There has never been a better time to watch “Doctor Who.”
Ramping up to the show’s 50th anniversary, BBC America premieres the second part of Season 7 Saturday, March 30 at 8. The show, while all about the infinite possibilities of time, space and the drama in between, is incredibly accessible for new audiences.
Despite being played by 11 different actors, with multitudes of different traveling companions, “Doctor Who” is a show all about introducing itself to new fans. Every so often, whether it be to a cast change or a changing of the guard behind the scenes, the show allows a reset point – where the story continues, but new audiences can jump on.
In tonight’s episode, “The Bells of Saint John,” the Doctor (Matt Smith) – a lone survivor of an ancient race known as the Time Lords – is trying to find a mysterious girl he’s encountered twice before. Of course, being a science fiction show, she has a twist.
Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna Louise-Coleman), first encountered in the season 7 opener, has died twice before, both times the Doctor is unable to help. First, at the hand of the universe’s most ruthless killers, the Daleks, and the second at the hand of the frosty remnants of a manipulative enemy known as the Great Intelligence.
The Doctor becomes obsessed with her – how can the same girl die twice? In two different places and times? The mystery of “the girl twice dead” leads him to London, where something else is running amok among the Wi-Fi.
While sounding complex, the show is aimed at the family – and even the show’s younger fans have been able to wrap their heads around the time-twisting-space-travel plotlines that have given the show its credibility.
The Doctor, despite being 1000 years old, traveling in a London Police Box from the ’60′s called the TARDIS and has lived 11 different lives, is not jaded by his travels among time and space. Every so often, he brings aboard a new companion – a fresh face to rediscover the universe and the surprises it brings. This is the audience’s entry point – the journey of the companion is that of the viewer. The universe is ours.
“Doctor Who” isn’t just sci-fi, either. The show, over its 50 year run, has evolved from an attempt to teach kids about history to a show that deals with adult subjects and humanity’s foibles, while treating the audience with respect. It also does it with incredible emotion, humor and smart writing. It’s not a show that drowns itself in its own sense of self importance; rather, it will happily ignore a tense situation with a one-off joke.
After 50 years, “Doctor Who” is getting the recognition it deserves here in America. Despite being about an alien who travels among the stars, the show is very human.