Series 11 is coming. A new Doctor, a new era. Now is the time to look back on the brilliance of the past 13 years, which has encompassed four Doctors and ten seasons. Whilst I could discuss the best episodes, that would be harder than this list, so let’s look at the best moments of the revived show. With over a hundred episodes to choose from, picking 50 was hard. I’ve decided to limit the list to one moment per story, and to leave the quality of the episode aside to focus on the moment in question. There’s too much to go through, so I’ve split the list up-
Tag Archives: Eleventh Doctor
This week sees the first two episodes of the new Doctor Who spin off Class. To celebrate, I thought I would look back on the show that I arguably loved even more than Doctor Who- The Sarah Jane Adventures.
The beloved companion of the Third and Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane was so popular she returned in the new series in one of my absolute favourite Doctor Who stories ever- School Reunion. Following this, a whole spin off was commissioned, aiming to be a more kid-friendly series than Doctor Who. However, at points Sarah Jane Adventures was more mature than Doctor Who. I cannot explain how awesome it was when this show crossed over with Doctor Who and Torchwood (I had no idea who the characters apart from Jack were but my dad explained) in the Series 4 finale. The show continued until 2011, when Elisabeth Sladen unfortunately passed away. I was 10 years old and I can’t remember exactly how I reacted, but I did miss the show, and watching Sarah Jane’s original Doctor Who stories has solidified her as my favourite companion. It helped that she was in some of my favourite Classic stories- Planet of the Spiders, The Ark in Space, Genesis of the Daleks, Terror of the Zygons, The Brain of Morbius and the Seeds of Doom. I’ve yet to reach the Time Warrior on my Classic Series marathon, but I look forward to it a lot.
So with all that aside, let’s dive into this brilliant show with a look at my favourite stories, in chronological order-
- Warriors of Kudlak
I love the concept of this one a lot- training kids to fight for a galactic war using a Laser Quest style game to lure them in, with the best warriors being kidnapped for the Uvodni war (incidentally, I love the Uvodni-they were mentioned in the Pandorica Opens but I’d love to see them appear in the show properly). Where this one gets really good is the second half with the concept of The Mistress, the battle computer, hiding the peace treaty from Kudlak to continue the war as she thinks peace does not compute. It’s a dark concept for a kid’s show and proves that this is a show for all ages. This story also continues the friendship between Luke and Clyde, my favourite SJA character other than Sarah Jane and I really hope he becomes a companion one day.
- All three Trickster stories
Cheating yes, but I find all three stories featuring the Trickster, Sarah Jane’s ultimate foe, to be outstanding. The Trickster himself is probably my favourite villain in the whole Whoniverse, and his design is simple yet utterly terrifying. The stories themselves are brilliant. Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? is a great introduction to the character and serves as the Sarah Jane lite story, where the Trickster causes Sarah Jane to fall off a pier when she was young and her friend Andrea being saved and living at 13 Bannerman Road. The Trickster aims to cause the world to be destroyed by a meteorite which Sarah Jane could easily stop, so the Trickster changes history to cause chaos. It’s a great character driven story. Incidentally, the events in the Doctor Who episode Turn Left are linked with this story.
The next Trickster story, The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith, is my favourite of the bunch. It incorporates time travel into the show and addresses themes common in Doctor Who, namely the idea of changing the past with dire consequences. In this case, Sarah Jane is given the opportunity to save her parents from a car accident that happened when she was a baby. Timey-wimey occurs, and once again the Trickster is behind everything and Sarah Jane’s parents are forced to sacrifice themselves to save the world. Hard to believe this is seen as the Doctor Who spin off for kids.
The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith features a guest appearance from David Tennant (!) and is amazing, as is the course for a Trickster story. It starts off comical and light hearted with Sarah Jane preparing to get married, then the Doctor appears as the cliffhanger and things get really, really dark. David Tennant is awesome here, and his confrontation with the Trickster is one of the highlights of the story (with foreshadowing to The End of Time, clever). This is also a great story for Clyde as he gets to zap the Trickster with artron energy. Awesome! Overall, these three stories to me represent the height of the series.
- Day of the Clown
One of my favourites when I was younger, this story did creep me out when I was younger, even if I’m not scared of clowns. Some of the imagery is pretty disturbing for a “kids” show, especially the scene in the toilet where Oddbob almost takes Clyde. The clown has great music and commands the screen whenever he’s on screen and while there, is of course, a sci-fi explanation, it doesn’t explain everything and leaves some details to the imagination, which is great. This story introduces Rani, who would become a permanent fixture of the show from this story onwards. Sarah Jane also has some great development here, as she has to confront her fear of clowns to take down Oddbob (she should be glad she wasn’t in Greatest Show in the Galaxy). Overall a pretty simple one, but one of the creepiest.
- Enemy of the Bane
Probably one of my most rewatched stories ever, this one is my favourite season finale of the show, tying together many ideas and characters previously established. Mrs Wormwood from Invasion of the Bane is back, Kaagh from the Last Sontaran is back and most importantly, the Brigadier is back! Oh yeah! Throughout Series 2 themes of family had been addressed, from Rani’s family to Clyde’s dad to Sarah Jane’s dilemma involving her parents, and in this story Luke is forced through the dilemma. He was created as a weapon for the Bane in their initial invasion but turned on them, and in this story Mrs Wormwood, the leader of the Bane and technically Luke’s mother, returns and forces Luke to make a choice. Great stuff, and anything with the Brigadier has my seal of approval.
- The Eternity Trap
Along with Waters of Mars, this story was one of the few Whoniverse stories to genuinely scare me and still scare me now. A much better version of Hide from Series 7 of Doctor Who, this creepy haunted house story is one I’ll be popping in this Halloween (because if you can’t beat them, join them). A great mystery tale with a fantastic villain, The Eternity Trap combines ghosts, red eyed monsters and science fiction to create one of the most unique stories in the series, with character development taking a backseat to atmosphere and scares. The attic isn’t in this one, neither is Mr Smith or Luke, so the focus is on Sarah Jane, Clyde and Rani trying to solve the mystery of Erasmus Darkening. It’s a prototype to Series 4 in a way, and it’s one of my personal favourites.
- Death of the Doctor
And I thought the Brigadier and the Tenth Doctor was the pinnacle of Who crossovers with The Sarah Jane Adventures, but no, my favourite Doctor teams up with not only Sarah Jane but Jo Grant, who I’m currently watching in my Classic Series marathon. This story has everything: UNIT, alien vulture undertakers, blue Graske (or Groske) and continuity overload! The scene where the Doctor tells Sarah Jane and Jo to remember their memories of travelling with him to overload the memory weave is one of my favourite scenes ever. Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Drashigs, Axons, Davros, Sea Devils, Krynoids, Morbius, Omega, Daleks, Eldrad, the Wirrn- clips from the Classic Series which make me squee with delight. It made me squee then and, due to my new found passion for Classic Who, will definitely make me squee more. In short, my reaction throughout the story is this-
So those were my favourite Sarah Jane Adventures stories. I’ve mainly gone for ones I have watched the most, as most of these aren’t necessarily the best, but they’re certainly the most enjoyable- to me anyway.
Today WordPress informed me that it has been three years since I wrote my first post. So today I will celebrate by listing my Doctor Who Mighty 15. While I’ve already listed my favourite Who stories of all time, today I am only focusing on the revived series, as I count down my 15 favourites. About half of these have already been discussed in length already, so this post will focus on the stories which I haven’t talked about much yet still love. Let’s get the ones I already talked about here so I don’t need to repeat myself-
- The God Complex
- Vincent and the Doctor
- Human Nature/ The Family of Blood
- School Reunion
- The Waters of Mars
- Dark Water/Death in Heaven
Now that is out of the way, let’s dive into my 13 other favourite revived series stories-
- Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
Series 4 is my absolute favourite Doctor Who series. It’s the series which I started watching Doctor Who weekly rather than isolated stories here and there, but upon re-watching most of it nostalgia isn’t the only reason I love this series. It has the best companion of the revived series, the Tenth Doctor at his best, the most imaginative stories and monsters and dark themes. This two parter is the magnum opus of the series to me, and one of the Tenth Doctor’s best. It has a fascinating story with intriguing characters and a terrifying monster with a great style of duel storytelling. Silence in the Library is about the archaeologists meeting the Doctor in the Library, while Forest of the Dead is about Donna trapped in an artificial world. It’s incredibly entertaining and has great characterisation and truly frightening moments, thanks to a brilliant monster. The use of a common phrase (“Hey, who turned out the lights”) means the Vashta Nerada are memorable. This is one I re-watch regularly and it is still amazing. Read the rest of this entry
Three months into the year and the only news we have of Series 9 is this (apart from Peter Capaldi returning)-
If you want everything to be secret and don’t want to know any news, then scroll down to the second pair of eyebrows.
- Episode One and Two, the Magician’s Apprentice and the Witch’s Familiar. Missy is returning
- Episode Three and Four. A spooky episode written by the same writer of great scripts like the God Complex, School Reunion and A Town Called Mercy (an episode which I have wildly changed my views on)
- A big cliffhanger in the finale
- There may or may not be Ice Warriors returning
So, now let’s debate the main topic. Amongst all this is a very heavy rumour of a Jane Austen episode (no, not her writing, an episode with her appearing). This brought to mind a blog post I did a while back as to why I love historical stories. This time, I will analyse why I believe Doctor Who is great at teaching history to children, based on my experiences.
Let’s look at the characters from history that the show has introduced, as well as the episode (I am only including characters who appeared in their original time, so Nefertiti from Dinosaurs on a Spaceship doesn’t count).
Charles Dickens- The Unquiet Dead
Queen Victoria- Tooth and Claw
Madame de Pompadour- The Girl in the Fireplace (I didn’t even know she was a real person)
William Shakespeare- The Shakespeare Code
Lucius Caecilius Iucundus- The Fires of Pompeii (another guy I didn’t know existed)
Agatha Christie- The Unicorn and the Wasp
Winston Churchill- Victory of the Daleks
Vincent Van Gogh- Vincent and the Doctor
Richard Nixon- The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
Henry Avery- The Curse of the Black Spot
Hitler- Let’s Kill Hitler (albeit very briefly)
Robin Hood (Does he count?)- Robot of Sherwood
Just looking at that range, it’s clear that the show takes the history very seriously. Queens, writers, artists, even dictators! I think these elements help keep the show’s original aim of teaching history, but also offer new takes on people.
Nixon is a very controversial figure, yet Doctor Who looks at his positives and negatives equally. It’s hard to take Hitler seriously now with the thought that he was punched in the face and locked in a cupboard by Rory! My own personal knowledge of Van Gogh before Doctor Who was that he was a mad artist, yet after the episode I know that he was a person who suffered mental illness and who was shunned from society, yet he is now considered one of the, if not the best, artist of all time. He was a Post-Impressionist artist. And as I said, I had no clue that Peter Capaldi’s character (wonder what he’s in now?) from the Fires of Pompeii was real, until research told me otherwise.
It doesn’t stop there. Now, my image of the moon landing is the Silence being defeated. I immediately looked up the Orient Express when it was revealed that an episode would be set there (turned out it was in space, but the same principles apply). I can’t look at a gas mask without thinking “Are you my mummy”. My thought of Roman Britain is spaceships flying around Stonehenge.
But that’s the point. By using famous people like Van Gogh or Queen Victoria and famous time periods like Victorian times, World War II, the Coronation, the Moon landing and Pompeii, the show can introduce people, especially kids, to parts of history or aspects they don’t know about, all while being entertained by the monsters. The episodes are now ingrained into those events, so anytime children get taught those events or visit the locations, they instantly have knowledge and they instantly have something to remember about the person or event. I would even argue that Doctor Who should be used in class to teach history. Want to show what impact Van Gogh had on people? Pop in the gallery scene. Want to show racial inequality in the early 20th century? Then show Human Nature’s scenes where Martha is mocked for her skin colour. Want some insight into the British person’s life during the Blitz? Voila, the Empty Child is here to teach (and terrify) children everywhere.
That’s why I will anticipate any historicals highly and why I believe it is a great way to teach history.
I know normally this is the time for the Doctor Who episode review, but I still need time to think the latest episode over. Still, I thought it was really, really, really, really good, but the reason why the review is not here is because I need time to analyse it. Yes, that’s right, analysis! It’s THAT good.
So, it gives me an opportunity to do a post I’ve always wanted to do. So, with 13 Doctors, which ones are my favourites? If you know me you should know my favourite, but there are other Doctors who are equally as awesome. Let’s start off with the adventurer…
The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant
Yes, it’s everyone’s favourite Doctor kicking off the list. One of the many reasons I like the Tenth is that he can go through so much without saying a word. The image above is from The Family of Blood, and without words you can see that he is angry. But he’s also fun loving (especially in Series 2) and caring, willing to give even people like Davros and the Master a chance to redeem themselves.
Despite losing so many people, with Rose permanently trapped in a parallel dimension, Martha leaving to look after her family and Donna having her memory wiped, the Doctor still remained optimistic and adventurous, throwing himself into adventures always with a cheeky grin on his face and mumbling science mumbo-jumbo in rapid succession. My favourite stories from his era include Silence in The Library/Forest of the Dead, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, The Waters of Mars, School Reunion and The Fires of Pompeii.
And now, it’s time for the time travelling eccentric…
The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker
“Would you like a jelly baby?”
Before Tennant, Baker was arguably the most iconic Doctor (Well, why else would he be the only Classic Doctor Who actor to appear in the 50th?). His obvious alien nature, his quirky dress sense and his ability to change emotions in the space of a sentence truly makes the Fourth Doctor one of my favourites. He’s just impossible to dislike, as he would bounce up and down like a child and save the day before the villains even knew what had happened. This Doctor was always an outsider, as even when he was on Gallifrey he would stand out.
He too was subject to moments of darkness, but his bursts of rage contrasts his bubbly outer persona so well it never seems out of place. He was equally delighted in being held at gunpoint as he was sitting in the Tardis playing chess with K9. I’m currently having a marathon through his era with my Dad, so I’ve seen nearly all of his stories, with my favourites being Genesis of the Daleks, The Seeds of Doom, The Deadly Assasin, Image of the Fendhal and City of Death.
And now, it’s time to move onto the James Bond of Doctors…
The Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee
“Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow”
Stuck on Earth for the majority of his era, the Third Doctor was unlike any other incarnation, driving around in his car Bessie with a cloak billowing behind his back, ready to use Venusian Aikido on anyone standing in his way. Arguably the most violent incarnation (though the War Doctor might have topped that position), this Doctor was also armed with UNIT, a lab and a mouthful of sarcastic quips.
More like an Earth scientist than a Time Lord, his attitude is one of annoyance at being stuck on Earth, though as he gains re-control of the Tardis he loosens up and begins to accept Earth as a home. In fact, I like to believe the Doctor’s current love of Earth steams from his time working for UNIT. Oh, and the Third Doctor can’t be mentioned without mentioning the Master, whose rivalry with each other remains unmatched in Who history. My favourite Third Doctor stories include the Curse of Peladon, Planet of the Spiders, The Sea Devils, Terror of the Autons and The Green Death.
And now, make way for the mysterious manipulator of Time…
The Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy
“Unlimited rice pudding, etc, etc?”
I’ll admit, the Seventh Doctor is probably the first Doctor I remember seeing (Remembrance of the Daleks I think I saw). Even though my love for this Doctor stems from his final season, I understand that many people dislike the Seventh due to his first season. However, he is one of my favourites simply because he seems so Doctorly. He treats every mistake as a lesson, and rather than using violence uses words and cunning manipulation to trick people. When he walks into a room, he already has everything planned out, and uses his vulnerability to fool his opponents.
People describe this Doctor as the chess master Doctor, which is a perfect description. He plans all his moves and will convert any uncontrollable situation into one which he has total control over. He hated violence (a stark contrast to the Third) and will use any means to achieve his own gain, even manipulating his companion Ace to figure out the mystery behind her, in what was one of the biggest story arcs in the Classic Series. Because the series was cancelled during the Seventh’s era, he didn’t have as many stories as the others on this list, but my favourites are Remembrance of the Daleks, Battlefield, The Curse of Fenric, Ghost Light and Survival, the latter four all consisted of his final season.
And now, my favourite. It’s time for the madman in a box…
The Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith
My favourite Doctor is also the era which made me a mad Who fan. Sure, I had seen David Tennant, but it wasn’t until Matt Smith where I truly became MAD about Doctor Who. Without him, I would never had been interested in Classic Who as much as I am now. Everything about the Eleventh Doctor seems made to suit me; his off beat manner, his optimism, his humorous comments, his manner of moving and speaking all come together into a Doctor which is just perfect to me. His personality truly changed during his run.
He started off as a madman who would hide his brilliance underneath a playful image, but during Series 6 and with the loss of Amy and Rory, he became a man tired of playing around and aimed to become a defender of the universe however bad it was. He stopped being a child inside a man’s body and turned into an old man inside a young body, who had seen so much evil yet hid it. His era was truly brilliant, and many of my all time favourite stories are from his era, including Vincent and the Doctor, The Doctor’s Wife, The Impossible Astronaught/Day of the Moon, The Doctor trilogy and of course, The God Complex.
So, those are my five favourites. What are yours? Coming soon: KILL THE MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Be honest. Who cried? Be honest!
I didn’t! I STILL haven’t cried at Doctor Who. Although believe me, this episode did really try, especially at the regeneration. I found it to be miles better than David Tennant’s regeneration, which I thought was too sappy. Here, the Doctor accepted his regeneration and it is probably the best one yet… OK, don’t have a full clip of the regeneration, speech and the cameo (which I will not spoil) so just watch the episode again because it is good.
Also, like last time, if you haven’t seen the episode yet, then watch it first then read this.
After four years, we finally get answers to all the loose threads and plot points from the Eleventh Doctor era, like the exploding Tardis, the River Song plot, the cracks and the Silence. They were tied together very nicely to make way for the main event.
Not that yet though! Because we have an hour of awesome shots, a great story and some of the funniest Who moments since the three Doctors bantered in the 50th (guess that wasn’t too long ago).
This episode has some of the coolest imagery and shots in a long time. I didn’t think anything could top the Doctors zapping the Dalek in the 50th but lots of things have. Let’s take a look!
Seriously, so cool! But what about everything else? I really enjoyed how simple the whole scheme was and how the whole of Matt Smith’s era linked together so well. It also told a great story, with charming moments, sad moments, funny moments and clever moments. One thing I really liked was the Doctor staying on the planet to fight. But it’s really the little touches that make this episode, like the music from the Rings of Akhaten (hugely appreciated) in the regeneration scene, the flamethrower Cyberman (which is probably one the coolest things ever), the Doctor’s walking stick (don’t know why, it’s just so cool), Amy’s cameo and that beautiful speech which the Doctor makes before regenerating. The episode was paced really well and perfectly balanced humour and drama like most of the Eleventh Doctor era. (I highlight most as I am talking to that episode which you know I hate and everyone loves).
But let’s not talk about bad episodes, let’s talk about good episodes and the cleverest introduction to a Doctor that I’ve seen.
So we already have four lines for the new Doctor: Kidneys! I don’t like the colour! We’re probably crashing! And the best one of all
DO YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW HOW TO FLY THIS THING!?
How long until autumn?
As for this episode, I think this concludes the Doctor trilogy (Name, Day and Time of the Doctor). All three combined create on of the greatest Who stories ever.
When I mean sort of, it’s because I need to say something very very awesome about the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. To do that, I’ll need to issue a spoiler warning and advise anyone who hasn’t seen the episode to watch it then come back here.
OK? Right, avert your eyes if you haven’t seen the episode…
Watch the episode first…
OK, let’s move on.
THE TWELFTH DOCTOR APPEARED! WHO EXPECTED THAT!?
But anyway, that aside, how was the rest of the episode?
I’m not going to explain the plot. It’s REALLY complicated. Zygons are invading via paintings, Rose hologram tells the War Doctor about his future lives, David Tennant marries Elizabeth I and there are the MOST…REFERENCES…EVER!
While the plot is complex, it’s easy to get through because of the drama and characters. The issue about Gallifrey is really well addressed and all three Doctors are amazing (even the Tenth Doctor. Normally he’s broody and soapy, but David Tennant is allowed to stretch his comedic muscles instead of being sad all the time). Some of the funniest lines in recent Who memory comes because of the three Doctor interactions. But there are great moments of drama with them and some really clever moments, like a great moment with the sonic screwdriver. And some truly epic moments…
I want that on my wall to frame. That is so cool.
Speaking of the scenes on Gallifrey, they’re very well done. The Daleks make their awesomest appearance since well, Dalek, and this is the best story since Dalek with them in (I know, it’s sad that it took 8 years to get a good Dalek story). I also like the way they weren’t in the episode that much, yet when they do appear, it’s amazing. Now the fleet is destroyed, the Daleks should get a year off… oh. They’re in the Christmas special. WHY?!
The other villains, the Zygons, were also great. The way they were defeated was ingenious and their introduction was hilarious and creepy. Their plan is very good and if it was the whole episode, it would have been great anyway. But for the screen time they had, it was fantastic.
There were two brilliant cameos. The first one was the Twelfth Doctor, and the second was the Fourth Doctor. Or was he? When he appeared, I just thought that he was a random person. But, the dialogue indicated that he WAS the Doctor. There’s been speculation, but I just think it’s a future Doctor revisiting his past self.
In short, it was awesome. Because this is technically linked with Name of the Doctor, I’m allowed to put this two-part story as the fifth best story ever. Let’s look back on my list…
1. The God Complex
2.Planet of the Spiders
3.The Deadly Assasin
5. Name/Day of the Doctor
6. Vincent and the Doctor/Human Nature & the Family of Blood
7. The Curse of Fenric
8. Impossible Astronaught/Day of the Moon
9. Image of the Fendhal
10. A Christmas Carol (You can tell I love the Eleventh Doctor)
So, 50 years of Who sorted. Now let’s wait for Christmas and see… those eyes… The Twelfth Doctor is going to be amazing.