Review ~ Who’s 50

This book was provided to me by ECW Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Who’s 50: The 50 Doctor Who Stories to Watch Before You Die – An Unofficial Companion by Graeme Burk, Robert Smith?

Cover via Goodreads

Travel through space and time with this guide to 50 years of Doctor Who

Doctor Who has been a television phenomenon since it began 50 years ago on November 23, 1963. But of all the hundreds of televised stories, which are the ones you must watch? Featuring 50 stories from all eleven Doctors, Who’s 50 is full of behind-the-scenes details, exhilarating moments, connections to Who lore, goofs, interesting trivia and much, much more. Who’s 50 tells the story of this global sensation: its successes, its tribulations and its triumphant return. (via Goodreads)

According to WikiPedia, there have been 239 Doctor Who story arcs aired on television. How do you whittle that down to an essential 50? Graeme Burk and Robert Smith? give it a good try. They do a great job of providing plot and historical context to their choices as well as defending why a particular episode is important to them. Often, they don’t agree and it’s too bad there isn’t a little extra info on their picking process. The best part of At the Movies was Siskel and Ebert hashing out their opinions. I wouldn’t have minded more of that.

Who is this book for? A fan like me. I’m not an encyclopedic fan–much of the trivia and production stories were new to me, but I’m familiar enough with the older story arcs to know what’s going on. I haven’t watched many of the Classic episodes (pre-2005) in years. I took my time with this book because I wanted to watch as many of the chosen episodes as I could. Being of limited means, I didn’t get to them all. If you’re newer fan who has mainly watched the show since its 2005 return but wants to get into the Classic series, I think it’s probably best to watch the episodes before you read about them and to go in order. If you’ve never watched Doctor Who before, this might not be the book for you. It’s not necessarily a list of the *best* episodes, but episodes that are interesting within the narrative of a 50 year old TV show, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Who’s 50 is more more the history of the TV show than it is a history of the character.

There’s also some mention of the Doctor Who novels, comics, and audio stories. I know it wasn’t within the purview of the book, but I would have loved a quick list of those essentials as well.

I’m not sure I agree with all the picks (no Donna Noble stories?), but I doubt I could do a better job. It’s fifty years of television gracefully distilled down into a 420+ book.

Genre: Non-fiction, television
Why did I choose to read this book? I’m a Doctor Who fan. And I was particularly interested in what the authors had to say about the Eighth Doctor and the 1996 TV movie.
Did I finish this book? (If not, why?) Yes!
Format: Adobe Digital Edition
Procurement: NetGalley

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