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The one iconic sci-fi show you need to watch before Moon Knight

This show was doing the MCU half a century ago.

Moon Knight is doing something unprecedented in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After years of creating heroes born and raised on the big screen, Moon Knight introduces a character exclusive to Marvel’s television continuity. But while the character is doing something new for the MCU, it’s by no means unprecedented in terms of sci-fi at large.

There’s one huge yet often overlooked franchise that seems to touch on all of Moon Knight’s themes. Here’s everything you need to know about it, including which episodes to watch after the Moon Knight premiere.

It’s no secret that Doctor Who is becoming more like Marvel. In fact, ex-showrunner Steven Moffat confirmed the shift to Inverse recently. But Moon Knight just underlines this fact: By following an unassuming Steven Grant through his life as a British gift shop employee with a weird problem, the first moments of the Marvel show could be transplanted into a season premiere of Doctor Who without any changes.

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But where the story does shift is when Steven Grant encounters a strange man who offers to help him figure out what’s wrong. In an episode of Doctor Who it would be The Doctor, dropping out to the sky in a time machine and offering to help by dragging the lead character into an adventure through time and space.

Oscar Isaac basically plays the Doctor and the companion in Moon Knight. Marvel Studios

But Moon Knight doesn’t have a character falling out of the sky. Instead, the savior comes from within as Marc Spector. Through his multiple personalities, Oscar Isaac’s character becomes both the Doctor and the companion on an adventure that may not literally go through space and time, but features plenty of ancient history and supernatural elements.

If you’re a Marvel fan who’s never dipped your toe into Doctor Who, don’t fear. While the show includes 13 actors taking on the lead role and almost 60 years of content, it’s constantly reinventing itself. If you’re looking for a lengthy adventure, you can start from the show’s resurgence in 2005, showrun by Russell T. Davies and starring Christopher Eccleston (who MCU fans will recognize as Malekith in Thor: A Dark World).

Looking for something a bit quicker? Modern Marvel bears a striking resemblance to Seasons 5 and 6 of the rebooted Doctor Who, which not only deals with time travel and aliens, but Marvel’s favorite time-traveling alien: Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula in the MCU, is the Doctor’s feisty Scottish companion Amy Pond.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in Doctor Who.BBC Studios

Or do you just want to catch the highlights of Doctor Who to tide you over between Moon Knight episodes? Here’s a list of relevant episodes to get you started.

  • Season 1 Episodes 9/10, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances — This is the perfect intro to Doctor Who, a clever time travel story that involves human emotion, historical significance, and an encapsulated experience that can be watched on its own.
  • Season 2 Episode 1, “New Earth” — There’s nothing Marvel loves like a flash forward, and this utopian story feels almost like a forgotten MCU adventure.
  • Season 3 Episode 10, “Blink” — Carey Mulligan stars in this terrifying horror story that Doctor Strange would beg to get a crack at. There’s all sorts of fun DVD-era nostalgia too!
  • Season 4 Episode 11, “Turn Left” — This episode deals directly with the multiverse. How does one decision affect your life? Just ask Loki, or in this case, Rose Tyler.
  • Season 5 Episode 1, “The Eleventh Hour” — Matt Smith tries to comes to grips with his new look and deals with a rift in space and time... and Karen Gillan.
  • Season 6 Episode 12, Closing Time” — James Corden plays a mild-mannered man whose life is changed by someone who makes living a lot harder. It’s basically Moon Knight, but with roommates instead of multiple personalities.

Doctor Who is streaming now on HBO Max.