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The Keys to the TARDIS: Doctor Who Big Finish Audio Dramas

Doctor Who Big Finish Audio DramaThose of us who were Doctor Who fans back in the day—you know, before the reboot, the era now known as classic Doctor Who—suffered during the long hiatus when the program was not on the air. Spin-off books and comics were interesting but somehow, I don't know, derivative. Doctor Who fans had a long wait: the last classic episode aired in 1989 and the reboot aired in 2005, with only a single canonical Doctor Who text in the interim to sate us: 1996 saw the airing of the made-for-TV backdoor-pilot movie. There was joy—they did it and the Doctor rocked! There was despair—it was kinda bad and wasn't picked up as a TV show! The despair was further compounded by the lengthy rights-related delay between the movie's airing and the region 1 DVD release in 2011: 15 years.

What about the classic-era sensibilities die-hard fans like me loved? How to get that classic Doctor Who fix? Answer: Since 1999, Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas. Once I gave them a listen, there was no going back. Here they were, blasts from my past, Doctors and companions, and not only were they good, they were in many ways even better than the original show, particularly in terms of character growth. One hundred fifty episodes have been released in the Doctor Who series, the tagline of which is, "Classic Doctors. Brand new adventures."

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The Keys to the TARDIS: The Daleks of Old

Daleks...! Wherever I have travelled in time and space I have met no deadlier adversary. Their single-minded destructive instinct has terrorized more peoples on more planets than I have time to mention. They are my greatest enemy! - The Doctor

DaleksThose of you who have only watched the revived episodes of Doctor Who cannot fully appreciate the extent to which the Daleks are an integral part of the whole Doctor Who experience. Without the Daleks, Doctor Who would never have survived the programme cuts of the BBC. Without the Daleks there would never have been the “hide-behind-the-couch” fear induced in viewers. Without the Daleks there would never have been the fan-fiction writers who are now the scriptwriters for the current episodes.

For Whovians of my generation, all the other monsters pitched against Doctor Who are simply place holders reserving the programming slot on Saturday evenings until the Doctor once again meets his nemesis. If we didn’t believe the Daleks would return, no matter how many times they have been totally wiped out by the Doctor, we would give up watching the series.

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The Keys to the TARDIS: An Unearthly Child

In this installment of "The Keys to the TARDIS," Peter McClean reminisces about the anticipation he felt for the very first Doctor Who episode ever and how this episode is key to charting his trajectory as a lifelong Doctor Who fan.  He also identifies the Daleks as the key to the series as a whole, which he will talk about more in next week's column.


Doctor Who: An Unearthly ChildIf I were to identify one single thing that most signifies Dr. Who for me it would be Daleks. They are the one thing from all the Dr. Who series that has had the biggest effect on me. Dr. Who without the Daleks would never have been what it is today; and that’s speaking as someone who saw the start of the first ever episode when it was first broadcast on BBC on Saturday, 23rd November, 1963.

It took me forty-seven years and two months to watch that episode.

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The Keys to the TARDIS: The Christmas Invasion

Doctor WhoToday we are launching a new series called "The Keys to the TARDIS," in which people write about the parts of the BBC show Doctor Who that they think are somehow key to the series.  "Key" can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways--key to the narrative, key to a certain character's development, key to personal understanding, key to the overall conception of the show.  We'll post a new installment each Friday, and we'd love to know what you think, too, so make sure to post your own choices in the comments. 

In this first installment, Jen Miller writes about how "The Christmas Invasion" episode in between Series 1 and 2 of the reboot changed her thinking about the nature of the Doctor. 


I'm new to Doctor Who.  I just started watching this summer, and I started watching the show from when it picked back up in 2005, rather than from the very beginning.  Not only that, but I haven't caught up to the current episode of Doctor Who, either.  I'm not even close--I only just started watching the episodes with Martha Jones as the 10th Doctor's companion.  All of this is a very long way of saying: I'm not an expert on Doctor Who, and this essay shouldn't be read as an analysis of the series as a whole.

Rather, this essay is a look at one episode that changed the way I thought about the Doctor, and thus changed the way I watched the show. 

This essay is about "The Christmas Invasion."

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Is it all in your head?

DollhouseLast spring, I finally got around to watching the second season of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse on Netflix streaming, while I was also watching the fourth season of Chuck in real time.  I really enjoy both shows, but this experience of watching them together drew my attention to something that I'm not sure I would have noticed otherwise.

The main characters of both shows, Chuck and Echo, both flash.

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