A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
As the last of his kind, the Doctor is a true individualist, dedicated to defeating evil. Honesty, loyalty, and integrity always win out in the end. He's often painted as the only character who understands the true nature of the episode's villain, which means he typically must subvert the well-intentioned but misguided plans of authority figures, who usually come to realize that his plan is the best plan. He keeps secrets, but for good reason, as they help keep safe the people he cares about.
Positive Role Models
Although he has his fair share of dark moments, the Doctor is an entertaining and complex character. He takes it upon himself to protect humanity and those he holds dear, even to the point of sacrificing himself, and makes every attempt to end conflicts without violence. The Doctor also has a childlike curiosity and can get excited about things that others would find terrifying. He and his companions demonstrate courage and teamwork.
Violence & Scariness
The Doctor uses his wits, not his fists, to battle his foes, though he often employs some really cool space-age tools. Many episodes feature creepy creatures and scary scenarios, such as giant crab-like monsters who snatch and digest cars out of the fast lane on a futuristic freeway. Chase scenes often end in injuries or death, though the time-warp element always casts suspicion on whether those deaths will hold as time progresses.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing between adults, but physical contact stops there.
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Products & Purchases
The show is part of a long-running franchise that has multiple seasons' worth of DVDs and plenty of memorabilia.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasionally adults consume what's implied to be mixed drinks, but as they're often on other planets with unfamiliar beverage ingredients, they bear little resemblance to what we know as alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Doctor Who often seems lighthearted, but underneath the Doctor's always-cool exterior and his jovial approach to circumstances are some decent moral messages. Selfishness, evil, and the urge to dominate others are always frowned upon, while honesty, loyalty, and integrity often tip the balance in the protagonists' favor. Expect a lot of sci-fi action with fighting, perilous predicaments, and some death, though the main character always manages to escape their own demise through a twist of fate or regeneration. You'll see some kissing and alcohol use, none of which has a big role in content that's appealing to a wide range of ages.
Is It Any Good?
Some incarnation of this long-running show has been a presence on and off the small screen since the early 1960s, resulting in a diverse viewer base. Each character regeneration has paved the way for a new and unique version of the good Doctor, and although longtime fans are sure to hold to their favorites in the role, the variety gives the show a certain freshness that enables its longevity. Although many of the plots hint at complicated concepts -- particularly relative to the mind-boggling inter-dimensional capabilities of the TARDIS (that's Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, if you must know) -- the basic concept remains unchanged: An unflappable adventurer goes where he's needed to prevent a rotating cast of interplanetary villains from pursuing their evil agendas.
As sort of an anti-action-hero, the Doctor uses charm and quick thinking to disarm foes rather than guns or fists. Among other likable traits, this gives the character strong appeal and broadens the show's potential fan base. There's still a fair amount of violence and plenty of tense moments, but they're offset by a real joviality that all ages will enjoy. The interactions between the Doctor and his Companions are fun (even if the ladies often fade into the woodwork when the accolades are handed out), and the colorful cast of alien forms always promise some surprises. Though Doctor Who's low budget can show in its CG effects at times, the entertaining stories and iconic protagonist have inspired a longstanding cult following for good reason.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.