April 16, 2010

Geek Out!: The New Doctor Who

Posted: 02:14 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From scifi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

This Saturday, BBC America will air the season (or "series," in British terminology) premier of Doctor Who.

The new season is either the Doctor's fifth or 31st, depending on who you ask because of a decade-and-a-half hiatus. And it's a good time to jump in and start watching if you're unfamiliar with the venerable British sci-fi franchise.

Here's a basic rundown on the BBC series:

To date, there have been 11 different actors to play the title character of
the show.

When it started in 1963, the first actor to play the Doctor became too
sick to continue, so the writers created an interesting twist in which he died and regenerated into a completely different person.

The concept was a hit with fans and because of that angle, Doctor Who has become the longest running science fiction show in history, according to Guiness Book of World Records.

For most fans, their first Doctor is the one that remains their favorite Doctor for life. (Tom Baker fans, unite! OK ... David Tennant fans, too.)

Doctor Who follows the adventures of an alien known as a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey.

Known only as "the Doctor," he travels through time and space in a ship called the TARDIS (an acronym for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space). Probably the most recognizable image from the series, the TARDIS looks like a blue British police box from the 1960s.

The Doctor typically travels with a human companion, usually a woman who at some point falls in love with him during their time together. It's a pretty good gig.

This season, we not only get a new Doctor - Matt Smith, who, at 27, is the
youngest actor to ever be cast in this role - but also a new companion named Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan).

From the clips we’ve seen, the chemistry between the pair is promising. It's a glimmer of hope for fans who have been skeptical about such a young Doctor replacing David Tennant, whose Doctor made such an indelible mark on the franchise.

As longtime fans, we think that the direction of the new season is really exciting and hope it will make us miss the 10th Doctor a little less and start to think of Matt Smith as THE Doctor.

This season, the time travelers will battle villains both classic (the Daleks) and new (vampires?!).

We're especially excited because the entire season will be authored by Steven Moffat.

Moffat is the creator of some our favorite episodes including "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead" and "Blink," which featured the Weeping Angels that many agree are some of the scariest opponents ever. And, guess what? The angels will make a repeat appearance this season.

With a following that spans all ages and groups, this is the perfect time to
join on the bandwagon and become a fan of the Doctor.

Are you considering giving the Doctor a shot? And, longtime fans - any thoughts to share with potential newcomers? Let us know in the comments.

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