The Complete Guide to Streaming ‘Doctor Who’ in the U.S.

50 years of 'Doctor Who' are available to watch online (Pic: BBC)

50 years of ‘Doctor Who’ are available to watch online (Pic: BBC)

So, as you’ll no doubt be aware, Doctor Who returns this weekend, with the premiere of Season 8 on BBC America on Saturday, August 23 at 8/7 central. But while the first adventure of a new Doctor always serves as the best possible jumping-on point for new viewers, what about if you want to catch up on the show’s fifty-plus year history—or even just the decade-long history of the revived show—before welcoming Peter Capaldi into your life?

You could, of course, go out and buy as many episodes as possible on DVD. But can they be trusted to arrive in time? No, if you want to take a crash course in Who—or even if you just want to catch up on a few old favorites—the thing to do is to find the episodes streaming online. But where to look? Well, that’s where we come in, so read on for our guide on exactly what you can find where on various legal streaming platforms. Please note, however, that the availability of episodes online is constantly subject to change, so this is merely a reflection of what’s on each site at the time of writing!

Photo: BBC

Photo: BBC

Netflix

Netflix recently completed its collection of New Who, adding the 2013 Anniversary and Christmas specials along with most of the 2009 specials that were David Tennant‘s swansong as the Doctor. Each block consists of the thirteen episodes that make up the relevant season, along with any additional specials (such as the annual Christmas episodes) from the same production years. The full list is as follows:

  • Season 1 (2005, Christopher Eccleston)
  • Season 2 (2006, David Tennant)
  • Season 3 (2007, David Tennant)
  • Season 4 (2008-9, David Tennant – includes the 2009 specials)
  • Season 5 (2010, Matt Smith)
  • Season 6 (2011, Matt Smith)
  • Season 7 (2012-3, Matt Smith – includes the 2013 specials)

If you’re keen to explore Classic Doctor Who, meanwhile, then there’s a selection available on Netflix; although it’s far from complete, and somewhat haphazard. A total of 18 numbered “collections” exist, with each one consisting of a story from the 1963-1989 era. Those stories are as follows:

While all the stories chosen are strong examples of good Doctor Who, there are no Colin Baker stories in there for completion’s sake; and also that the four 1978 stories are actually only two-thirds of the six-story-long “Key to Time” season arc. The 1996 Paul McGann TV movie is also not currently available on any U.S. streaming platforms.

'Doctor Who' Season 1 (Pic: BBC)

‘Doctor Who’ Season 1 (Pic: BBC)

Amazon Prime Instant Video

Amazon’s service has a very similar selection to Netflix, but with a few key differences. Their New Who material is divided in a slightly different way, separating out some of the specials as follows:

Amazon’s Classic collection covers many of the same stories as Netflix’s, but also a few different ones. If you search for “Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection”, you can find 23 serials each selectable by their Season number, thusly:

This time, the Sixth Doctor gets his due—while a different chapter of “The Key to Time” is included, meaning that if you have access to both services, you’re only missing part three, “The Stones of Blood.”

'Genesis of the Daleks' (Pic: BBC)

‘Genesis of the Daleks’ (Pic: BBC)

Hulu

Subscribers to Hulu Plus have access to by far the largest library of Doctor Who episodes. All the new era episodes are present and correct, and as on Netflix they’re grouped together in seven season-long blocks. Unlike Netflix, however, they tend to tack Christmas specials on to the end of the season that preceded them, rather than the beginning of the following one. Their Season 4 block also includes the two animated specials The Infinite Quest and Dreamland, which aren’t available on the other platforms.

When it comes to Classic Who, meanwhile, things get more interesting. It’s not a complete library, but there are 413 episodes available to watch, making up a total of 98 stories. Here’s a list of everything they’ve got:

  • William Hartnell:
    • Season 1: An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, The Edge of Destruction, The Aztecs, The Sensorites
    • Season 2: Planet of Giants, The Rescue, The Web Planet, The Space Museum, The Chase, The Time Meddler
    • Season 3: The Ark, The Gunfighters, The War Machines
  • Patrick Troughton:
    • Season 4: None
    • Season 5: The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear
    • Season 6: The Dominator, The Mind Robber, The Krotons
  • Jon Pertwee:
    • Season 7: Spearhead from Space, Doctor Who and the Silurians, Inferno
    • Season 8: Terror of the Autons, The Mind of Evil, The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space, The Daemons (Complete)
    • Season 9: The Curse of Peladon, The Sea Devils, The Mutants
    • Season 10: The Three Doctors, Carnival of Monsters, Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks, The Green Death (Complete)
    • Season 11: The Time Warrior, Death to the Daleks, The Monster of Peladon, Planet of the Spiders
  • Tom Baker:
    • Season 12: Robot, The Ark in Space, The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis of the Daleks
    • Season 13: Planet of Evil, Pyramids of Mars, The Android Invasion
    • Season 14: The Masque of Mandragora, The Deadly Assassin, The Talons of Weng-Chiang
    • Season 15: Horror of Fang Rock, The Invisible Enemy, The Sunmakers, Underworld, The Invasion of Time
    • Season 16: The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Stones of Blood, The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll
    • Season 17: Destiny of the Daleks, City of Death, The Creature from the Pit, Nightmare of Eden, The Horns of Nimon (Complete)
    • Season 18: The Leisure Hive, Meglos, Full Circle, State of Decay, Warriors’ Gate, The Keeper of Traken, Logopolis (Complete)
  • Peter Davison:
    • Season 19: Castrovalva, The Visitation, Black Orchid
    • Season 20: Snakedance, Terminus, Enlightenment
    • Season 21: Warriors of the Deep, The Awakening, Frontios, Resurrection of the Daleks, The Caves of Androzani
  • Colin Baker:
    • Season 21: The Twin Dilemma
    • Season 22: Attack of the Cybermen, The Mark of the Rani, The Two Doctors, Timelash
    • Season 23: None
  • Sylvester McCoy:
    • Season 24: Time and the Rani, Delta and the Bannermen, Dragonfire
    • Season 25: Remembrance of the Daleks, The Happiness Patrol, Silver Nemesis, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (Complete)
    • Season 26: Battlefield, The Curse of Fenric, Survival

Although only five seasons are available in their entirety, there’s nevertheless a hugely impressive selection to be getting along with. And if you’re somehow hungry for more after all of that… well, need we point you back in the direction of BBC America on Saturday August 23 at 8/7 central?

What was your introduction to Doctor Who? Tell us about it in the comments! 

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