As someone who finds the 200-something episodes of Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse plenty daunting, I can’t even begin to imagine tackling Dr. Who. The long-running British television show spans 47 years, over 700 episodes, and eleven different incarnations of the titular character. Dr. Who‘s long, convoluted history can be tough for even a devoted fan to keep straight, to say nothing of newcomers just tuning in for the first time.
Luckily, the Fine Brothers (whom you may recall from the time they upset Damon Lindelof with their biting Lost parody series) have taken it upon themselves to recap nearly five decades of Dr. Who in just six minutes. Terms like “TARDIS,” “Torchwood” and “Daleks” are explained, as are the costume changes and major plot points from each Doctor’s term. Whether you’re looking for an introduction or just a refresher, it’s worth checking out. Watch it after the jump.
Of course, there’s still a lot that goes unexplained — a predictable side effect of condensing 47 years of television into six minutes — and the stuff that is explained is sometimes spoken so rapidly it’s tough to get it all the first time around. But it’s an impressive effort, and an effective one as well. I, for one, feel way less intimidated than I did before, and way more inclined to actually check out the new episodes when they air.
To put the show’s longevity into perspective, Dr. Who premiered in 1963. That’s earlier than either One Life to Live (premiered 1968) or All My Children (premiered 1970), both of which were canceled by ABC last week, generating a great deal of mourning for the end of an era. As the Fine Bros. point out, Dr. Who also predates Star Trek (premiered 1966) and Star Wars (1977). And to put the Fine Bros.’ work in perspective, it’s worth noting that the entire six-minute video was done in one take — quite a feat, considering how quickly Ben (the guy on the right) has to talk.
The new season of Dr. Who will premiere on BBC America this Saturday, April 23 at 9/8c. The Doctor’s eleventh and most current incarnation is portrayed by 28-year-old Matt Smith, who was the youngest actor ever cast as the Doctor when he won the role in 2009.