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 You might love a particular companion in one episode, and, in the next, they've been replaced by people you have no context for.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 the beginning of the 21st century adventures of The Doctor. He met a new companion, saw some old companions, regenerated, fell in love with a companion, and got reeeeealy sad when some old villains fucked up his shit. Well, screw that guy. One of the other companions from last season, Jack Harkness, is the head of an organization that defends the planet from aliens: TORCHWOOD (yea, it's an anagram of Doctor Who). And that's where we're going to start this season. Wait a second, isn't Torchwood the group that totally fucked everything up at the end of last season. Aren't they all dead? I didn't see Jack Harkness there? What Is this nonsense?
Season 7: Torchwood
(David Tennant, TORCHWOOD, Peter Davison)
Episode 1: Everything Changes
(Jack, Gwen, Ianto, Owen, Tashiko, Suzie, Rhys, Andy, Weevils)
A Welsh detective stumbles on to an alien conspiracy involving Jack Harkness, The Doctor's companion, who we last saw in The Parting Of Ways. He has an elite team of alien fighters, and a drug called Retcon that can wipe people's memories. I'm sure this will end well.
Episode 2: They Keep Killing Suzie
(Jack, Gwen, Ianto, Owen, Tashiko, Suzie)
Now that The Welsh Detective is a part of Torchwood, she has to use one of their sciency toys to resurrect a dead former teammate to solve a series of grisly murders that all seem to involve Retcon. Somebody done Fucked Up.
Episode 3: Smith & Jones
(10, Martha, Francine, Tish, Leo, Clive, Judoon)
Hey! It's The Doctor again. He's been wandering solo and off the radar for a while, but he's popped over to Earth just in time for some Moon shenanigans, and to meet Doctor Martha Jones. Welcome new companion, may your fate be less depressing than that of your predecessors.
Serial 4: Human Nature/Family Of Blood
(10, Martha, Family Of Blood)
In order to hide from some vindictive aliens, The Doctor has to forget who he is, and live as a human in the days leading up to World War I. Martha lives out the Louis CK routine about how time travel sucks if you're not White. And there's even a little kid who has The Shining or some shit. Can Martha keep John Smith safe, or will she have to reveal to him that he's The Doctor so they can survive The Family Of Blood.
Episode 5: Blink
(10, Martha, Weeping Angels)
One of the best episodes ever. The birth of wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey, as a regular old non-companion human must defeat a new type of alien menace in order to return the TARDIS to The Doctor and Martha, whom she has never met, but who are trapped somewhere in The Past.
Serial 6: End Of Days/Utopia
(10, Jack, Martha, Ianto, Owen, Toshiko, Rhys, Andy, The Master, Weevils)
Shit has been going down at TORCHWOOD, coworkers are hooking up, members of the team are dying, Jack is being even weirder than usual, and The Rift is going slitheenshit. Jack is in the midst of deciding what to do with his team when he hears the TARDIS in the distance, and forces a reunion that sends him, The Doctor, and Martha Jones to The End Of Time, where they stumble on to cannibals, the last humans, and a Classic Villain.
Serial 7: Sound Of Drums/Last Of The Time Lords/Time Crash
(10, Jack, Martha, Francine, Tish, Leo, Clive, The Master, Toclafane)
The Master is the new Prime Minister. Good going, Doctor. Betchya wish you hadn't fucked over Harriet Jones now. The world is under his command. The Doctor and Jack Harkness are his prisoners, and only Martha Jones can save the world. And when the crisis is over, The Doctor realizes he must travel alone and---Oh Shit! It's another The Doctor. Will he be his own companion?
Serial 8: Planet Of The Ood
(10, Donna, Ood)
The Doctor and his new companion encounter a slave race being sold by humans as "servants". The whole scenario is fucked up, and The Doctor and Donna are going to do their best to fix it.
Serial 9: Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky
(10, Donna, Martha, Wilfred, Sylvia, Sontarans)
UNIT, the military outfit that was super prevelant in Season Two, calls The Doctor for help. Well, to be specific, their officer, Martha Jones calls him in. Martha, Donna, and The Doctor have to stop a spoiled rich kid and an invading alien species from destroying the Earth. Classic sci-fi.
Serial 10: The Doctor's Daughter
(10, Donna, Martha, Hath)
During the first season, The Doctor was traveling with his granddaughter, Susan. So, of course, he Must Have a child who created that grandchild. Maybe this is her origin story. Or maybe it's just Donna, Martha, The Doctor, and some baby aliens playing some old-fashioned war games.