5 episodes of Doctor Who to watch to prep your kids for the new season on Disney+

Doctor Who is an excellent family series, but it does have some darker moments. As you get your children ready for the new season, here are five episodes you'll want to watch first.
The Doctor ((Ncuti Gatwa) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023.
The Doctor ((Ncuti Gatwa) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023. /

Doctor Who is almost back, this time on Disney+, and this is a series you’ll want to watch with the kids. But with 50+ years of history behind it, this might be a hard show to convince them to get into.

If your kids are interested but have watched an episode of the series before, you’ll want to make sure they’re ready for the types of stories to expect in this new season.

Only got time for five episodes before the new episodes arrive on Friday, May 10? Here are the five that you’ll need to watch that highlight the breadth, humor, adventure and wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey joy that is Doctor Who.

"The Girl in the Fireplace" (Season 2, Episode 4)

There are a lot of intriguing monsters and villains throughout Doctor Who. As much as I do think “Blink” is one of the best episodes and the Weeping Angels are the best monsters of the entire universe, the episode can be a little scary at times for children. Instead, you want to turn to another intriguing episode that's far less scary.

“The Girl in the Fireplace” gives us a look at how The Doctor, an alien time traveler, can connect to individuals he meets through time. We see how he doesn’t always get his return date right, with time passing for Madame de Pompadour and The Doctor missing years of her life.

"Lodger" (Season 5, Episode 11)

The Doctor is great at saving the Earth and other planets, but he isn’t the best with social cues. That’s something “Lodger” reminds us of, and this is a fun episode for kids to understand who The Doctor is and what he likes. Matt Smith and James Corden play opposite each other so brilliantly.

Plus, this episode focuses on aliens as the villain. It’s that journey into the world of sci-fi in a fun and fantastical way.

"Robot of Sherwood" (Season 8, Episode 3)

Your kids will want to see some fun action, and “Robot of Sherwood” is perfect for that. We meet the fictional Robin Hood, who your kids will already know, even if it’s just the Disney animated fox version of the character.

In this story, we see Peter Capadli's version The Doctor banter with Robin Hood, while bringing us some archery and sword fights that suit the time period of Robin Hood. It gives us a look at some of the fun and fiction thrown into the world of Doctor Who, which is going to be important going into the new season.

"The Giggle"

You’ll want the kids to get to know Ncuti Gatwa’s iteration of The Doctor, and that means heading back to the last of the three 60th Anniversary specials that aired last year. Honestly, though, if you have time to watch all three, please do! They offered some foreshadowing and clues as to what to expect in the new season. “The Giggle” is just the most important one of the three for the introduction of the new Doctor.

This one brings us bi-generation for the first time ever. We see how David Tennant's Doctor ends up splitting in two, which is sure to have some repercussions in the story moving forward.

"The Church on Ruby Road"

Likewise, you’ll need to follow on with the Christmas Day special from 2023. This one introduces Millie Gibson's Ruby Sunday, while giving us Gatwa’s Doctor on his own in the lead. It’s a great introduction to some of the characters we’ll need to know for the new season while setting up the mystery of Ruby Sunday.

This is also a fun trip into the world of Doctor Who. It’s full of music, weird creatures, and colorful sets setting the tone for the season to come.

Once your kids have watched these five episodes of Doctor Who, they’ll want to watch more. While I would love to recommend the Classic Who episodes, starting with Christopher Eccleston’s season from 2005 tends to be the best start for younger kids, and then you can go back to the black-and-white episodes from the very beginning. Let the journey begin!

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