Ten months ago, I created the Official Doctor Who Series 1, 5, 31, or Fnarg Thread of Moffat & Smith. The thread would go on to garner over 6,000 posts and over 130 pages of discussion - well, over 65 pages for the 100-posts-a-page master race. Obviously, I'm not taking credit for that. No, I'm giving all the credit to the excellent season of sci-fi tomfoolery generously provided by the BBC, Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan et al. It was so good, in fact, that some thought it was, well, the best series ever - or at least one of the best. I find it hard to disagree.
At the time of writing, the Series 5 DVD (and Blu-ray) has been officially released in the UK, to be followed in the US the day afterwards. Also, we're anticipating Doctor Who's annual Christmas special; this being Moffat and Smith's first crack at one. This special is a precursor to what is apparently two series of Doctor Who in the coming year. Unusually, the series will be split into two blocks that will air in the spring and autumn respectively. More info on that in the "News" section near the bottom of the post. For the sake of convenience, I titled this thread Series 2011, though - technically speaking - it's the thread for the following things:
- Doctor Who Christmas Special 2010
- Doctor Who Series 2, 6, 32 or Otter
- Doctor Who Series 3, 7, 33 or Random Word
Merry Christmas, WhoGAF.
Spoilers concerning episodes not yet aired are to be spoiler tagged. Discussions about episodes that have aired in the UK, however, are not to be spoiler tagged. Not only does this prevent the thread from looking like a giant barcode - which benefits no-one - but it allows members to pick out real spoilers from plot points about episodes they've already seen.
This isn't an effort to be unkind and exclude people, it's simply an issue of practicalities.
- April 23rd - all good countries near you
Series 1, 5, 31, or Fnarg Spoilers Ahead:
We were introduced to the eleventh incarnation of The Doctor (Matt Smith) as he met young Amelia Pond and gorged himself on fish fingers and custard. Having to prevent his TARDIS from doing something undoubtedly explodey wodey, he attempted to jump five minutes into the future - and only missed it by twelve years. Needless to say, The Doctor and a considerably older, more embittered Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) would go on to save the world and then travel time and space; where they prevented the torture of a, ahem, "star whale", foiled the plans of The Weeping Angels and, um, taught an exploding World War 2 British scientist/booby-trapped Dalek android how to love and, uh, not explode. No, I didn't get it either.
During their travels, they encountered River Song (Alex Kingston) - a mysterious woman from The Doctor's past and future who carries round a big book of "spoilers". It was revealed, before she was handily teleported to - I'm assuming - prison that she was convicted of killing a man: "the best man [she'd] ever known." Hmm, intriguing.
Naturally, something had to disrupt this lovely equilibrium. The disruption came in the form of Amy admitting to The Doctor that she was, in fact, due to get married the day after the night she left sleepy Leadworth to travel time and space. Then, as you do, she tried to seduce the 907-year-old Time Lord. Evidently, the TARDIS is equipped with the universe's coldest shower, and so The Doctor endeavoured to fix Amy's relationship with would-be husband, Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) - by taking him with them.
And what a time they had! Thwarting vampires (well, fish-space-vampires) in Venice, butting heads with the reality altering Dream Lord and really making a mess of diplomatic relations with a race of underground humanoid reptiles. Sadly, Rory was shot in the chest by a laser and then erased from existence after his body was sucked through a crack in time. That'll hurt in the morning.
The Doctor and Amy - who had forgotten her fiancé who never was - carried on together. They validated Vincent Van Gogh's existence and The Doctor stayed with James Corden for a bit. Then it was time for the big finale...
The Doctor's allies through time teamed up to bring him a warning - a Van Gogh painting of an exploding Tardis, complete with date and co-ordinates. The Doc, with Amy in toe, transported himself to Roman Britain - where they encountered River Song. Together, the three then went to Stone Henge, discovering the Pandorica (a box said to contain "the most dangerous warrior in the universe" within it) in "The Underhenge" beneath it. Oh, and the Pandorica was opening. Some good news though - Rory inexplicably returned as a Roman centurion.
Only, wait, oh dear. Turned out that Rory - along with the rest of the Roman army - was actually a plastic robot programmed by an alliance of The Doctor's greatest enemies (and some former allies) to help imprison our beloved protagonist in the Pandorica. The Doctor pleaded with them to change their minds - if they locked him up, he wouldn't be able to prevent the universe from ending, after all. Unfortunately, they didn't listen. Elsewhere, Amy managed to remember who Rory was; just in time for him to momentarily give in to his programming and, you know, shoot her to death. Meanwhile, River Song was trapped in an exploding TARDIS. Now this is where it gets complicated, a bit wibbly wobbly and timey wimey, so I'm afraid Wikipedia is in order: The Big Bang.
So, essentially, The Doctor healed the cracks, Amy married Rory and got her family back and River Song promised everything would soon change (and that she was sorry, so sorry). Now we join The Doctor, Amy and Rory as they carry on their adventures and, in their spare time, search for what actually made the TARDIS explode and await the time... when silence falls.
What is Doctor Who?
Essentially - and this is hugely underselling it - it's a British sci-fi show that began in 1963 and, a sixteen year gap aside, continues to run into its 32nd series and 771st episode this year. More specifically, it's a show about a 907-year-old alien time traveller and an assortment of companions travelling through time and space, going through genres as quickly as they do historical periods and saving the world, the universe and, if they have the time, Space Florida time and time again.
Will I have to do a ton of catching up if I want to get into it then?
The short answer, no. The long answer, no, you can get into the show at any time - even during the series - thanks to the lead writer intentionally dispersing "getting on points" throughout episodes; but there's a lot there if you do want to watch up. There's the 31 previous series - divided into 26 'Old Who' series and five 'New Who' series - two spin-offs (The Sarah Jane Adventures for the young'uns and Torchwood for the, ahem, 'more mature' audience), a TV movie, books, audiobooks, boardgames, a videogame and, well, pretty much everything you can think of.
What's the format of the show?
Thirteen 45 minute episodes a year, accompanied by an hour-long Christmas special, which airs later in the year, surprisingly, at Christmas. This format can change slightly but by and large remains the same.
If I were so inclined, what is the recommended watching?
Different people will give you different lists, but generally, if you're going to watch New Who, this is the cream of the crop (or just the ones with important story elements, whatever). Series finales and openers are always included - because they're important to the story - but they can be of questionable quality. The best episodes will usually be within the series:
Series 1 (27):
- The Empty Child [Part 1]
- The Doctor Dances [Part 2]
- Bad Wolf [Part 1] [Series Finale]
- The Parting of the Ways [Part 2]
Series 2 (28):
- The Christmas Invasion
- Tooth and Claw
- The Girl in the Fireplace
- The Impossible Planet
- The Satan Pit
- Army Of Ghosts [Part 1] [Series Finale]
- Doomsday [Part 2]
Series 3 (29):
- The Runaway Bride
- Smith and Jones
- Human Nature [Part 1]
- Family of Blood [Part 2]
- Utopia [Part 1] [Series Finale]
- Sound of Drums [Part 2]
- Last of the Time Lords [Part 3]
Series 4 (30):
- Partners in Crime
- Silence in the Library [Part 1]
- Forest of the Dead [Part 2]
- The Stolen Earth [Part 1] [Series Finale]
- Journey's End [Part 2]
- The Waters of Mars
- The End of Time [2-Parter] [Series Finale]
Series 1, 5, 31, 2010 or Fnarg (31):
- The Eleventh Hour
- The Beast Below
- Time of Angels [Part 1]
- Flesh and Stone [Part 2]
- Vampires in Venice
- Amy's Choice
- Vincent and The Doctor
- The Lodger
- The Pandorica Opens [Part 1] [Series Finale]
- The Big Bang [Part 2]
What are the basics of Doctor Who lore?
The expanded Doctor Who universe is as - if not more - massive and daunting as something like Star Wars or, um, Star Trek. Or Stargate.
The basics then: The Doctor is a 900ish-year-old (it changes depending on who you ask - and he's aged a few hundred years since the start of the series) Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He has two hearts, a sonic screwdriver that does almost everything - but it doesn't work on wood - and can regenerate when fatally injured, which handily explains the eleven (canon) actors who have portrayed him. He can supposedly only regenerate twelve times, and has used ten of these up [UPDATE: it's been confirmed there is now no limit on regenerations]. Time will only tell if he can escape this death clause [he has]. Aliases include John Smith, Doctor Who (as in "The Doctor? Doctor Who?") and his real name, *inaudible whisper*. He is the last of his kind; his species having been destroyed in the Time War with the Daleks, which is time locked... although both sides have found ways to escape the conflict on numerous occasions.
He travels in The TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space). Its chameleon circuit malfunctioned, leaving it stuck disguised as a blue police telephone box. The TARDIS is bigger on the inside than on the outside, with sprawling staircases and corridors, a swimming pool, a library... most of which you oddly never see on-camera. It travels in space and time, impressively - and has also been known to inconveniently pop into alternate dimensions. Oh, also, it's kind of sentient. Doesn't say much, mind you.
Traditionally, The Doctor travels with a 'Companion' or 'Assistant'. In New Who, he'll usually have a primary female companion and occasionally a male supplementary companion who'll tag along for an adventure or two. Currently, The Doctor travels with young, attractive, ginger Amy Pond and her new husband, Rory. That's not as boring as it sounds by the way.
The enemies/monsters are part of what makes Doctor Who. There are the iconic pepperpot-shaped Daleks, the steel-coated Cybermen, the growth-stunted, potato-headed Sontarans, the inanimate-only-when-you're-looking Weeping Angels, the dastardly bastard that is The Doctor's fellow Time Lord, The Master - who's dead... for now. Basically, it's a long list and you wouldn't want to read it in its entirety. Probably.
How does time travel work in Doctor Who?
People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey... stuff. It will pay to remember this.
I'm American. How do I watch the latest series if I don't want to torrent it (like a monster)?
I'm reliably informed that the new series of Doctor Who will likely air two weeks after the UK on - surprise imminent - BBC America. Watch this space - and the start dates above - for confirmation.
Christmas Special 2010 <--- Discussion Link
'A Christmas Carol'
'The Impossible Astronaut'
'Day of the Moon'
'The Doctor's Wife'
'The Rebel Flesh'
-- SERIES SPLIT --
'What Are Little Boys Made Of?'
'The God Complex'
- New Costume For The Doctor?
- Christmas Special Guest Stars Revealed
- First picture of 2010 Christmas Special Released [Hi-Res]
- Neil Gaiman (The Sandman) Writing For Series 2011 ("Probably Episode Three")
- Matt Smith To Appear In Sarah Jane Adventures
- New Series To Be Split Into Two Parts
- Mark Gatiss Writing For Series 2011
- Waters of Mars Wins Hugo Award
- Doctor Who Wins Best Family Drama At TV Choice Awards
- Spoiler Pictures For A Certain Creepy Episode
- First Glimpse Of Christmas Special In BBC Drama Preview
- Big List O' Spoilers
- Series Six In America
- The Doctor Becomes "Immortal"
- Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor Gets A New Costume
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Thank you to everyone on this list for contributing to the last thread and making it, well, just a terrific thread to browse. Carry on the good work, chaps!