Top Ten New Doctor Who Episodes



Well it's certainly no secret that the number of posts on the site have been diminishing over the last month. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first being that I've been writing a lot for 411mania.com. Look for my Walking Dead reviews and contributions to Fact or Fiction and Top 5 over there. The other (and more important reason for this column sake) is my new found addiction to Doctor Who. Thanks to the wonderfulness that is Netflix, I've been able to totally immerse myself (and my family) in everything Doctor. Fuck, I love this show. Now, to be fully open, Which I know is something you come here for. I have only watched the new series of The Doctor, or Nu-Who as some of you other fans like to call it. So this top 10 (as designated in the title) is strictly regarding the new run of Doctor Who. That should cover all my bases...so without further adieu, let's dive head first into the DreadWorld Top Ten Episodes OF New Doctor Who!

#10:Vincent and The Doctor



My biggest issue with Matt Smith as the Doctor isn't really with Smith, but with the scripts he gets. Steven Moffat tends to lean on time lines and time travel as a crutch. Luckily when Smiths Doctor travels back in time, there is less opportunity for the script to get "all timey wimey." Case in point : "Vincent and The Doctor." A truly wonderful script where the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond go back in time and meet a very troubled Vincent Van Gogh. Smith is actually reserved here (I know I'm as surprised as you are). but it's really a companion story. Amy Pond takes a lot of shit for being hot, and she certainly is, but out of any of the nu-Who companions she is easily the most female. Where as Rose was the wide eyed teenager, Martha was the tough one, Donna was the scatterbrain, and Clara...well Clara is something different all together, Amy was the most...um...girlie. She liked girl things. She was definitely the most artsy based of all The Doctors companions. It's hard to see Rose or Martha being as excited to meet Vincent Van Gogh as Amy is. An outstanding story with a heartbreaking ending, the best "historical" episode of the Moffat era.

#9: The End Of Time Parts 1 & 2



Yes I am treating "to be continued episodes" as one entry. Get used to it. It's going to happen again. This is the first David Tennant episode(s) on the list but it certainly won't be the last. He is my favorite Nu-Doctor, so expect to see more of him. This episode, Tennant swan song s the tenth Doctor, is just so well done and wraps up everything for this group of characters in a neat little bow. It felt like the end of Nu-Who part one in it's entirety. The Doctors regeneration certainly felt like it had more gravitas than the 9th into the 10th did. Maybe that had something to do with Eccletsons quick exit, but I think it had more to do with the heaviness that Tennant brought to the character over the years. A tragic ending if there ever was one, emphasizing that above anything else The Doctor was a lonely man, destined to continue his adventures long after those whom he loved and cared about have passed on. Case in point : 5 minutes before the end of the episode, The Doctor is surrounded by all his friends, his companions, then suddenly - he's alone, by himself. 

#8: The Doctors Wife



Written by author extraordinaire Neil Gaiman (Coraline) 'The Doctors Wife' gets to the bottom of one of the (many) great questions int the Whoniverse - Just what is the relationship between The Doctor and his TARDIS? Lured to an asteroid outside the known universe that siphons Time Lords energy by the mysterious "HOUSE," the TARDIS takes human form, allowing The Doctor to express his true feelings for her. Smith really shows that he can be a tremendous dramatic actor when the scripts call for it (which, unfortunately they do not). His desperation to save his first love, and yes, he does love the TARDIS, is palpable. A great episode that reenforced the fact that companions may come and go, but the TARDIS...the TARDIS is forever. At least in The Doctors eyes.

#7: Human Nature/Family Of Blood


The Martha Jones run of shows is a bit weird. On one hand Martha had a hand in some of The Doctors most memorable moments. Hell, she saved him certain death at the hands of The Master. But she also followed Rose Tyler (ahhh Rose Tyler), one of The Doctors most memorable companions - new Doctor or Old. So it's a bit hard to quantify her importance in a certain sense. This episode though, where The Doctor uses the Chameleon Arch to turn himself human, really gives her a chance to shine. Running from the Family of Blood, The Doctor (David Tennant) uses The Chameleon Arch to erase all his memories as The Doctor. It's up to Martha to decipher The Doctors clues and restore him to his former glory. Freema Agyeman is outstanding while carrying the episode. As a guest star it's eay to see how Harry Lloyd went from this role to Viserys Targarian. Another great #10 episode - this tme with a happy ending. Good actually wins.

#6: Midnight



I am a huge fan of  'The Twilight Zone'  and someday I may even be able to do a similar Top 10 list. But every time I get to end of the run, all I want to do id start it again. This episode of Doctor Who is the closest thing I have seen to the original 'Twilight Zone' since it's hey day. A companion light episode, Donna Nobel spends her day at the spa while The Doctor travels to the diamond mines of the planet Midnight. The transport to the mines is forced to take a detour. It gets stuck via nefarious means. it's up to The Doctor to figure out where or who is the nefarious alien. Everyone is a suspect - even himself. Need proof that David Tennant is the man? Look no further than this wonderful episode. This episode showed once again that it's not about awesome special effects and blowing shit up. It's about a well written story and tremendous performances.

#5: Fathers Day


There is a certain segment of folks out there that are saying "thank fucking god! Some Eccletson. It's about time." Well rest assured this is the first but not the last time we will have an appearance by the ninth doctor. 'Fathers Day' is the 8th Episode of the re-launch of Doctor Who. Up until this point we had met Rose Tyler, her mother Jackie and her boyfriend Mickey. Yet, nothing had been mentioned regarding her father. Here we learn that her father had died whist Rose was but a new born and that she never really new him. When The Doctor asks Rose where she would like to go, she tells hm she wants to see her dad. Taken to the moment of his death, Rose watches him die (he's hit by a car). She regrets not being with him when she passes and makes The Doctor bring her back to his death a second time. This time, instead of watching him die, she saves his life. Which would be good but, saving her father has caused a rip in the space time continuum. Moffat would have "timey wimey-ed" his way out of it. But we are knee deep in the Russell Davies era here, so actions have consequences. It's the first episode of the new series that The Doctor, still torn from the Time Wars, does something strictly for someone else. And it almost destroys existence. It's an odd story because The Doctor, despite being very giving to Rose, is rather ineffectual to the rest of the cast. He is willing to walk away at the end, leaving humanity to it's fate. He knows the solution but leaves it Roses father to figure it out.

#4: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances


"Are you my Mummy?" Back to Eccletsons 9th doctor and his shining moment. This episode has has everything that makes Eccletsons run great. It's the story that introduced the world to John Barrowmans Captain Jack Harkness. The Doctor and Rose find themselves in 1941 London at the height of the German blitz. But the terror doesn't come from above, it comes from the army of (seemingly) gas masked people slowly overtaking the streets of London. The evolution of The Doctor continues as he begins to show more and more human emotion. Here, he gets obviously jealous of the burgeoning relationship between Rose and Jack - hence him trying to prove to Rose he can dance. Wonderfully cinematic in its feel. It's by far the most epic of all the Russell T. Davies era.

#3: The Name Of The Doctor



From the most epic Russell T. Davies story to the most epic story of the Steven Moffat era. The series Seven finale is by far the most ambitions of the Moffat era - a story spanning literally decades that finally answers the longstanding question regarding the identity of Clara, while at the same time asking new questions regarding The Doctors origins and motivations. I often criticize the Moffat era as being too thin and throwing continuity to the wind. It uses time travel as a crutch way too often, but when focused, like in this episode, the show has never been better. Warned over and over again that he is not to go to Trenzalore, The Doctor is forced to the planet by The Great Intelligence. Once there, we learn that Trenzalore is The Doctors burial site. Being a Time Lord, he doesn't exactly have a grave per say. The Great Intelligence leaps into The Doctors time stream slowly eliminating The Doctor from history. Clara finally figuring out who she is - The Doctors eternal protector - leaps in after - herself being split into infinite pieces. Each piece attaching itself to The Doctor throughout his time stream. The Doctor realizes that Claras sacrifice will mean losing her forever. He enters his own time stream (a big no no) to try and save Clara. While there they run into an alternate Doctor (John Hurt) who is responsible for such an unspeakable act that the eleventh doctor has nothing but rebuke for his other self. Throw in great stuff from River Song, Madame Vastra and Strax and it all adds up to the best episode of the Moffatt/Smith era.

#2: The Girl In The Fireplace


I don't even really know where to begin, there is so much wonderful stuff going on during this story. You have a new, unique, villain. The dichotomy of 1720's France and a cargo ship thousands of years in the future. And then there's the chemistry...at no other time in Nu-Who's run has a Doctor had a s much chemistry with a guest star as here. Now to be fair David Tennant was dating Sophie Myles at the time, but we've seen people in relationships work together with disastrous results. Myles is The Madame Du Pompadour, or more simple Reinette, an actual figure from early 18th century France. The real life Madame was years ahead of her time in her attitudes, her intelligence and her beauty. When The Doctor, Rose and Mickey, land inside a freighter drifting in space, everything seems rather ho hum until The Doctor discovers a fireplace straight out of the 18th century. Said fireplace is not just decorative, it also acts as a time window to Reinettes bedroom. The android creators of the time window, The Clockwork Droids, have been using it to spy on Reinettes life, waiting for her to be "finished." The Doctor appears at various pints of her life, with minutes passing on the ship side of the window equaling years passing for Reinette, to protect her from the androids. The Rose/Mickey sub plot is rather weak - the only thing keeping this from number one. Tennant is at his "sad Doctor" greatest here. Probably the greatest example of the Russel T. Davies years of the overall "lonely Doctor" story arc.

#1: Blink


I'm not sure what it says about the re-boot of Doctor Who that the best episode of the new series is one that is considered a "Doctor-Lite" episode. Probably nothing, but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that David Tennant has about 4 minutes of screen time here. Instead of The good Doctor whirling around space and time, we get yet another 'Twilight Zone' influenced episode that stars Oscar nominated actress Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow, intrepid photographer who stumbles upon the mystery of the Nu-Whos greatest enemy - The Weeping Angels after breaking into an abandoned house. The Angels survive by the energy created by zapping people back through time. The key to defending yourself against the Angels is that they cant move or touch you if you are looking at them. Which works fine if there is just one of them, but how do you keep your eye on two at once? So, as The Doctor warns: "Blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And DON'T. BLINK. Good luck." We would see The Angles reappear a number of times thought the Moffatt era, but they would never be as scary and off putting as they are here.

So that's it...my Top 10 episodes of the new era of Doctor Who. What do you think? Thought's? Suggestions? Anything I royally fucked up? Let me know and as always...

Thanks for Reading and "Enjoy Every Sandwich..."

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