What makes Doctor Who so good?

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Guest contributor Caleb Howells takes a look at why Doctor Who is still the best show on TV after almost 50 years.

What makes Doctor Who so good? Have you ever wondered that? Perhaps a friend who doesn’t watch the show asked you that once. Or maybe it’s you who doesn’t watch it, and you’re wondering why you should, whether Doctor Who really is any different to any other sci-fi show on TV at the moment. Whatever the reason, I’ll be dissecting what Doctor Who really is and what makes it so good, to me at least.

I think what it really comes down to is the fact that it’s pretty much limitless. It can go anywhere. The Doctor can go and meet Vincent Van Gogh back in the 19th century, battle Silurians in 2020, travel to the hospitals of New Earth in the distant future, and so on. In fact, the Doctor was even at both the creation and destruction of the Earth! The possibilities are endless.

And it can be almost any genre. Horror, sci-fi, comedy, drama, western and fantasy, to name a few. And it often tries to be all of them at once! One minute you’ll be screaming in terror, the next you’ll be roaring with laughter, before leaving you sitting at the edge of your seat.

Another thing Doctor Who really has going for it is its creativity. It doesn’t just stay where it is, reusing the same monsters and characters again and again. It moves on, comes up with unique stories, creates different monsters, etc. In almost 50 years, this amazing show still hasn’t lost its creativity. Every new episode, there’s a new enemy for the Doctor to face. There have been easily over a hundred different aliens created for the show, many with very clever, unique concepts behind them.

Because of this, and of course all the many writers who have contributed to the show, there’s bound to be a part of it that someone will like, even if they don’t like some other aspect of Doctor Who. For instance, if someone doesn’t like the Russell T Davies era, they could try Steven Moffat’s era, and vice versa. Over the course of 49 years, there have been many, many changes to this show. New Doctors, new companions, new writers, and so on.

One of the things I like most about Doctor Who is how clever it is. It isn’t just a mindless action programme. Yes, there’s plenty of action (particularly running down corridors), but there’s always a brilliant plot behind it, with characters that you actually care about. That’s one of the things that makes Classic Who so appealing. Because of limited technology, it had to rely on the strength of the writing. It couldn’t just fill the 25 minute time-slot with tons of explosions and cool special effects.

New Who, I’m sure everyone will agree, also focuses more on the writing than the action. It stills keeps the clever plots, well developed characters, and amazing monsters, just with vastly improved production quality.

So, Doctor Who is so good for many reasons. Its limitlessness, its creativity, its plots, its monsters, and its characters. And I’m sure you’ll be able to find even more reasons why you enjoy it so much.

This show has lasted 50 years for a very good reason.