Saturday, November 23, 2013

Still Life With Robin: The Doctor's First 50 Years

Photo: Steve Collins/Wikimedia Commons
Today, Saturday, November 25, at 2:50 Eastern Standard Time --and at the equivalent time in every time zone around the entire world-- is the premier of the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who, “The Day of the Doctor,” a momentous occasion for Whovians everywhere -- and I proudly count myself among them. (See for viewing information.)

In recognition of the Doctor Who phenomenon the Google Doodle for today is an animation featuring all eleven doctors, with a click-to-play interactive game for each. That should keep you occupied until the appointed time of 2:50 PM! 

However, if you beat the Google doodle game quickly and want something else to keep you Who-occupied before the show starts, try this quiz, “Which Doctor Who Personality Are You?”:

And its natural sequel, “Which Doctor Who Companion Are You?”:

Now, for all those who are completely mystified by the preceding because you are not initiated into the cult of The Doctor, it may be that you have kept yourself away out of a sense that it’s too late to get acquainted now. With 50 years of history to catch up on, you might think there’s just too much backtracking to do. I hope to persuade you otherwise. No one needs to go back to the beginning, as pointed out by Entertainment Weekly in its useful little primer, “How to Start Watching Doctor Who - TARDIS Entry Points”: .  As the article breezily assures you, all you reallyneed to know is this: “Doctor Who is about a man can travel anywhere in time and space in a box that’s bigger on the inside. Ta-dah! You’re done.” The article goes on to recommend three good “starter” episodes: The Ark in Space; The Doctor Dances; and Blink. (For summaries of these and other episodes, go to

These would not be my own choices, actually, for Doctor Who newbies. Especially not Blink, with its truly terrifying Weeping Angels. I would recommend you start with one that follows its standard but always exhilaratingly fast-paced plotline: Doctor Who goes back into history and finds out that some major event or historical figure is actually propelled by alien monster attempting to take over the Earth.  So I recommend:

Tooth and Claw (the Queen Victoria episode)
Vincent and the Doctor (the Vincent Van Gogh episode)

And don’t worry about watching anything in any particular order.  According to Doctor Who, it’s all a “big ball of wibbly-wobbly…timey wimey…stuff.”


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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