Doctor Who Series Review

A review of the long-running science-fiction series.

Image taken from Digital Spy/MD/BBC, 2018

2020 is coming to an end. Although it has been quite hectic and unfortunate, the first couple of months were not too bad. Time travelling back to January, one of my favourite shows from my childhood, Doctor Who, premiered its twelfth series. Its return to television after a two-year hiatus was quite anticipated and I had once again fallen down a rabbit hole of rewatching episodes of the show. Upon rewatching episodes, I felt a mix of nostalgia along with a deeper understanding of the storylines and characters.

For those of you who are not familiar with the show, Doctor Who is a long-running British science-fiction drama television series that began in 1963. In this review I will only be covering the modern rebooted version (2005-present). The show follows The Doctor, a mysterious time-traveller who goes on adventures along with his/her companions through time and space. On the surface, you might think the show sounds very nerdy and strange; however, it has everything you could possibly desire from a show. Doctor Who is comedic, dramatic, clever, scary, and silly, but most importantly, it’s fun. Even during the most ridiculous episodes, the show is still a joy to watch. It also has a lingering sense of melancholy throughout the series’ run and has its fair share of dark moments.

One of the greatest parts of Doctor Who is its ability to reinvent itself every few seasons when The Doctor regenerates, companions leave, and actors and show-runners change. New viewers can join in anytime to watch a new era of the show. There are always feelings of skepticism with new actors or writers, but the series manages to transition almost seamlessly while feeling both fresh and true to itself. Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and Jodie Whittaker are all incredible actors that took the titular role and made it their own. Similarly, the actors of the companions are equally talented and have impeccable chemistry with their respective Doctor.

The stories in the show are almost anthological in nature with each episode introducing a new world, time period, and characters for The Doctor and companion to explore for the 45 minute episode. There are little overarching storylines per season and most episodes tend to follow a “monster-of-the-week” structure. Many of the villains in the show are highly memorable and some are lucky enough to return in numerous episodes. Iconic returning enemies of The Doctor include the Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, and The Master. Some of the series’ best episodes are the ones that lean more towards a dark, scary, or emotional plot. For example, episodes such as Midnight and The Waters of Mars showcase some of the most terrifying creatures but also displays The Doctor at his most vulnerable. It’s an intriguing change of pace to see such a strong and compassionate character become so helpless and unable to save himself or others.

The soundtrack scored by Murray Gold (currently Segun Akinola) is filled with heart and melancholy as well as excitement and optimism. Each character and incarnation of The Doctor has their own theme catered to their personalities. The special effects and cinematography have certainly improved over the years as technology advanced, though part of the show’s charm is the lack of impressive effects.

Doctor Who is a ton of fun with positive messages, heartwarming moments, mind-bending concepts, and thrilling adventures. It is a series that has mass appeal, even if it seems to be for science-fiction fans. Critics, audiences, and myself cannot get enough of The Doctor and his/her adventures through time and space.

Standout Episodes

Blink, Midnight, The Waters of Mars, Heaven Sent, World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls