Fall TV Preview: Doctor Who

Adrian Rodriguez, Contributing Writer

   With the fall TV season just around the corner, this year’s crop of comedies, procedurals and dramas might just have some unexpected competition. The longest-running science fiction television show in the world, “Doctor Who,” is a BBC produced program that first aired in 1963. While the show has been a cornerstone of British pop culture over the decades, the show has gathered a respectable cult-following outside of its home country since its revival in 2005. The stars of the show even made their way down to New York City’s Ziegfeld Theater for a special screening of “Who’s” seventh season premiere, signaling the show’s triumphant transition into the US mainstream.

   So how exactly did a British TV show, following the time-and-space travels of a human-looking alien and his earthly companions, captivate such a loyal global audience? The show boasts witty dialogue, intricate plot lines, a variety of foes that would make Batman blush, and has successfully struck a balance between sci-fi, drama and comedy that will entertain any type of viewer; young or old, casual or sci-fi fanatic. 
For those who can’t stand to start from anywhere but the beginning of a show but are put off by the prospect of having to watch over 700 episodes to catch up, rest easy. The show’s first season of its return to television in 2005 is a perfect introduction to the world of “Who,” and serves to establish the modern run’s place alongside the classic series, while paving a path of its own. However, for those ready and willing to dive into the current series, here is some key information best known beforehand.

   “Who” currently follows the adventures of the Doctor, the last of an alien race aptly called the Time Lords, and his current companions: thrill-seeking redhead Amy Pond and her loyal husband Rory. Their time machine and spacecraft is called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) and takes the outward appearance of a 1960s blue British police box, though it’s much bigger on the inside. While the Doctor, currently played by Matt Smith, is nearly immortal, he has been played by several actors over the years, which is incorporated into the show as the Doctor having the ability to regenerate from fatal wounds, at the cost of changing form. Along with regeneration comes a new personality, though the Doctor still retains his previous knowledge and experiences. The Doctor also takes on new companions over time, which keeps the dynamic fresh and interesting. And most importantly, know that nothing is outside the realm of possibility on “Who.” Witches plagued Shakespeare, aliens manipulated the events surrounding Apollo 11 and Hitler was locked in a cupboard. One of the Doctor’s most memorable new enemies, the Weeping Angels, are harmless stone statues—so long as you don’t blink. And on this season? Dinosaurs on a spaceship, of course.

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