This is truly my favorite show of alltime. I began watching it at my grandmother's house when I was about seven years old. I have been immensely influenced by this show, the characters, the role models. A lot of how I view the world comes from this place. The new logo (2005): An older one (1973): History behind the series: This show was begun in 1963 on the BBC. It was originally conceived as an educational series for children in which a group of school teachers move around through various points of Earth history along with an alien (the entertainment) to teach about various moments of history. This quickly changed, however, and the series morphed into a true sci-fi series. The show ran from late November of 1963 until 1989, when it was finally canceled after 26 years of continuous play. A few years after, a made-for-tv movie was made that took place immediately after the last episode. Fast forward to 2005, the series is resurrected and is continuing to this day. The Premise: A time traveler who calls himself "The Doctor" moves through space and time in his ship called the TARDIS along with various companions he meets on the way in various planets and times. He really is just interested in traveling and exploring the universe. In his travels, he encounters bad situations and always gets involved to help those he meets. The Races: Time Lord: The Doctor is from a race of people called the Galifreyans, from a planet called Galifrey. Their society is modeled roughly on the British aristocracy: there are commoners, aristocracy and a sort of royalty. Those in the top echelons of the society are those who have completed a rigorous training through the planet's academy and score well-enough on their exams to earn the title, Time Lord. These people are more or less licensed to travel through time and space and to an extent, to dispense justice as necessary. They have a non-interference directive much like the Prime Directive in Star Trek, except that it is much stricter. The Time Lords, being of the oldest civilizations in existence as their species was one of the first to evolve in the universe, have very few equals and for this reason interact very rarely with other species. It is also punishable to interfere and travel outside the planet must be authorized. For most of the series, the word "Time Lord" is used to refer to anyone from the planet Galifrey. I only show the distinction for informational purposes and to explain the nature of the character. From this point on, I will say Time Lord to mean both someone from the planet Galifrey as well as someone from the upper classes, which is how the series does it. The Time Lords have a unique physiognomy, they have a bilateral vascular system (two hearts), and a genetic code that is their secret to time travel. Their technology is designed in such a way that one of their race must be present to prime one of their machines so that it can operate. Once primed, it will continue to operate. Although there is some vacillation in the canon about this, the Time Lords have the ability to regenerate. Essentially, each cell of the body remakes itself so that the person does not die. Ideally, this happens when the body grows very old, but can also happen to heal from an injury. The problem is that when the person regenerates, their body and personality change into that of a new person, essentially a new life altogether with only the truly important underlying personality remaining. That is to say, when a Time Lord regenerates, they become a new person externally and in personality, but deep down and in the most important ways, they are still the same. This was created as a trick to keep the series going as the original actor became sick and later died after leaving the show. The intercanonical debate regarding regeneration is that in a very early episode, the Doctor states that they can live forever without accident, while in later episodes, the canon becomes that they can regenerate only 12 times. In the new series, they seem to move back to the idea that regeneration is unlimited. The Daleks: The Daleks are the first 'bad guys' that we see, from episode #2. They have survived throughout the series and even have played in the most recent season of the show in 2007. The Daleks are the result of a nuclear war on the planet Skaros between two races, the Kaleds and the [will insert name later when I remember it]. The Kaleds mutated heavily as a result of generations of exposure to the heavy radiation and to survive, had to move into a sort of life support unit. Through many years of story evolution, we learn that the Daleks are not naturally mutated this way, but rather one of their scientists forced the mutation further to his own ends, stripped their emotions away, and made them hateful of anything not Dalek. For this reason, they only wish to destroy and dominate all other life. The Daleks do acquire time travel technology, but it is not as sophisticated as that created by the Time Lords. The appearance of the Daleks really has not changed whatsoever in 44 years, with the exception of color once the show was filmed in color. This cannot be said for other characters that were redesigned throughout the years. For children in the UK, this was probably one of the most iconic images in existence. Their catch phrase is the word "exterminate", which they generally repeat over and over before killing someone. The Cybermen: Their first appearance in 1963 their appearance in the new series in 2006 There is a very similar idea to the Daleks, but came later in the series. They retreat into mechanical bodies (think Borg) to improve themselves (perfection), strip away emotions, fear and pain, and wish to dominate the universe. Their one weakness is that gold is destructive to their systems. Humans 'nuff said. It seems that Earth is the Doctor's favorite planet to visit. Important Characters: There are too many characters that come and go over the years. Here, I will identify some important ones that recur throughout: The Doctor: A Time Lord, the Doctor is one who grows tired of living eternally on Galifrey, separated from the rest of the universe. His largest mistake, in the eyes of his people, is that he spends time with common people when he should be doing what is proper for his position in society. This being said, the Doctor steals a TARDIS and flees his planet. He continually breaks the laws of the Time Lords by interfering with others' problems, makes friends, and explores the universe. The Doctor, including the made-for-tv movie, which is considered part of the canon, has had 10 regenerations. In order with actors' names: William Hartnell (the grouchy grandpa type) Patrick Troughton (the amicable uncle, fuddy-duddy, 3-stooges type) Jon Pertwee (James Bond style gadget guy) Tom Baker (idiosyncratic, unconventional) Peter Davidson (young and vulnerable) Colin Baker (regeneration went wrong, he's crazy) Sylverster McCoy (sort of like a vaudeville actor) Paul McGann (can't really tell, only one time we see him - but a bit odd) Christopher Eccleston (invisible guy from heroes, friendly but distant) David Tennant (our current Doctor, no comment yet) The TARDIS: The exterior: Console room from an old episode: Near the end of the old series: The new series: The TARDIS is the Doctor's ship. The words is an acronym of Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. Essentially, this is a form of time capsule that the Time Lords use for exploration and scientific expeditions, although such trips are rare and authorized. At some point in time, the Doctor decides to flee his planet and finds this TARDIS and steals it. The problem is that it is incredibly old and was about to be demolished, so it doesn't work all that well. Additionally, it is intended to be operated by 6 Time Lords, so the Doctor does well to operate it solo. The TARDIS is larger on the inside than on the outside. Essentially, the interior is infinite, subject to architectural configurations from the console room as necessary. The TARDIS is meant to blend into its environment, but on the Doctor's first trip, he landed in 1960's England and it took on the shape of a Police Box and has been stuck that way ever since. Police Boxes were used through Britain in the 40s and 50s, before portable radios, as a method for the police to communicate with their headquarters. It had a telephone and a small space inside where and officer could lock somebody up until help arrived. By the time we arrive to the new series, the TARDIS no longer has any of the original controls, only bits and pieces that the Doctor has jury rigged to make the ship work. This is why it is very eclectic in appearance. One more important part about the TARDIS (this is why I put it in the character section) is that it's alive. The Doctor often calls it "she". The level of consciousness it possesses is unclear, but it's not like Moya in Farscape, in which the ship has a direct consciousness with which you can communicate. The TARDIS creates a psychic field and interacts with the Time Lords, but apparently not with other species. It does, however, get inside people's heads and translates language for them so that they can go anywhere and read any writing or understand and communicate with anyone. The Master: Another Time Lord, the Doctor's nemesis. He goes around causing havoc and killing people. Also has a TARDIS that works well, so can usually get away easily. Knowing everything I just said here, you should be able to watch any episode from any year in the series and understand what is happening. The companions change, the TARDIS always looks different from year to year, but in reality the individual histories of no characters are important to understanding an individual eposide, they are really written in such a way that knowing the basic concepts of the show are enough to watch and enjoy it. Please let me know if you have questions, also see my "edited on" dates for updates as I think of things to add or have time to make changes. Let me know of errors you see or additions you think should be here. As it is, I just spent about 2.5 hours so I'm done for today. Enjoy! Edit: just rehosted everything Edit: hosted again, yay!