In-Doctor-ination: How to Introduce Your Friends to Doctor Who


If you’re a Whovian, you’ve run into the problem: You tell a friend about this great show you love, about an alien from Gallifrey who regenerates into a new person at the moment of death. They get excited, log onto Netflix and start watching. But after one or two episodes, they say, “It’s not really for me.”

I understand. I did that. The first season (2004) of Doctor Who can be a barrier that keeps people for watching one of the best-written shows out there. I love getting to the end of the season and saying, “Oh! When they said this, in that episode, it meant this!” It’s a great show with beautiful writing (Vincent and the Doctor, anyone?) But it was only after watching the episodes featuring the weeping angels that I decided I wanted to watch this show.

Why is Season One so bad? Well, The original series ran from 1963 to 1989. Due to low viewership (I blame Colin Baker), the series was cancelled. Russell T. Davies pushed to bring the series back. BCC was reluctant to do it. Season One was funded by BBC-Wales. Because no one was sure it would succeed, the investment was light. Most of the first season looked like it was filmed in a basement in Cardiff. Special effects were poor because of the budget. No, really! Mickey getting kidnapped by a trash can, anyone?


The other problem was that no one knew what Doctor Who was going to be. The characters weren’t well-developed, and their personalities changed. It took me a season and a half to like Rose after End of the World. It also took them awhile to decide what approach to take. Poor Christopher Eccleston had to face flatulent aliens—twice.

So how should you introduce your friends to the Doctor? You could just start at The Christmas Invasion and watch Season 2, then once they’re invested, go back and show them the Ninth Doctor. Or you could show then a smattering of good episodes and hook them quickly. Season One is still valuable because it introduces you to people and aliens that are core to the series, but they need help to make it through. Based on that second approach, here are my suggested episodes to introduce your friends to the Doctor.

Introducing them to the series:

Blink This is a great episode because the POV character doesn’t know the Doctor, so the viewer can be introduced to the time traveler. Note, Love and Monsters also has this advantage, but the episode isn’t as suspenseful. Besides, statues that attack when you’re not looking is so compelling that you can’t. Look. Away.

Human Nature/Family of Blood In this two-part episode, the Doctor transforms into a human and can’t remember that he’s a Time Lord. Once he comes to himself, the way the Doctor punishes these aliens that have killed so many is epic.

Vincent and the Doctor The final scenes are great in this one. The Doctor and his companion help Vincent Van Gogh fight off a monster. The scene where they show Vincent his legacy is beautiful.

Girl in the Fireplace The Doctor meets Jeannette Poisson, mistress of Charles XV. This was written as a love story for the lonely Time Lord. The episode is full of great lines, such as “I just snogged Madame De Pompadour!” and You’re so thick! You’re mister thick thickity thick face from thicktown thickannia. And so is your Dad!”

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship The title says it all. This episode represents all of Matt Smith’s manic energy. The bickering robots are a fun addition to a great episode. Besides, it’s fun watching Amy fight off raptors. Did I mention that Filch from Hogwarts is the villain?

Robots of Sherwood Peter Capaldi comes into his own in this episode. He beats Robin Hood at sword fighting with a spoon. His argument with the famous outlaw in the prison is hilarious.

A Christmas Carol Speaking of Hogwarts, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) plays a mean-spirited man that Doctor tries to change on Christmas Eve to save a spaceship full of people. The episode also has flying sharks and the Doctor marrying Marilyn Monroe. What else do you want?

The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances Not all Season One episodes were bad. This one is a bit creepy, but really good. It’s like zombies during the London Blitz. The Doctor’s “everyobody lives!” speech is great, and the phrase “Are you my mummy?” has never been more terrifying.

There you go, my suggestions to help your friends love the Time Lord. Allons-y!


You Say You Want a Resolution?

It’s the New Year, and if you haven’t set some resolutions, I’ll bet you’ve heard from someone else about their own resolutions. I’ve read about them on Facebook, heard about them on the news, and just received an email titled “Four Resolutions Worth Keeping.” I deleted it. Now I’ll never know what they were.

Resolution is related to resolve, so a resolution isn’t so much a goal, as it is a decision. I’m not big on setting New Year resolutions for myself. I’m fine, it’s everyone else who needs changing. (Kidding. Kind of.) The reason I don’t like the tradition is that it infers that this is the proper time to examine one’s life and resolve to do better. Too many people say something like, “I’m going to set a resolution to lose weight in the new year.” They then spend all of December stuffing anything that doesn’t move fast enough into their mouths. I’m not sure if it’s because they are afraid of missing out next year or if it’s that they want to give themselves something to work on.

To me, the proper time is whenever one recognizes that something needs to change. I made and started a couple of significant resolutions this year—in March and October. If I only made them in January, all my resolutions would be things like: move to Arizona, NEVER give my children sugar again, or burn down the house of the person who wrote, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” (to diverge, go read the lyrics: “say, what’s in this drink?” Really? Is date rape a holiday tradition?)

But there’s so much pressure to write a few resolutions. Drive by an LDS Temple or a gym in January. Look at the parking lot. Everyone is doing it (which is why I wait until February to exercise).

But I’m sure you’re dying to know how I plan to be a better person this year, so fine, I’ll give you a list:

My 2016 New Year Resolutions

Sleep. A lot.

Read. Almost as much.

Lock the pantry door (I’m serious. This is what happens when my children have unfettered access to candy)

Put antlers on my dog’s head. Laugh at him.

Put antlers on my children’s heads. Laugh at them.

Finance the resulting therapy.

Talk my daughter into playing Risk again (it’s not my fault that she and her brother were so busy placing armies in Asia that I ended up with all of North and South America at the start of the game).

Buy a big, satiny blanket.

Wrap up in it.

Sit in front of the fire.

Put out the fire.

Check blankets for scorch marks.

Install a fireplace.

Sit in front of THAT fire, wrapped in the satiny blanket.

Read more books.

Write more books.

Don’t go into a store. Ever.

Buy a large pack of Nerf darts.

Have a Nerf war with my children. Those shooting back are the enemy and must be vanquished. Those who aren’t shooting back are zombies—finish them off.

Eat smoked Gouda and baguettes.

Eat Swiss cheese and ham on crepes.

Eat cherry tomatoes and hummus on Triscuits.

Drink Crio Bru.

Become a cryptozoologist, even if I never find anything, interviewing witnesses will keep me amused.

Plan an expedition to find Bigfoot.

Ride a Pegasus.

Raise dragons.

Put Trump and Clinton into a celebrity deathmatch. Let a dragon eat the victor.

Invent a giant fan to clean out the inversion.

Take a meteor shower.

Move to Rivendell.

Live in a library where I can hear the comforting murmur of stories escaping the book bindings.

Sentence people who talk on phones in the library to eating dinner with trolls. They drown out the stories.