feature before the current tenth season aired, but that didn’t pan out.
Alongside the broad popularity of teen fantasy and video games, this show is perhaps the crux of esoteric nerd culture becoming marketable mainstream culture, and deserves recognition for that alone. Hopefully the strength of these standout hours will encourage you to seek out more. It’s superficially a silly premise and an often dismissed transatlantic cult, but Doctor Who is bigger on the inside. Allons-y!