I’ve always hated science fiction. A Wrinkle in Time frustrated my 9 year old mind. I groaned through Ray Bradbury in 8th grade. My best friend’s Star Trek obsession puzzled me. I didn’t watch Star Wars until I was in college. What’s more, aliens terrified me. Even as a teenager, I had nightmares if I encountered space creatures on screen.

So I’m the last person who should like Doctor Who. But ever susceptible to hype, I started watching it in May. It was weird and campy yet oddly compelling. That first day, I watched three episodes. Four the next day. My family thought I’d lost my mind, because it was all I talked about. I plowed through all seven seasons of the new series in a month plus started the classic series. Not to mention endless hours of rewatching episodes, DVD commentaries, and more.

If you’re a sci-fi phobe like me, don’t be afraid to try Doctor Who. The show exterminated my preconceived notions of what science fiction is supposed to be:

1. Aliens Are People

Doctor Who emphasizes that (almost) all species are people. Everyone from humans to Time Lords to talking trees to homo-reptilia are sentient beings capable of joy, sadness, fear, and pain. The Doctor treats everyone he meets with respect. The only creatures he kills indiscriminately are those devoid of emotion and mercy, like the Daleks or the Cybermen, and he makes exceptions even for them.

It’s a different perspective than the big-green-head, evil, take-over-the-world aliens that dominate TV and movies. By its emphasis on the equality and worth of different kinds of people, Doctor Who exemplifies what’s best about science fiction: its ability to make social commentary in an indirect yet understandable manner.

2. All The Feels

The variety of Doctor Who monsters is fun, but I stuck with the show on the basis of the character drama. I love the Doctor, because he is a desperately lonely man haunted by the death of his species, the Time Lords, and constant guilt of the collateral damage he unintentionally inflicts every time he tries to save the universe. Yet he manages to find joy and adventure in the smallest of things and can’t resist helping anyone in trouble.

He travels with companions, each of whom develop a unique, meaningful relationship with him. The companions make the Doctor relatable to the viewer. I fell in love with the Doctor alongside Rose. I was his best friend with Donna. I grew up with him with Amy. And when each companion inevitably leaves the Doctor, I fall apart. I never would have imagined sobbing into a pillow over an alien TV show.

3. Living History

Doctor Who was intended to educate children about history when it debuted in the 1960s. While it’s known more for science fiction now, historical episodes still play a significant role in the show. History buffs like me will salivate at the opportunities posed by time travel. We meet Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, and Van Gogh. We travel to Pompeii on the eve of its destruction, the London Blitz, 17th century Venice, and more. My personal favorite is solving the mystery of Agatha Christie’s 10 day disappearance in 1926. Even though the inclusion of monsters is (presumably) fiction, Doctor Who brings the past to life and humanizes historical figures in a way that few other books or movies ever do.

4. Laugh Riot

Doctor Who is a show intended for all ages to watch. It reminds me of Pixar films and even The Simpsons in that it has layers of humor. There’s plenty of physical comedy to please young kids (and, I’ll admit, me). But there are also jokes meant for adults, for readers, for film buffs, for clever people. What other show will feature Shakespeare subtly coming on to the Doctor, to which the Doctor wryly says, “And 57 academics just punched the air!”? My favorite comedic moments often feature Donna, the fourth series companion. Such as:

“Donna: I finally got the perfect man. Gorgeous, adores me, and hardly ever speaks a word. What’s that say about me?

The Doctor: Everything. Sorry, did I say ‘everything’? I meant to say nothing. I was aiming for ‘nothing.’ I accidentally said ‘everything.’”

Doctor Who never fails to make me laugh, even if I end up crying a few minutes later.

5. Intelligence Is Valued

How refreshing is it to watch a TV show that values brains over brawn? Most save-the-universe adventures feature a hero wearing tights who looks like he spends more time at the gym than a library, carries huge guns, or can run at the speed of light. The Doctor is played by actors who are unconventionally attractive and generally dresses more like a lawyer than a superhero. He is largely subject to the same physical limitations as humans. Rather than wielding a gun, he carries a sonic screwdriver and saves the world with his knowledge of science, logic, and the vagaries of “human” nature. Neither is the Doctor infallible. He makes huge mistakes and is frequently saved by his young human companions.

What’s more, Doctor Who expects the viewer to be intelligent. You can watch it for the glitz and glamour alone, but it is full of subtle clues, themes, and symbolism purposely placed to tantalize the viewer into analyzing every detail until the big secret is revealed months or even years later.

In summary

Doctor Who has something for everyone. It will make you laugh, make you cry, make you think. It has shown me that my preconceived notions of science fiction may be wrong and that I should give Star Trek or Robert Heinlein or Firefly or Douglas Adams a try. If I can tear myself away from Doctor Who, that is.

When Alison isn’t rewatching Doctor Who, she blogs about YA novels and manga on her website.

Quiz: What is your pet’s Ilvermorny house?

Why should you be the only one who gets a second wizarding house?

1:00 pm EDT, July 29, 2016

Will your pet be sorted into the same Ilvermorny house as you, or will you have to disown them for joining your rival?

Step aside Hogwarts, there’s a new wizarding school in town (or rather, across the sea)! With a new school comes new houses, and a new sorting test. You might’ve gone through an identity crisis after taking the test for yourself, but you’re not the only one who needs sorting. That furry, scaly, or feathery friend needs to know where they belong too, and we’re here to do just that! Last time we helped you find out what Hogwarts house your pet would be sorted into, so now we’ll help you figure out what Ilvermorny house they belong in.

It’s typical for pets to have similar personalities to their owners, so maybe your pet will end up in the same house as you. But to those who have house rivalries, brace yourselves: It’s also possible your pet will end up in a different house than you, maybe even your rival house! Will you be saying ‘bye bye birdie,’ or do you thrive in competition? That probably depends on your Hogwarts and Ilvermorny house.

Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or reptile, all pets are welcome at Hypable’s Ilvermorny sorting ceremony! Take the quiz below and let us know where your pet’s loyalties lie, and be sure to take it for each of your pets (unless they’re a squib. Is there an American name for squib?). Don’t want any of them to feel left out!

Now that you know your pet’s Ilvermorny house, maybe you’ll want to decorate their bed with their house crest (shoutout to the Hufflepuffs)! Or maybe you’ll forbid them from entering your room if they’re in a different house (shoutout to the Slytherins)!

Did your pet get the same Ilvermorny house as you?

Forget seeing Luke Cage and Daisy Johnson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Jeph Loeb, it’s simply too hard to plan.

Although the Marvel movies and TV series ostensibly exist in the same universe, and although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does its best to include Avengers references whenever possible, TV show characters are unlikely to ever show up in the movies.

This despite Chloe Bennet’s continued efforts to remind people that she is, in fact, Marvel’s first on-screen female Asian superhero, and the awesome crossover possibilities the Marvel Netflix series have opened up.

Marvel fans have long been aware of the difficulties of bringing TV characters into the movie ‘verse, but at the 2016 TCAs, Jeph Loeb provided a few more reasons for why it’s practically impossible to coordinate.

“Part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing,” Loeb says, as quoted by SlashFilm. “Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and that’s going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike [Colter] to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”

In terms of planning out the character arcs, this makes a lot of sense. A Marvel movie might be mapped out years in advance of production, for not to mention release, which means any character scheduled to appear would need to have their stories planned for many seasons in advance. The continuity would certainly be hard to keep track of.

Of course they could still throw in cameos, which fans would probably really appreciate — and crossovers from movies-TV are much more doable, as evidenced by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander)’s multiple appearances on AoS.

But Marvel is wary of doing that too much, too, because “we never want to be known as an Easter egg farm. It has to work within the story. We never want to do Luke Cage gets into a cab as Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock are getting out of the cab,” Loeb says, referencing The Man From U.N.C.L.E..

However, don’t lose hope yet. “Anything is possible,” says Loeb. “As I often get reported by you folks for saying #ItsAllConnected, our feeling is that the connection isn’t just whether or not somebody is walking into a movie or walking out of a television show. It’s connected in the way that the shows come from the same place, that they are real, that they are grounded.”

Would you like to see Marvel TV and movie characters cross over more?

If Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda weren’t enough to get you excited about Mary Poppins Returns, maybe Meryl Streep’s name on the roster will do the trick.

Mary Poppins Returns is not a remake of the original 1964 classic but rather a sequel to the Julie Andrews-led musical. As such, it stands to reason that we’ll be getting some new characters this time around. One of those characters will be Miranda’s Jack, who will be a street lamplighter.

And, according to Variety, another one of those new characters will also be portrayed by none other than Meryl Streep, who will be taking on the role of Mary Poppins’ cousin, Topsy. And, yes, the legendary actress will be taking on a singing role for the film.

This will also reunite Streep with her Into the Woods co-star Blunt, as well as Director Rob Marshall and Producer Marc Platt. Streep played the Witch in Into the Woods, while Blunt portrayed the Baker’s Wife opposite James Corden.

Disney’s official synopsis for Mary Poppins Returns reads:

Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Mary Poppins Returns and will hit theaters December 25, 2018.

Are you on board with ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ now that Meryl Streep has joined the cast?