If you know anything about Doctor Who or know a Whovian, you are aware that Series 8 of New Who aired just a day ago. I have only been a Whovian for a year now—Thanks to my wonderful Doctor Who course taught by one of my favorite professors. The show has inspired me as a person and as a writer.
In honor of the Twelfth Doctor, here are my 12 favorite episodes of New Who (in order by air date):
“The Shakespeare Code”, series 3 episode 2, Tenth Doctor and Martha
As a fan: Let’s face it Martha is one of the strongest female characters of the show and in this episode her independence and wit is highlighted by her interactions with William Shakespeare.
As a writer: Three words: William. Shakespeare. Sonnets.
“Silence in the Library”, series 4 episode 9, Tenth Doctor and Donna
As a fan: Meet River Song. This is our first glimpse at River Song, the Doctor’s lover. It is very comedic with their interactions, along with the sibling-like teasing of the Doctor and Donna. It also takes place in a library, so how can it not get more awesome.
As a writer: This episode and its companion share a single story-line of the universes largest library and what lives in the shadows. While being able to be watched independently, it is part of a much larger picture involving River Song. I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but River becomes very important as the Doctor’s journey continues.
“The Waters of Mars” series 4 episode 16, the autumn special, Tenth Doctor
As a fan: The Tenth Doctor hits his breaking point. He discovers the line he can never cross and while watching Ten’s story progress, this defines him. Ten is all about emotion. He is the angsty teen of the Doctors, but it is done so well.
As a writer: These on the edge scenes are written and portrayed wonderfully. The emotion grabs the watcher and chokes you just as it does Ten. It is a model for dialoging emotions.
“The End of Time” series 4 episode 17, Tenth Doctor’s Goodbye
As a fan: Goodbye Ten. Ten has the most conclusive storyline compared to the others (though I have not watched Eleven’s departure). He says farewell to all of his companions, giving himself and the viewer closure.
As a writer: Though some of the ‘goodbye’s are technically clichés. They are clichés used right. These scenes do not leave large plot-holes, but tidy them up nicely.
“Vincent and the Doctor” series 5 episode 10, Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond
As a fan: Are you crying yet? At just the name, most Whovians tear up. Another episode spent crying, but how beautiful it is. It also clarifies so changing history bits that are questioned throughout the show.
As a writer: This episode puts a creative ‘what if’ into history. What if Vincent Van Gogh was not crazy, but seeing the un-earthly? An episode that can be watched independently but is character development for a strong, lasting character, Amy Pond.
“The Pandorica Opens” series 5 episode 12, Eleventh Doctor and the Ponds
As a fan: Amy Pond and Rory are my favorite couple in the show—If you glance down the post you will see more of them. This episode and “The Big Bang” define their relationship.
As a writer: The Ponds are monumental to the Eleventh Doctor. Amy and Rory are probably the most constant characters in the Doctor’s life, excluding River. It is fascinating watching their relationship grow and adapt as each character undergoes the same and different events.
“The Big Bang” series 5 episode 13, Eleventh Doctor and the Ponds
As a fan: The Last Centurian.
As a writer: see above.
“The Girl who Waited” series 6 episode 10, Eleventh Doctor and the Ponds
As a fan: Demon’s Run is what this should have been called. Another episode centered on the Ponds. I just can’t help myself. I love them so much.
As a writer: What. A. Plot. Twist…Take note writers.
“The Lodger” series 6 episode 12, Eleventh Doctor and Craig
As a fan: When Amy and Eleven are split up, the Doctor is left to his own devices and ends up living with Craig. Craig is a normal English guy doing normal English things. This episode just shows how charismatic the Doctor can be.
As a writer: Any episode with Craig is hilarious. This (and “Closing Time”) comedic relief episode is much needed after the emotional and plot twisting overload Eleven experienced with the Ponds. These episodes are artfully done and full of intelligent humor.
“Closing Time” series 6 episode 13, Eleventh Doctor and Craig
As a fan: Cybermen have come again, but a father’s love can save them all. Craig is now a dad. The Doctor speaks baby and calls his son, Stormagedon. This episode is worth a watch or two.
As a writer: Again, smart humor and Stormy is adorable.
“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” series 7 episode 2, Eleventh Doctor and the Ponds
As a fan: So many historical figures are on set at once. The Doctor gets around, but who knew he had so many powerful connections. This episode also holds a place in my heart because on the two appearances of Harry Potter actors, Arthur Weasely and Angus Filch. It doesn’t hurt that the dinosaurs are adorable too.
As a writer: The modern day Ponds interacting with historical figures is very intriguing and makes one think of how the future would view who we idolize.
“The Day of the Doctor” 50th Anniversary Special, All of the Doctors
As a fan: Let me repeat. FIFTY YEARS! Doctor Who has been on screen for 50 years. It is a monumental time and has a monumental episode to match.
As a writer: The interweaving of plots and inside jokes in this episode is mind-blowing, especially when most of them do not occur in New Who but in Old Who as well. I appreciated all that was written after watching the entirety of New Who.
So there you have it, my favorite twelve episodes. Doctor Who may appear too “science-fiction” for many to even begin watching, but it is much more than that. It is about people, the relationships we create and the impact we have.
I know that a lot of this was me fangirling over Doctor Who, but I hope I have inspired you to take a look into this wonderful show. (It is available on Netflix.)
Thanks for the inspiration, David!
NOTE: I will now be posting on Wednesdays, because of school and my schedule. I will have a post for you Wednesday.