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I'm quite a geek. I love sci-fi, and superheros and, in case you couldn't tell from this post title, Doctor Who.
This year, Doctor Who (the new rebooted series) is ten years old. Which makes me feel pretty old, because I can remember watching that first episode where Rose and the Doctor meet. It's a show I have grown up watching. There are episodes I love, and some I find pointless. My knowledge earned me only 19 out of 27 in this Buzzfeed quiz. *tear*
To celebrate 10 years of the Doctor, and the return of Season 9 this weekend, take a look at my favourite, or in some cases, just the most memorable episodes.
**Oh, and as River would say, 'Spoilers'.**
My most memorable episodes:
Series 1, Episode 1: Rose
This one makes the list purely becasue its the first Who episode I'd ever seen. The 'big bad', to borrow the concept from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, are robot mannequins. Which is utterly ridiculous. I also had grown up with Billie Piper as a singer, so this was really strange for me. Irregardless, it worked. And I was hooked.
Series 1, Episode 8: Father's Day
This is the first episode I cried at. I love seeing the very harsh perils of time travel. How changing one small thing can change everything. Rose never knew her father, so the Doctor (stupidly) brings her back to the day her father dies. And Rose, of course, chooses to save him. It has catastrophic effects, and we finally learn why the Doctor can't go back to change history.
Series 1, Episode 13: The Parting of the Ways
My first regeneration. My first companion's death. The Doctor and Rose's kiss. So much emotion in one episode! I loved seeing Rose figure out what Bad Wolf was, and how she, a female companion was the real hero of the show. I remember being very upset when I first saw David Tennant's face. He was not what I thought a Doctor should be. But this was an amazing series finale.
“Rose, before I go, I just want to tell you: you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I.”
Series 2, Episodes 5 & 6: Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel
It took a while for David Tennant to grow on me. And I don't think he had by the time of these two-part episodes. But I will always remember these episodes as they introduced me to another of my favourite time-travel concepts; the parallel universe. In a world where Rose was never born, her Dad lived, her parents stayed together AND were really successful. However, the Cybermen have arrived and they march in to destroy everything. Mickey and his parallel counterpart Ricky save the day, and I start to root for Mickey. Even if he decides to stay behind in this world, and stop fighting for Rose.
Series 2, Episode 12 & 13: Army of Ghosts / Doomsday
Somewhere between Episode 6 and Episode 12, I fell for the Tenth Doctor. I can't pinpoint where or when or how. But it happened. And I was now rooting for him and Rose.
So when an episode starts with Rose narrating what will be 'the story of how I died', I couldn't help but start to feel a huge loss. This episode challenges our notions of death - if you had the choice, would you defeat death and let the ghosts of our lost loved ones stay with us? And then there's a void between our world and the parallel universe. Well, crap.
The Daleks and Cybermen are at war with each other and I get really upset because as a result, Rose and the Doctor are seperated forever. I can't go into anymore details or I'll start tearing up again. The Doctor's speech at the very end is one of the most beautiful moments in television history.
"I'm burning up a sun just to say good bye."
Series 3, Episodes 8 & 9: Human Nature / The Family of Blood
“He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe. And… he’s wonderful.”
This two-part is the first time I start to half like Martha. I say half-like, because like most viewers, I didn't find Martha appealing as a character. It's purely down to the writing throughout the Season, as the Doctor just cannot get over Rose. Which is also good, because I would have complained if Ten had gotten over her too quickly. She also was not given any time to develop as a character. Anyway, these episodes are amazing, as the Doctor becomes a regular human named John Smith, and only Martha can save the world. It's truly horrifying with the Big Bad scary family having an army of scarecrows. Oh, and the end where the Doctor has to say goodbye to Joan is really heartbreaking.
Series 3, Episode 10: Blink
I don't think I've been so scared of a TV 'Big Bad' in all my life. The Weeping Angels must be the renewed series' best baddies. It's an episode that lacks the Doctor and Martha, which really worked because of the fabulous Carey Mulligan and the great time travelling trope of communicating with the future.
Series 4, Episodes 8 & 9: Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead
I hate Catherine Tate. Hate her. Never got her style of comedy, her popularity, anything. But Donna Noble grew on me. It took time, but she did. Series 4 however, wasn't great. and my favourite episodes from it are Donna-lite. It's not a popular opinion among Whovians, but I love River Song. I'm fascinated with the idea of living out your entire relationship with somebody in a different order to the other person. It's another one of my favourite time travel concepts. For River, this is the last time she'll ever see the Doctor. But for him, it the first time they've met. It's all a bit 'The Time Traveller's Wife'. They are an amazing pair of episodes, and River is shrouded in mystery as this strange woman who knows too much about our Doctor. And just this once, everybody lives.
Series 5, Episode 1: The Eleventh HourMatt Smith has a very strange face. Can't say I was thrilled with his arrival as the Doctor immediately. But this episode is so sweet it won me over straight away. Amy Pond, The Girl Who Waited is introduced to us as the cutest of little ginger children, and we learn that The Doctor lies. Grown-up Amy is slightly less likeable, but it's not because she's too pretty as some critics suggested at the time. It's more because we don't understand anything about her life, but as it turns out, neither does she...
"I am definitely a mad man with a box!"
Series 5, Episode 10: Vincent and the Doctor
This is my all time favourite episode of Doctor Who ever. When the show brings in famous historical figures, we're always in for a treat. But this one is different. Vincent Van Gogh suffered immensely throughout his life as an un-respected artist who couldn't make money from his passion. It's well known he struggled with his mental health. And rather than avoid these aspects of the man in favour of his talent, Doctor Who bases the whole episode around the monsters only Vincent can see. It's an honest depiction of mental health, and sometimes even knowing that eventually things will get better isn't enough to save someone.
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
Series 5, Episode 13: The Big Bang
It's very confusing. Not a lot makes sense. But my goodness, what I wouldn't do to get myself a Rory Williams. Rory is The Last Centurian, and guards Amy inside the Pandorica box for 2,000 years. It's the version of Rory that won hearts around the world and made Arthur Darvill an overnight success. It's a fun conclusion to the series, with fez's and a lot of jumping through time. Oh, and a wedding at the end. '
Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue'.
Series 6, Episode 10: The Girl Who Waited
Not going to lie. Moffat's over-arching series storylines are bloody complicated and highly annoying. Series 6 is vastly let down by Moffat's tendency to over-complicate the plot and leave questions unanswered. While the Silence are terrifying villains, no early episode is wholly amazing enough for my list. The Girl Who Waited however, is the most hauntingly beautiful episode since Moffat took the reigns. Parallel time streams are (another one of) my thing, and seeing Amy age while only a day has passed for Rory and the Doctor is heartbreaking. I always cry when I watch this episode.
Series 6, Episode 13: The Wedding of River Song
We finally find out who River Song is; the Doctor's wife. The plot is ridiculously complicated as with all of Series 6, and pretty nonsensical with a whole parallel universe thing happening, but you can't look away. Maybe that's because you'd only get lost if you did. Or because despite of all that, we don't want the Doctor to die. And seeing how he pulled off faking his own death has to be seen to be believed.
Series 7, Episode 5: The Angels Take Manhattan
How could you forget the moment Amy and Rory are ripped from us? Amy was without a doubt the Doctor's best friend. And Rory brought charm to the show and taught millions of young girls around the world that what they should be waiting for is a Rory, not a Doctor. And it would have to be at the hands of the Weeping Angels, Moffat's most successful Big Bads. But two of the most popular companions ever deserved a better send-off. A true act of love and faith, the pair jump off a roof building to create a parallel universe and prevent the future being sealed. And it works, until a Weeping Angel gets him. But I am happy that Amy's last choice was to be with Rory and never see the Doctor again. It hurts but I'll take that.
Series 7, Episode 13: The Name of the Doctor
Since Clara's arrival, the story lines tried to ignore the fact that she was The Impossible Girl. The Series was overall good, but nothing made me scream, cry or fall in love with the characters a little more. But everything finally comes to a much drawn out conclusion in this episode. All the loose ends, foreshadowing for two years, finally come to a close. Richard E. Grant guest stars as we finally get to Trenzalore and say a proper goodbye to River Song.
Special: The Day of the Doctor
The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who was always going to be a big one. And Stephan Moffat tries to merge all 50 years into an hour with easter eggs and cameos galore. Oh, and he re-writes the entire Russell T Davis narrative, but we'll forgive him because he managed to make an amazing episode nonetheless. John Hurt perfectly vies between comedic and dark as the War Doctor, Ten (David Tennant) and Eleven (Matt) have the best banter, and anything that brings Rose back on screen is okay with me.
Special: The Time of the Doctor
I'll never forget this episode because I hated it. I hated it so much and I still do. From Clara supposedly fancying the Doctor (where did that come from??), to an undeveloped but amazing character in Handles the Cyberman head, to the pain of seeing the Doctor ageing, to the most stupidest ending to a special ever. But I still cried at Eleven's end speech because I hate saying goodbye to my doctors.
"I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me."
Series 8, Episode 3: Robot of Sherwood
There was something amazing about this episode. Mainly, Robin Hood. While the Doctor insisted he wasn't and couldn't be real, he was. But that was the point. You don't have to be a real hero, you just have to inspire others to be heroes.
The Doctor: I'm not a hero.
Robin Hood: Well, neither am I. But if we both keep pretending to be, perhaps others will be heroes in our name. Perhaps we will both be stories. And may those stories never end.Series 8, Episode 4: Listen
There's something terrifying about a childhood fear. About the things under your bed; the things you cannot see. The big question, is whether or not they're real? It's smart and scary. But that part where Clara finds herself under the bed of the future time lord is one of the most beautiful moments of Doctor Who in years.
‘Fear is a superpower, and fear can make you faster and stronger and cleverer … fear can make you kind.’
Better than the series finale, is the penultimate episode of Series 8. The episode builds up tension with the heartbreaking death of Danny Pink, the afterlife and the end revelation that The Master has (somehow) returned. Oh, and he is now a she - The Mistress. It's an amazing build up, promising Cybermen and a mission to save Danny Pink. Sadly, the finale doesn't live up to the hype.
To me, Doctor Who is more than a sci-fi tv series. Heck, when it started I couldn't have told you what sci-fi was. Each episode contains well-written and quotable script, life lessons, and something TV has lacked since Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air - the defeat of life's demons (or in this case aliens) through outsmarting, over thinking, and over-the-top, humourous and pop culture reference filled dialogue.
With Season 9 about to air, I'm sure there will be plenty more memorable episodes to add to my list. Here's to the next 10 years.
You can also read my review of Peter Capaldi's first outing as the Doctor here.