This is the Doctor. He’s a timelord. Anatomically, that means he’s (probably) equipped with everything a human guy is, except for the fact that he has two hearts and that he’s more than a thousand years old. He also doesn’t die, because whenever he gets close to dying, he glows all pretty and golden and regenerates and gets a new face. Some faces are prettier than others.
Because you’re not going to watch the first 26 seasons, the important ones for now are these three:
The Cuddly One (aka. The Ninth Doctor)
The Awesome One (aka. The Tenth Doctor)
The Pretty One (aka. The Eleventh Doctor)
Now, from now on, I’m mostly going to mention the brilliant and barmy and awesome traits that form the Doctor’s wonderful character. However, the most interesting part of his past (and that’s saying something – the guy has a clone, for god’s sake!) is the Time War.
It was the most devastating war in the history of the Universe, and you can’t even really say that it „was“, because the opposing parties were mostly Daleks and timelords, and they can travel through time and space. This war ravaged the Universe, and it changed the Doctor forever. It’s the reason his pseudonym is that of a healing man. He wants to be good.
He doesn’t always manage to be.
Basically, the Doctor travels around in a blue box called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). It’s dimensionally transcendent, which means that it’s bigger in the inside. This is remarked upon by each and every single one of the Doctor’s companions. The companions are mostly very, very pretty young women.
Again, I know you just need the essentials, or I would bombard you with a crapton of other pretty ladies:
Rose Tyler traveled with the Cuddly One and the Awesome One and both of them fell in love with her. She ended up stranded in a parallel dimension with no chance of coming back. About a year later, the borders between dimensions were failing and the Universe was dying (that happens a lot on this show). So, Rose managed to come back. The problem was that the Doctor does not like to be tied down, and while he still loved her, he couldn’t just have a neat eighty-year vacation in another dimension until good old (emphasis on the old) Rose died. Jokes that need making, planets that need saving.
But, luckily, the Awesome Doctor was cloned by coincidence (long story). This Doctor is part human, so he’s not immortal. How neat for Rose! So while cloned Awesome One and Rose go off to live in the other dimension again, the “real” Awesome One went back to having adventures.
The Awesome One went off into the figurative sunset (because there are planets without suns to set, you know) and met new pretty women he did not fall in love with, until… he visited the biggest library in the Universe. And where there’s knowledge, there’s also power. Power in the shape of a woman who has an unbelievable know-how about the Doctor and awesome, I mean awesome hair. River Song is a complete mystery to the 1000-year old nearly divine guy who thinks he’s seen everything. Like, everything. The dude made the Virgin Queen’s name half-true. Seriously.
He meets River a couple more times, learning more about her every time they meet, wanting to know more every time. It turns out that Ms. Song is also a time-traveler, although she and the Doctor are out of sync. Every time they meet, she loves him more, he knows her less. Or the other way around, if you’re the Doctor. And although it’s heart-breaking, because River’s last kiss is the Doctor’s first, and her death is the beginning of everything, you can’t help but root for this couple. Because if there’s one thing that true love teaches you, it’s that you keep the promise no matter what, and good-bye is never good-bye when travel in the fourth dimension is involved.
Gah, enough with the sappy. You need information, not a Romeo-and-Juliet revamp.
A couple years after he met River for the first time, the Doctor, now the Pretty One, found out that there’s a whole religion devoted to destroying him called the Silence, because there’s this ancient prophecy about “Silence will fall when the question is asked”. The question? Well, that’d be “Doctor Who?” No one knows the Doctor’s real name. And so far, no one has ever really thought to ask. Or dared to. Until a (also very pretty) girl called Oswin Oswald comes along. The Doctor likes her a lot. She dies, after helping him out of a dangerous situation somewhen in the very distant future, using only a computer and a lot of hacked speakers (which means he didn’t even get to see her pretty face). A couple of episodes later, The Doctor meets another really pretty girl in the 19th century. Her name is Clara. She also says “Doctor Who?” the first time she meets him. She also dies. I will now give you two very pretty pictures of two very pretty girls.
Clara Oswin Oswald.
Look familiar? Well, even though the Pretty One has never seen the first Oswin’s face, there are certain similarities in their hobbies (they both love soufflés, for instance) and of course, their voices. When the 19th century Clara dies, the Doctor goes off searching for her, and oh, look! He finds another one, this time conveniently stationed in our present. They go off on their adventures, and the Pretty One is constantly trying to find an explanation for the multiple Clara Oswin Oswalds in this Universe.
And, wonder over wonder! That explanation is miraculously found in the last episode leading up to the 50th anniversary special!
Which brings me to the list of episodes you should watch!
- Blink (S03E10)
- Human Nature/The Family of Blood (S03E08/09)
- The Name of the Doctor (S07E13)
Okay, so: „Blink“ is a standalone episode that requires no prior knowledge and it’s completely made of awesome and I think you’ll love it. Everyone should. It’s supposed to showcase Doctor Who’s scariness, silliness, intelligence and general sci-fi awesomeness. There’s some Back-To-The-Future timey-wimey shit going on there, so pay attention.
„Human Nature“ and „The Family of Blood“ have some cheesy special effects, but they’re fantastic because they show you that the Doctor is barmy and brilliant and charming and funny, but there is a LOT of dark stuff going on there.
„The Name of the Doctor“ continues with the dark stuff. It offers you the place where the Doctor is supposed to meet his downfall, the woman who truly waited, and the reason for Clara’s multiple existences. And when you fall down that particular rabbithole alongside Clara and the Doctor, you meet… well, you meet the Doctor. In a different way than ever before.
To truly understand what the hell is going on in that last episode, you should watch „The Night of the Doctor“ on Youtube right afterward. It’s a six-minute minisode, and you get everything you need from it. And more old lady with a dip-dye than you would ever need.
Okay, that’s mostly it, actually. I mean, it’d still be fantastic if you actually watched the whole show someday, but this is the best resumé a normal person can write up in a limited amount of time.
So, start watching, you magnificent bastard!