I’m watching Doctor Who with my son. I’m caught up through half of the Capaldi episodes. He started from zero. We’re late into the Matt Smith shows and while I like Tennant best, the writing for Smith is just incredible.
Yes he got a Gaiman episode and that’s bound to skew things, but the planning and the long game relating to the Ponds is breathtaking.
My plan here is not to lionize Doctor Who, it’s writers and actors. I’m here to tell you how to turn people off of a show that you love.
Start with your favorite episode.
Continuing with the Doctor Who connection, I’d pin my favorite episodes as “Blink,” “Family of Blood,” and “The Doctor’s Wife.” All three are incomprehensible to the virgin viewer. They will not be impressed.
People trying to turn their friends on to new shows often make the same mistake. The best episodes are the ones that challenge the accepted. They make you look at the character in a new and different way. That’s what makes the episodes great. That’s what makes the episodes useless for indoctrinating new viewers. They make no sense, or rather they might make sense but without context they hold no special position in the land of story.
If you want to convert a friend to your show you need to start from the beginning. Sorry.
“Blink” is an incredible story, but it’s more horrible (it’s terrifying, really) if you realize that the largely absent Doctor is fighting to return from a loss. “Family of Blood” is remarkable because of the vengeance the Doctor deals. You realize how much restraint he had before and here he let go. He exercised his full power in vengeance. The Doctors wife is incomprehensible if you haven’t been drenched it Who lore. Petrichor.
Everybody wants the highlights and I understand, but the highlights are highlights because groundwork was laid. Your friends will not embrace the show you love if you introduce it to them this way. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.