Friday, September 27, 2013

New Who-nniversary: My Ten Favorite "Doctor Who" episodes

Yesterday was the ten-year anniversary of the announcement that "Doctor Who" would be coming back to television. Since I like to celebrate obscure anniversaries like that, I've been on a New Who blogging kick!

Yesterday, I posted about a few of my favorite "Doctor Who" things. Today, here are a few more of my favorite things ... my ten favorite episodes!

I'll probably look over this list tomorrow and think I picked the wrong ones, but here they are, in the order they aired ... my ten absolute favorite "Doctor Who" episodes/story arcs ever! (Warning: Many spoilers ahead!)

  • "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" (Season 1, episodes 9 & 10): This story, set during the Blitz in World War II, is super creepy. It also, spoiler alert, has a genuinely happy ending for everyone involved. I would also argue that it's the first time that feelings really deepen between the Doctor and Rose, which is pretty special. It's also the first time we meet Captain Jack Harkness, which is a pretty fantastic thing.
  • "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways" (Season 1, episodes 12 & 13): These episodes are really entertaining - the Doctor, Rose and Jack land on a space station where futuristic versions of reality shows are shot. Then the Daleks show up and it gets real. We get to see Rose's heroism and bravery, and we also get the first regeneration of New Who, and it's handled incredibly well. (And as a bonus, Captain Jack Harkness takes his clothes off.)
  • "School Reunion" (Season 2, episode 3): In this episode, the Doctor, Rose and Mickey go to a school to investigate some weird goings-on and meet up with Sarah Jane Smith, a companion of the Third, Fourth and Fifth Doctors. It has a good plot, but what I really like is the callback to the original series. It's done very well, and it also gives Rose a warning about what someone gives up in order to travel with the Doctor. (Bonus guest star: Anthony Stewart Head as the school's shady headmaster)
  • "The Girl in the Fireplace" (Season 2, episode 4): The Doctor finds that clockwork androids are stalking Madame de Pompadour and must stop them. It's really a love story, but because the Doctor is involved, it's ultimately tragic. It is one of the first episodes that really showcases the tragic nature of the Doctor's existence, as he watches the humans he loves grow old and die. It also has excellently creepy villains, which is always wonderful for a "Doctor Who" episode.
  • "The Rise of the Cybermen"/"Age of Steel" (Season 2, episodes 5 & 6): These episodes take place in an alternate universe, where Rose's father is alive and is a successful businessman. On this parallel Earth, though, people are also being turned into Cybermen, which is pretty freaking terrifying. It also really makes Mickey into a more interesting character, which was overdue - I always liked him, but he never got much to do.
  • "Blink" (Season 3, episode 10): Ask any "Doctor Who" fan about their favorite episodes, and they will most likely mention "Blink." In the episode, a young woman named Sally Sparrow (Carey Mulligan) must discover how to prevent the Weeping Angels from getting the TARDIS using only Easter eggs the Doctor has put on DVDs. The Weeping Angels, which look like statues when you're looking at them but, when you blink, turn into monsters who send you back in time and feed off the potential energy of your life, are absolutely, positively terrifying. It also features a fantastic performance by Carey Mulligan, and it is one of the few episodes of "Doctor Who" that barely features the Doctor at all. It's really one of the most perfect "Doctor Who" episodes ever created. (And it gave us the perfect way to describe time-travel: "Wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey.")
  • "Partners in Crime" (Season 4, episode 1): This is the second episode with the Doctor and Donna, and the one where she becomes a permanent companion, and it is fantastic. Donna and the Doctor both investigate a shady company selling a weight loss drug that is proved to be of alien origin. It's just a downright fun and funny episode. (When the Doctor and Donna spot each other, it's sheer comedy perfection.) I might also love it just an extra bit because it's the episode where my favorite companion decides to join the Doctor. 
  • "Turn Left"/"The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" (Season 4, episode 11, 12 & 13): I'm cheating a bit putting these three episodes together - "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End" are a two-parter, but "Turn Left" is connected as well and so I'm counting them as one arc. Basically, while "Partners in Crime" is the fun beginning to Donna and the Doctor's time together, this arc is the tragic ending. Donna is basically the most important woman in the universe in these episodes, but by the end of it, she doesn't remember how wonderful she is. I won't even watch "Journey's End" past a certain point if it's on TV because it makes me bawl so hard. It's one of my favorites because it breaks my heart every single time.
  • "Vincent and the Doctor" (Season 5, episode 10): The Doctor and Amy Pond go visit Vincent van Gogh and help him stop a monster. But it's so much more than that. Van Gogh, of course, committed suicide at age 37, penniless and without an inkling of what his art would mean to the world. The Doctor couldn't stop Van Gogh from his ultimate fate, but at the end of the episode, he takes Vincent forward in time and shows him a huge exhibition of his work. It's incredibly touching to see him realize what an impact he does make on the world. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.
  • "The Doctor's Wife" (Season 6, episode 4): The TARDIS's consciousness is put into the body of a woman. The episode, written by the great Neil Gaiman, is quirky and clever, and it really showcases the fast-talking goofiness of the Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith. It's an incredibly creative and original episode, and it's just a lot of fun to watch.
Runners-up: "Father's Day," when Rose saves her father from dying when she was a baby; "Tooth & Claw," when Rose and the Doctor save Queen Victoria from werewolves ... maybe; "Human Nature"/"Family of Blood," when the Doctor lives as a human without knowing that he's really a Time Lord and sees the life he is missing; "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead," a creepy episode when the Doctor and Donna are trapped in a deadly library, and the Doctor meets River Song for the first time; "The Lodger," when the Doctor moves in with Craig (James Corden) while trying to figure out why the TARDIS is acting up; "Let's Kill Hitler," mostly for the fantastic title, but also because it's incredibly silly; and "Closing Time," which features the return of Craig and his baby, who calls himself Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All. 

What are your favorite "Doctor Who" episodes?

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