This is a question I was asked this week, and I would like to answer it in full (or at least as much as I can without doing any research).  It’s  a British science fiction show that has been going for 49 years.  The main character, the

The Doctors Thus Far

Doctor, is a Timelord from the planet Gallifrey.  As a young man he stole what would later be called by Susan, his granddaughter, a TARDIS.  TARDIS stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space.  This acts as his time machine that also allows him to travel through space.  I’m assuming the Dimension part refers to it being bigger on the inside than the outside, as it’s a police box from the outside and a whole world of rooms, swimming pool and all on the inside.  However, due to budget reasons the Doctors 3rd incarnation was sent to be stuck on Earth by the Timelords.

Wait, a 3rd incarnation, what’s that?  So, Timelords (Timelady for the females) do this thing, regeneration, in order to cheat death.  There are instances in which a regeneration cycle can be interrupted and a Timelord can die.  This will often happen in the middle of regeneration.  Each time he regenerates he has a new body and a new personality (with some traits of older incarnations).  Timelords have a total of 12 regenerations in their life cycle, or at least that is how it was in Classic Who.  This creates an interesting plot point in the next few years as we’re currently on the 11th Doctor.  Granted, the Master (the Doctor’s nemesis from Gallifrey, but there’s more to it since they almost need each other, as in New Who they are currently the last 2 Timelords due to the Time War, which in my opinion was a bad bit of writing and left the potential for interesting stories to be taken away) has cheated death on numerous occasions so I’m sure with some clever writing the Doctor can get a new regeneration cycle.  Oh, did I mention, he has two hearts (as do all Timelords).

Now, traveling throughout time and space can get lonely, which is why the Doctor almost always travels with a companion.  There have been many since the show began, with my favorite being Sarah Jane Smith (well, I think she’s everyone’s favorite), Romana 2 (she’s a Timelady on her 2nd regeneration), Rose (until the ruined her character in the series 4 finale of New Who), Amelia Pond, and I cannot forget River Song.  Yes, he likes to travel with attractive women, no shame in that.  Plus, Amelia ended up getting married to Rory Williams, which made it the first married couple to travel in the TARDIS with him.  Now, New Who has had some trouble with making the companions be too in love with the Doctor.  It got out of hand with Martha, who was all mad the Doctor wouldn’t have sex with her in the Shakespeare episode.  Then you get River Song, who is a brilliant character that never fails to entertain with some drama and laughs, oh and quite a lot of flirting but it all makes sense in the end.  Then, the best companion in all 49 years of the show, Sarah Jane Smith.  What is there to say about Sarah Jane?  Easy, she’s brilliant.  Played by the late Elisabeth Sladen, she brought a brilliant type of joy to the screen that perhaps no companion has been able to do since.  She was real.  She didn’t act over-the-top, she wasn’t helpless all the time, she felt like a real person.  It truly is sad that she has passed, but she will not be forgotten and will be remembered as the best companion the Doctor has ever had.  I feel it is fitting for a quick tribute video.

Now then, there’s also Romana.  She was interesting as she was a Timelady.  This means she could equal the Doctor in knowledge, and often times was a bit smarter than he was.  She made a better sonic screwdriver than his and was an all around nice change of pace to see someone travel with him who was able to be his equal.

Throughout the Doctor’s adventures he is often faced against some sort of alien or recurring enemy.  Recurring enemies include Daleks, Cybermen, and Weeping Angels.  I’m going to say it, Daleks are boring.  They roll around and shoot stuff (well, now they can fly as well).  There’s not much to do with them for a story, and they are in nearly every season of New Who (Daleks in Manhatten was just an abomination of a 2 part episode).  Even “Day of the Daleks,” after taking a five year break from the Daleks, was not all that interesting.  They Cybermen are also kind of boring, and were barely featured in Classic Who.  I find it interesting how they’re pushing these characters now, even though they were not that prominent in the early years.  Even the newest recurring enemy, the Weeping Angels are on the verge of overstaying their welcome.  I do like them but I think there has been enough of them, and they have been featured in 3 brilliant episodes, so they’re very successful.  I quite like the Silents, and am curious to see when “silence will fall,” but that’s the most current of New Who.

Now, I like River quite a bit, and in the words of Professor Song, “Spoilers.”

I’m sure there is more to tell to this story, but I’ll leave you off with a bit of Doctor Who fun with the 11th then 10th Doctor.  I think the 10th Doctor’s is a bit funnier, which is surprising because I don’t remember him every being anything but depressed.  Oh well, there you have it, my quick take on Doctor Who and what it is.  Just, if you try to get into it now start with Series 5, as we’re in the midst of a 3 season long story arc thanks to Steven Moffat.