My 6 Favorite Doctor Who Episodes

Once upon a time, I couldn’t care less about Doctor Who. I knew it existed, I’m pretty sure it was on the Sci-Fi channel and I knew there was a special kind of nerd that really loved the show. But I wasn’t one of them. What can I say, I just didn’t go for it. There was something about British cinematography that I just didn’t like, and what little I had seen of the Doctor and his pals fit that style. I just didn’t think it was for me.

What a fool I had been.

Sometimes it really is this much fun

Doctor Who is an amazing show! My cute British girlfriend convinced me to give it a shot, and together we just started watching episode after episode. Suffice to say, we were hooked pretty darn quickly. The show is maddeningly brilliant when it comes to wild and crazy science fiction ideas. Then it couples that with a quirky and entertaining protagonist, the Doctor himself, and really fantastic companions, friends and enemies. At its heart, it’s a very human, very character-driven story. You really feel the Doctor’s joy, his anger, his desire to do good. And most of all, you feel his loneliness.

And it’s that loneliness that makes the Doctor one of the greatest fictional characters ever. I know I’m a huge fan. So to celebrate some Doctor Who, here are my Top 6 Favorite episodes! Hopefully you’ll share some of your favorite episodes in the comments.

Be warned, there will definitely be SPOILERS for these episodes in this list. So don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Feel free to skip ahead to the list, but first I want to give a little primer on Doctor Who.

For those unfamiliar with Doctor Who, the show is about an immortal Time Lord, who calls himself The Doctor, and his human companions, as they travel time and space having wild adventures. Every episodes usually features some strange, exotic and often dangerous new adventure, but the characters remain the same, and we quickly and easily bond with them and share in their epic victories and their tragic defeats. Because in this show, the good guys don’t always win. There are times when the happy ending is oh so tragically denied, and its in those moments that we truly connect and grow with the Doctor and his friends. You can read more about that here in a brilliant piece by Gladstone at Cracked.com.

It’s quite easy to become a fan.

It happens just like this

The real joy of Doctor Who is just how clever the hero is. Most action heroes rely on guns and violence. The Doctor is something of a pacifist, who uses his wits and intelligence to save the day. He’s one clever son of a gun.

The show debuted in 1963 in England as more of an educational program, but it then evolved into an action/adventure program. The show was off the air through the 90s, and then was revived in 2005 for modern audiences. It’s this revival that I’ve seen, and I don’t have any interest in watching the old shows. No offense.

In a bit of brilliant storytelling, the writers found a way to explain why the actor playing the Doctor had to change over the years. The same guy couldn’t play the same character from 1963 through 2012, right? Being an alien Time Lord, the writers devised the idea that whenever the Doctor is killed, his body regenerates and heals – but he gets a new look (new actor) in the process. Same Doctor, same memories, same character, just a different face, and a few new personality quirks. Remember this, it will come up several times in this list.

If only...

Let’s quickly cram the rest: the Doctor’s time machine is called the TARDIS, and a mechanical malfunction has caused it to be stuck in the form of an old British police callbox. The Doctor uses the TARDIS to travel  to different planets and different eras in history. The Doctor always has a companion, usually a cute girl who joins him as a sidekick on his adventures. Often there are a few more friends along for the ride too.

And that’s mostly it! I’ll explain more as we go along. Let’s get to the list!

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6. The Unicorn and the Wasp

None of these people are the Unicorn or the Wasp

In this Season 4 episode, the Doctor and his companion Donna go back in time to a dinner party in England, where they meet famous author Agatha Christie. Some people start showing up murdered, and it’s up to the Doctor to play detective and team up with Christie to solve the  case! The answer is a little surprising (but makes sense), and somehow it involves a giant, alien wasp…such is Doctor Who. But otherwise it’s just a delightful story with the Doctor doing his part to help people.

It’s one of my favorites because of his companion, Donna Noble. Played by the wonderful Catherine Tate, Donna is my favorite of all the Doctor’s companions. She’s not some manic pixie dream girl like the others. Donna is older, bitchier and isn’t in love with the Doctor. She’s delightful to watch, and this episode is a great showcase of her comedic and dramatic talents as she meets Agatha Christie, fights a giant wasp and tries her best to help the Doctor.

It also features my favorite comedy bit from the entire show, when Donna tries to help after the Doctor gets poisoned.

The Unicorn and the Wasp may not be one of the absolute greats, but I like it because it’s just a fun, delightful episode with some great scenes for my favorite companion.

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5. The End of Time

Always time to stop off in Hawaii before the End of Time

Doctor Who has some pretty amazing finales, and The End of Time is my absolute favorite. Remember that part I said earlier about the Doctor dying and changing actors, well The End of Time is the 2-part finale that says goodbye to popular Doctor actor David Tennant. He starred in seasons 2, 3 and 4; and many regard him as the best of the three Doctors of the modern series. He’s probably my favorite too, though sometimes it’s hard to choose. But Tennant was incredibly popular, and the show gave him a great send off. After the end of season 4, after Donna Noble left him, Tennant starred in several specials that pushed the Doctor and his loneliness to the limit. He had no friends, no one to keep him grounded, and he started lashing out at people and his Time Lord duties.

He also received a prophecy that he was going to die, and that weighed  heavily on his mind. Basically the Doctor was at the end of his rope, and in that moment, his greatest enemy comes back for revenge. The Master is the only other living Time Lord, and he returns to Earth to wreak havoc. Not just that, but both the Doctor and the Master learn that there are other Time Lords out there, and they’re coming to Earth to take over.

The Doctor and Donna’s grandfather Wilfred (one of the greatest Doctor Who characters ever, in my opinion) team up to stop the bad guys and save the day – but the prophecy comes true. The Doctor must sacrifice his life to save Wilfred in the end. This great, immortal Time Lord has to give up his life to save this worthless old human being. Tennant just nails the scene.

While the episode itself is pretty great, the true joy of The End of Time is the 10-minute farewell that Tennant gets. The Doctor is dying slowly from radiation poisoning, and that gives him just enough time to use the TARDIS to visit all of his old friends for a quick goodbye, just to see them one last time before the end. It’s beautiful, it’s brilliantly acted and scored, and it’s absolutely heart-breaking at times to see Tennant’s Doctor say farewell. Especially sob-worthy is his goodbye to Donna Noble. For reasons I can’t get into here, Donna’s memory had to be wiped of all her time with the Doctor. So she doesn’t remember him at all, and was simply returned back to her normal life. Instead of saying goodbye to her, the Doctor simply watches from the back on her wedding day, then says goodbye to Wilfred, who stands in on Donna’s behalf. It’s a devastatingly sad scene.

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4. Dalek

The eye-stalk of true evil

This is the 6th episode of the revived series, and it was this episode that finally sold me on Doctor Who. This episode stars Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, who was only the Doctor in the first season before David Tennant took over. Eccleston was good, but is completely outshined in later seasons by Tennant. Eccleston had some good to alright episodes to start the show, but in Dalek, he’s finally given a chance to really express himself and cut loose with the character. The Doctor gets angry, he gets emotional. He’s usually flippant and charming, but no he can’t contain his rage when he comes face-to-face with his greatest enemy: a Dalek.

EXTERMINATE!!

The Daleks are the mortal enemies of the Time Lords. But whereas Time Lords are normal-looking blokes, the Daleks are vicious little monsters who live inside these large personal tanks. The Daleks exist only to “EXTERMINATE!!” all living things. They are the most feared race in all the universe. The Daleks were a reoccurring villain back during the original run of the series. So naturally, the writers wanted to bring them back for the revival. And I think their idea for the first Dalek episode of the new series was brilliant. Rather than bring back the entire Dalek race, they bring back only one Dalek and craft a fantastic episode around the Dalek and the Doctor, two lost, lonely souls who can’t help but fall back into the usual patterns of war.

For you see, between the old series and the new series, there was something called the Great Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords. We never see it, but the Doctor mentions it from time to time. He played a large role in the war, and helped to bring about not only the end of the Dalek race, but also the end of the Time Lords. He’s the only Time Lord left in the universe. Then one day he receives a distress call, and he travels to Earth to answer it. He stumbles upon this government agent who has created his own little alien museum deep underground, and his greatest artifact is this strange alien tank thing. When the Doctor sees it in that clip up there, he immediately recognizes the Dalek, his greatest enemy, and the Dalek recognizes him as well.

The rest of the episode is about the Dalek breaking free and killing everyone in the museum, and putting the Doctor’s companion Rose in danger. But whereas the Doctor is ready to just kill the Dalek, Rose is able to convince the Dalek that there is more to life than killing. That without his race, without his Great Time War, the last living Dalek in the universe doesn’t have to follow orders anymore. The episode ends with the Dalek finding peace by destroying itself rather than continue the vicious war. It was a beautiful episode that found a unique and clever way to reintroduce the Doctor’s greatest enemy back to the series.

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3. The Girl in the Fireplace

A first date that lasts a lifetime

Many people would say that The Girl in the Fireplace is the best episode of Doctor Who, and they wouldn’t be wrong. This episode is one of the saddest of the entire series, giving us an stunning look at the loneliness of the Doctor and the impact he has on the world around him, while also showing us just how damn heroic he can be. It’s no surprise that the episode was written by a guy named Steven Moffat. That name is going to come up later in this list. The Girl in the Fireplace is a tragic tale of time travel and great loves lost, and one of the first episodes to cement Tennant as the greatest Doctor of the modern era.

The Doctor and his companions Rose and Mickey find a derelict spaceship out in the middle of nowhere. While exploring, they stumble upon what appears to be a recreation of an 18th century French fireplace. What’s that doing in a spaceship in the future? The fireplace is actually a hole in time, which connects the spaceship to a little French girl’s bedroom in Paris in the year 1727. The Doctor, being who he is, walks through the hole and meets the little girl, who is rather amazed at the strange man in her fireplace. The Doctor also discovers that the girl is being stalked by some kind of strange, clockwork robot. The Doctor saves the girl and steps back through the fireplace to the spaceship.

The Doctor must then travel back and forth from the spaceship to 18th century Paris to find out why these clockwork robots are stalking the little French girl – who has become rather infatuated with her charming and mysterious savior. The tragedy lies in the fact that every time the Doctor steps through the time portal to Paris, he finds out that several years have passed for the little girl, who is named Reinette. She first meets the Doctor at age 10 when he steps out of her fireplace, but then he doesn’t appear in her life again until she’s in her late teens. For the Doctor, though, only about 10 minutes have passed. Such is time travel.

The episode takes us back and forth through the love story of Reinette and the Doctor, even when she turns out to be the historical figure Madame de Pompadeur, a mistress to the French king Louis XV. She’s had to live her life in Paris, visited every few years by this strange and handsome man, who represents a life beyond that of the Parisian court. Though she is only vaguely aware of his life on the other side of the fireplace. The Doctor, meanwhile, makes a real connection with Reinette, and comes to care about her as he tries to figure out the robots’ plan and save her. He does, of course, and literally rides to the rescue on a white stallion. That was one of the show’s most badassly heroic moments ever.

In the end, the Doctor saves the day, and he decides to take Reinette on a trip in his time machine, to let her see what life is like out in the universe. He tells her to pack her bags and he’ll be right back, he has to just secure a few things back on the spaceship first. But of course, the moment the Doctor steps through the time portal, years fly by for Reinette. When he returns to her, even though it’s only been mere seconds for him, life has flown by for Reinette.

She died several years after he told her to pack her bags, told her that he would be right back. She lived the rest of her life waiting for the Doctor to return and show her the universe. But he didn’t make it in time.

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2. Vincent and the Doctor

Painty McPainterson paints a painting

Much like The Girl in the Fireplace and The Unicorn and the Wasp, Vincent and The Doctor involves our hero traveling back in time and hanging out with a real historical figure, in this case, famous painter Vincent van Gogh. It’s an episode from the fifth season, when writer Steven Moffat took over as the new showrunner. David Tennant was also replaced by a new Doctor, Matthew Smith. Personally, I think I like Tennant better overall, but Smith has definitely grown on me. It’s a tough call as to the better Doctor. I’m a little surprised that my top two favorite episodes feature Matt Smith as the Doctor, but there have been some very amazing episodes after Moffat took over. Vincent and the Doctor is one of the best, by far.

And it’s all due to guest star Tony Curran, who you might remember from various TV shows and movies. Curran is utterly brilliant as van Gogh, creating this tortured artist who can’t help himself but see the world in his own unique and colorful way. He’s driven to paint, but nobody respects and understands him – until he meets the Doctor and his companion Amy Pond. The Doctor and van Gogh find themselves to be kindred spirits of a sort, even while both the Doctor and Amy are in awe at meeting one of their favorite artists of all time. The episode is gorgeous, using color and character to create a wonderful spectacle, and to help the viewer understand what it might have been like for this poor, lonely soul, who just happened to be a real whiz at putting that loneliness into his paintings.

Which is prettier? The flowers or the redhead?

The plot to the episode – the Doctor sees a monster in one of van Gogh’s painting, so they go back in time to try and defeat it – is only an excuse to bring the Doctor and Vincent together. Sure, they “fought monsters together”, as Vincent puts it, but that’s a small part of an episode that mostly celebrates van Gogh’s work. Again, I cannot stress enough how Curran’s portrayal of van Gogh makes this episode. He’s just so incredibly funny and charming, while obviously hiding this painful loneliness just below the surface.

The episode ends with an utterly brilliant moment. In his lifetime, van Gogh was viewed as a worthless nobody, whose paintings were crap (at least according to the show. I’m no van Gogh expert). But now, of course, he’s considered one of the greatest painters of all time. So the Doctor uses his time machine to take van Gogh to the present day, and takes him to a museum that’s holding a van Gogh exhibit.

It’s a glorious moment, where this sad man is given a glimpse into how big an impact he will have on the world. The music is perfect, the acting is top notch and the message is one of everlasting sadness. The Doctor and Amy take Vincent back to his own time, then they immediately return to the museum. Amy, ever hopeful, expects that they had a positive effect on van Gogh, and that because of them he didn’t succumb to his sadness and commit suicide. But when they return to the museum, they see that nothing has changed. Vincent still shot himself, and he didn’t paint any new or different paintings. But there is one change. On one picture of a flower pot, Vincent added the words “To Amy” and that makes all the difference.

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1. A Good Man Goes to War

Lock and load, Doctor!

This sixth season, mid-season finale is quite possibly what the entire series was building towards: an episode where the Doctor is no longer just a passive prankster saving the day, but where he actively takes the fight to an enemy. He’s the ‘good man’ in the title. And the result is glorious. There are more badass and heartfelt moments in this one episode than in some entire seasons. The Doctor has a foe who is actively trying to kill him, and they’re doing it by attacking him through his loved ones. So the Doctor marshals all of his wits, his cleverness, his friends and his time travel to pull off one of the greatest military coups in the history of the universe. They call it the Doctor’s finest moment. He has never before been so high.

Which is why his fall, in this same episode, is all the more heart-breakingly tragic.

The Doctor and his companions, the husband and wife team of Rory and Amy Pond, discover mid-way through season 6 that Amy is not what she appears to be. She’s actually a synthetic Flesh construct that has been planted with the Doctor while the bad guys have the real Amy captive – and she’s pregnant! The baby is the focus of season 6, and in A Good Man Goes to War, the Doctor launches a full assault on the bad guy’s space station (named Demon’s Run) in order to rescue both Amy and the baby from the villains Madame Korvian, her army and their alliance with the Order of the Headless Monks.

The badassery starts with the pre-credits teaser and never lets up. Rory destroys an entire Cybermen fleet in order to learn the whereabouts of his wife. The Doctor travels throughout time and space to call in several debts in order to put together a commando squad to raid Demon’s Run, including the Sontaran nurse Strax, the black market information dealer Dorium and even the incredibly cool sword warriors Madame Vastra, a reptilian Silurian, and her human sidekick and lover Jenny, who live in 19th century London and spend their nights hunting Jack the Ripper. Can somebody say spin-off?

It will sell a million copies!

But since the Doctor is a pacifist, he’s not going to charge into Demon’s Run with guns blazing. Instead, his team sneaks into the facility and, in a clever amount of highly enjoyable trickery, is able to get the bad guy army to nearly turn against each other, drop their weapons, and surrender without a single fatality. They capture Madame Korvian and her generals, they rescue Amy and the baby, and the day has clearly been saved in a most fantastic way. This then leads to my absolute favorite scene in all of Doctor Who, where our friendly and charming protagonist delivers a vicious message to the bad guys and finally lets his anger bubble to the surface. I’m talking, of course, about the ‘Colonel Runaway’ speech.

To set the scene: the Doctor has captured the leader of the bad guy army, and he wants this colonel to order his fleet to leave the area. But the Doctor does not just want them to retreat. Oh no, my friends, the Doctor is angry, and he wants the bad guys to know what happens when he’s angry.

I love that scene. The sudden shift from cheerful and friendly to devastatingly angry is handled perfectly by actor Matt Smith. The Doctor does not take kindly to having his friends threatened. But the Doctor doesn’t kill you. The Doctor ruins you. Just look at the Family of Blood.

So even at this point, A Good Man Goes to War would be an amazing episode. But there is still great tragedy to come. First, though, there’s a wonderful scene where the Doctor, Amy and Rory all reunite, and everyone gets to meet Amy’s daughter Melody Pond. The Doctor reveals that he can speak baby, and the scene is adorably hilarious.

But trouble is stirring. The Order of the Headless Monks get their second wind, and Rory must lead the commandos in a pitched battle against them. Meanwhile, the Doctor interrogates Madame Korvian to learn why baby Melody was so important, and leans that the child is part Time Lord. But that’s not all. In a horribly tragic moment, Amy and the Doctor learn pretty much simultaneously that baby Melody is also a synthetic Flesh construct, and isn’t the real Melody. The baby simply melts in Amy’s arms. Korvian has already succeeded in smuggling Melody off world. She’s beaten the Doctor again. And there is nothing the Doctor can do to make it up to Amy, because they already know (due to time travel and earlier episodes) that the baby grows up in the bad guys’ care. So they already know that the Doctor doesn’t save the baby.

And he doesn’t save all of his friends either. The commandoes defeat the Headless Monks, but they don’t all survive. Including a young, female soldier  named Lorna who had betrayed the bad guy army in order to help the Doctor and his friends. For you see, Lorna once met the Doctor a long time ago, when she was just a kid. And she joined the bad guy army because she knew that they were going after the Doctor, and that joining was her best chance to see him again. The Doctor has that effect on people. And Lorna’s only reward for this loyalty is to have the Doctor hold her hand when she dies.

So that’s another death on his conscious.

He's already got enough of those

But there’s still hope! We get a last minute visit from River Song, another time traveler who always seems to know more about what’s going on than the Doctor. They have a brief face-off, as the Doctor demands to know why she didn’t come and help him when he was putting his team together. River tells him that it’s finally time for the Doctor to learn about her origins, learn why she is his ally and why she is so important to him. The scene is quiet, and the audience doesn’t automatically know what River tells him, but it makes the Doctor quite happy. He rushes off to his TARDIS, promising everyone that he’s going to save the baby!

Amy and Rory then confront River about what she told the Doctor, and in a wonderfully heart-felt moment, River reveals that she is Melody Pond, all grown up. Melody was indeed kidnapped as a baby by Madame Korvian, and raised by the bad guys. But when she grew up, she became an ally of the Doctor, and has been helping him since season 4. The reveal took me totally by surprise.

And all of that is my favorite episode of Doctor Who. Badassery abounds, from thrilling battles, excitingly clever escapades and funny scenes of baby talk; coupled with tragic deaths, betrayal and the horrible truth that despite all of his efforts, the Doctor failed to save baby Melody. Triumph and tragedy all in one episode. It’s fantastic!

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So what’s your favorite episode of Doctor Who? Are they the same as mine? Are yours different? Let me know in the comments!

About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on March 29, 2012, in Doctor Who, Lists of Six!, Television. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Missus Tribble

    I totally agree about Donna and Wilf! Donna, to me, has been the best companion since SJS (RIP Lis) and Bernard Cribbins as Wilf is absolutely amazing – I wish there was a way to bring him back!

    I personally liked Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor; he was lonely, he was sad, he was suffering from PTSD and he was a silent well of mystery. He’s also a great actor in his own right.

    I can only choose six episodes? From New Who? Okay, in no particular order…

    1: Dalek
    2: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
    3: Vincent And The Doctor
    4: Blink
    5: A Good Man Goes To War
    6: Closing time

    Now I’m going to reblog this, just because the cartoons are awesome (I laughed so hard at the banana, and I *have* that TARDIS mug!)

    • Glad to hear you share my Donna love! She was so much fun. Catherine Tate is now starring in the Office. Her character is pretty horrible, but Tate saves the day just by being her. I think I can stand her character more because of her Who history.

      That’s a great list of favorite episodes. Dalek definitely seems to be the standout of the first season, though many people like The Doctor Dances. It has a fun ending. And Blink, of course, is spectacular. I think that was Moffat as well. The guy is a genius!

      • Missus Tribble

        I’d love to have included School Reunion too, because it had Lis and ASH in it and it was wickedly funny.

        I honestly didn’t like Catherine Tate until Partners In Crime; that wasn’t meant to be a serious episode and Freema really couldn’t have pulled off the comedic aspects even half as well as Catherine did. I don’t think I stopped laughing once, and the Adipose were cute!

        Dalek was also the first New Who I watched. Sylvester McCoy had completely turned me off the show so I didn’t watch when it returned. Then I found myself living with a bunch of Doctor Who geeks – one of whom showed me Dalek – and I was very quickly hooked!

        The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances has everything I like; creepiness, fear, humour, happiness, “Everybody lives!” and, of course, what’s not to love about Richard Wilson? It also cements the fact that “monsters” are very often tragic victims of circumstance.

  2. Missus Tribble

    Reblogged this on rosewinelover and commented:
    Henchman-For-Hire, and one of the funniest explanations of my beloved show that I’ve ever seen!

  3. I haven’t seen the 6th season yet. So I had to skip reading number 1 for now. You had already spoiled most of Dr. Who for me anyway, but I figure this time I can do without. Also I use the word “spoiled” only in the sense that I knew what was going to happen in some of the episodes. I do not use the word to actually mean that anything was rotten or spoiled in the actual enjoyment of the show. But yeah that one comic about the guy watching Dr. Who is incredibly accurate.
    6. The Girl in the Fireplace – As amazing as this episode was, it was the first full episode that I saw. And that sorta didn’t help. It did blow a lot of pre-conceived notions about the show away. Which eventually led to me watching all the episodes. But as a first episode, it is much harder to appreciate everything that was in it.
    5. The Doctor Dances – Captain Jack was always my favorite companion. And the “red bicycle when you were 12” line is so far my favorite line in the entire series.
    4. Dalek – For all the above mentioned reasons.
    3. The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End – For a series known for its small whimsical moments, it was really nice to have a big bombastic crisis. And more Captain Jack is always a good thing. I had kinda been hoping for an episode like this one since I started watching.
    2. Blink and Gridlock – Time Travel has always been the most fascinating part of this series for me. In general, Time Travel and Immortality are my two favorite sci-fi themes in modern literature. (I count TV as literature). So these episodes were the 2nd best examples of both those aspects of this show.
    1. Water on Mars – This would be the 1st best example of time travel and immortality. This episode is also the closest the series ever gets to showing exactly what I would do if I were the Doctor. The villains were also possibly the creepiest of the series. And his explanation to the captain as to why she had to die…and her reaction….Yeah, this one was my favorite.

    • Oh wow, you’ve really watched a lot! That’s also a very good list of episodes. But Water of Mars as your favorite? Interesting choice. I has at least that one badass line. Have you seen either seasons 5 or 6? Steven Moffat has some of the most brilliant ideas regarding time travel. I already told you some of the brilliant ideas behind River Song.

      Also, are you aware that Captain Jack stars in the spin-off series Torchwood? I just finished seasons 1 and 2 of Torchwood. It’s a fun show, but it seems very much it’s own thing, apart from the Doctor and the usual Doctor stuff. It’s like a police procedural with weird timey wimey stuff happening. Captain Jack remains the same, though. And it really fleshes out his character a lot.

  4. I’m watching the last episode of season 5 tonight. The Pandorica just opened. The River Song stuff seems solid, but no one episode would make the list. The Vincent episode was great, but I think I’m just not used to Matt Smith yet. I can’t help but wonder what Tennant would have done in that episode. And yeah I’ll probably watch Torchwood once I run out of Dr. Who episodes.

    But yeah, Water on Mars is the best. Had everything from a plucky team of explorerers to turbo-charged robots. Also there were no annoying companions to get in the Doctor’s way. Like I said, it is what my life would be like if I was the Doctor.

    • Matt Smith definitely takes some getting used to. But then so did David Tennant after only one season of Christopher Eccleston. Matt Smith is buoyed by some amazing Moffat-driven moments though. I love the end of that penultimate episode of season 5, where we get the slow reveal that the Pandorica is opening to put him inside, and then he’s dragged in slow motion towards it. Awesome scene.

  5. All good suggestions. I really only have three additions to the episodes already listed:

    Silence in the Library: From the fourth season, this episode is where we first meet River Song. It’s also, as we come to learn, the point in her own timeline at which the Doctor no longer remembers who she is. The episode has a terrifying new alien foe, shocks and surprises, and a brilliant ending.

    A Christmas Carol: A retelling of the Dickens story, set on a distant world. Amy and Rory are facing certain doom on Christmas Eve, and the only man who can save them is a scrooge-like character. Heart-wrenching and emotional, we discover how Scrooge lost his compassion, and how he gets it back.

    The Doctor’s Wife: One of my absolute favourites from Smith’s run. Penned by Sandman author Neil Gaiman, this episode finds the Doctor and his companions on a world outside of time, where scrapped TARDISes lay in the ruins of an intergalactic junkyard. The computer system of the Doctor’s TARDIS becomes disembodied, and its energy inhabits a human host. The Doctor’s one constant, unchanging companion takes on human shape, finally able to speak with its pilot. Here, we see new, hilarious, fantastic dynamics to the relationship between the Doctor and his Police Box.

    • Missus Tribble

      I love The Doctor’s Wife; because I knew it had been written by Gaiman it was the one that I Couldn’t Wait To See – and it didn’t disappoint! Quirky, funny and emotional, Suranne Jones is an amazing actress and Gaiman is… well, he’s God Of Sci-Fi isn’t he? 🙂

  6. Wait! Neil Gaiman writes that episode?! Well that’s just great, now I can’t get anything done this weekend because I’ll have to watch all of season 6. And Sean, how come you didn’t tell me that one was written by Neil Gaiman. I’d have been watching this show ages ago if I knew that was coming. You know I can’t resist the siren song of the Gaiman!

    …..Ok, that may not have sounded quite right if you read it out loud.

    Also I now no longer enjoy this particular comic strip anymore:
    http://pvponline.com/comic/2011/09/29/down-low

    Oh and have you seen Babylon 5? I hear Neil Gaiman writes a couple episodes in season 5. It intrigues me.

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