Other answers mentioned PBS airing Doctor Who in the United States in the early to mid-80s, Veterans for impeachment Vets shirt but possibly a wider release was the hour block of Doctor Who that aired on Saturday mornings on the New York City local station WOR from about 1979 through the early 80s. WOR was picked up by a number of then-new cable companies in the eastern half of the US around that same time, along with TBS and other fledgling networks, so Doctor Who became a weekly show that could reach a sizeable percentage of the country by 1980. I was 12 in ’79 and ran across them right around the time they started airing all of Tom Baker’s serials in order (I missed “Robot” so the first one I saw was ”
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The Ark in Space” followed immediately by “Genesis of the Daleks”). Veterans for impeachment Vets shirt I watched it every week through 4 years of Tom Baker’s run when, sadly, WOR ran out of episodes that they had licensed from the BBC. It wasn’t until the late 80s that Baker’s last three years and the beginnings of Peter Davidson’s tenure got aired in the US. New Who, but depending on who you’re trying to hook it’s not always the best. I actually think The Eleventh Hour is a great one if you’re hooking a female who’s rather sentimental. It gives a good “This is meeting the Doctor” story arc. Young Amy is adorable, “Fish Fingers and Custard” is iconic of the last two seasons, and Matt Smith does do well with the ladies. Getting them hooked on Tennant can be problematic.