‘Doctor Who’ Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List

Published 8 months ago by , Updated November 6th, 2014 at 1:37 pm,

doctor who viewing tips Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List

Doctor Who is a complicated show full of enough wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff to make any veteran Whovian’s head spin. For that reason, we’ve also put together a list of tips for watching the series that should help newcomers make sense of certain informational bits that might be confusing at first. We’ve also compiled notes that, first and foremost, stress the importance of Christmas episodes and other specials – as well as address a number of frequently asked logistical questions.

The Basics:

  • Doctor Who is the question, The Doctor is what he’s refered to as, Doctor is what people call him.
  • Doctor Who is always written as Doctor Who, never Dr. Who.
  • The Doctor has a name but will only reveal it in special circumstances, to certain people (viewers do not know it).
  • The Doctor is 900+ years old and can regenerate. Originally he could regenerate 11 times (for 12 incarnations) but was recently given new regeneration energy.
  • Regeneration can occur willingly or as the result of dire circumstances. All memories stay while personality quirks and traits change. However, the Doctor can learn traits from previous incarnations (i.e. to not be too serious).
  • Accept that you’re not going to like any incarnation of The Doctor at first. You will also initially hate every newly regenerated Doctor replacing the previous Doctor.
  • Similarly, be aware that you will likely not be happy with each new companion at first.

The Logistics:

  • Christmas Specials are part of the overall story – with lead-ins and cliffhangers to the previous and upcoming episodes/seasons.
  • The “Season 2008-2012 Specials” are also essential to the overall Doctor Who story – linking the show’s fourth and fifth seasons.
  • Doctor Who has a companion series called Doctor Who Confidential, which shows the making-of/behind-the-scenes of each and every episode. Doctor Who Confidential only aired in the UK but is available on the US DVD & Blu-Ray releases. The BBC canceled Doctor Who Confidential following the season 6 finale.
  • Doctor Who DVDs are expensive because they also include every episode of Doctor Who Confidential for the season, plus commentaries, video diaries & more.
  • Every episode of Doctor Who (seasons 1-7) is available on Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix (in the US).
Are you a frequent companion of The Doctor and have a tip for new viewers? Make sure to share it in the comments below.

doctor who the last centurion Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List

We’ve already shared a few episodes that can whet your appetite for more Doctor Who but which of the Time Lord’s adventures are the overall best? We’d never be so bold as to put together a “best” episodes list – since there are plenty of high quality installments in the series that appeal to viewers for different reasons. However, we’ve listed our personal favorites below for the sake of discussion.

  1. Blink
  2. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
  3. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
  4. Vincent and the Doctor
  5. The Girl in the Fireplace
  6. The Name of the Doctor
  7. The Girl Who Waited
  8. The Time of the Doctor
  9. Human Nature/The Family of Blood
  10. Father’s Day

Honorable Mentions: Time Crash, Stolen Earth [Ending], The End of Time [Ending], and The Day of the Doctor.

It was hard for us to narrow down our choices to just ten (plus a few honorable mentions) – so we again invite you to share your favorite episodes and Doctor Who memories in the comment section.

Continue reading for a complete list of episodes, specials, and where the Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures crossovers fit in…

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  1. Great job – you’re just missing the Night and the Doctor mini episodes (Last Night, First Night, Good Night, Bad Night, Up All Night) which importantly adds to the the Doctor/River relationship.

    • Thanks! I’ve added those links in as well.

    • DO you know where those are in the Blu Ray/DVD releases? Which season?

      • They should be included in the season 6 DVD and Blu-ray sets.

  2. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I found it and I’ll be book-marking it
    and checking back often!

  3. Accept that you’re not going to like any incarnation of The Doctor at first. You will also initially hate every newly regenerated Doctor replacing the previous Doctor.
    Similarly, be aware that you will likely not be happy with each new companion at first.
    This is so true :D
    And i would put yourneys end and before that
    Its awesome that everyone is coming back to help the doctor one last time

  4. Could you update this to the recent episodes, mini episodes, and specials? It was really helpful when I first started Doctor Who and would like to use it further in the future if I could

  5. Is this page ever going to be updated? I love it. The animated episode was a great tip, even my biggest whovian friends missed that one. But I’m worried that as I catch up with the series I’m going to miss more suggestions.

    • We update the guide before and during each new season. As such, I just updated it ahead of season 8.

  6. Not sure if anyone knows this, but on HULU+ you can catch Classic Doctor Who episodes along with Doctor Who (2005) including every episodes up to Season 7′s Christmas episode. Granted there are commercials, but to get to see all 7 seasons is a big enough treat for me. It’s been a whirlwind ride for me having only watched Classic episodes. I knocked out all 7 seasons in about a week.

  7. Ben Kendrick, thank you so much for this guide. I’m down in Australia where we don’t have Netfilx so this guide was very valuable for me as I made my way through the 7 seasons (remarkably, in order). I now consider myself a fellow Whovian and can’t wait for the next season.

    • Hey James, I’m from Australia too, and have just started watching Doctor Who – can’t believe I’ve left it so long as I love sci fi, anyway – to solve your Netflix problem – download an extension like Hola or Znet (both free and allow you to access restricted international websites). Then just remember to put in a US zip code as your address for the account, and use a credit card for the payment details. Enjoy!

  8. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe
    you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    • This is not a picture book, it’s a speculative news site, so its main medium is text. If you want more images, Google is your friend… Many articles already are several pages long (this very one totals 4), I’d hate for them to multiply pages because of an epidemy of pictures. After all, the important thing is information, isn’t it? I, for one, find the design perfect: easy on the eye with its dark background, not too sober and not too flashy, and easy enough too read precisely because the articles aren’t overwhelmed by a proliferation of images.

  9. I started with Blink, and right after I watched The Eleventh Hour. I was hooked for life.

  10. I just started watching Doctor Who a couple weeks ago after I stumbled across it on Netflix. A ton of my friends are obsessed with it so I decided to give it a go starting with the 2005 reboot. While I’m not obsessed or ultimately hooked. I’m six episodes in and find it mildly entertaining. I had been thinking of asking my friends more about the show, if I was starting in the right place and if I could expect it to get better. The timing of this guide couldn’t be better. Think I will stay the course.

  11. I find this guide’s lack of Classic Who…disturbing. “Complete Episode List” indeed. Hmmph.

    • You did see the part where we said the guide focuses on the modern series only right? ;) Nearly 50 years of Doctor Who is a lot to digest for someone who is thinking about getting into the show. The guide is to help people get on board – then they can go back and watch the classic series if they want.

      • But that’s just the point…it’s a mistake to use the new version as your introduction to the series,it needs the older Who as background material before you bother with it!

  12. Hey thanks for this!! Seriously – This is a big help to someone who wants to start watching the show. :)

  13. I started watching Doctor Who just 2 days ago, and I’ve started with the classics (those which are there at least) Any tips?

    • Netflix has some “best of” collections for several of the Doctors that highlight many of the most iconic episodes. Catching up on the classic series is a little more complicated – since availability of the episodes is inconsistent across different platforms.

      That said, Hulu Plus has most (but still not all) of the classic episodes.

  14. Happy premier day whovians. I hope yall enjoy the show. As for me, I will be waiting till monday to watch to watch the premier on the big screen :-)

  15. Here’s my “Viewing Tip:”

    DON’T WATCH THE “NEXT TIME ON…” BITS! They’ve gotten better, but especially in the first few (reboot) seasons, they’re terrible about revealing twists and major plot details. Skip to the next episode the instant the text appears on screen or it’s inevitable that something big in the next episode will be spoiled.

  16. Couple of minor errors and extra stuff:

    Wedding of SJS and Children of Earth should be BEFORE Waters of Mars, not after.
    Chronologically, The Infinite Quest can pretty much go anywhere in series 3 before Utopia.
    The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End is a crossover with SJA as well as Torchwood. Same goes for End of Time, but that one’s more minor.
    There is another animated episode, Dreamland, between Planet of the Dead and Waters of Mars.
    The end of Torchwood S1 leads directly into Utopia and has a sort-of appearance by the TARDIS (may be worth a mention).
    There are a few prequels missing (Impossible Astronaut, Black Spot, two for Name of the Doctor, the second Snowmen prequel).
    DVD minisodes for series 5 – two Meanwhile in the TARDIS eps, set after Eleventh Hour and Flesh & Stone respectively.
    DVD minisodes for series 7 – The Inforarium (after Wedding of River Song, before Angels Take Manhattan), Clara and the TARDIS and Rain Gods (both anytime after The Bells of St John).

  17. Having watched DW for over 30 years I think any guide that doesn’t treat the revival as an awkward stepchild is less than helpful.I think everyone should see older Who first so they see the new ones in proper perspective.

  18. Do you have the links and placement for “The Great Detective” and “Vastra Investigates”?

  19. Scream of the Shalka and Last Christmas should be added.

  20. i need help finding 1 doctor who he is actually called by another name cronus if any body can find him tell him his biolagical son who is also a time lord and the 1 he put incharge of the other 12 olympain my name is horrus scorpion king david hickle i live at 4045 castel dr. groveport ohio 43125 usa. 614-920-3398 tell him its kind of urgant if any body can find him

  21. A few opinions here.

    1) Love and Monsters is about the most off-putting episode in all 34 seasons of Doctor Who. It should never have been written and the monster is implausible, even using Doctor Who standards.

    2) Rose is a very important episode regardless of the plot because a lot of what things are and how things work are explained in that story.

    3) regeneration: Time Lords get to regenerate 12 times. That’s all the regeneration energy they are given by the High Council. The Doctor was granted 12 more regenerations and we saw the energy coming from the trapped Time Lords and entering the Doctor. Regeneration is a Time Lord invention that consumes a huge amount of energy; it’s not a natural ability. The Daleks learned how to do it, also. The energy requirement took down the western United States power grid (see Dalek series 1).

    4) If you want to see a scene that truly defines Doctor Who and what the character stands for, watch the old Tom Baker episode “Pyramids of Mars.” In the middle of the story, when things are getting bad, Sarah Jane asks the Doctor why they can’t just get in to the TARDIS and leave. The Doctor takes her back to Sarah Jane’s present day and outside the TARDIS, London is a wasteland. Sarah now understands. The (for lack of a better term) reboot series has never made that statement quite so clear.

  22. can you update this for the newest season please?

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