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 You might love a particular companion in one episode, and, in the next, they've been replaced by people you have no context for.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.
Look, last season was not very good, we breezed through three different Doctors as the original series wound down to a disappointing end. Well, between seasons something called The Time War happened. We'll get a glimpse of it in the first serial, but mostly it's something referred to but not yet seen, and it changes The Doctor from that sort-of dark Colin Baker/Sylvester McCoy/Peter McGann era, into a new, modern, actually fairly dark series. But it's dark and fun. Oh, finally, we are Back to Fun! This season will also take us through three Doctors, but there's one steady companion throughout. Welcome to Doctor Who, Rose Tyler, hope you survive the experience.
Season 6: Rose
(Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Paul McGann, and John Hurt)
Serial 1: Night Of The Doctor/Rose
The foppy Doctor we saw at the end of the last season has aged into a kindly hard-ass. Apparently, there's some war taking place between The Time Assholes and The Daleks, and people are afraid of both of them. After a ship crashes, The Sisterhood Of Karn from Season Three offer The Doctor a chance to become a warrior as he is forced to regenerate into a different face. Flash forward an indeterminate amount of time, and he has regenerated again into a goofy leather jacket wearing guy who ends up on Earth in the 21st century, where the fucken Autons, who we haven't seen since Season Two, are basically retrying their plans from Spearhead In Space, but The Doctor ends up meeting a girl named Rose and her boyfriend as they team up to defend Earth.
Serial 2: Aliens Of London/World War Three
Farting aliens trying to take over Earth does not sound like a wonderful premise, but The Doctor and Rose manage to pull it off. And we meet a plucky member of parliament named Harriet Jones.
Episode 3: Dalek
We've seen The Doctor battle multiple armies of Daleks. He was there at the beginning of The Daleks. He has survived So Many Daleks. They were even in that war that keeps getting mentioned. So how bad could just one Dalek be?
Serial 4: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
It's World War Two and The Doctor and Rose meet a new companion (Jack), a scary little boy, and unpack a weird intergalactic mystery that accidentally threatens the whole world. This episode is fantastic, and has one of the best climactic Doctor quotes of the whole series.
Episode 5: Boom Town
So one of those farting aliens didn't get caught during World War Three. So The Doctor, Rose, and Jack have to decide what to do with this war criminal.
Serial 6: Bad Wolf/Parting Of The Ways
The phrase "Bad Wolf" has been following The Doctor and Rose since they met. When they, along with Jack, travel to the future, they stumble upon what they think it might mean. Oh, and Daleks. They stumble on Daleks. Lots and lots of fucken Daleks. In order to save the present, The Doctor and his companions must totally fuck each other up, and, in the end The Doctor has to regenerate to survive.
Episode 7: The Christmas Invasion
The new Doctor's regeneration didn't go well, so while he recuperates, Rose, her mother, her boyfriend, and Harriet Jones must work together to fight off an alien invasion at Christmas. This episode features one of the most Badass Doctor moments near the end of it. Though whether it was necessary or cruel is very debatable.
Episode 8: School Reunion
Oh shit! It's Sarah Jane! And that stupid fucken dog. They're back for hijinks with The Doctor's new crew of Rose and her boyfriend. They battle...Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. And...is he kind of a vampire here? Weeeeeeeeeeird.
Serial 9: Rise Of The Cybermen/Age Of Steel
Rose has daddy issues. Maybe that's why she ran off into space with a centuries old man. But when the crew accidentally travels to an alternate dimension, she finds her father is alive. Oh, and there are fucken Cybermen EVERYWHERE. While it would be nice, and all, to save this dimension from The Cybermen, the real issue is Can They Ever Get Back To The Dimension They Came From? Well....not all of them.
Serial 10: Army Of Ghosts/Doomsday
Cybermen AND Daleks? Holy shit. That whole Other Dimension adventure totally fucked with the walls of time...or something...and The Cybermen have broken through and inadvertently released a ship of Daleks from The Time War. Ohhhhhh shit. And get your hankies ready because Bad Wolf is back, and it means sad times for The Doctor.
Ruminations on television, movies, and serialized novel series with an emphasis on creating a continuity or discussing the relationship between franchises.