Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Mad Man With a Box

Ten Years of Doctor Who
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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 Hour
Matt 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.’

Series 8, Episode 11: Dark Water
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.

57 comments:

  1. I remember hiding from the Daleks as a kid - behind a cushion if you must know! Not sure how I thought that was safe :) Now for me Dr Who is part of Christmas Day (and I no longer have to hide) :)

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    1. It's part of our Family's Christmas Day ritual too! Every year without fails :) x

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  2. I've never seen an episode of Doctor Who, my Dad can't cope with anything scarier than Winnie the Pooh so it was never on in our household! But so many friends are also excited for the Doctor's return

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    1. It can be rather scary at time (damn Weeping Angels), but I also love how classically British it is! x

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  3. I have never watched an entire episode of Doctor Who in my adult years. I think I watched some as a child but I don't think I enjoyed it...and I love horror movies so I don't think it was because it was scary. LOL! But I love that so many people love it! ;-)

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    1. N'aww Ronke, sounds like it should be right up your street! Although, I normally hate everything with Aliens in it except this.

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  4. We're not Doctor Who fans at all. I've never seen much more than a trailer, and as children we weren't allowed to watch it. I have seen the tardis phone box though.

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    1. The tardis phone box is definitely the most iconic of Whovian merch!

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  5. I know Doctor who has a huge following but I never got into for some reason or another, I remember it being a very scary when I was a child maybe thats I dont watch it now, can't handle anything scary at all

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    1. I'm a wuss when it comes to scary films, but Doctor Who is more suspense than really scary!

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  6. *EXCITED FACE* I've been a fan of Doctor Who since I was a kid back when Tom Baker was the Doctor.I couldn't get into last season's with Peter, hoping this season's will be better.Now Jenna Coleman is leaving the show, there's more scope for a change of direction with this Doctor.

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    1. Aly, I totally agree with you about Peter and Jenna. I don't like Clara as a character (I feel like she adds very little compared to other companions), and Peter's facial expressions were way OTT last series.

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  7. My daughters and I love Doctor Who and can't wait for series nine. Reading your list bought a lot of memories back and I have to say that the naming of the Doctor is one of the most memorable. It wasn't my favourite though but it was memorable because I had to watch it three times to get how it was all being put together. And I'm still not totally sure. Hope we both enjoy series 9 :)

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    1. There are SO many episodes I have to watch multiple times Janette! Moffat does like his plot twists! I hope we enjoy it too :)

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  8. Can you believe that I've never watched an episode of Doctor Who? My first boyfriend loved it though and used to watch it every weekend. I bought him the board game one Christmas :)

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    1. I totally can believe in Fiona, most of my friends have never watched it either :P

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  9. I am not a massive fan of Doctor Who but I have friends who are obsessed with the franchise.

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  10. I love Doctor Who and can remember hiding behind the sofa in the old Tom Baker days.

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    1. How do you think the old series and the new one compare Erica? I haven't watched the old on at all, only clips of it!

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  11. I love Doctor Who! I haven't watched any of the new series with Peter Capaldi. David Tennant was always my favourite Doctor! I hated Matt Smith at the start but he grew on me after a while. The Day of the Doctor was excellent :)

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    1. Peter Capaldi's series was probably one of the weakest, but it did have some really great stand alone episodes! I think David Tennant won the hearts of everyone who watched :P

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  12. Never seen a single episode. The sound of the music scares the poop out of me, so I don't think i'd do too well!

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    1. Haha oh dear! Now that you mention it, the theme tune alone is pretty scary isn't it? Yikes, hadn't noticed that before!

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  13. I've never watched Dr Who! I don't actually know why. I think it's because my dad was a trekky so I always had to watch that! x

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    1. Hmmm Star Trek is something I've never gotten into! There seems to be a lot of people who have never watched an episode x

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  14. I've never been a fan of Doctor Who but I did used to watch it with my parents many years ago when I still lived at home. Maybe I'll have to start watching it x

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    1. It's got some great themes and emotional content amidst the sci-fi, so it depends what you're into. No harm in trying again though :) x

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  15. I've never watched doctor who - new or old episodes! I know a lot of people really get into it. Very exciting that it's been running for so long with so many twists & turns! x

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    1. Lots of drama indeed, that's what makes me keep coming back x

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  16. I am another one of those 'never watched it, can't watch it, don't understand how anyone watches it' peeps. sorry! altho if the BBC are still behind it, it was to have a very big audience who still like it, right? LIke your good self!

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    1. It does have a huge audience indeed Nicci! Although I'm usually not one to hop on a bandwagon, Doctor Who just works for me!

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  17. I was thrilled and overjoyed when Dr Who was relaunched - I loved Christopher Eccleston and I adored David Tennant even more. Sadly I could not relate to Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi - I still miss my dose of Dr Who & wait with baited breath to see who will be my next favourite Dr. Great post!

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    1. Oh Jane that's such a shame! I do think the whole feel of the show changed when Tenant left and Moffat became the lead writer. It's a whole lot more complicated plot-wise now, and I find it very hard to keep up. Was not a fan of Capaldi's first season either. Hoping it gets better this year though! x

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  18. Oooh, I'm a total Doctor Who geek and have been ridiculously excited about the new series starting! So naturally I was very happy to see a Doctor Who post. So many memories! l'm totally with you on Stephen Moffat - things can get a bit ridiculous. Blink was just a brilliant episode and the Angels take Manhattan was far too emotional, I so loved Amy and Rory - haven't been able to rewatch that one yet, mad though it sounds :)

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    1. Not mad at all Cliona, I felt the same with Angels of Manhattan. Can't get over the loss of Amy and Rory... :( xx

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  19. Ahh, my brother and I were talking about Doctor who just the other day. We started watching when David Tennant became the doctor and then when Matt Smith took over we hardly watched it. I do miss watching it though :-) x

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    1. The old Tenant episodes are all repeated on Dave, or one of those channels I think! He really was an amazing and family friendly Doctor :) x

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  20. Doctor who is one of the things that I have never watched, but sometimes wonder what I'm missing...along with Star Trek! I guess I grew up in a family that didn't watch it and I just followed suit. Maybe one day I will start a marathon xx

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    1. Oh definitely. There are a good few seasons on Netflix for marathoning :)

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  21. I've never watched Dr Who, I never really 'got it.' But reading this makes me wonder whether I've been missing out all this time!

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    1. If I'd never seen an episode I would definitely say I had missed out, but it really depends on the person! No harm in giving it a go though :)

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  22. I'm not really into Dr who, have watched a few epersodes but not my thing really.

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    1. At least you gave it a go Joanna and didn't just write it off :)

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  23. I have never liked Doctor Who, I was always terrified of it growing up! My son has always refused to watch it too, he can not even watch the advert for it!

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    1. Oh no, your poor son! It's really not as frightening as it may seem... I think. But I'm the only one in my family still watching it!

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  24. I have to admit, I'm not really a fan but as I type this, my husband who is a complete geek is tuned into tonights episode. I think he will love your post, so I will be showing him straight after

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    1. Aww thanks Zena! Did he force you to watch it with him? :P x

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  25. I've never seen an episode of this show, it's not really my thing unfortunately but you see, to be a great fan!

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  26. I have to admit I'm not a fan of doctor who! Though I do get quite obsessed with TV shows. For example I was a major Buffy geek back when I was a teen, even when to comic con etc! xxx

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  27. I am so sorry - I am not a Dr Who fan. I do love though that it is filmed in Wales ;) I think it is because the Daleks scared me as a little girl!! Kaz x

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    1. Haha, that's okay Kaz. Sorry to hear the Daleks were mean to you :P x

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  28. never seen the show Doctor Who. For some reason it doesn't catch my attention. I'll try to see if I could catch it now.

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    1. Give it a go Sacha and let me know what you think x

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  29. I'm not a big fan of Doctor Who, but I kind of wish I was because people seem to love it so much. Maybe its because I found the theme tune so eery as a kid...

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    1. It's okay Kate, it's just not everyone's cup of tea! There's been plenty of shows I tried to get into but couldn't x

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