With a new series of Doctor Who out now and available in South Africa exclusively on Showmax, it’s time to give the show a try… or is it?
Doctor Who has a reputation of being difficult to start watching, partly because of its immense legacy, which stretches back to the 60s, and partly because of the intricate lore and seemingly impenetrable jargon that goes with it.
So what’s it like watching the show completely blind, as a total novice? To find out, we hooked one of our writers up with a Showmax subscription and got him watching the first hour-long episode of the show. Here’s what he thought:
I, like many people, have never actually sat down to watch an episode of this show. Everything I know about it consists of tidbits I’ve picked up from the media. I know that the Doctor is an alien with timey wimey powers who gets around in a blue police box; that he (or she) sometimes fights Cybermen and Daleks; and that, thanks to the Doctor’s powers of regeneration, the lead role changes hands every now and then, and that’s how we got the latest incarnation of the Doctor in Jodie Whittaker.
So I was quite surprised to find that I really didn’t need any of this background knowledge to enjoy the first episode of series 11, which does a great job of introducing “Who-virgins” to this universe. The Doctor’s regeneration is played for a few laughs as Whittaker states that “half an hour ago, I was a white-haired Scotsman”, which is a nod to previous lead actor Peter Capaldi.
The Doctor appears on Earth – in Sheffield, to be specific; this is a distinctly British show – just in time to help out our supporting cast of Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole, a team of characters who are brand-new to the show. This is another device that makes this series so easy to get into – they’re just regular people who get caught up in the antics of the Doctor.
In the first episode, Sheffield becomes the hunting ground of another alien. I won’t spoil what this alien is or what exactly it’s doing on Earth, but it is a bit grisly and the effects are great, especially considering that the show had a reputation of being a bit low-budget in its very early years.
When the credits rolled, I ended my first screening with a great impression of the show. It is a bit silly but it manages to balance that humour with some realistic sci-fi elements as well as vibes from many other popular shows and movies of the past.
If you’ve got even a passing interest in Doctor Who, take the opportunity to jump in now by signing up for Showmax, where new episodes land every Monday, express from the UK broadcast.
Sign up for free by taking advantage of the 14-day free trial (you will only be billed the R99 per month once your trial is over), or add Showmax to your DStv Premium bill for no additional cost. DStv Compact subscribers get Showmax for the reduced cost of R49 per month.