Watching Doctor Who the TARDIS Way

It's not uncommon for people to ask me in what order they should watch Doctor Who. Should they start with the new series, with the Moffat era, with An Unearthly Child, or the color era? All of the works. There is no "right" way to do it. I'm personally fond of starting with the new series, but dipping into each of the other Doctors' most beloved stories. If you find you like a Doctor/era, then dig in. If you don't, leave it for later or for never.

But there's another way to experience the vast Doctor Who canon, and that's to follow the currents and eddies of time as if by TARDIS. Essentially, the idea is to start somewhere, anywhere, but then let the references in that one story guide what you will watch next. Say we start with the new series opener, "Rose"...

Well Rose basically poaches the Auton invasion of the third Doctor's first story, Spearhead from Space. So let's watch that.

The Doctor stealing clothes from a hospital in his first adventure? The exact same thing happens in The Eleventh Hour!

The Eleventh Hour uses footage of all the other Doctors and a number of monsters, so you could really go anywhere after that. But let's fall into a crack in time instead. There was another one in fifth Doctor story The Awakening.

Watch the Awakening. Once the village church explodes, go right to The Daemons for another. Daemos is referenced in The Satan Pit, so off to The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. That voice... got it! Pyramids of Mars is next. Then to Capaldi in Empress of Mars. The War Games also features historical soldiers on another planet. The Doctor's Wife reuses the hypercube message from that story. That one deletes the TARDIS swimming pool, so head to The Invasion of Time for its first appearance. And on and on and on.

After each story, there are multiple paths to take. You can follow actors, characters, monsters, time periods, stray references, themes, and call backs. If a NuWhovian wanting to find out more, you could merely do this as side-steps, always alternating with a NuWho story: Rose matched with Spearhead, but then The End of the World with The Ark (Earth is destroyed), The Unquiet Dead with Image of the Fendahl (time crack confers psychic powers), and so on. Not sure WHERE to go? I recommend looking at the TARDIS Wiki (or even regular Wikipedia) under a story's notes on "continuity", etc. for ideas.

This year's Christmas special is obviously connected to The Tenth Planet, which is what got me into that frame of mind (Twice Upon a Time - The Tenth Planet - Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel - Inferno - The Christmas Invasion...) in the first place.

Try it out, where would YOU start, and where would it take you?



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