When I originally decided to write this blog post, it was going to be the "The Top Ten episodes" of Doctor Who's new series. But, to pay tribute to the Time Lord, this is going to be a Top 13 list. This list will only contain episodes from the revised series of Doctor Who. Despite watching a good bit of the classic series, I've yet to watch enough to make a top episodes list (Although I could easily say The Caves Of Androzani is an obvious number 1). Maybe one day. So, without further ado, here's my top 13 episodes of new Doctor Who.
13. Gridlock-The first time I watched this episode with a friend, he gave me shit. He said, "An episode about a traffic jam? You call this Sci-fi?" Yes, I do. This episode is about so much more than just a traffic jam. The reason that this episode will always remain one of my favorites is because of David Tennant and Freema Agyeman's acting. Every time the 10th Doctor spoke about Gallifrey in this episode, my heart sank. You can see the sadness in his eyes and all 900 years of age are living, plain as day, on his face. It is both beautiful and tragic. Martha's belief that The Doctor will save them if they just believe is also extremely beautiful. The final moments with The Face Of Boe are brilliant and heart breaking as we watch a character that we hardly know but have somehow grown very attached to die. His final secret is bone chilling, resonating with the hopeful ending of the episode. A personal favorite point about this episode for me is the juxtaposition of imagery. At the end, the people are flying towards the sun in a beautiful scene. At the same time, The Doctor is telling the truth to Martha, telling her about the beauty of Gallifrey and what happened to it while they sit in a dingy drug dealer filled alley that is a quantum leap backwards from the beauty and splendor of his home. For top acting and top visuals, Gridlock just beats out a few other episodes from the 13th spot.
12. The Power Of Three-For the most part, I was highly disappointed with series 7 Part 1. The saving grace of the entire season was easily The Power Of Three and The Year Of The Slow Invasion. A facet of the 9/10 era was The Doctor constantly dealing with the families of his respective companion. This sort of went out the window in the Matt Smith era with Amelia's parents only being depicted once and Rory's Father not appearing until just before their departure. This entire episode went back to the old formula with a vengeance, not only featuring a family member (Rory's Dad, who is easily the best part of series 7) but having The Doctor actually MOVE in with his companions; won't lie, watching The Doctor play Wii Tennis was 100000x more exciting than the entire Dalek asylum. Plus, the baddies in this ep (thousands of tiny cubes) were original and hilarious. I fully think that the chicken dance cube should have been dropped to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Finally, this ep featured The Brigadier's daughter in a stunning tribute. I can only hope that she becomes a recurring character, crafting a relationship with The Doctor that would make Nicholas Courtney proud.
11. The Next Doctor-After the sort of clusterfuck that was Voyage Of The Damned, I wasn't too excited for the next Christmas special. Honestly, I'd never really liked one before this one. With David Tennant just announcing he was leaving and no one being confirmed as 11 yet, an episode called The Next Doctor was a BIG deal. And not only was there (supposedly) going to be a new Doctor, one of my FAVORITE baddies were returning after two seasons away in the void. This episode was a bit dark with obvious undertones that the villain (Mercy) had been raped; Way dark for a Christmas Special but I approve. The Cyberking was awesome. But without a doubt, the best part of this episode(and the reason it is on this list), is the next Doctor himself. If David Morrissey had been cast as The Doctor I would have ZERO problem with it. Within moments of him coming on screen, I fell in love with his take on The Doctor. With a huge, boastful personality, this Doctor seems to combine 6, 8, and 10 in a rather excellent way. Of course, his time as The Doctor quickly comes to an end as he realize he's just an imitation. Yet, Jackson Lake has The Doctor's memories and seems to understand the plight of the lonely Time Lord. And, best of all, after years and years of saving the world, The Doctor actually gets a thank you, which is TRULY in the Christmas spirit.
10.The Girl In The Fireplace-This episode was just brilliant and easily the redeeming factor of series 2. With an intricate and complex plot, The Doctor moves back and forth between a spaceship in the future to the life Victorian era French aristocrat, Madame De Pompadour. The way the story works in this episode is just beyond perfect as The Doctor, Rose, and Mickey (A trio that is definitely a downgrade from the previous one) step through doorways to the life of Madame De Pompadour. I've known a few people that really disliked this episode due to Reinette being a woman interested in The Doctor that wasn't Rose. This was exactly the reason I LOVED this episode. I always felt like Reinette was a much better fit for ten than Rose ever was(This is not me detracting a Rose/Doctor ship. LOVED her and 9). When she looked into his mind and saw his entire past, she instantly knew him better than Rose ever could. I also don't think The Doctor has EVER looked more heroic than when he and Arthur the horse come crashing through the glass, knowing full well that there's no way back to Rose, Mickey, and the TARDIS. But it would be worth it if he could save Reinette. The only disappointing thing about this episode is that it teases Reinette traveling with The Doctor and never allows it to happen. The sadness in The Doctor is obvious. That's not even the big question, though. The big question is this: What happened to Arthur?
9.Midnight-A last second replacement for another companion light episode, Midnight was penned by Russel T. Davies and was some of his best work in his entire run on the series. Reminiscent of the classic black and white film, Lifeboat, this episode works by having a small set of characters in an enclosed environment and instantly making them recognizable as people we may see on the street: An arrogant professor, a struggling student, a teenage son embarrassed by his parents constantly telling the same story. It is all familar and seems real, making what happens so much more terrifying. Another terrifying factor? This episode makes me feel claustrophobic as the passengers try to find a way out of their predicament, knowing full well there's no escape. And the monster? We'll never know what it was. All it did was repeat words. So simple. Yet, it was terrifying in it's simplicity. The entity on Midnight will long remain a favorite villain of mine, for the pure fact that we know so little about it. Also, bonus points for Patrick Troughton's son playing the professor.
8. Bad Wolf/Parting Of The Ways- This two-parter starts off a little silly with the whole reality show thing (And Jack pulling a gun from his ass. Just....nooooo). Yet, by the end, this episode has gone from a The Weakest Link spoof to being the episode that put The Doctor up against an armada of his greatest enemy. The second part of this episode is just all out war as The Doctor first confronts the Dalek emperor without a single ounce of fear before the Daleks invade Satellite 5. Every human on the station is instantly (and uselessly) fighting for their lives. Even, Captain Jack Harkness falls to their death rays. The most beautiful moment of the 9th Doctor's run on the show is his "Have A Good Life" speech to Rose as he sends her back in time for her own safety. Then, the big reveal of what Bad Wolf has meant all season as we see Bad Wolf entity obliterate the Daleks. Finally, the 9th Doctor receives the redemption he has been seeking for the entire series as he dies to save the woman he loves. And, unlike his replacement, The 9th Doctor goes out with a smile on his face; A fantastic ending for a fantastic Doctor.
7. Blink-What can be said about Blink? Blink is perfect episode to introduce someone to the series that's never before seen the show. I've used it on more than one instance. This episode is scary. What makes it so scary though? Even when Sally has her back to some of Weeping Angels, they're not moving in for the kill. It's as if the viewer is keeping them at bay. This is an absolutely genius mechanic, quickly immersing the watcher into the episode. On top of the spine chillingness of this episode, the characters are all amazingly written. Sally is the best companion that never was, Larry is the geek everyman, and DI Billy Shipton is easily the most likeable character I have seen in any form of fiction ever. Blink was the first episode with The Weeping Angels and no episode since has ever really been able to replicate just how terrifying they were here. Just remember, don't look away, don't turn your back, and don't blink. Good luck.
6.Utopia/The Sound Of Drums/Last Of The Time Lords-My all time favorite companion-Doctor combination(Yes, 10/Martha/Jack just BARELY beat out 9/Rose/Jack) up against my all time favorite villain, The Master. What I loved about season 3 is that there was so much more working towards it's finale. Dr. Lazarus' technology, the fob watch secrets, The Face Of Boe's secret, and the constant allusions to a Mr. Saxon. I often compare John Simm's take on The Master to Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker. Both actors deliver just a pure and evil character that is almost terrifying in what a monster they are. John Simms and David Tennant play off of each other perfect, clearly showing a 1,000 year old friendship (and setting way for MANY, MANY, MAAAAAANNY Time Lord on Time Lord fanfics). This is also the arc I use to point out what a companion Martha was to the people that hate on her. Sure, I get that she loved The Doctor AND NO ONE IS EVER ALLOWED TO LOVE HIM BUT ROSE (add sarcasm in the caps). But Martha did more for The Doctor than any other companion ever has! She walked around the Earth in constant danger, carrying out his plan. When it was all said and done, she remained strong. Even more so, Martha was strong and mature enough to leave The Doctor of her own free will instead of having to be ripped away like all the rest of the New-Who companions. Finally, who didn't shed a tear as The Doctor cradled The Master, begging his oldest friend to regenerate just so he wouldn't be left as the last Time Lord again?
5. A Christmas Carol-Freaking Dumbledore. Michael Gambon is absolutely awesome as Kazran Sardick, the Scrooge of a foreign planet. Yes, this episode is just a Sci-fi retelling of the classic Christmas story. But it's just so wonderful. The love story between Kazran and Abigail is wonderful, poignant, and tragic as The Doctor rewrites Kazran's life to save Amy and Rory while at the same time instilling love and loss into Kazran's life. The constant hoping back and forth between the past and present allows the viewer to watch old Kazran change as The Doctor rewrites young Kazran's life. It is incredibly cool to see. Other high points of this episode: The Doctor botching card tricks, The Doctor breaking the psychic paper, and, of course, anything that has to do with The Doctor and Marilyn Monroe(She should so be a companion). While there's not much more to say about this episode, it is the quintessential Christmas Special, absolutely showing what Christmas is all about.
4. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances-The 9th Doctor will always be my favorite. When I think of The Doctor, he's always the first one I think of when I imagine The Doctor. People never understand why he's my favorite; I think he had the best character arc of any of The Doctors. And these were the episodes where I fell in love with him. Not even the first appearance of Captain Jack Harkness could take away from the 9th Doctor being on the top of his game as he tries to solve the mystery of the strange gas mask zombies that are in constant search of their Mummy. This episode isn't so much scary as it is eerie. There's just something oddly frightening about an invincible child destroying everything in his path to find his Mother. What makes this episode though is the scene in the train yard after the nano-genes cure the boy. The 9th Doctor's entire life has been defined by loss and bloodshed as he loses Gallifrey at the start of his life and continues to experience loss after loss after loss as more and more people die in his adventures. But, just this once? Everybody lives. And The Doctor, no matter the incarnation, has never been more jubilant. The episode ends with 9 and Rose dancing among the TARDIS as the newly recruited Jack Harkness watches on. It's this scene I point to whenever anybody tries to say Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston had no chemistry.
3.Vincent And The Doctor-On these last three, I fought for which order they'd go in. So, it is with a heavy heart that I place one of the best 45 minutes of television I've ever seen at bronze. Doctor Who is mainly for kids so it is amazing that this episode is such a good examination of mental illness. Tony Curran is absolutely perfect portraying a man that is near worthless in life but will be remembered as the greatest painter to ever walk the Earth. Sure, there's an entire plot about an alien that only Van Gogh can see. But this episode has so much more than that. The villagers treating Van Gogh like a pariah due to his crippling sickness, Amy and The Doctor trying to inspire him to paint sunflowers, and, of course, Van Gogh's desire to have MANY ginger children with Amy. Above all else, the last ten minutes of this episode are both beautiful and heartbreaking. If you've stumbled onto this blog and have no idea, I'll explain. The Doctor and Amy take Van Gogh to a gallery in Paris in 2012 where his work is the main exhibit, in hopes of preventing his eventual suicide. This scene is powerful and moving as Vincent listens to the curator (played astonishingly by Bill "I was almost the 10th Doctor" Nigh) declare that Vincent Van Gogh was not just the single greatest artist to ever live but "one of the greatest men that has ever lived" and goes on to talk about how he transformed the pain of his life into absolute beauty. The words, combined with the music and Vincent's face is heart wrenching. If I ever make it through this scene without crying, I'll wonder if I'm still human.
2. The Waters Of Mars-While not the last episode with the 10th Doctor, I absolutely think that Waters is easily his swan song. Instead of spending an entire episode whining about how he's going to "Die" like his final episode, this one is just pure balls-to-the-wall adrenaline pumping action and drama. The 10th Doctor is at his top, proving why he is one of the best. Captain Adelaide Brooke(Fun fact: Her role was originally written for Helen Mirren) stars as the best one off companion yet. Unlike Astrid or Donna's first appearance, Captain Brooke is an undeniable bad ass that is in no need of being saved. The Doctor wanders into Bowie Base One (sadly, there is no Major Tom on the base) only to realize that he has once more stumbled onto a fixed point like Pompeii that he has no chance of saving. He constantly talks of how he needs to leave yet his curiosity keeps him there as they discover what caused all the problems, an enemy that can not be beaten: water. A water that is infected and infects/enslaves/zombifies that comes in contact with anyone. The fact that one drop will doom someone makes the episode all the more tense and disturbing. The crew in the base is instantly likeable, making it even more horrific as each one dies one by one. Despite attempting to leave, The Doctor has a sudden change of heart as he listens to the crew die, prompting a great line:"There are laws of time. Once upon a time, there were people in charge of those laws, but they died. They all died. Do you know who that leaves? ME!" After breaking his rule about fixed points, The Doctor declares himself the almighty "Time Lord Victorious", effectively going dark side for a bit in one of the darkest moments of the new series. His chilling new revelation about his absolute power is put to an end of Ood Sigma appears like the ghost of Christmas future. This episode has it all and is amazing. There's just one episode that is even MORE perfect.
1. The Doctor's Wife-This episode is perfect. There is not a single line that is wasted or a moment that wasn't needed. This episode is why I think Neil Gaiman should take over as head writer; he is perfect. This episode is an absolute love letter to fans of the series. For nearly 50 years, The Doctor has had one true companion: The TARDIS. Finally, after ALL this time, we finally hear what the TARDIS(who will from here on out be known by her name: Sexy) has to think about what The Doctor has been up to for all these years. It is hilarious, beautiful, and perfect. The exchanges between The Doctor and Sexy are brilliant and probably the first time The Doctor has had an intellectual equal since Romana (Shut up, Doctor-Donna was around for two minutes). Suranne Jones, first appearing to just be a Helena Bonham Carter rip, easily proved to be a better actress than the last four companions combined. She managed to showcase the quirkiness of the TARDIS, the infinite intelligence, and, of course, the absolute love for The Doctor. This story, first and foremost, is about the relationship between "the boy and his box, off to see the universe.". Sexy recalls the first time The Doctor ran his hand over her console and it is easy to imagine William Hartnell lovingly stroking the machine like an old man that has finally found the love that he has been looking for all his life. It is a love that has spanned nearly a thousand years, seeing both the start and end of time. Of course, this wouldn't be Neil Gaiman if it was just about love! The part of the episode with Amy and Rory running through the TARDIS in hopes of escaping House is disturbing as we watch Rory's madness at being left to die again. The episode is hilarious on multiple occasions including but not limited to: The pretty one scene, 'We're breathing him', and, of course, '"Did you wish REALLY hard?" Finally, this episode features some lines of pure badassery, epitomized in the "Fear me, I killed all of them" line. This episode has it all and is without a DOUBT, the ultimate episode of Doctor Who. I am quite sure nothing will overtake it for the number one spot, in my opinion. I long for a series that would have Sexy running as The Doctor's companion but I know it could never be. It would make this episode so much less special; Giving up how meaningful this episode is something I would never do. This was the time they talked. For the rest of the series, I'll just watch The Doctor and the TARDIS, knowing that they're the couple of the series and know their relationship absolutely decimates ANY other The Doctor could have. And I'll be happy.
So, that's it! That is my top Doctor Who list. As a cop out, here are the honorable mentions in no particular order: The Shakespeare Code, Father's Day, School Reunion, and The Impossible Astronaut/Day Of The Moon (That last one didn't make the list simply because I despise River's stupid, frizzy haired self with a passion of ten thousand fiery suns). I hope you enjoyed! Feel free to comment and let me know your favorites, tell me what you thought of the list, or tell me I'm a moron with no taste.
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Finally, tune back to this blog, there will be a sequel about the worst episodes of the new series sometime in the near future.