December 8, 2012
Posted by Kim and Sage
It is one of our personal goals to turn all of our friends into Whovians. We just want everyone to understand WHY we are so overwhelmed with feelings all the time. We have a couple of friends on the VERGE of dipping their toes into Doctor Who Universe. Our friend Samantha already KNOWS that the Ultimate OTP of the show (despite our undying devotion to Rose x Ten) is actually The Doctor and the TARDIS. She got there on her OWN, you guys! We were so proud! Recently our friend Anna asked us what episodes we would recommend for someone considering jumping into the lifetime commitment of being a Doctor Who Fan.
She also said she was asking “for a friend”.
A likely story. We know you are on the verge, Anna. Don’t deny it.
That got us thinking…where WOULD we start? Personally, when I (Kim) started Doctor Who around this time last year, I started with the first episode of Series One, “Rose”. Then again, I HAVE been accused of being a “Completist” on a well-known pop culture website. I don’t deny it. WHY WOULD YOU START ANYWHERE BUT THE BEGINNING?!
We put a call out to our Twitter followers and Facebook fans (PS: are YOU following us yet?) about which episodes they would suggest to newbies, which spurred a great debate. Eventually 6 episodes (well, technically 8, as there are two Two Parters on this list) rose to the top of the heap. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?
Also to Anna and Sam: You WILL become Whovians in 2013. You should accept your fate now.
“Rose” (Series One, Episode One) – Sage
@ottofernandez: “My first episode was “Rose.” I don’t think it best represents the series, but why not start at the beginning?”
As a famous singing nun once said, the beginning is, in fact, “a very good place to start.” For your completist friends who refuse to watch anything out of order, you have no choice but to begin here. My own first experience with the Doctor was in this pilot episode of the modern series. “Rose” introduces us to Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, his new companion Rose Tyler (my future wife Billie Piper), Rose’s mum Jackie Tyler and boyfriend Mickey Smith, and the TARDIS, the Doctor’s transport across galaxies. Did I mention it also travels in time?
This episode is a romp. “Rose” only hints at the emotional depth of the series with the “turn of the earth” monologue and Eccleston’s portrayal of Nine’s worldweariness. The effects are charmingly low-budget and silly. But it also brings us up to speed on 40-some years of history in about 45 minutes and establishes a crackling chemistry with the Doctor and Rose. Showrunner Russell T. Davies wrote this one and cleverly peppers in snappy dialogue that also lets us know what to expect in the world of this show. This exchange is one of my favorites.
Rose: “If you’re an alien, how come you sound like you’re from the north?”
Doctor: “Lots of planets have a north!”
In six words, Davies establishes that, despite being able to access any point in space and time, the Doctor will spend a lot of time kicking it in present-day London. And despite knowing every single language there has been or will be, his default is modern English with a Brit accent. If you need a better explanation than that, then this isn’t the show for you. Move along.
“Rose” packs a bigger wallop on rewatch. When I first returned to it after catching up to series 7, it meant so much more to me to see the meeting of two of my all-time favorite characters and the inside of the TARDIS for the first time. Any Whovian who doesn’t get chills when Nine grabs Rose’s hand in that dark basement and whispers, “run,” isn’t a Whovian at all and is probably dead inside.