questionsshould i start with the old or the new dr who?

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I had seen old Dr. Who episodes here and there as a kid but the new ones were what really pulled me in. Going back and watching the old ones later is how I did it. The old ones are definitely more old style sci-fi and less humor. The new series are much more flashy, funny and good sci-fi drama/fun.

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Do you like old sci-fi? The original Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, ST:TOS, stuff like that? If yes, then you may enjoy starting with the older stuff. I would start with Tom Baker, because Tom Baker is Doctor Who. However, if older sci-fi is too kitschy for you, you should probably start with Christopher Eccelstone. Once you get caught up, you can always go back and watch the classics then.

Skip the movie entirely.

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I started with season 5, went up, then went back down for season 1-4

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I am watching the series right now and just finished the first season. Gotta say that I really like it so far :)

My philosophy on music applies to TV shows as well. When I listen to a CD for the first few times, I will generally listen to the tracks in order. I do this because I feel like the group who put the CD together has a reason for putting them in that particular order. I feel that skipping around with the music totally destroys that reason and makes it so that I may miss the point of the album as a whole (even if the point of the album is to be pointless). So when carrying this over to TV shows / movie series, I generally watch the series in order of production. The only time this is overridden is when the show is a remake...
But in the end it is up to the viewer to decide.

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If you like campy tv, then go revisit the original series. Tom Baker is the most iconic Doctor, so maybe you might want to start during his tenure. It looks really awful compared to TV now, but if that's your thing, try it out.

If you like more modern dramatic, quasi-serious stuff, watch the first season of the 2005 series with Christopher Eccleston's Doctor, which I feel surpasses Tennant's Doctor.

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After rereading this question, I have to say that I misunderstood what you were asking...
If you mean the original series that was made in 1963 vs the revitalized series which started in 2005 (with the 9th Doctor), I would say start with the new one. The way I read your question was "Should I watch the series with the most recent Doctor or start from the beginning?" Which is why my other comment is SUPER long. But I watched a couple of episodes from the 1963 version and really didn't like it. I then switched to the 2005 revitalization and instantly picked it up more. Depends on personal preference, I guess.

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Against my normal anal watch-everything-in-order way, I would say start with the new ones, i.e. Eccleston. I think for today's audiences, accustomed to modern entertainment, you have to start there so that you will get hooked.
Then, as soon as you are hooked, finish the season you are watching and revisit the question. You may want to watch the old shows to get the history of The Doctor and his mythology. And at any point if you start feeling bored, go back to the new stuff and watch another season.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Also, when going to the old shows, start with the oldest ones you can find and work your way forward. Tom Baker was A Doctor as much as the others were and will be. Each has his own style to be enjoyed and hated.

When you get up to it, don't skip the movie. True, it was unadulterated crap, but by that point, you will appreciate the absolute crapitude of the movie and will be in on the "inside bad joke" like the rest of us Whovians.

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I've been a fan since I was a kid watching old Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee episodes on the PBS, and I say years later, owning copies of these shows on DVDs, you realize it's the writing and the Doctor himself that keeps bringing you back.

I would recommend watching selected episodes of Jon Pertwee and pretty much all of Tom Baker, not only because he is my favorite Doctor, but because he IS the doctor as you will often hear. He brought an odd quirky charm to the character that makes him seem both instantly friendly and inviting, and at the same time oddly alien and strange. He had the longest tenure as the doctor, and deservedly so.

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I watched a bit of Doctor Who when I was much younger, mostly with Tom Baker (#4) and Peter Davison (#5), though I recall at least a few episodes from each of the doctors from #1 (William Hartnell) through #7 (Sylvester McCoy).

I recall being somewhat disappointed when it was canceled after 26 seasons, and was quite happy to see it come back in 2005. I've watched every episode, in order, since the re-release in 2005.

In 2008, I got a copy of all of the earlier episodes (~200GB, note that some are reconstructions as the original film was destroyed by the BBC). I've since watched all of the episodes in order, from those released in November 1963 through the end of the original release, the movie, and then those in the second release.

I think it is worth it to go back and watch the earlier episodes as you'll have a better understanding of the character. However, it most certainly is not necessary to understand 95% or more of the references in the modern series.

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Definitely start with the new series. If you discover a recurring villian or a reference that interests you, you can go back and watch classic episodes relating to it.
Just a warning: The first season (series) of the reboot has some really bad CGI. Cringeworthy CGI. I can name a few episodes off the top of my head, but you'll see soon enough. Just brace yourself. Happy watching!

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Start with Eccleston and work your way forward. There's loads of Tennant to work through so you won't run out of things to watch anytime soon. Netflix streams the newer stuff and you can rent some of the old stuff if you really want to. A lot of it (the older stuff especially) is super campy though, so be warned.

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You never forget your first Doctor. Co-workers find it funny that I have an action-figure of Tom Baker's Doctor on my desk.

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You have to experience the old series... then come back to the new!

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@zuiquan: Netflix streams some of the older stuff as of like 2 weeks ago

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@philosopherott: All I'm seeing on my Netflix is from 2005 on. Where did you find the older ones?

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If you find that you like Doctor Who after a season or two and you want a more adult take on the universe, check out Torchwood. You can watch it in order between the Doctor Who seasons as it aired, just check the respective episode guides on Wikipedia. If you do watch Torchwood though, consider skipping season four (Miracle Day)....

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Start with the new stuff. I didn't really like Eccleston, but he only lasted one season and that's where it starts. The old stuff is... an acquired taste at best. You might think people exaggerate when they say how poorly put-together they are, but it's true. Some of the stories are good, but in terms of production values we're talking visible stagehands, cardboard scenery, paper-mache monsters that look like they were made by kids, etc. Basically it makes the original Star Trek look like Avatar by comparison. It's also mercilessly long (600+ episodes, though a few are missing) and a tough slog for anyone who isn't a hardcore fan.

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Does the new stuff link back to any of the classic story lines where it would be useful to have the background? (eg. Cybermen or Daleks). I think you would get a better appreciation for Jelly Babies watching from the start.

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@zuiquan: I am at work now and can't check but it appeared in my new arrival i think like two or three weeks ago. i will find it when i get home to post the exact title they have it up as but i am working 13 hour days recently so if i forget or am too tired please forgive me.

Edit: Sorry did not read the entire post after your responce. I see someone already found it. good looking out @mml666

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@scmtim: Maaaybe a bit with the villains. It's felt more in the Sarah Jane episodes but you can still get through them without watching 4 seasons of the 4th doctor just for background. As you might have figured, my vote is start with the modern doctors, in order, (some of Rose's most emotional work is lost if you don't have the background.) You have over 30 years of other stuff to watch if you want to get that in to it that far.

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If you're just starting, I'd say start with the new. It'll have better effects and budgets and be more accessible. If you enjoy what you see, then try "The Robots Of Death" and "The Sun Makers" and if you like those, start watching the Jon Pertwee episodes. If you like THOSE, then you'll be hooked and can start jumping around the other Doctors and be more forgiving about the really terrible stuff. Don't be afraid to just decide you don't like the old stuff. It's just a TV show, after all. It doesn't really matter.

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A few years ago I would've said start with the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, skip the others, and then jump in with the ninth, Christopher Ecclestone.

Now, I say ignore the old stuff, and go for the ninth or tenth, David Tennant. Though you'll have to suffer through the soap operatics of Rose, Mickey, Rose's Mum, Martha, Donna, Donna's Mum and Dad, the utter failure of the tie-ins with the Torchwood and Sarah-Jane Smith stories. But you'll gain the River Song story thread which continues past Tennant's stint in the role.

Almost everything since Matt Smith took on the role has been exceptionally solid storytelling with very good acting from him, Amelia (child) and Amy (adult) Pond, Rory, and Rory's Dad. If you start with him, you can only be disappointed by anything that came before.

I'm not against watching Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee, or Peter Davison, or for that matter, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, but should take them as being vintage, rather amateurish and pedestrian TV.

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It's HARD to go back and watch the old stuff. Like watching the old "Twighlight Zone" episodes, and then watching "Tales from the Darkside" (which came later) - it's really a difference of storytelling versus the limitations of early TV. I tried watching "Old Who" when I was a kid, before the reboot. I didn't "get" it then.

Essentially - start with the ninth doctor. After that, you can backtrack if you want to, but starting with the first/fourth/eighth won't really get you to the same amount of speed and pacing as the current series really does. I love the eleventh doctor, and would welcome you to join me with the "Matt Smith" episodes - but as my hubby puts it... Nobody does horror quite like Doctor Who.

With the Ninth and Tenth doctors, you can watch episodes individually at first, to build into the understanding of the series, but- as with all series, it is better if you watch them in order. The most silly villians are usually the "classic" ones: The Daleks, The Cybermen, etc.