If you’ve never watched an episode of Doctor Who in your life (yes, these people really do exist), it can seem pretty daunting to face up to over 800 episodes, 13 Doctors and 56 years of history.
And that’s before you factor in all the different alien species, villainous or otherwise, and various companions over the years. Newcomers to the show may not be familiar with the idea of the companions, for that matter, or the Doctor’s regeneration cycle concept at all.
If you’re one of those people, eyeballs fresh and Doctor-free, but you want to give it a go nonetheless, we recommend starting with New Who, which covers the last five Doctors. In fact, start with Series 11. Yep, skip to the end.
New to the Doctor Who universe? Settle in for some timey-wimey stuff with Doctor Who Series 11 on Stan.
The reason is simple: it’s the most accessible by a long shot. Led by Jodie Whittaker as the current iteration of the Doctor, the series was written and designed to appeal to new fans in a way that has never happened before.
How? Through representation, structure and a whole universe of exploration.
I have a confession to make. I recently had the privilege of interviewing Jodie Whittaker about being the new Doctor. It was wonderful. She was wonderful. And I wish I could share every word with you - it was for you, after all. But I can't. Because ya girl managed to screw up the recording. And the backup recording. And I only discovered this a couple of hours ago.Read more
First up: representation is important. By positioning Jodie not just as a companion, but as the title role, means that younger women and girls can look at the show as something they might see themselves in. Obviously this is minus the whole alien thing, but the themes are transferable and you can learn from each episode.
Given that women have almost always been companions alone, it’s a pretty big step up.
Another huge point of difference for the series is that over the course of series 11, while there are common threads and goals, each episode is entirely standalone.
Historically, most series of Doctor Who have featured (at the very least) two-part episodes and ongoing storylines, generally as a hook or cliffhanger to have fans returning. This season relies on its own merit as a reason for fans to keep watching.
New Whovians can pick up at almost any episode in the series and find themselves able to understand the storyline without having to sit through seasons of backstory to get context.
But you’re right, admittedly some context is important and here’s the thing: because of the episodic nature, this series serves as a prime taster for the original series.
Starting a new show is a time commitment and that’s without even considering whether you’ve got to sync up watch times with your partner or housemates (because breaking those sacred viewing times is tantamount to mutiny).
But by having this series as a taster, you can get the vibe of all that Doctor Who has on the table ” all the wibbly, wobbly, timey-wimey stuff that Tennant’s 10th Doctor waxed lyrical about.
If you love it, you can start venturing backwards ” swimming in seas of Daleks, navigating through the ups and downs of the Doctor’s tumultuous relationship with Rose Tyler, wearing a Fez at entirely inappropriate times.
It’s barely scratching the surface of what’s on offer in this fantasy universe, but it’s already so detailed that you’ll be immersed.
If you want to give Doctor Who a try, opt for Series 11 on Stan, or dive straight in to the whole selection of New Who, for a morsel that’ll leave you with a taste for some more time.
In a non-linear kind of way, of course ” just as the good Doctor intended.