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Review: The Doctors Are In by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith? August 24, 2015

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews, Canadian content, Doctor Who.
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Another Netgalley review.

Burk and Smith are longtime Who fans who’ve become prolific writers on the show. Both used to write for Canadian Doctor Who fanzine Enlightenment, and now they produce books.

There’s certainly no shortage of nonfiction books about Doctor Who. What was once a long-cancelled cult British TV series has become a worldwide phenomenon with millions of new fans who don’t know all the show’s history… and plenty of longtime fans who enjoy arguing obscure points of lore and debating which Doctor was best. So, obviously, there’s an audience for books like this.

As to this particular book– the emphasis is on the Doctors as characters. It’s not another episode guide — they’ve already done that sort of thing. Instead, each chapter puts a Doctor in context, with a few paragraphs on the production and writing of the show in that era, background on the actor who played the Doctor, information on the Doctor’s companions and a pick for top companion (and classic foe), a long look at the Doctor’s personality, some great and not so great moments, and then separate opinion pieces on the Doctor and his era from the two writers, and finally separate and definitely opinionated reviews of a handful of key episodes.

While the structure of the book means it’ll be helpful to newer fans, it’s the battles of opinions between Burk and Smith that’ll draw in the more knowledgeable fans. We’re suckers for opinionated takes on the show and its stories; there are several whole series of books dedicated to arguing the merits of different Doctors, eras, and episodes. Unlike some I could mention, this one delivers in relatively breezy, casual takes; not a lot of long drawn out critiques of colonialism here.

Overall, a good read for a broad audience of Who fans, suitable as an introduction or a source of arguments. I may have to look at their other DW books now.

(Incidentally, the ECW books I’ve bought in print form recently include an option to get the ebook at no extra charge. Not sure if they still do it, but it’s a nice incentive.)