Favorites Friday: Doctor Who Episodes

I have noticed myself having frequent conversations which involve the sentence, “Oh, you have to watch Doctor Who!”  So I thought I’d do a blog post on that subject.  I already did one review of the first couple of seasons of the current incarnation.  For something a bit different, rather than giving you the sweeping commentary, I decided to zero in on some absolute favorite episodes–giving due attention to each Doctor and companion.

“The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” – This two-parter is my favorite Christopher Eccleston (Ninth Doctor) episode, possibly my absolute favorite of the series.  Rose and the Doctor arrive in 1940s London during the Blitz, looking for a crashed alien spacecraft.  They find a strange little boy in a gas mask stalking London’s street children, plaintively asking for his mummy.  It sounds odd–it is SO creepy.  This episode also introduces the delightful Captain Jack Harkness.  The first time I saw this, I was absolutely riveted.  It’s scary and suspenseful, woven through with wonderful bits of humor, and the last ten minutes are so feel-good that they make me incredibly happy–even when I re-watched it on a nine-hour plane flight.

“The Girl in the Fireplace” – I think this is my favorite Rose and David Tennant (Tenth Doctor) episode.  They’re my favorite pairing so it’s hard to choose–but this one has the Doctor crashing through a mirror on the back of horse.  That was the moment I decided David Tennant was an awesome Doctor.  With regards to this pairing, due honorable mention given as well to the episode when Rose leaves.  So unbelievably heart-breaking.

“The Shakespeare Code” – Unquestionably my favorite Martha episode.  I mean–they visit Shakespeare!  At the Globe!  And there are witches, and a mystery involving Love’s Labor’s Won!  Probably my favorite destination the TARDIS ever went to.  It’s where I’d want to go (after Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, circa 1907.  Then Shakespeare’s Globe).

“Turn Left,” “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End” – Lots to love about the Donna and David Tennant episodes, but this multi-part set is fairly mind-blowing.  I don’t feel like I really appreciated Donna until “Turn Left,” and then the last two episodes…there are Daleks, and everyone unites to fight them.  We get to have so many amazing characters in an incredibly epic confrontation.  Love it.

Honorable mention also to David Tennant’s last episode.  I really think the writers did everything they could to NOT help me deal with him leaving.  I’m still not over it.  But on we go to Matt Smith…

“Vincent and the Doctor” – I have more mixed feelings about the seasons with the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith (something for another post), but I do madly love this episode.  The Doctor and Amy visit Vincent Van Gogh.  I’m pretty familiar with his paintings, and it is SO MUCH FUN to see iconic paintings scattered all over Van Gogh’s living room (he apologizes for the mess).  There are little bits and pieces referencing his paintings all over the episode.  It’s also a beautiful, moving story about the pains and the joys of life.

If anything–anything at all–in here is catching your attention…you have to watch Doctor Who!  And if you already have, I’d love to hear about your favorite episodes.

About cherylmahoney

I'm a book review blogger and Fantasy writer. I have published three novels, The Wanderers; The Storyteller and Her Sisters; and The People the Fairies Forget. All can be found on Amazon as an ebook and paperback. In my day job, I'm the Marketing Specialist for Yolo Hospice. Find me on Twitter (@MarvelousTales) and GoodReads (MarvelousTales).
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6 Responses to Favorites Friday: Doctor Who Episodes

  1. Laura says:

    My favorites, hmmm…
    Eccleston:
    1. Dalek. It was this episode where, for me, the series really clicked. Eccleston seemed to find his character, and I even started to like Rose a little bit.
    2. Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways. This was a bittersweet one for me, because I knew that Eccleston’s series was over and he was a wonderful Doctor. But the story was amazing and epic, and aside from Captain Jack I absolutely enjoyed these episodes.

    Tennant:
    It’s hard to pick for him, because just about every episode of his is worth watching just because he’s in it 😀 But…
    1. The Christmas Invasion. Yep, he had me from the start. Eccleston was just a fondly remembered Doctor as soon as Ten stepped out of the Tardis and fought the Sycorax. “A great big threatening button which must never, ever be pressed!”
    2. Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, obviously. I was actually kind of glad to see Rose go. I was ready for a new companion and she annoyed me quite a few times, even though she had grown on me by then. Strangely enough, I was also expecting the Doctor to regenerate at the end of this one. I hadn’t quite gotten the hang of Doctor Who yet and I thought that he would regenerate after each season. Silly me 🙂
    3. The Shakespeare Code. This was a creepy, hilarious ride back into time with a Shakespeare who yells, “Shut your big fat mouths!” to the crowd of fans at the theatre. And starts to recite one of his poems to Martha. But the part that had me cracking up the most was this:
    MARTHA: They think it was all special effects?
    SHAKESPEARE: Your effect is special indeed.
    MARTHA: It’s not your best line.
    I thought the end with Queen Elizabeth was… pretty dumb. But other than that it was a brilliant episode. One of my very favorites out of all of them.
    4. ’42’. A lot of people don’t care for this one, but I thought Tennant did an amazing job, especially near the end.
    5. Human Nature/The Family of Blood. This… I could go on about this one for a long time. It. Is. Amazing. It’s got creepiness, humor, romance, sadness, and heroism all packed into it, and I just love it to pieces, though it’s probably one of the saddest of any of the episodes.
    6. The Unicorn and the Wasp. Agatha Christie has to solve her very own murder mystery (with the Doctor’s help on the alien part, of course) and in the process the mystery of her own short-time disappearance is solved. I thought the woman who played Christie was brilliant, and the scene where the Doctor is poisoned is hilarious.
    7. Midnight. I’m just going to go ahead and say that this is probably my very favorite of all the episodes. I don’t know why, exactly, but it is. It’s just so… freaky. And Tennant is in top form here as the Doctor without a companion to support (and, in this case, take up for) him. It’s a real nail-biter.
    8. The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. Two Doctors? Or three, counting the DoctorDonna? How could you go wrong? I’m not a big fan of the Daleks, especially ‘Daleks who are completely destroyed but reappear again… and again… and again’, but I did like these two episodes a lot, although I was really saddened by the way Donna ended up.
    9. The End of Time. While I thought that a lot of this two-parter was pretty corny (The Secret Books of Saxon? Really?) Tennant was flawless. The ending was heartbreaking and amazing, especially where he visits Verity Newman and Rose.

    Smith.
    1. The Eleventh Hour. It’s got lots of humor, and even though Smith didn’t really grow on me until a few episodes later, the second time around I’ve enjoyed this one a lot more.
    2. Vincent and the Doctor. I don’t even like Van Gogh’s paintings that much, and the man himself really was a nut, but this episode remains one of my very favorites all the same (barring the monster, which was a rather poor excuse for them to visit Vincent). The acting is great, and Amy and the Doctor are in fine form throughout. Plus, the part where they take Vincent to the future to see how well-known his paintings are is beautiful.
    3. The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People. A kind of strange one, but one that I rather liked for some reason.
    4. A Good Man Goes to War was really good, though I wasn’t so impressed with ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’.
    5. A Town Called Mercy. Because who wouldn’t want to see the Doctor being a cowboy?
    6. The Angels Take Manhattan is the saddest of the Matt Smith episodes, and therefore one of my favorites 🙂
    7. All of the episodes with Clara 😀 But especially Nightmare in Silver, which has the Doctor playing chess with himself, and Journey to the Center of the Tardis.

    OK, sorry for the long post 😛 But those are my favorite episodes 😀

    • Long comments are always welcome and need never be apologized for!

      “Dalek” was definitely a good one–I feel like it was the first time we saw Eccleston’s Doctor actually look serious, which both gave added depth to his character, and convinced me forever that the Daleks, ridiculous as they are, really must be taken seriously as villains.

      “The Shakespeare Code” is so fantastically brilliant in so many ways. From Harry Potter to solving the mystery of Love’s Labors Won to all the many Shakespeare quotations.

      “The Unicorn and the Wasp” got me reading Agatha Christie. 🙂

      “Vincent and the Doctor” is my favorite Matt Smith episode without question, and is vying for favorite overall (doubly impressive when I like Matt Smith so much less than Eccleston and Tennant). Heartbreaking and beautiful. The monster element was the weak point, but I madly LOVE that they brought Van Gogh into the future.

      “Journey to the Center of the Tardis” is my favorite Clara episode so far. I loved exploring more of the Tardis!

  2. megwrites says:

    Where would you recommend starting if you are a Doctor Who novice? I find all the doctors/series kind of confusing.

    • Start with the reboot. Don’t worry about the past 20 or 30 years of history, just begin with the new version of the series. Christopher Eccleston is the 9th doctor, but the first one for this version. If you really want to get caught up quick, you could start with Matt Smith’s first season (because things changed a lot then, and there’s not much history to know) but that would mean skipping over the wonderful Eccleston and wonderful David Tennant!

      So…start with Eccleston. First episode is “Rose.” The first two episodes are a little, well, odd. But it gets better so give it at least three!

  3. Gavin says:

    Blink is a favorite as is Planet of the Ood. Vincent and the Doctor is just lovely. I also had a hard time loosing David as the Doctor but am getting used to Matt Smith. He’s just different, you know?

  4. Memory says:

    I always have a tough time pinpointing favourite episodes from my shows because I tend to watch (and rewatch) them so quickly that it becomes like choosing my favourite chapter in a novel. If I had to pick, though, I might go with “The Unicorn and the Wasp.” I’ve only seen it once, but I spent the entire time squeeing with delight over the many, many references to Agatha Christie’s work. Every time someone used the title of one of her books in a sentence, I laughed and clapped and basically acted like an idiot.

    I also love “Blink” as it’s one of the few TV episodes that’s ever genuinely scared me. I first watched it in the middle of the night, with an empty house, and I soon lost track of the number of times I screamed. It doesn’t terrify me quite so much anymore–and i’ve found the Weeping Angels less compelling with every subsequent appearance–but it’ll always be special to me because of that first viewing.

    Oh! And I think I love “Human Nature” and “The Family of Blood” a little more every time I watch them. Each viewing brings me closer in to that sense of loss.

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