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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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Frank in Pensacola, FL   April 20th, 2010 7:44 pm ET

Need to get the writing up to the level of "Blink" and "Silence in the Library"

Chris   April 21st, 2010 11:21 am ET

For those who can't wait for the season premiere, head over to CastTV under Doctor Who. No, I'm not advertising for the site, this is simply the only way I have been able to see the new Doctor Who. Mike Smith seems to know what he's doing so far, and Karen Gillan is keeping up with every assistant I've seen in the new series. I'm a big Tom Baker fan just as much as David Tennant, I'm just glad the series is backm in any form. Stay away from Torchwood though, huge disappointment in my eyes...

another annon   April 21st, 2010 3:14 pm ET

I STILL cannot get over losing Tom Baker. The most unpredictable and ironic doctor, and such a great scarf....I am waiting to travel back in time so that I can experience the whole thing again.

mrgriffo   April 30th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

I watched the last few episodes and thought they were okay. I must say I am intrigued with the new doctor. Matt and Amy seem to be doing a good job so far. I was not a big fan of the Smilers, but not every enemy can be a Dalek. Were can I get my hands on some of the older TV Seasons? The only thing I have found online was Dr. Who and The Daleks. Most Dr. Who fans don't even consider the movies part of the story. In my searches for the shows I came across this guy Tim at:
and if you Who fans want to geek out, tim can show you how.


stylites   May 1st, 2010 10:23 am ET

Best place to introduce yourself to old Who is perhaps through Netflix....a decent amount of episodes to watch streaming and a lot on the site for mailing.

Episodes that I suggest you start with if you DON'T want to start at the beginning of a Doctor's run (which I suggest is the BEST way to watch Who) would be (in no particular order): "Genesis of the Daleks", "The Deadly Assassin", "Planet of the Spiders", "An Unearthly Child", "The Daleks", "The Keys of Marinus", "Tomb of the Cyberman", "The War Games", "The Five Doctors", "Earthshock", "The Caves of Andrizani", "The Keeper of Traken", "Logopolis", "Pyramids of Mars", "City of Death", "The Invasion of Time", "The Trial of a Timelord"...just to name a few. 😉

As a long time Who fan (Tom Baker generation, but seen every episode still in existence), I like Matt Smith a lot! I've now seen through the 4th story "The Time of Angels" (which has an awesome cliffhanger) and I'm enjoying the new series immensely. I DON'T like all of the relationship stuff, but for some reason have no problem with River Song......but all of the Rose stuff got old and the Martha crush....blah, blah....preferred old Who when either it was implied that there was something else there (or fans read wayyyyy too much into things) or there was nothing at all. Really, that is my main gripe with NuWho.

But not everyone will like it. There are many classic Who loyalists. There are also many who do not like certain Doctors. I, myself, can barely watch Sylvester McCoy. There are also many episodes that I don't like that other people think are brilliant. To me, the fact of being able to appeal to such a wide range of people and audiences is one of the reasons for the enduring charm and success of this show, despite whether or not you like a certain actor, companion, production team, etc.

Oh....and I REALLY miss Torchwood!!! Children of Earth was up with the best of Who IMHO and am aching to have TW back!

stylites   May 1st, 2010 10:29 am ET

Oh....and on another note: the writing in this CNN article is horrible and contains errors about the show. It reads like it was written by 3rd graders....which may be what our horrid American educational system has produced, granted, but supposedly written by alleged and self-proclaimed geeks?!?!?! Wow, geekdom has changed......

Regflor   May 16th, 2010 12:36 am ET

Really wanting to like Matt as the Doctor, but I can't quite get there. His doctor seems a bit mean. He yells a lot at Amy. She's the better of the two. I don't like how they are recycling the old villians.

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