By: Nawfal Faizullah
When DOCTOR WHO kicks off its new season this Saturday April 23 on BBC America, it will do so having already produced 213 episodes over the course of 32 seasons that have been airing on-and-off since 1963. And while on the surface, jumping into a show with such a long and storied history may seem akin to tuning into LOST halfway through the series (Read: Virtually impossible), we here at theTVaddict.com would like to assure you that finding your bearings in the world of WHO is surprisingly easy. Assuming of course you’ve taken the time to digest the five things you need to know about the good doctor, which can be found after the jump.
The Doctor is the last of the Time Lords, an alien race with the ability to understand and travel through time. The Time Lords were once part of the oldest and most powerful civilization in the universe, but were wiped out during the ‘Time War’ against their mortal enemies, the Daleks. Time Lords have the ability to regenerate, a process that allows them to transform into a new physical form when mortally wounded. This concept potentially allows the series to continue indefinitely, with a new actor always able to take over the role. The current Doctor, played by Matt Smith, is the 11th and youngest actor to take the role. Although The Doctor remains the same character after a regeneration, their character traits and personality are often altered in the process. The 11th Doctor is the most ‘alien’ Doctor since the series relaunched in 2005, extremely eccentric and energetic, but also easily agitated and prone to anger.
The TARDIS is the Doctors time machine. Disguised as a British police box, the TARDIS is bigger on the inside, contains multiple rooms, translates languages and allows the Doctor to travel through time and space. The TARDIS gives the doctor the ability to travel anywhere, in turn allowing each episode of series to take on a variety of genres and story lines. In the past few seasons, for example, the Doctor has travelled to Pompeii on the day before Vesuvius erupted, visited Winston Churchhill during World War II, battled vampire-like creatures in 1580’s Venice, and discovered what happened when mankind was forced to flee earth in search of a new home in the 33rd century. The TARDIS ensures that the Doctors adventures are continually bold and imaginative, transporting the audience from alien worlds far across the solar system, to solving murders mysteries with Agatha Christie.
The Doctor always travels with a companion, and in the new series the Doctor will be accompanied by Amy Pond and her husband, Rory Williams. The Doctor first met Amy immediately after his regeneration from the 10th Doctor to 11th, crash-landing his TARDIS in her backyard when she was only 7. Amy grew up obsessed with the Doctor after this one time encounter, forced to see four psychiatrists until finally being convinced that the Doctor did not exist. Amy is shocked when she meets the Doctor again 12 years later, and joins him for the majority of the season, with her fiancé (now husband) joining them at the end of the season.
River Song is an archaeologist who shares a mysterious relationship with the Doctor. Through the power of time travel the Doctor is continually meeting River Song in a non-chronological order, with River having already known the Doctor for many years when he first meets her. River is very familiar with the Doctor, often referring to him as ”sweetie”, which has led many fans to believe that she is his future wife. Because of the non-chronological nature of their relationship they both have knowledge of each other’s future, although they are careful not to disclose information to each to prevent “spoilers”. Although the nature of their relationship remains unclear, during their last encounter River informs the Doctor that he will know who she is soon, and that everything will change. What we do know about River is that she was at one point imprisoned for murdering “a very good man” who was “a hero to many”.
The main storyline from last season involved ‘cracks in time’, present in each episode with the power to erase people, places, and moment in time across the whole universe. The cracks in time were created when an unknown force caused the TARDIS to explode during the penultimate episode of last season, with a voice being heard saying “silence will fall” as the TARDIS exploded. It is unknown what ‘The Silence’ is, but it is clear that it will play a significant part in the new season.
Nawfal Faizullah is a contributing writer to The TV Addict. He lives in London, has a passion for American television, and dreams about one day crashing on the Island from LOST. Contact Nawfal at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter (@mightynaf).