For those of you who don’t know, Doctor Who is one of my favourite shows of all time and it single handedly got me into writing. So because I literally have nothing to bang on about today I thought I’d list my top 12 episodes of the revived series to celebrate the Doctor making it to his 12th regeneration or 14th or 13th or whatever it is. I’ve counted 2 parters as one episode unless otherwise stated. I promise the lists will stop soon. Unless you like them then I guess I’ll just carry on.
12. Pandorica Opens by Steven Moffat – Moffat’s first series finale and what a first parter it was. With nearly every alien in the Whoniverse either shown or mentioned this sure was an episode that made a loud bang when it appeared on our screens. Even the trailer shown at the end of the previous episode let us know we were in for a treat with River Song naming every alien you can think of. I think what made this episode work so well was the climax. Rory supposedly killing Amy, River Song stuck in a time loop in an exploding TARDIS and the Doctor being imprisoned in the Pandorica. We all thought “how’s Moffat going to write his way out of this one” but he did, as he always does but in underwhelming fashion which is why I did not list The Big Bang with this episode. Kudos to Matt Smith for a fabulous performance, maybe the first time we saw the 11th Doctor genuinely scared. One final thing also to add. THE DOCTORS SPEECH THOUGH! A well deserved place in my top 10.
11. The God Complex by Toby Whithouse – A somewhat underrated episode I reckon with much criticism towards the complicated plot. Was I the only one that followed? With a truly remarkable looking Minotaur and a guest appearance from David Walliams we knew we were in for a treat. The question of what was behind The Doctor’s door was intriguing and actually paid off in The Time of the Doctor something I wasn’t expecting as I was quite content not knowing. The episode also articulates a heavy statement on belief and religion and how these things play a big part in today’s society. But without getting too much into that most of you would not have even given this episode a second watch but I suggest you do. It is visually amazing.
10. A Town Called Mercy by Toby Whithouse – Another underrated episode. To my knowledge this episode received very mixed reviews but I truly loved this episode. The moral dilemmas shrouding The Doctor’s and Amy’s relationship is brought to light and how can you not love The Doctor in the wild west. It makes you think why they hadn’t done it sooner? The switching of antagonists within the story was also an effective choice and shows how we are able to sympathise with a character we originally thought to be bad. The Gunslinger acting as protector of Mercy was a great ending and the whole scene of the Gunslinger looking for Khaler Jex towards the end was incredible. I think the dialogue also was a great asset to the episode. Not only in terms of capturing old western american lingo but also discussions of morals between the lead characters. An episode I feel that definitely deserves more praise.
9. Asylum of the Daleks by Steven Moffat – Just when we all thought Moffat was ruining our favourite show with the disappointing end to Series 6 Moffat definitely reminded us why he is one of the best writers in British television today with Asylum of the Daleks. Not only did it include one of the best alien races to ever grace our screens but also offered us with a few surprises. The Daleks were seen in a new light as now not wanting to kill the Doctor but ultimately asking for his help. Rory and Amy’s split was also a big shock but I still question whether it was necessary and the biggest surprise of all Jenna Louise Coleman making an unexpected appearance. Oh Damn you Moffat. This is why I love Moffat he is so unpredictable and showed just that in this episode. Not only that we were met with another sucker punch, Oswin was in fact a Dalek. Woah! Talk about roller-coaster! an episode that delivers so much twists and turns it’s hard not to love.
8. A Good Man Goes to War by Steven Moffat – The series 6 mid-season finale. Let me start off by saying I hate the name but what a finale it was. The headless monks made a great villain with their… swords and the fact that we didn’t see the Doctor until half way through the episode was great. Truly a sentiment to Steven Moffat’s writing I think he had us all fooled when Amy’s baby turned out to be another flesh avatar. However this episode is obviously famous for the revelation of River Song’s identity and I don’t know how many of you guessed, but I sure didn’t. I had no idea until she explicitly said it. With the Doctor off to find Melody it was a great way to end the first half of the series. Too bad the second half didn’t live up to it. There’s one thing that still annoys me about this episode and that’s the character of Lorna Bucket. Who the heck was she?
7. The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End by Russell T Davies – The last full series finale written by Russell T Davies and it was certainly one to remember. My favourite aspec t of this finale was the returning companions and seeing them all interact with each other. It was great to see ad something I don’t think we’ll ever see again. Or maybe… you know what Moffat’s like. Again the Daleks always make a great enemy but Nicholas Briggs should definitely be recognised for his voice work especially with Dalek Caan. Who knew a Dalek could sound even more crazy? The series arc of the missing planets and the “bees disappearing” I feel was satisfyingly answered and came to a pleasing end. But also this finale showed that another arc had been running ever since its revival. This arc being people’s willingness to give their lives for the Doctor shown to us through a series of flashbacks, a nice touch by Russell T Davies. The ending of the Stolen Earth with the Doctor regenerating was complete genius by Davies as it forced people to tune in the next week. Probably the best finale of the revived series.
6. Waters of Mars by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford – One of the 2009-2010 specials and it sure was special. This episode took a notably darker tone to the series and took the Doctor to a more familiar planet. It is this episode where we see a cockier Doctor who believes that the laws of time are his because he is the last Time Lord. But our one off feisty older companion had other ideas and showed him the “Time Lord Victorious” is wrong. The fact that water was the enemy was great and slightly creepy. Could you imagine if every drop on water was infected? Much like the duality taking place internally for the Doctor whether he lets history play out or steps in it mirrors the fact that the episode was in fact co written something I believe shows heavily within the scripts because of it’s refinement and sheer calibre. The ending of the Ood appearing to the Doctor was a good way of taking us through to the End of Time.
5. Human Nature/Family of Blood by Paul Cornell – I think every Doctor Who fan places these two episode among their favourites. It brought a whole new dimension to Doctor Who with the Doctor being human. Who comes up with this? Apart from that it’s hard to put your finger on what makes this episode so great but I definitely think Harry Lloyd has something to do with it with his portrayal of “Brother of Mine”. The ending of the episode, the ending seems to be a recurring thing here, was something I believed never seen before in Doctor who with the Doctor giving the family seemingly eternal punishments showing a more vengeful side to the Doctor’s character. But they deserved it right?
4. Blink by Steven Moffat – Haven’t met anyone that doesn’t like this episode. A truly scary Doctor Who episode which introduces us to the recurring villain, The Weeping Angels. Probably Moffat’s greatest creation and with an existence that is just genius. And we all love Carey Mulligan, I think we love her a bit more now she’s been in Doctor Who. This episode worked well as Doctor-lite episode with Sally Sparrow carrying it, a character I would have liked to see as a full time companion actually. The police officer offered some much needed comic relief to an edgy gripping story leading the weeping angels to have a very long and fruitful life in the Doctor Who series. I also believe this episode to contain one of the greatest quotes from Doctor Who. “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey… stuff”. Something I believe Moffat uses himself to rationalise some of his storylines.
3. Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon by Steven Moffat – Moffat definitely threw out the rule book when writing these episodes which is why they’re so great. Firstly he starts a series off with a 2 parter. Then he takes the story to America and if that wasn’t enough he then kills off the main character. Do I even need to say anything more as to why this episode is so great? I think I just summed it up. I’ve got to say the best part of this episode is after the Doctor is supposedly killed and Amy, Rory and River are in the diner. The Doctor emerges from I think the bathroom, straw in mouth and with no idea what is going on. I think we were all completely flabbergasted at this point He then claims that his bendy straw adds more fizz. Sorry but how does that work?
2. End of Time Part 2 by Russell T Davies – Our farewell to the beloved David Tennant. Part 1 wasn’t as great as Part 2 but I think Part 2 is made fantastic when the Doctor goes on his farewell tour and eventually regenerates. Seeing his companions for one last time was great not only for the Doctor but for us as an audience as it was likely that we would never see them again. And who can forget the 10’s memorable regeneration. With his last words “I don’t want to go” leading to an explosive regeneration it is definitely one of the best scenes of the revived series and completely makes this episode.
1. Midnight by Russell T Davies – I recently re-watched this episode and I swear I love it more every time I watch it. It completely changed our expectations of Doctor Who as a franchise with our first unseen enemy. The fact that the Doctor didn’t know what it was or how it worked was truly terrifying. The episode allowed for the audience to figure out for themselves how the monster worked seeing as the Doctor was unable to spoon feed it to us this time. Seeing this written in a script must have been petrifying for the actors and crew as this creature had to copy absolutely everything that was being said then eventually at exactly the same time. The episode being set in one confined space also added to the tension and claustrophobic feel of the episode. There’s one line of dialogue that sums up this whole episode and it is when the Doctor asks what the stewardess’ name was and no one is able to answer him. Tragic right?
So, there you have it. There are loads of other episodes I love but these are my top ones I guess. Do you agree, disagree or don’t care? Whichever one I’d like to know! Hopefully the series can continue to produce quality and prove to the people who think it’s going downhill that it is still capable of high calibre stories.