The Rundown: The revival of this British sci-fi classic, originally aired in 1963, starts by reintroducing us to the Doctor, a brilliantly mad alien who travels through space and time in his amazing blue telephone box. For the uninitiated it’s a mad romp through cheesy sci-fi in the best way, and for those familiar with the show’s roots, it’s a welcome return. If you’ve never heard of the British TV juggernaut that is Doctor Who… shame on you. It’s a seminal work of science fiction that has lasted over three decades, making it the longest running science fiction show in history. The show centers on a super-intelligent alien with two hearts who calls himself the Doctor. He travels through space and time in his blue Police Box-of-a-spaceship called the T.A.R.D.I.S. (standing for Time And Relative Dimension In Space), and usually is seen in the company of one or more ‘companions’ who are more often than not completely human, and are taken along for the ride as the Doctor saves planets and civilizations, often at the same time. The show ran mostly uninterrupted from 1963 to 1989 when, due to reduced ratings, the BBC decided to suspend the show indefinitely. After existing as short stories and novels for a while, the Fox Network picked up the rights and aired a made-for-TV movie starring Paul McGann in the title role. It didn’t do well enough to spark a full-on revival, and it seemed as if Doctor Who had seen its last days on the small screen. Fast-Forward to 2004, and confirmed rumors of Doctor Who returning to television, and this is where THIS story begins, with Doctor Who (the new) Series 1. Airing, in 2005 to mad numbers, it saw the return of the Doctor in all his glory, along with a new TARDIS, a new companion, and new evils to face, as well as old villains returning for a second helping. This is the first Doctor I saw, and he is definitely my personal favorite. The series starts with Rose (Billie Piper), a sales clerk at a department store who is sucked into the middle of an alien invasion by living plastic. Mannequins are coming to life all over the world and wreaking havoc. The only person around her who seems to know what’s going on is the mysterious Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), who’s gruff demeanor and mysterious nature fascinate her. Together they embark on a mission to stop the plastic invasion and save the world. As a sci-fi show, Series 1 of the new Doctor Who is some fairly standard stuff, with some nice bits thrown in between. The nature of the show is monster-of-the-week, but in each episode we get to see a little bit more of the man the Doctor tries so hard to hide from those around him. In this season we get a very raw look at the Doctor, as he’s just come out of the ‘Time War’, where his entire planet, and all his people, were annihilated. Naturally this puts him on edge, and he is prone to many an angry outburst. For someone who had never seen any Doctor Who before, it definitely took me a bit to warm up to it. It wasn’t until maybe four or five episodes in that I really started warming up to the Doctor and his magical blue box. Once I did though, I couldn’t tear myself away. The new series in its early days was definitely not something to be taken super-seriously, and that’s what’s so awesome about it. It’s irreverent and mystical, and at times, almost a pure fantasy. It takes you into a crazy science fiction world and just plays around in it for a while. When you get tired of outer space, it comes back down to Earth and messes about in a bit of human history, revealing new and strange facts about aliens on Earth hundreds of years ago. Or, y’know, just a mad Time Lord in his time machine. Or a future in which humans download information into implanted computers in their BRAINS. Brain computers. They’re sweet, but absolutely terrifying. While series one is far from the most intricate Doctor Who seasons, it accomplished something that some thought was impossible. It revitalized the Doctor for a whole new generation of viewers. As a companion, Rose is mostly a vehicle through which we join the Doctor on his adventures. She is the voice of humanity in his ear as he travels. Not super interesting, but when you’re trying to catch up on 30 years of history, you need a baseline from which to grow, and grow it does. Near the end of the series, leading up to the finale, you get to see the real masterwork behind Doctor Who (the new) Series 1. Little tidbits that seemed irrelevant or unimportant throughout the past episodes start coming together, taking throwaway lines, and the names of evil corporations, and tying them all together through space and time hinting at a massive Doctor-level conspiracy spread throughout all of creation. This is the scale of the Doctor’s universe, crisis so huge they threaten reality itself, and villains who can manipulate the fabric of time and space. This is where the show shines, in these larger than life conflicts that require one mad man and his box to resolve. If you’ve never heard of Doctor Who, or your friends just WON’T shut up about it, check it out. It’s all on Netflix right now (as of Aug. 7th, 2014), so go see what you’ve been missing. Or if you’re already a mad Whovian like myself, you’ll be rewatching all of it leading up to the latest season premiering later this month. 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