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Gateway Stories

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50 WhoThere’s now over fifty years worth of Doctor Who rattling about, so what to do if you want to try and hook that friend of yours into watching that has never seen the show before? Do you show them an easy ‘jumping on point’, like ‘Rose’? Or perhaps you forget about that and just show them what you consider to be a classic, like ‘Human Nature’, and hope that its quality will be enough to ensnare your prey?

Stop straining that flabby brain of yours, nerd, I’ve done your work for you; ain’t I a sweetie? Using my own thinking-smarts, and those of my sexy Twitter followers, I’ve collated a complete and total FOOL PROOF* list of stories that I think might be enough to turn a non-fan to the Who-side:

Modern Who

11th HourThe Eleventh Hour

This would be my number one choice. Easy. Not only is it clearly a shiny, lovely piece of brilliance from Steven Moffat, but it’s a story in which everything is new. A fresh off-screen creative team flexes its muscles, whilst on-screen a new Doctor and a new companion capture our imagination. It’s a fresh start that’s not looking back, rather setting up things for the future. Even the look of the thing leapt up and pulled the show forward. If you can watch this and not want to see what happens next, you may not be human (maybe you’re a large dog in a human suit). Clearly I’m not alone in this (yeah, yeah, completely obvious) choice; Twit-folk like    and    and  and  and   and  and  and… and… basically loads of people agreed with me. What a clever, facially fabulous bunch.

BlinkBlink

Who author Jenny Colgan (@jennycolgan) tossed this one into the ring, and many lined up to agree.  ‘Blink’ seems to be a popular choice for many, but obviously it’s also an odd choice in many ways as it barely even features the Doctor or his companion. It instead focuses on Sally Sparrow, who exists only in this one episode. But it has several things going for it, not least of which is its sheer quality. Quality above all else is going to hook a new viewer into wanting to watch another episode. It also introduces The Weeping Angels, the most popular new series monster.

girlThe Girl in The Fireplace

This one was the top choice of Andrew Ellard (@ellardent), and he could be onto a winner with it. It’s sci-fi! It’s historical! It’s a romance! It has scares, and clever stuff, and funny bits, and… well just about everything. Almost all of what modern Who can be is encapsulated in this one story.

Go Classic..?

Now I wouldn’t personally use a classic series story as a gateway episode. Perhaps to a very young child, otherwise I think you’ll be on far safer ground with a story from the modern series. BUT! If I had to go classic, then the one I would plump for is:
dalek remRemembrance of The Daleks

It’s a blooming Dalek masterpiece from the pen of Ben Aaronovitch, which jump-started the McCoy era and lead the charge for a final two terrific years of the classic series. It’s exciting, it looks great, there’s a terrific TARDIS team at the centre who clearly love being together, juicy questions about race and fascism to ponder; in short: it’s brilliant.

But others thought differently, @SDElsden reckons Tom Baker classic ‘The Robots of Death’ is the one to turn a non-fans head, @AlphaOod insists Pertwee’s debut, ‘Spearhead From Space’ is the obvious choice,  would point people towards ‘The Horror of Fang Rock’, whilst @MarkTrevorOwen says that the Douglas Adams penned ‘City of Death’ has never failed for him.

Start with P-Cap!

DeepDeep Breath

A new Doctor, a new start… and a new jumping on point? Perhaps ‘Deep Breath’ will be the gateway story for thousands of new fans, intrigued by an actor of Capaldi’s renown taking over the reigns…

 

Looking over this I’ve realised that all of the modern episodes chosen are by Moffat. So… maybe just show them one of the best Moffat eps and job done..?

Which adventure do you think makes the ideal ‘gateway story’?

*may not actually be fool-proof.

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Author: Matthew Stott

Writer. http://mrmatthewstott.com/

4 thoughts on “Gateway Stories

  1. “Midnight” and “Vincent and the Doctor”. One because is a strong story with almost zero FX, only amazing acting and intelligent plot. the other because is sweet and emotional and visually fantastic! I particularly love “42”, almost as interesting as Midnight

  2. I’m inclined to suggest “Rose” as a relatively clean starting point, but I fear that the gassy trash bins might turn off most viewers.

    My second choice would be “The Dalek Invasion of Earth.” Modern TV viewers can’t seem to get enough of the post apocalypse these days and I think “Invasion” up stands as a good representation of Doctor Who.

    • Yeah, that pesky burping bin..! Dalek Invasion is an interesting choice; the fact it’s so old might put off certain types, but it’s sure to intrigue more discerning folk. Thanks for reading!

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