Prepare for The Day of The Doctor with a crash course on Doctor Who
The Day of the Doctor is upon us, and it has been fifty years in the making. The longest-running sci-fi series in television history, Doctor Who is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with a cinematic event that will screen in theaters across the country, including nineteen theaters in Colorado on Monday, November 25.
Image courtesy of BBC Doctor Who will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, honoring the eleven Doctors.
Fifty years of Doctors, companions, villains, timelines and back story are a lot to catch up on for the uninitiated. Fortunately, the British series allows newcomers to pick up the show at different points along the way. For Whovians who want to refresh their memory, Newvians who want to learn about the show's history, or people who don't know about the show but want to attend this milestone event, here is a crash course..
See also: Doctor Who: The Day of The Doctor
Let's start with the basics. The Doctor is a Time Lord who upholds the laws of time in the Universe. At one time, there were many Time Lords from a planet called Gallifrey, but Doctor Who is the last of his kind as the result of the Time War. He travels through time and space in the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), a time machine that is meant to blend into it's surroundings but got stuck in the shape of a British 1960s blue police box. It's like a phone booth, but don't be fooled, it's bigger on the inside.
Anywhere The Doctor travels, he encounters evil aliens who usually seek power by destroying another race. He tries to implement justice and has saved the Universe countless times. The Doctor has a soft spot for humans, believing they can achieve more than the rest of the Universe gives them credit for. He saves the Earth time and time again, but his presence in major catastrophic events leads those who are watching him closely to believe that wherever this Time Lord goes, death and destruction follow.
The Doctor also brings humans along on his adventures. One of the most accurate descriptions of the character used in the series is "The Lonely God." He has all this power to change history and save the Universe, but the loneliness of being the last of his kind leaves The Doctor in need of a companion to keep his sanity.
He picks a human who seems ordinary, but has the capacity to be extraordinary, and shows them the wonders of the stars. The companions also serve as a type of John Watson to Sherlock Holmes, taking the viewer's point of view, asking questions to help understand what's happening and moving along the plot. Some companions appear in multiple seasons, while some only appear in a single episode.
Unfortunately, for those who get emotionally attached to the characters, companions can't last long. The Doctor is not exactly immortal, but when he is in mortal danger he can go into the TARDIS and regenerate into a new body and new personality -- that's how they've managed to keep the show alive for so long.
The Doctor is more than 900 years old, meaning he would outlive all of his companions and have to suffer the pain of their death. So after a while he lets his companions move on with their lives -- something they can't easily do after all they've seen and done. Many of them continue their efforts to save the world, using their knowledge of aliens and the Universe to help secret organizations.
This not-so-brief explanation might seem convoluted -- and it doesn't even cover some of the more mysterious plot points like the Bad Wolf, the name of the Doctor and what really happened in the Time War -- but the series is actually easy and fun to watch. It's full of British humor, a great cast and heart-warming moments.
Continue reading for a list of the Doctors and information on the fiftieth anniversary special.