Confessions of a Doctor Who Newbie

Confessions of a Doctor Who Newbie


I am trying to rectify a big hole in my Sci-Fi viewing history, and finally giving “Doctor Who” a shot. I knew it had a huge cult following, I knew it was from the BBC and it involved a time machine, but otherwise I was pretty much entirely in the dark about the show. A few friends on Facebook gave me some important tips, and I’ve learned a few things from the first six episodes, so I thought I would share my limited understanding with any other Doctor Who newbies out there!

Things I have learned that have surprised me:

  • Never call The Doctor “Dr”. Apparently it makes the fans angry, or so I was warned.
  • This show reminds me heavily of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”…which gives me lots me of warm fuzzies, since I love all variations on Hitchhiker’s, even that terrible BBC series from the 80s.
  • The TARDIS is totally a Somebody Else’s Problem.
  • People keep telling me someone named “Captain Jack” is coming, and now I keep humming this song. Sorry for the ear worm.
  • There is an old Who and a new Who. And many versions of the Dr Doctor. Both new and old.
  • My dog does not like this show. He leaves the room whenever the Doctor starts talking. Apparently he’s not a fan of ADD British men.
  • This show has worse special effects than Charmed. And Charmed looked like it was made on an original Apple IIe.

Now, I have a few questions as well:

  • Where can I get a sonic screwdriver? It would make house chores much easier.
  • Does the TARDIS need to get up to 88mph?
  • Was the Dalek the inspiration for Simplehuman garbage cans or vice versa?
  • Would the Doctor be as fun if someone slipped him some Ritalin?
  • Why did no one warn me that the first season manages to hit several childhood fears at once (living mannequins, alien invasions and zombies)?

I will be sticking this out at least through the first season, but so far I am finding this to be a fun diversion. However, as endearing as it is, I still feel like I don’t get the deep love fans have for this show. I like it, but it isn’t like “Battlestar Galactica”, where I knew in the first five minutes that I had to watch every episode. It is growing on me, though, so who knows…maybe by the end of the first season I, too, will be assimilated!


Categories: Gear Bits

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23 replies

  1. To answer some of your questions (from a decently experienced Whovian):

    1. Sonic screwdrivers (sadly not real ones) are basically available anywhere fan-based stuff is sold, i.e. FYE, Hot Topic, etc.
    2. Serious things are always happening on the TARDIS, and not just at 88 mph. I don’t even know if there is a speedometer in the TARDIS, but I wouldn’t doubt it.
    3. The effects get better, I promise.
    4. Were Simplehuman garbage cans around in the 60’s?

    5. I feel you on the HGTTG thing. I think they actually make a few references.
    6. Just wait until later. They’ll get you scared of stone statues, wifi, shadows, etc.

    I hope this helps.
    -Michael’s son, Chris

  2. I think part of the deep devotion people have is because many of us watched the show in childhood. Folks around 40 years old grew up with Tom Baker’s version of the Doctor, and although the effects were laughably bad back then, he was entertaining as all get-out. Add in the rather silly wheeled robotic dog (it learned to fly twenty years later, apparently), and you’ve got a lot of nostalgia.

    The revived series has so much more impressive production values (low budget they might be, compared to BSG or other high-end US programs) than the old series, we compare it favorably to our memories, rather than comparing it to contemporary shows.

    Just my $0.02

  3. HHGTTG and Doctor Who both share Douglas Adams

  4. I’m also a Doctor Who newbie, but I started with the Eleventh Doctor, with the last episode of the season. I’ve been working my way backwards thru the show. (I don’t know why I’m working my way backwards)

    After I watched the last episode of the season (I had basically fell in love immediately with Amy Pond and Rory Williams), I downloaded the season from iTunes and watched it from the beginning of the season. Since then, I went to the first season that had Amy Pond and am slowly watching those episodes in order back to The Angels Take Manhattan.

    Since I saw The Angels Take Manhattan, I was already scared of them, but when I saw Amy Pond’s first encounter with the Angels, that terrified me to no end. I watched it alone, at night, during a scary thunderstorm. I am terrified of Angel statues now.

    I’ve been watching the new season, and I like Clara, but I miss Amy and Rory. I seem to have a platonic girl crush on Amy. I have a totally-not-platonic crush on Rory.

    • So what season do these scary angels show up?

      And I need context here…ever the “Hush” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Are we talking silently ripping out hearts bad? Became I now have a policy of never watching that episode after dark.
      Just so I can plan accordingly. :)

      • First appearance is “Blink” in season 3. And it’s hard to describe them without spoilers.

      • I never watched Buffy, other than the original movie.

        Without giving too much information about the Angels, I’ll say that they replaced the Flying Monkeys in The Wizard Of Oz for fictional scary things that I’ve seen on tv that emotionally traumatized me.

        I haven’t seen the earlier episodes with the Angels, just the ones from the seasons with the Eleventh Doctor. My boyfriend tells me that the Angels are pretty terrifying in the earlier seasons too. I want to watch the earlier seasons soon because I want to see the crossover episodes with Captain Jack from Torchwood, which I also have never watched. I only know about him from some BBC Sherlock, Doctor Who fan fiction stories that I’ve read. BBC Sherlock is what got me into Doctor Who. (same people produce both shows).

        BBC Sherlock has been my gateway show that’s lead me to some pretty amazing movies and other tv shows.

        • Ok, so I won’t watch any episodes involving these angels at night. Just during the day with the dog nearby guarding me.
          As far as Buffy goes, the show is nothing like the movie. It’s about 50,000x better and deeper. Takes the “high school as hell” metaphor to a whole new level. Admittedly I am biased because I love the show. And Buffy actually lines up with my own high school and college years perfectly, so Buffy and I are the same age. Sort of. :)

          • I might have to look at Buffy while I’m waiting for BBC Sherlock to finish filming the third season, and waiting for it to make it’s way across the ocean six months after the British get to see it. (unless I can find a decent DVD player that’s region free so I can order a copy of the show from Amazon UK.)

            • Yes! You must watch Buffy!

              I strongly suggest watching through Season 2 as unspoiled as possible. Season 1 is rocky, but Season 2 is excellent, especially if you don’t know what’s coming. Just make it through the rockier eps in season 1 and by middle of season 2 the show will reward you for your patience.

              And if you decide you love it, there’s a spinoff to watch as well (but don’t go near anything, even descriptions of the spinoff, until you get through S2).
              And to drag this sort-of back on topic-I just watched “Fathers Day” yesterday and now I am officially hooked on Doctor Who. That was a damn fine bit of tv.

              • Buffy was definitely a good show (as was the spin-off) … though both seemed to get a bit soap-opera-ish to me after a bit, but then we were well past the target demo when the show aired 😉

              • I’ll start looking around for Buffy then. (maybe Amazon Prime has it?)

                I always hated Doctor Who when I was a kid back in the 70s and 80s. I was never able to get into it. Thank goodness Steven Moffat (current show runner/producer/writer for Doctor Who) rebooted it with Mark Gatiss. I’m glad that they’re giving us a decent number of episodes of the show. Since they’re kind of stingy with episodes of BBC Sherlock. (with Sherlock, it’s quality, not quantity)

                I can’t tell my family that I’m a Whovian now. Because they think that I hate the show, and if I tell them I’ve become a Whovian, they’ll start telling me stuff about the episodes I haven’t seen yet. I can’t tell them I’m watching it till I back it back to the Ninth Doctor. I don’t want to be spoiled. Which is weird, because I just spoiled the new Star Trek movie for myself. On purpose.

  5. Oh my, i was so glad to find a discussion on this topic, as i just began watching Doctor Who 2 or 3 months ago myself. I’ve just completed the 4th season, and consider myself a “Who-vian”.
    I need to make one strong point though, as someone, like yourself, who had no knowledge of or allegiances to Doctor Who when first tuning in on netflix. I would not have completed the full first season had friends of mine not been urging me on, but i can promise you that by the end of the second season you will be a fan.