Where to start with Dr. Who?

I have noticed that Dr. Who is…a thing.

The most I know about Dr. Who is there’s a guy with a phone boothy-type-thing, curly hair and a long scarf. That is to say, when I was 9 I flipped past it on the old rotary dial on the TV set while on my way to channel 32 (back when TVs were the size of small refrigerators). That’s it.

Now I’d like to become familiar with the Dr Whoniverse, but I’m not sure where to begin. Any suggestions of what I should watch, and in what order?


I would start with the “new” doctors, or in other words, the 2005 season. And work your way up from there to the present.

If you love those, and you will, you could go back and check out older versions. But there’s such a long gap (16 years?) between the old and the new, they feel very different.

First of all, it’s not “Dr. Who” - his surname isn’t “Who”. It’s “Doctor Who”, as in:

“I’m the Doctor.”

“Doctor who?”

“Just the Doctor”.

Second of all, I’d start with the first appearance of David Tennant in the role, in the second season of the new series. Christopher Eccleston, who played the role in season 1, was good, but the show was still finding its legs.

The Christopher Eccleston reboot, aka 2005. Brings you up to speed, stories and acting are good, no need to go back to Tom Baker.
Don’t skip Eccleston and go to Tennant, or you’ll have to go back.

I think you want the 2005 season, with Christopher Eccleston, and to go forward from there. That will provide you with six seasons worth of fun. How many episodes are you interested in seeing? Personally, I think there’s a strong argument for starting at the beginning of season 5, introducing Matt Smith as the main character. The series was again partially rebooted at that point, with a new cast, new producers and writers. You would miss some truly fantastic episodes like Blink, but you’d be brought up to speed pretty quickly.

I made the mistake of watching a series about time travel in the wrong order, and it messes with your head. No matter how great some episodes are, I would strongly recommend you not do much cherry-picking. Decide if you’d like to watch two or six seasons and jump in at one of those two points, in my opinion.

I strongly suggest against this. I found Eccleston incredibly boring.

The way I got into it, as suggested by a friend, was start with Matt Smith’s run. So season 5 I believe. You really won’t be too much out of the loop. Then, if you liked those shows, you can go back.

I saw season five and six, then tried to go back to (2005) season 1 and got really bored.

Not to give too much away here, but if you skip right to the Tennant season, some characters are still in the series from the previous season. You’ll be missing a LOT of character development in those particular, and important, characters if you do this.

I think you’ve got to start with 2005 and Eccleston.

This is freaking crazy. Nobody. I mean NOBODY would skip the David Tennant seasons on purpose.

It’s true! Started with Smith and now I’m trying to work up the energy to start Tennant, but he just doesn’t really do it for me.

I’m another vote for starting with Eccleston in 2005. I loved the “new” series from the very beginning, and while I love, loved the Tennant seasons, I’m one not to want to miss anything and from the beginning is always better, IMO, if I’m hooked on a whole series. I’m still not sure about Smith - he’s goofier (not a bad thing), but for some reason I really want to paint eyebrows on him.

Don’t skip Eccleston. Tenant and season 2 is a great deal better, true, but you might be a bit lost if you skip the first season. It was during Eccleston’s tenure that Captain Jack Harkness was introduced and we found out how creepy the phrase “Are you my mummy?” can be. Also, the first season is when the whole “Bad Wolf” mystery starts, which is a story thread that runs through the first three seasons.

RandMcnally is clearly insane. (No offense; just stating the facts here.)

Definitely start with Eccleston. Even if you don’t like the guy (although actually he’s my favorite Doctor of all time) they do a great job in that season of bringing the viewers in on the Whoniverse so that you don’t need any prior knowledge. Also there are some great episodes in that season! And I can’t imagine skipping the Tennant seasons. Sheesh.

How about starting with “The Empty Child”/“The Doctor Dances”, then? That way, you skip over the awkwardness of the season’s beginning right to a couple of excellent, important episodes.

(italics added)

It would appear that you can’t go back.

Eccleston is good. Rose is amazing. Tennant is the best doctor of them all (IMO). It’s an upswing from the 2005 reboot through to early Smith.

In my opinion you want to start either with Eccleston in the 2005 season or Matt Smith in 2010. If you like either you’ll definitely want to try Tennant’s episodes.

If I had to decide I’d say start with Eccleston.

As others have said, start with Eccleston, and go onto Tennant.
Personally, I can’t stand Matt Smith, but I’m in the minority on that.

You take its subject of Time Travel too literally.

Personally - start as far back as possible - the NewWho stuff is OK but not Dr. Who enough - been watching it for over 40 years and still like Pertwee best

Eccleston is my favorite. By far. He gave depth to the character and showed the pain of someone who has everyone die around him. For centuries.

This question comes up all the time and the consensus is always to start with “Rose,” the first Eccleston episode. It gets you up to speed and has some great shows.

Much as I like the classic Who, they are nowhere near as good as the reboot, which added far more depth of character. They work quite well as adventures, but it’s more 50s comic book adventures than more modern drama.