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Getting To Know 'Who'

Whether you have an hour, a day, a week, or a month to cram, here’s our guide to earning a doctorate in ”Who”-ology

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What to Watch If You Have…

One Hour
”The Eleventh Hour,” 2010
Begin your adventure by time-traveling back to 2010, when Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and showrunner Steven Moffat (Coupling, Sherlock) kicked off their first season together. It’s a mini-reboot for the series that provides a great crash course in the rules of the Whoverse (regeneration, the TARDIS, giant alien eyeballs, etc.).

One Day
”Blink,” ”Rose,” and ”The Girl in the Fireplace,” 2005-07
Dig deeper into the show by bingeing on three of the all-time best Doctor Who episodes, featuring two beloved Doctors: Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers) and David Tennant (Broadchurch). As a bonus, you’ll get to know fan-favorite companion Rose (Billie Piper) and the Doctor’s scariest recent foes, the Weeping Angels.

An Adventure in Space and Time, 2013
It’s time to learn how Who began, and you have two options: reading the Wikipedia page (boring!) or watching this lighthearted BBC docudrama (quite entertaining!), which chronicles Doctor Who‘s 1960s origin and serves as a heartfelt tribute to the First Doctor, William Hartnell (played by The Strain‘s David Bradley).

One Week
David Tennant’s First Season, 2006
Now that you’ve got the basics down, discover the joy of watching a season all the way through. Our pick? Tennant’s exceptional first term, a banner year for the show that struck a perfect balance between addictive storytelling, sci-fi high jinks (Daleks, Cybermen, werewolves!), and emotional backbone courtesy of Piper’s Rose.

One Month
”City of Death” Arc, 1979
You can earn only so much Who cred by watching the 21st-century Doctors. To get a taste of the show that millions of Britons (including current Who star Peter Capaldi) grew up watching, check out this classic four-episode story line from the Tom Baker era, co-written by fanboy icon Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

The Big Finish Podcast, 2008-present
If your eyes are tired from binge-watching, give them a rest and listen to a few episodes of this podcast, which airs interviews (including Toby Hadoke’s Who’s Round) and new Doctor Who stories in audio form. The shows have even featured classic Doctors — such as Peter Davison and Colin Baker — reunited with their original companions.

Torchwood: Children of Earth, 2009
There’s more to Doctor Who than just the flagship show — as proved by the spin-off series Torchwood, which takes place in the same universe as Who but stars a gang of alien-hunting misfits. The Children of Earth season was the series’ best, and it even boasts an appearance from future Doctor Peter Capaldi as a civil servant.

Doctor Who Comics, 2014
Missing Matt Smith’s and David Tennant’s Doctors? We’ve got the cure: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor and Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor are two new comics series with the continued adventures of these former Time Lords. And if you still don’t speak fluent Who after all this, then hop in a TARDIS and start over from the beginning!