Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
A few years ago, I was asked to come up with a Doctor Who In 50 Episodes List on Facebook. For people who wanted to get really into the series without getting Super Really Into The Series. With over fifty years worth of episodes, the prospect of becoming a fan of Doctor Who can be completely daunting.
I've compiled this list of episodes that I like, so it's very subjective. I have tried to make it so that there is a rough arc to the seasons. I don't give a fuck about episodes that are historically important, this is a guide intended to make you Like The Series, not be an Expert On The Series.
Here are the basics you should know: The show is about an alien time traveler. He takes companions, almost always humans, with him as he explores time and space. The companions change frequently, and in this guide, you sometimes get no closure. You might love a particular companion in one episode, and, in the next, they've been replaced by people you have no context for. Also, when The Doctor gets very ill, his appearance changes. By which, I mean, he is portrayed by an entirely different actor. This is a cool concept, but it can be jarring at first. It will happen Thirteen Times over the course of these eleven seasons.
Last season was So Much. A ton of companions came back, the Earth got stolen, the TARDIS blew up, nearly destroying all of time. Poor Earth just can't a break. And it's about to get worse. Half of this season is a TORCHWOOD mini-series. It's some of the finest Doctor Who related television ever. So strap in for some dark times.
Season 9: Children Of The Earth
(Matt Smith, Torchwood)
Serial 1: Children Of Earth
(Jack, Gwen, Ianto, Rhys, Frobisher, The 456)
5 episodes, total of 225 minutes
Yikes. What do you do when ALL the children on the planet stop moving at the same time, and start delivering, in unison, a message from aliens? What do you do if you're a government who knows who these aliens are and what they want? What do you do when those aliens want 10% of the children left on the planet, or they will kill everyone?
This miniseries is Dark As Hell. And even though there was another miniseries, this serves as a perfect ending point for the Torchwood series, and is, as mentioned in the season description, one of the best things to ever come out of the Doctor Who franchise.
Episode 6: The Doctor's Wife
(11, Amy, Rory)
Returning to The Doctor's adventures, we're reunited with Amy and Rory as The Doctor is called to an unknown planet. Is it possible that other Time Lords have survived the Time War? Welllllll, maybe, but this is mainly the story of The Doctor and one of the most important parts of his life that we often see, but which is rarely addressed.
Serial 3: The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People
(11, Amy, Rory, Gangers, Madame Kovarian)
The Doctor, Amy & Rory end up in a the nearish future where Not Autons but kind of sort of Autons are created to keep humans from getting killed in industrial accidents. Of course, being a science fiction story, this goes Horribly Wrong, and it's up to The Doctor and his "ganger" (a synthetic duplicate of himself) to teach everyone lessons and save the bloody day.
Episode 8: The Girl Who Waited
(11, Amy, Rory)
If I've learned anything from sitting down and watching Star Trek, it's Never Take Shore Leave, Never Go To The Planet Where Everything's Fine And Go Hang Out At The Water Park Or The Laser Tag Planet Or Whatever, because something there has gone horribly awry, or there is a serial killer there, or both. This is a particularly devastating character study episode where things sort or turn out fine in the end, and yet its resolution is still emotionally gutting.
Serial 9: The Good Man Goes To War/Demon's Run
(11, Amy, Rory, River, Vastra, Flint, Strax, Mme Kovarian, Maldovar, Headless Monks, Cybermen)
A cult called The Headless Monks have been working behind the scenes in the last few episodes and have been seriously messing with one of The Doctor's companions. River Song steps in to help save the day, and finally reveal who she is, and why she keeps popping up along The Doctor's timeline. We also get to watch the founding of The Paternoster Gang.
Episode 10: God Complex
(11, Amy, Rose, Weeping Angels, Tivolians)
Holy Hell, we're at the end of the season already? Wowsers. The Doctor & Companions end up at a spooky hotel that kills everyone who enters it. Yaaaaaaaay! It's even a labyrinthian hotel, and the thing that kills you is a minotaur. Take that, tropes! Again, it's mostly a character study, and while not quite as devastating as the previous episode, we do say goodbye to Amy & Rory forever, as they end up with one of the most optimistic endings for The Doctor's companions ever.
Holiday Special: The Wedding Of River Song
(11, Amy, Rose, River, Mme Kavorian, Maldovar, The Silence)
This is mostly a resolution of plot points from last season's Holiday Special ("The Impossible Astronaut"/|"Day Of The Moon") and "A Good Man Goes To War". It's also an alternate timeline adventure, so we get to see familiar characters in new and exciting roles. It's not My Favorite Episode by a longshot, but it's a nice coda to the River, Rory and Amy saga from this season.