This week’s topic is wide open. Anything we want to write about. I’m choosing not to write about books this week. Because good stories can be told in any media. Instead, I’m going to talk about Doctor Who – because season 9 finally starts this weekend and I am stoked! Doctor Who is my favourite. And like any good Whovian, I love the series as a whole, but I have my favourites. Favourite doctor. Favourite companion. Is playing favourites good? Who knows. But the joy of the changing doctor is that each one brings a different vibe fans can relate to. I loved classic DW as a kid. I adore the revamp. But most of all, I love Matt Smith’s doctor. I know there are rabid Tennant fans that will want to convert me to their side, but let’s all just have our own things, okay. Tennant is good in his own right. I totally appreciate what he does, but I love Smith. That young, quirky, but fiercely loyal and protective vibe. And my favourite companion is, without question, Rory. Because he also embodies those qualities, but in a completely different fashion. It is fortuitous for me that they overlap. I also love Donna – so no accusing me of being an eleven snob.
I started doing this list as a Doctor Who top ten. Favourite episodes of the series. I could not limit it to ten. Like absolutely could not. It was an impossible task. It meant leaving out episodes I loved that aren’t necessarily the best episodes. Or leaving out episodes that are legitimately amazing, but everyone knows that, so I figured I could leave them off… It was becoming stressful – which is just ridiculous. Blog posts should not be stressful. Especially when it’s just a list. And when I reviewed my shaved down list, I still had twenty episodes – nine of which were Smith episodes anyway. And I’d skipped some I love because I was trying to shorten the list. Honestly, I could list all of season six (except the rebel flesh episodes. I’ve grown to appreciate them, and their importance in the storyline, but man, it took several watchings to not hate them). It is my favourite season. So a new list was born – ten favourite eleventh Doctor episodes.
They’re listed in chronological order, cause actually ranking them might have given me a meltdown.
Amy’s Choice – Season 5 Air Date: May 15, 2010
The Gist – Amy, Rory, and the Doctor keep bouncing back and forth between realities. Amy has to choose which one is real: the one filled with adventure and the Doctor or the one with stability and Rory.
Why I love it – Amy is confronted with the realities of her decision to travel with the Doctor and what that means for her future with Rory. It sets the basis for her feelings for Rory. Instead of Rory’s feelings for her, which is what’s been shown in previous episodes.
Vincent and the Doctor – Season 5 Air Date: June 5, 2010
The Gist – After a visit to the museum, The Doctor and Amy travel back to meet Vincent Van Gogh and figure out why there’s an alien in one of his paintings.
Why I love it – If you’re a Who fan, it should come as no surprise that this one is on my list. It’s excellent. And if the final scene doesn’t make you teary, you’ve never suffered the feeling of crippling self-doubt in the face of something you love.
The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon – Season 6 Air Date: April 23 & 30, 2011
The Gist – Amy, Rory, and River are summoned to the United States where they meet up with the Doctor and try to prevent his final death.
Why I love it – We meet The Silence. The best villains in the whoverse. They do not get enough field time. They have one of the creepiest powers. Every time I trip over nothing, I wonder for a second. Also – Mark Sheppard.
The Doctor’s Wife – Season 6 Air Date: May 14, 2011
The Gist- The Doctor follows a distress signal that he thinks will lead him to another living time lord. The TARDIS is grounded and transferred into the body of a person.
Why I love it – Watching the Doctor interact with the TARDIS is super entertaining. Also, she gets to tell him all the things he’s done wrong. “I always took you where you needed to go.” It’s also where I learned that my favourite smell has a name.
A Good Man Goes to War – Season 6 Air Date: June 4, 2011
The Gist – Amy is kidnapped. The Doctor loses his shit. River’s origin story is revealed.
Why I love it – This captures the Doctor’s fierce loyalty better than any other episode. There’s so much content packed into this one that I forget that it’s not two episodes. It’s fucking fabulous.
The Girl Who Waited – Season 6 Air Date: September 10, 2011
The Gist – While visiting a planet unexpectedly put under quarantine, Amy gets separated from the others. She ends up spending decades on the planet while Rory and Doctor spend only hours.
Why I love it – It demonstrates Amy’s strength. And it’s is heartbreaking. Damn heartbreaking.
Asylum of the Daleks – Season 7 Air Date: September 1, 2012
The Gist – The Doctor is recruited to save the Dalek race. He discovers a trapped girl who likes to make soufflés that he must save.
Why I love it – Daleks are adorable. We meet a character who will eventually become a crucial part of the Doctor’s storyline.
The Angels Take Manhattan – Season 7 Air Date: September 29, 2012
The Gist – Rory is pulled into the past by the Weeping Angels. Amy and the Doctor go to save him. When the angels force their hand, Amy makes a decision for her future and final chooses.
Why I love it – This is my favourite Doctor Who episode – ever. It’s got amazing pulpy fiction. It’s got River. It’s about storytelling. It’s Amy and Rory’s final episode, and it’s handled perfectly. Amy’s Choice and The Girl Who Waited both set up the truth of this episode.
Hide – Season 7 Air Date: April 20, 2013
The Gist – Clara and the Doctor visit a haunted mansion and help the paranormal researchers figure out the identity of the ghost appearing in photos at the mansion for years.
Why I love it – I don’t love Clara. I’m coming around slowly, but I like her better with Capaldi than Smith. But she’s kind of delightful in this episode. And it’s basically a ghost story episode.
The Time of the Doctor – Christmas Special Air Date: December 25, 2013
The Gist – All of the Doctor’s most notorious foes assemble as he takes refuge in a place where people can’t lie
Why I love it – The Silence are back! It’s the only time they reappear. Come on Moffatt, let’s make this happen. And it’s Smith’s last episode. It was time.
So, that’s my ten, but even as I was writing it, I was like, well, maybe I should switch some. What could I take off to include The God Complex. Or the 50th anniversary episode. Or Night Terrors .Or or or. Do you have any Smith favourites?