20 Essential Doctor Who Stories For The “New to Who” – Part I: The Davies Era (’05 – ’10)

As any Doctor Who fan will tell you, the same question has been asked over and over again when they…

Mike Reyes


As any Doctor Who fan will tell you, the same question has been asked over and over again when they try to turn someone onto the series: “Where should I start?”

Now there’s three very good answers to this question:

A) Start with Series 1 of the 2005 Reboot

This is where it all began…at least for us “New Who” fans, this is where it all began.  Russell T. Davies took the classic series and reinvented it for the modern age, all the while maintaining the continuity and bringing back some classic baddies (The Daleks, The Cybermen).   As Rose Tyler is introduced to the world of The Doctor, we get to share the discovery of just what exactly “the madman with a [blue] box” is all about.  However, it’s a very rough product as the budget wasn’t as awesome as it is today, and the writing still needed just a little work.  Slog through Series 1, you’re rewarded with Series 2 and on.

B) Start with Series 5 (2010)

After six successful years as Whovian In Chief, Russell T. Davies bid farewell (as did Tenth Doctor/Current Fan Favorite/Lady Pin Up Idol, David Tennant) to the universe he turned the ignition on.  However, fans did not fret as Steven Moffat, arguably the best writer in the “New Who” run, took over to run the show himself.  (To clue you in on how big of an opportunity this is, he turned down completing the Tintin trilogy with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson to take this gig.)  While Amelia “Amy” Pond didn’t get as lengthy or in-depth of an explanation behind The Doctor’s past as Ms. Tyler did, it was enough to serve as the perfect second jumping off point for those who want to watch the recent episodes (but don’t have the time/patience to slog it through the previous series).

C)The List You Are About to Read

Ok, so you’re a little impatient.  You want the highlight reel, the episodes that really count in this whole shebang.  In other words…you want the Cliff’s Notes to Doctor Who.  So here’s a list of 20 episodes, broken into two portions of 10, that will give you the bare-bones plotline you’ll need in order to pick up the show at the beginning of Series 7.  While it is advised that you start from the beginning in order to build up the thematic (and emotional) knowledge of the universe, these are the stories you need to know.