Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Go to For Your Family

Parent reviews for Doctor Who

Common Sense says

Long-running British sci-fi series still thrills fans.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 93 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 421 reviews
Parent Written byobnoxiousm September 6, 2010

Depth, Nuanced Themes, Bowties, and A Lot of Innuendo

Doctor Who has been around for almost my mother's entire life--and I'm an adult. That should tell you something. Since 1963 the values and appropriateness of the show has varied alot. I'll tell you that the earlier stuff is more appropriate than now for most part, and keep my commentary mostly to the new series. Doctor Who started as a family program and it still tries to be that. The story of an ancient, lonely alien who travels through time and space helping people who need it. He has trouble without someone to bounce his ideas off, and he's lonely, so he almost always has a companion, almost always a brilliant or brave young woman. If you have a teenager you needn't worry about Doctor Who. There are the odd racy comment, and a fair amount of violence, but it's nothing your teenager hasn't heard on the school bus, and is often much more elegantly phrased and genuinely funny on the show anyway. My concerns for younger, tween viewers are a few. The biggest iis its mild sexual comments. It's almost all a handful of jokes here and there, but they are subtle jokes that kids might accidentally repeat without a little clarification--and do you really want to explain the other definition of those words? They still aren't that bad, but let me tell you, being the naive kid to repeat that stuff without knowing it is not fun. The violence can be fairly intense, but is usually contained enough. Remember, this is prime time programming in the U.K. The Doctor generally avoids all but the most temporary, emergency violence, preferring to talk, scheme, or sabotage his way out of trouble. His companions do not alwayts agree and there are traditional military battles in later seasons. Creatures are occasionally killed, sometimes violently and callously, and the series features at least one suicide, on-scene but off-screen. Also, expect a lot of mild swearing. Nothing too crazy, but if you don't want your kid spouting the midlest but most religious of four letter words, talk to them before watching. On the bright side, the show features great role models like the Doctor (courageous and resourceful) and his companions (especially Martha, a brilliant and brave woman who knows when to follow along and when to stand up, and Rory, a loyal, courageous friend unafraid to speak up for his beliefs). The Doctor is a flawed role model, and his character arcs in season 2 and 5 are too complicated for younger teens without a parental explanation of deconstruction or a close watch of "The Waters of Mars" and "The End of Time." The show advocates standing up for what's right and heping others, but is also careful to remind us to be careful in our meddling and to pick our batles wisely, with the way fixed points in history cannot be changd. It is a deep, thought provoking show best saved for older teens, but fine for viewing by younger ones and a good conversation starter for tweens and parents. Plus, David Tennant rambling at fifty miles an hour and Matt Smith insisting that bowties are cool. Fun for the whole funny family!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written byTheOncomingStorm March 28, 2011

Good for tweens

As a Christian mother, I see Doctor Who as a complex, rich allegory without the vulgarity of other modern TV shows. Of course, some of the monsters are a bit scary for small children, but for tweens. No problem. Despite it being a sci-fi show, it is the only show I know of that shows consequences to every action and still contains superb role models. Definitely a favorite in our family.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byCheshirekat March 26, 2012

Long live The Doctor

The Doctor is a family tradition in our home. As a young child, 5 and up, I would curl up with my mum and watch Tom Baker, Peter Davison, and John Pertwee deal with crazy alien situations which I as a child thought were scary and yet very cool! Yes, the old monsters were very cheesy, but the writing drew me in and made me a fan of sci-fi forever more. A few times I do remember hiding my head under the blanket or literally hiding behind the sofa. The new Doctor Who series has been watched by my daughter and I for as long as it has been on, but she didn't really become addicted until 7 years old. Now she watches the old ones with me too, and she is still riveted by the new and the old monsters, and the witty dialog. And I now giggle when she hides her eyes while peaking out over my shoulder or behind the sofa. The Doctor is written as a complex character and yet a knight in shining armor. In some iterations he is darker than in others, but most of his iterations believe in mercy and nonviolent solutions and the inherent human abilities for love, persistence, and compassion. This show is one of the few on TV that I have little to worry about because it is very moral and explains things with the intent that your children are watching. It also does not condescend to children, but rather, since the The Unearthly Child, makes sure to show children that they are valuable individuals full of complex thoughts that are as valid and useful as any adults. In the new series this is especially characterized in the young Amelia Pond and her resulting life as the Girl Who Waited. Bloody brilliant. I will admit that Captain Jack Harkness's behavior did spark some questions from my daughter but they were easily resolved. Some of the Doctor's companions in the new series have been very strong female characters as well, and not just the damsel in distress. Many times these companions end up saving him which gives a much needed twist to the knight in shining armor background that was seen in the older series and sent many women reeling from the misogyny. But now we have Martha Jones, a medical doctor, activist, and security agent; Madge Arwell, the strong mother and war widow; Harriet Jones - Prime Minister; and the incomparable River Song, a mature woman, doctor of Archaeology and time traveler. These strong female role models allow young ladies to see that anything is possible in the future, and that self reliance is attainable and beautiful. As a woman of science with a young daughter, I really appreciate these positive role models. Cheesy at times, scary at times, heartfelt all the time, I really recommend Doctor Who to any family looking for a fun show to gather around the tele and share for a lifetime.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written byheather.parker July 15, 2013

Good for adolescents and teens.

My kids- esp. my 14 y.o. daughter-- love this show. But I don't agree that it's good for kids 10 years old or younger. There are a lot of scary characters and there are a lot of guns and violence. I think some people are rating this show based on older versions, which were milder. This show has some redeeming qualities, and is fine for older kids, but I wouldn't let little ones watch it.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Parent of a 11 year old Written by[email protected] February 9, 2013

Just watch one episode and you'll be hooked

This is literally my favorite show of all time. Just watch one episode and you'll be hooked. Other aliens might fight and kill a lot but there is rarley ever any blood, and the Doctor absolutley HATES violence, and always uses his clever mind and wits to defeat the enemy
Adult Written byWugmanmax April 4, 2012

Timey-Wimey

Brilliant! Great, imaginative show for all ages. The creatures and situations can be scary, but the Doctor is charming and always saves the day! Some very mild swearing (d*mn, hell and a**) from time to time. The positive messages outshine any negative aspects of the show. Second chances and forgiveness are nearly always offered to the "villains".

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Parent of a 16 year old Written byreallybusy July 15, 2010

Love, Love, Love Doctor Who!

Keep in mind that this incarnation of Doctor Who is a continuation of a show that started airing in the UK in the 1950s. There are several hundred episodes of the original available on DVD, though the old-timey effects won't work for tech-spoiled younger kids. The newer series - starting 6 seasons ago with Christopher Eccelston as the 9th Doctor and Billie Piper as his sidekick Rose Tyler - is cool, funny and brilliant, though as you progress you'll note unevenness in the writing. Some episodes are very scary (esp. "The Empty Child" and "Blink"), some are more cartoonish. There are very few happy endings. The current Matt Smith is the 11th Doctor: this makes a lot more sense if you start at the beginning (at least with the 9th Doctor and Rose), especially since there are flashbacks to other Doctors.
Adult Written byusername October 11, 2014
Been watching the show myself since 4 and think that there are not any explicit messages or content, possible sex refrences in later series but nothing too graphic

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written byCuddleBunny6 August 11, 2014

Doctor who

So having seen the popular television show doctor who in my youth, I believed that it would be amazing to share that experience with my family. Although after quickly watching one episode (to check it was ok) I realised that the special effects are far more realistic than when I was younger, and the story lines are only slightly more taunting. But overall I thought it was ok. So my family watched it and after a while we all adored it, but then I started to see that some episodes were really quite frightening, and even in some cases I was jumping out of my chair, so I would recommend watching each episode before your family does, just to play it safe.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byArianna Rochelle July 1, 2013

Doctor Who Family Review: Homosexuality, Frightening Sequences, and Clever Humour

My husband, my children and I sit around the television and watch this frequently. Our youngest is 5 and our oldest is 15 (she's obsessed with the show). Although you have to peer past the odd cheesy or 'seriously?' moment, we bond within this show. In fact, we have many inside jokes directly related to this. If you are a Christian or home-schooled family, you should know that this show is not a Christian show, but not sacrilegious in the least. Oh, and for those to whom it matters, there is the odd homosexual reference or relationship (even a peck, but it was entirely humorous- not crude at all), and these are mostly minor characters. There is even a lesbian couple, a "lizard woman from the dawn of time" and her Victorian wife. However, affection doesn't go beyond hand holding, soft smiles, and the occasional "my love" or "sweetie". Speaking of Sweetie... When there's a certain Captain Jack Harkness or River Song around, you can expect the odd innuendo. You must forgive them- they're both from the 51st century! Now on to violence. Expect creepy- but never evil or gory- aliens. Expect to jump, startled, in some moments, but never scream in terror. The monsters are designed to be a little scary at times, even a lot scary, and little ones may be afraid. My 5-year-old girl has decided that the Silence, a horde of skull-like aliens in tuxedos who appear in Series 6 as the antagonists of the season's story arc, absolutely adorable, and other monsters simply "creepy". In conclusion, this is a clever, hilarious, scary, dramatic, family-oriented show, that really is for the ENTIRE family! Even the adults will love the character development and the love stories of devotion and sacrifice. Five stars. Go watch it!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byamtvas August 8, 2011

Fantastic

The only thing I believe might be some problems for some families are the scary situations and some people may have a problem with the sexualities presented (there are sometimes gay characters). My values make it so that this doesn't bother me at all and some families may enjoy it, while others might be bothered by it. However it's a very small part of Doctor Who. Overall it's a fantastic series that gives people of all ages a thrill. It's fun, smart, and quirky and can sometimes scare even the oldest person.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byblissful March 22, 2011

Perfect for kids who like sci-fi and fantasy, if they're not overly sensitive

Our two boys, ages 6 and 8, completely love Dr. Who! We watch it as a family so we can answer questions that they have. There are often messages about war and how it's sad that creatures try to destroy each other, so this is a conversation opportunity. Occasionally, some episodes get a little "creepy" (an episode called "The Empty Child") was *almost* a bit too scary for the 8 year old, who is more sensitive than his little brother, but he really wanted to see it. We discussed it a lot, and watched early in the day, and he was fine. A very sensitive kid might not have been. This show is great for sci-fi fans, and for anyone looking for a cool role model who travels the galaxy trying to help people and often discusses how important it is to settle things in a nonviolent way. The show is British, so you might find yourself explaining British slang sometimes.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bymgraf January 29, 2011

A fun romp through space and time, with some questionable morality.

You can take this show at face value: A fun romp through space and time with the Doctor and his companion. It's bright, it's colourful, charming, and generally the resolution is a happy one. Or, you can dig deeper and come up against some wonderful moral and social quandries to discuss with your children. While the Doctor is the eponymous hero of the show, some of his actions (particularly in the past) have been incredibly questionable. While there is no doubt he is the saviour of mankind many times over, he has also committed genocide and specicide in order to do so. He may be our hero, but to many others he is a villain; is a single culture worth the destruction of so many others? Discuss how perspective and the individual can radically alter our view of a situation. The alien cultures and races presented are also a wonderful opportunity to discuss prejudice and stereotyping against the unknown in our own lives.
Adult Written bytheparadox April 5, 2019

the best show i have ever seen

there is no proper violence it has been with me for half my life i have been in love with it from the start if you say there is to much violence what are you suppose to do with a high action science fiction tv show the sex does not exist kissing is not sex it is romance there is no drinking or drugs and no consumerism i recommend this for all ages it always has a twist to the plot and many many fun thrills it is an amazing experience the doctor has always got a better way to do things than violence there is a wide range of doctors companions and monsters to familiarize yourself with the doctor always has a hilarious humor of sarcasm and often mocks his enemy's to annoy them it is a superb show it always has its own little twist and often complex stories the monsters often have interesting and complex motives i recommend to all ages

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 11 and 11 year old Written byPoodle Reviews March 30, 2019

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Consumerism
Adult Written byDuel masters of... March 14, 2019

Even though it has a slight phew awards here and there there are many good things in it untill CHRIS CHIBNALL

Awesome untill CHRIS CHIBNALL

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written byKing Asharna November 17, 2018

Its a swoman now

its a woman now the doctor and thats bad its to pc like wiht bill being gay my frined is gay and he says bill is dumb like your ohther chatctrres in this sshwo
Parent Written byG P June 25, 2018

Great show but be aware of explicit gay characters

I have loved Dr. Who since my childhood, and I must say the the newer seasons are great as far as acting, good plots, special effects, etc. If you are a parent that does not want your kids to be exposed to explicit gay characters, then I would urge caution with this show. Many, even most of the episodes prior to season 8 are fine. All episodes with the character, “Captain Jack.” contain the most explicit gay content, but there are other instances: Season 3, episode 4 has two openly lesbian characters. Also, the characters, Madame Vestra, who is a reptile, and Jenny are lesbians. It gets more explicit as the series goes on where they actually give a lesbian kiss in season 8. I stopped watching at this point, but news of the new Doctor Peter Capaldi, season 8 forward show only increasing lesbian characters.. Capaldi’s companion “Clara Oswald” is openly bisexual, and his later companion “Bill Potts” is an open lesbian. Parents should be aware of these facts, when deciding whether to expose or introduce these ideas to their children,

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byLilMamaWho June 15, 2018

Great for all ages

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written byStacy E. June 2, 2018

Why can’t there be more shows like this?!

Twice now my son has impressed me with his knowledge of history and when I asked which teacher or class he learned this from he said...it wasn’t at school, I learned it on Doctor Who. The violence is superficial and the context is fantasy. I’m picky, and trust me—this one’s a keeper.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models

Pages