He's known and loved in more than fifty countries, and has been famous now for more than fifty years. Amazingly after all this time, his popularity continues to grow. . . but his real name remains a mystery. "Doctor who?" you might be asking. Exactly. Doctor Who.
The British television show about a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels through time and space with his human companions in what looks like an old-fashioned British police box--that's somehow vastly bigger on the inside--premiered in 1963. The show is part nerdy science fiction, part escapist fantasy, and part thrilling horror, thanks to some very scary alien threats to the Earth, and to the entire universe. There are Cybermen, Daleks, Sontarans, Ood, and Weeping Angels, just to name a few. To find out just how scary these enemies are, you'll have to watch the show yourself, because describing them with words just doesn't do them justice (Daleks, for instance, look a bit like gigantic metallic pepper mills, but these odd-looking creatures manage to pose a believable threat to universal peace) .
When The Doctor, as he introduces himself, is gravely injured, his body regenerates . . .into another actor. The current doctor is the twelfth, and he is played by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi. The various versions of The Doctor have somewhat different personalities, and Doctor Who fans (called Whovians) can be quite adamant about their favorite. No need to choose, though, as all the Doctors have their merits.
You don't need to view fifty years of the show to get up to speed. . .or to be converted to a Whovian. Choose any incarnation of The Doctor from the quirky fourth—with his long, trailing, striped scarf—to the latest, a more irritable, mysterious Time Lord. Watch the newest season of the show premiering Saturday, September 19 on BBC America, or stream past seasons on your computer from Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, or Hulu.