The following is a guest post.
Doctor Who is back on hiatus, and it’s a long one. We’re not talking Sherlock long, but still… August/September is a long ways off! What are you going to do between now and then? If you don’t have plans with life, may I suggest this might be the perfect chance to get caught up on the episodes you’ve missed?
With fifty years worth of stories, Doctor Who is one of the few shows you can never really get fully caught up on. Even if you’ve seen every single episode, the sheer volume of it means you’ve probably forgotten some of the details of the earliest ones. For many of us, it’s simpler than that—we haven’t yet seen it all.
Two years ago, after getting my roommate caught up through series 6, I posted to Facebook, “Just caught up with Doctor Who. Guess I’ll… catch up on Doctor Who!” We started back with the very first episode, “An Unearthly Child.” Our progress has been slower than I’d like, because many episodes are only available on disk and our Netflix plan only gives us one DVD at a time.
If you’re interested in catching up on Doctor Who, I have a few tips. First, Classic Who stories were formatted differently than they are today. Each episode was 25 minutes long. A single, coherent story would stretch from two to ten episodes, with four being the most common number. Together, those episodes are called a serial.
Second, as I mentioned above, only a fraction of Classic Who is available for streaming. There is more than there was when I started, but if you want to watch everything available, you’ll need to find a way of getting the DVDs. You can of course buy them if you wish, but Netflix would be cheaper. Don’t forget to check your local library and interlibrary loan—my library system has probably ten sets of Classic Who DVDs.
Third, use this list on Wikipedia to keep track of the order. There are 155 serials in Classic Who; a list is essential. If you’re streaming, Netflix and Amazon tend to use the serial name (like “The Aztecs”), so that’s what you’ll need to search by.
I’ll be posting regularly on our progress through Classic Who to pass the time during the hiatus. I’d love to have some company as I catch-up, so post your thoughts in the comments on those posts. You can also catch me on Twitter @Nancy_Kelley.
Nancy Kelley is a Britophile, blogger, and author of Jane Austen sequels. She has two cats instead of a metal dog, but she does believe that if you are ever passed out from regeneration sickness (or any other ailment, such as work) tea is all you need – it’s just the thing for healing the synapses. You can find Nancy at her blog www.nancykelleywrites.com. Read more of her posts here.