Yes, it's science fiction/fantasy. But we promise Doctor Who is a great show even for people who hate sci-fi. The sometimes complicated plot twists make it ideal for Lost fans. The epic and ill-fated romances will lure in anyone who loves sex-soaked television drama (while there isn't much sex on Doctor Who, there's plenty of sexual tension). The quick-witted and fast-paced dialogue is reminiscent of shows like Gilmore Girls or anything by Aaron Sorkin. And, if you like any show that involves running from bad guys, Doctor Who was practically made for you. After all, one of the Doctor's most-repeated lines is, "Run!"
The annual Doctor Who Christmas special — this year titled "The Snowmen" — just aired and, while it does play on the show's past and present, you could easily watch it as a stand-alone during one of this week's replays on BBC America without any real spoilers or confusion. As a matter of fact, we highly recommend it: The usual Doctor Who dialogue is at its most fantastic and flirty, and it's also a chance to see the Doctor's new companion (Jenna Louise Coleman) in all her glory.
Once you've watched "The Snowmen," you'll have a couple months before any new episodes air. In the meantime, we suggest catching up on seasons past. Here are a few things to keep in mind, though, when you pull up Doctor Who on Netflix or Amazon.
Doctor Who actually first aired in 1963, fifty years ago. Since the original airing, there have been 11 "Doctors." The Doctor from "The Snowmen" is often referred to as "Eleven" by fans because he (Matt Smith) is the 11th Doctor.
There was a long break in filming between 1989 and 2005. While the older, classic episodes are great (and occasionally referenced in the new rendition), it's perfectly acceptable and actually quite common to start with the more modern episodes. When the show re-started in 2005, it was with Christopher Eccleston as "Nine."
So, there have been 11 Doctors, right? Technically speaking, it's all the same guy: A lonely man from the planet Gallifrey who flies around time and space in a big blue box. Occasionally, however, the Doctor runs into trouble from which he can't escape. Instead of dying, he regenerates and a new actor takes over. Each actor brings his own special brand of awesome to the character, but they each take a little time to win your heart.
The Doctor always travels with a companion. He's been traveling for hundreds of years and that gets lonely. His companion is almost always a pretty girl and there's usually a little bit of a spark. That said, three well-loved companions have been Donna Noble (who wasn't a romantic interest), Wilf (an old man) and Rory (a goofy but seriously romantic guy).
So try out "The Snowmen" this week. Fall in love with the not-quite-magical madman with a box. Doctor Who returns to BBC America with all new episodes in April 2013.
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