This Whovian’s Top Five Doctor Who Episodes

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Only a couple more days until the 50th Anniversary!  Have you been watching the amazing minisodes?   My heart’s breaking right now that the 8th Doctor didn’t have more episodes.  His movie may have been awful, but he would have been such a good Doctor. Sigh.  In preparation for the 50th, I’ve also been watching through some Classic Who.  I’ve now seen episodes from the 1st, 2nd, 4th , and 5th Doctor.  Some of the episodes are surprisingly not that bad, but they still don’t really compare to New Who.

Over the past year, I’ve also been catching up with Matt Smith’s episodes and rewatching the 9th and 10th Doctor’s episodes. It’s always great to go back and revisit your favorite episodes.  Of course, sometimes in rewatching them, you discover you like different ones than before and maybe don’t like your old favorites as much as you remember.  I found five episodes that have (mostly) stood the test of time for me.  These episodes have been my favorites from the very start and I have a feeling they’ll remain my favorites for a very long time.

FYI, I’m counting two part episodes as one because in makes things easier. (How can you really chose between parts one and two of a two part episode?)

1. New Earth ~ This is the first episode of Doctor Who I can remember watching.  I know it wasn’t the first because I watched the entire second season out of order so the second episode on the first disc was probably my fourth or fifth episode watched.  And it took me that long to be won over by the Doctor.  See, the thing is: I started watching Doctor Who because of David Tennant.  I fell in love with him the very first time he walked on the screen during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (No, I am not lying or exaggerating) and I wanted to see everything he was in.  Back then though, I wasn’t the scifi geek I am today so it was a chore to watch Doctor Who just to see him.  It was so weird and cheesy and I was ready to quit, but then “New Earth” came along and I was sold—mainly because I started shipping the Doctor and Rose like crazy and the body-swapping was hilarious.  Still, this is the episode that made me a Whovian.

2. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances ~ Captain Jack Harkness, “Are you my mummy?”, and the Blitz.  Do I really need to elaborate?  (I guess so.)  I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I didn’t really like the first season of Doctor Who until Captain Jack came around.  While I loved the 10th Doctor, I didn’t find Nine that appealing (Okay, attractive.  My teenage self was a bit vain.).  Captain Jack, however, was handsome, flirty, and hilarious.  Once he showed up on the scene, the first season became a lot more interesting. (I also liked his chemistry with both the Doctor and Rose.  He did add a lot of fun to the series.)  Of course, Jack isn’t the only reason I like these episodes.  The creepy “Are you my mummy?” child is one of the most disturbing antagonists of the show.  Sure, Weeping Angels are bad, but the empty child is right up there in the creep factor.  It was also fun to visit the Blitz for the first time and this is, by far, the best of the 20th century episodes.  “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” are strong episodes in characterization, plot, humor, and emotional impact and I just love them.

3. The Doctor’s Wife ~ Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and so I may be a bit biased when I say he wrote one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever.  I loved the whole TARDIS coming alive thing.  It was hilarious and Amy’s reaction to it was priceless.  I also loved the quirky darkness of the episode.  Neil Gaiman’s books can be so weird and dark (in a lovely way) and “The Doctor’s Wife” was no different.  I really loved the episode but it was a bit bittersweet.  It was a total change of pace from the rest of the season (most of which was clunky and over-the-top in a bad way) and it made me sad because it proved that Matt Smith could have been a good Doctor if the writing for his seasons had been better.

4. The Unicorn and the Wasp ~ I know this is the “Episode Of Which We Do Not Speak” for the fourth season, but I love it because it was so incredibly funny.   The Doctor and Donna were at their bantering best during this episode and the whole poisoned bit had me laughing hysterically.  The wasp part might be weird, but the humor and AGATHA CHRISTIE (!!!) redeem this episode for me.  Come on.  You know, the Doctor/Donna kiss was to die for.

5. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead ~ Okay, thanks, Doctor Who, for making me more paranoid of the dark.  The Vashta Nerada are on my list of top three Doctor Who baddies because they’re just so terrifying.  They’re the dark.  And they eat you.  Horrifying and unpleasant, if you ask me.   In addition to the well done baddie, these episodes are set on a library planet.  Dream come true much?  I did love these episodes more before River came back in the later seasons and her storyline was ruined.  The whole relationship between her and the Doctor was thrilling in “Forest of the Dead,” but now, it just is convoluted and makes no sense.  (She had such promise as a character, but now, I can’t stand her).  I still like these episodes because they’re creepy and awesome and heartbreaking.   I just try not to think of what came after.

So, what are your favorite Doctor Who episodes?  Any Classic Who that you would recommend (I need some episodes for the 3rd, 6th and 7th Doctors in particular)?

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5 thoughts on “This Whovian’s Top Five Doctor Who Episodes

  1. I agree about Paul McGann – his film was terrible but he was really likeable, it would have been nice to see more of him. My favourite Doctor was Christopher Eccleston, he was so tall and handsome, and a bit grouchy at times, but still very charming. Love Captain Jack too, he is a real fun character. Can’t think of a favourite episode though, I think I love them all!

  2. Totally agree about Paul McGann! I watched the TV movie this week, for the first time since it aired back in 1996, and while it was terrible, his Doctor was great. I’m thinking of looking for some of his audio episodes to get more Eight.

    I was going to ask why “The Unicorn and the Wasp” is the “Episode of Which We Do Not Speak,” but I checked the list of episodes in series 4, and I realized that they were all good. I can’t even choose a “bad” one out of that list, though I think if I had to rate them, “The Fires of Pompeii” would be on the bottom. TUatW is such a fun episode, and because it’s a murder mystery, it’s so different. I love “different” episodes in Doctor Who.

    I love that your choices for favorite episodes are not the same as everyone else’s. 🙂

    1. I, obviously, like “The Unicorn and the Wasp,” but I’ve heard a lot of negativity about it. I think it’s the giant wasp child thing that turned some people off. (I was really surprised when I started reading all the hate about it. Some people put it on par with “Love and Monsters.”) Series Four is by far my favorite series. I loved the (non-romantic) chemistry between The Doctor and Donna and the episodes were all really strong. “The Fires of Pompeii” was my least favorite of that series too, but I still don’t think it compares to say the worst Matt Smith episodes.

  3. Ew, “Love and Monsters.” I think it’s the only Tenth Doctor story that I have no intention of ever watching again. But I can see why people might not like the wasp-child thing. Thanks for the info!

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