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Where to jump into Dr. Who

The Last GentThe Last Gent Registered User regular
edited July 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok, so, a few months ago, I watched the season premiere, with the new Doctor. I'd never seen any before. So, I thought it was interesting, but I was kind of scared off by all the implied continuity I was ignorant of. I'm one of those people who doesn't like missing out on plot points.

So, if I were to seriously watch this, where would I start? I know it was cancelled in the 80s, and this is now the third....set of adventures....or whatever, in a revival. Could I theoretically go back to when the revival started and watch from there without continuity being a pain? Or do I need to go back to the 60s/70s/80s/whatever? I know a good chunk of the 60s stuff doesn't exist anymore either, so I guess THAT can't be important.

So, where to jump in and not have to worry about continuity? I'll confess, if I had to start in the old days I might not bother, there's only so much time in a person's life.

The Last Gent on

Posts

  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited June 2010
    Start at the beginning of Eccleston's run in 2005. He was the 9th Doctor, but the show was restarted with the intention of bringing in new fans, so the continuity is introduced slowly over the span of the series, and always with belief that the viewers have no idea what's going on. The episode you'll want to start with is called Rose.

    Bionic Monkey on
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  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I started watching with the most recent reboot of the series, in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston and I haven't had any problems so far. And it's all up on Netflix streaming too, so easy to find

    Usagi on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    You can jump in at the revival and be fine. It's what I'd recommend if you haven't watch it since the older ones don't come off quite as well if you didn't grow up with them. While there is continuity of a sort, nothing in the series is really set in stone. Stuff is changed all the time for the convenience of telling a good story. You're not going to miss out on too much other than the immediate importance of certain people and places, but a lot of that can be wikied before watching if you want.

    Though if you absolutely want to, you can pull up Wiki's episode list and work your way through Netflix.

    Quid on
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Continuity is an odd thing in Doctor Who. For most sci-fi shows, you want to start at the beginning. If you don't watch the new Battlestar Galactica or Babylon 5 from the start, you are not going to get the full experience.

    So sci-fi fans are used to starting from the beginning for every show, which means that Doctor Who seems very off-putting because that isn't really possible, at least with the older version of the show that started in the sixties, because there is so much of it. Also, the older show did not really have continuity - each story was almost completely self-contained.

    So, as others have said, start with the season where Eccleston was the Doctor, because that's when the series got relaunched, and that's where the current continuity got going.

    CelestialBadger on
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    They specifically make an effort to allow the start of any series (since the reboot) to be a good jumping in point. There's elements of continuity sure but they always make sure they explain enough for you. Bear in mind that sometimes what you think is implied continuity is actually just throw away nonsense designed to sound good.

    That said, if you're going back and picking things up on DVD or whatever then you might as well start at the start of the reboot and begin with Eccleston as it's all excellent watching.

    Jam Warrior on
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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Bear in mind that sometimes what you think is implied continuity is actually just throw away nonsense designed to sound good.

    Yeah, if the Doctor says something like "This reminds me of the time I was cornered on the 4th moon of Shpinkzoid 7, back to back with Wyatt Earp, fighting off a horde of Chumblies", don't go looking for the DVD, he says crap like that all the time.

    CelestialBadger on
  • MadpandaMadpanda Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The reboot is also big on foreshadowing (might not be the right word for this), which is usually explained and revealed within the season. So if you see something referenced several times in the background it will eventually come up in a future episode. Even the Shadow Proclamation, though that one has the lowest "amount of times referenced:distance to explanation" ratio.




    e.x
    just word spoilers, no plot points

    season 1
    bad wolf

    season 2 or 3?
    where have all the bees gone

    current season
    the crack

    Madpanda on
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  • KlorgnumKlorgnum Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Madpanda wrote: »
    The reboot is also big on foreshadowing (might not be the right word for this), which is usually explained and revealed within the season. So if you see something referenced several times in the background it will eventually come up in a future episode. Even the Shadow Proclamation, though that one has the lowest "amount of times referenced:distance to explanation" ratio.




    e.x
    just word spoilers, no plot points

    season 1
    bad wolf

    season 2
    torchwood

    season 4
    disappearing planets/bees

    current season
    the crack

    Fixed that for you. I don't think Season 3 had a word/words, but I'm not sure.

    Keep in mind that the 2005 season was after the show had been off the air for 20 years. If they had started it up again with lots of continuity, they weren't going to get any viewers under the age of 40. Doctor Who is extremely accessible, and continuity is as fluid as the writers want it to be.

    Klorgnum on
  • XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Mind you, this year hasn't exactly been a bad jumping on-point either. No real recurring plot aside from River Song.

    Xagarath on
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Xagarath wrote: »
    Mind you, this year hasn't exactly been a bad jumping on-point either. No real recurring plot aside from River Song.

    I'd say that River Song is pretty big. You could catch up on that by just watching that two-parter though.

    Esh on
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Reasonable points to start watching:

    The start of the reboot with Eccleston is a good point and if you want to know any current plotlines and shit, start there.

    If you are impatient, I don't see any reason you couldn't start with the new season. It starts reasonably fresh off, like others have said there is only the River Song plot line, which you can get caught up with by watching the two parter from the previous season.

    No need to start any earlier than Eccleston. In fact, I would recommend not watching any earlier doctors until you get comfortable with the current stuff. I personally went back and watched some older stuff after watching all the new stuff. The fourth Doctor is quite good, but the production values resemble a church play at that point.

    Al_wat on
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Al_wat wrote: »
    Reasonable points to start watching:

    The start of the reboot with Eccleston is a good point and if you want to know any current plotlines and shit, start there.

    If you are impatient, I don't see any reason you couldn't start with the new season. It starts reasonably fresh off, like others have said there is only the River Song plot line, which you can get caught up with by watching the two parter from the previous season.

    No need to start any earlier than Eccleston. In fact, I would recommend not watching any earlier doctors until you get comfortable with the current stuff. I personally went back and watched some older stuff after watching all the new stuff. The fourth Doctor is quite good, but the production values resemble a church play at that point.

    I think that watching that two-parter might make people REALLY want to watch the rest of Tenant's run.

    Esh on
  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'm not intending to sound trollish with this, but I honestly think you can start wherever. A majority of the shows are one-offs, and make passing references to other things, but you don't have to know the entire history of the Cybermen or the Daleks to understand what's going on in a given episode unless it's part of a two or three parter. The "arc shows" can be caught up with selectively. It's not like jumping into the middle of Lost or another series that demands you to be married to the damn show.

    GungHo on
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    GungHo wrote: »
    I'm not intending to sound trollish with this, but I honestly think you can start wherever. A majority of the shows are one-offs, and make passing references to other things, but you don't have to know the entire history of the Cybermen or the Daleks to understand what's going on in a given episode unless it's part of a two or three parter. The "arc shows" can be caught up with selectively. It's not like jumping into the middle of Lost or another series that demands you to be married to the damn show.

    If you're going to start somewhere, it might as well be beginning with a Doctor. I don't think you'd get quite the sense of things (Rose and the Doctor's relationship for instance) if you skipped about or started in the middle.

    I'd say start with Eccleston. Or you could start with Smith if you don't plan on going back or are short on time.

    EDIT: You won't be "lost" (haha), but you'll be missing out on quite a bit.

    Esh on
  • DoraBDoraB Registered User
    edited June 2010
    I second the recommendation with Eccleston, mainly because that is where I started. My husband is the big Who fan and he wanted me to get caught up on the show (which I'd never seen before) so we could watch the new season together. Luckily, at the time, Netflix had it on instant streaming.

    They will reference a lot of creatures from the earlier stuff, but never enough to make you go "Huh?" and on the whole I found this a really engaging place to start at. If you start later on in the series, which starts bringing in a lot more overarching plot points (like the stuff with Rose) you are probably not going to know what's going on. Anyway, the recent seasons are pretty short; only around fourteen episodes apiece, so it won't take you too

    I hope you enjoy it. I went into it just because my husband wanted me to watch it so badly and wasn't expecting much since I'm not a big sci-fi fan, but holy shit. I probably saw my first episode about three months ago and I adore it now; it really is a near-perfect mix of action, comedy, and horror, and there were times when I was honestly sitting on the couch bawling my eyes out, which I didn't expect. Then again, I am a weak emotional female, so whatever.

    DoraB on
  • XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Also, if you do decide to get into the older stuff (and a lot of it is worth your time if you can cope with the production values), don't bother watching everything, or from the beginning. Cherrypick the best stories- they all stand alone pretty well.

    Xagarath on
  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    You could just start with the latest series. Moffat has said in interviews that one of the intentions of this series was that people could start with it and then go back and watch the earlier series of the reboot if they wished.

    BobCesca on
  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Klorgnum wrote: »
    Madpanda wrote: »
    The reboot is also big on foreshadowing (might not be the right word for this), which is usually explained and revealed within the season. So if you see something referenced several times in the background it will eventually come up in a future episode. Even the Shadow Proclamation, though that one has the lowest "amount of times referenced:distance to explanation" ratio.




    e.x
    just word spoilers, no plot points

    season 1
    bad wolf

    season 2
    torchwood

    season 4
    disappearing planets/bees

    current season
    the crack

    Fixed that for you. I don't think Season 3 had a word/words, but I'm not sure.

    Keep in mind that the 2005 season was after the show had been off the air for 20 years. If they had started it up again with lots of continuity, they weren't going to get any viewers under the age of 40. Doctor Who is extremely accessible, and continuity is as fluid as the writers want it to be.

    Season 3 was
    Mr. Saxon

    The specials after Season 4 was
    He will knock 4 times / It is returning.

    Undead Scottsman on
  • CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I started with Chris Eccelson and I've had no problems yet. Really though each new doctor tends to drop all the last ones baggage and start afresh. You probably could start with the first epesode of this latest series and be ok barring the odd reference to previous series here and there.

    Casual on
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  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Casual wrote: »
    I started with Chris Eccelson and I've had no problems yet. Really though each new doctor tends to drop all the last ones baggage and start afresh. You probably could start with the first epesode of this latest series and be ok barring the odd reference to previous series here and there.

    Tenant doesn't drop all of Eccleston's baggage.

    Esh on
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2010
    You should start with Eccleston because he was FUCKING AWESOME.

    Pheezer on
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  • The Last GentThe Last Gent Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'm getting a pretty clear message here. I can just jump into the mid-2000s revival with Dr. Destro, because they wanted to draw in new fans, and so did not rely on much continuity.

    Thanks for the help, I'll put it on my list.

    And yeah, like I said, I did watch the new season premiere (with the bowtie man, Smith I believe) but there seemed to be a lot of continuity. It felt like I was supposed to know what was going on when I really didn't. Also the very end of the episode he scares away the aliens by basically going "hey here's all the awesome stuff I did past seasons."

    The Last Gent on
  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited July 2010
    Esh wrote: »
    GungHo wrote: »
    I'm not intending to sound trollish with this, but I honestly think you can start wherever. A majority of the shows are one-offs, and make passing references to other things, but you don't have to know the entire history of the Cybermen or the Daleks to understand what's going on in a given episode unless it's part of a two or three parter. The "arc shows" can be caught up with selectively. It's not like jumping into the middle of Lost or another series that demands you to be married to the damn show.

    If you're going to start somewhere, it might as well be beginning with a Doctor. I don't think you'd get quite the sense of things (Rose and the Doctor's relationship for instance) if you skipped about or started in the middle.

    I'd say start with Eccleston. Or you could start with Smith if you don't plan on going back or are short on time.

    EDIT: You won't be "lost" (haha), but you'll be missing out on quite a bit.

    Which is why it's a good idea to start either with Eccleston or Smith. With Tennant, you have a season or character growth with Rose that might confuse you in parts, and if you jump in where Martha or Donna, you're still dealing with a lot of repercussions from Rose leaving and how the Doctor handled that.

    Bionic Monkey on
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  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    There is really no reason not to start with Eccleston.

    Tomanta on
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I'm getting a pretty clear message here. I can just jump into the mid-2000s revival with Dr. Destro, because they wanted to draw in new fans, and so did not rely on much continuity.

    Thanks for the help, I'll put it on my list.

    And yeah, like I said, I did watch the new season premiere (with the bowtie man, Smith I believe) but there seemed to be a lot of continuity. It felt like I was supposed to know what was going on when I really didn't. Also the very end of the episode he scares away the aliens by basically going "hey here's all the awesome stuff I did past seasons."

    Thats actually kinda common. The Doctor just tends to know.... everything.

    Al_wat on
  • KlorgnumKlorgnum Registered User
    edited July 2010
    Klorgnum wrote: »
    Madpanda wrote: »
    The reboot is also big on foreshadowing (might not be the right word for this), which is usually explained and revealed within the season. So if you see something referenced several times in the background it will eventually come up in a future episode. Even the Shadow Proclamation, though that one has the lowest "amount of times referenced:distance to explanation" ratio.




    e.x
    just word spoilers, no plot points

    season 1
    bad wolf

    season 2
    torchwood

    season 4
    disappearing planets/bees

    current season
    the crack

    Fixed that for you. I don't think Season 3 had a word/words, but I'm not sure.

    Keep in mind that the 2005 season was after the show had been off the air for 20 years. If they had started it up again with lots of continuity, they weren't going to get any viewers under the age of 40. Doctor Who is extremely accessible, and continuity is as fluid as the writers want it to be.

    Season 3 was
    Mr. Saxon

    Oh right. Well, that just shows how memorable I thought Season 3 was.

    Klorgnum on
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