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.

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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