For over 50 years the British TV show Doctor Who has captivated watchers with its zany aliens and twisting plotlines. Having a shaky start in the 1960’s because the first episode was aired the day that JFK was assassinated giving poor american ratings for the first seasons. But despite that the show has only grown in ratings and fans. The show has produced over 800 episodes and made some real fantastic ones and some that really were quite bad. But what were the top ten best episodes of all time? In honor of the 12 doctor soon making his first full episode appearance, this is the top 10 best episodes of all the seasons of Doctor Who.
1. Blink (2007)
This is the episode that everybody shows their friends when they want to get them into Doctor Who. It introduces one of the greatest enemies the Doctor ever faced, the terrifying Weeping Angels. These statue like creatures called “the kindest assassins in the universe”by the Doctor kill you by sending you back in time and let you die right before you were sent back in time. Also, they only move when you’re not looking at them. The fear of the unknown enemy then one you can see makes The Weeping Angels all the more terrifying and one of the best enemy created on Doctor Who. Ever since this episode, Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat has kept the angels around making them a force that even the Doctor Fears.
Its strange this episode is so good because this is one of the few episodes that the main character is not the Doctor but a woman named Sally Sparrow. But her interaction with The Doctor through video tapes from the 1960’s and the time travel aspect created by the angels makes this episode number one in my book and in the books of many other Whovians.
2. City of Death (1979)
This is a series of episodes that only the hardcore Doctor Who will have seen from the late 1970’s. The series opens with an evil alien crash landing on earth millions of years ago causing his ship to violently explode near a pool of primal ooze. Next we see the fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker, and his companion Romana. They are enjoying a trip to Paris but the Doctor senses ripples in time. They soon find out that an evil alien is stealing hundreds of precious artifacts across time and selling them to create a time machine to try to prevent his ship from ever exploding in the first place. Unfortunately the explosion from his ship actually sparked life to begin on Earth and the Doctor and Romana must stop him.
This story arc was incredibly well received at the time and there is several reasons for that. One is that fact that the script was co-written by Douglas Adams, yes the Douglas Adams that wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. This humor and style is everywhere in the story arc from The Doctor’s snarky comments to the enemies plan and his motive. Also, John Cleese has a camo two of the episodes as a man in an art gallery who mistakes the Tardis for a piece of modern art
3. Vincent and the Doctor (2010)
After the death of one of the Doctor’s companions and husband of Amy Pond The Doctor wanted to cheer her up by taking her to Paris to see a gallery of Vincent van Gogh’s work when the Doctor sees a monster in a painting that was not there before. So they go back in time to find Vincent van Gogh and save him from the monster in his painting. Amy seems to find Vincent attractive and they have a bit of romance between them and showing him what he will be known as later in time. But in the end it was not enough to save the artist from committing suicide several years later.
This episode was unexpectedly popular because of the episode that came before it, but the performance by Scottish actor Tony Curran was amazing showing the manic depressed painter who swung from a happy go lucky painter who was happy just to paint to the dark depressed man who barely leave his house and drink himself silly. Also, the monster called the Krafayis was injured and left behind by his own kind. This mirrors van Gogh’s depression and how he was left behind by the art world until many years after his death. In the end this episode took fans by surprise and made Vincent van Gogh a Character to remember in the Doctor Who Universe.
4. An Unearthly child (1963)
The Unearthly Child was the very first episode of Doctor Who and is an arc of four different episodes that show us the first doctor living in england with his granddaughter Susan Foreman. She has a very different worldview than the rest of the children in her class. Her two teachers think this is rather strange and follow her home to find out about her family and where she lives. They find out she lives with an old man known as The Doctor who is a time traveler. Skeptically they challenge this and Susan send the TARDIS 10,000 into the past. Over the next three episodes they are caught in the middle of a conflict between two prehistoric tribes, fighting over who was the one to first create fire.
These were the episodes that started it all and gave us the first doctor played by William Hartnell. He is a darker and much more angry doctor the we are use to. He also was considerably older than future actors that played the Doctor. While the first doctor was only around for three years it was the beginning and is interesting that the first series of episodes takes place in the first beginning of human society.
5. The Girl in the Fireplace (2006)
The Doctor and his companions Rose Tyler, and Mickey Smith find a 51st century ship floating in space and heavily damaged. Upon exploring the ship they discovered an 18th century french fireplace that teleports the Doctor to the bedroom of a french girl named Reinette. Talking to her the Doctor. He steps back through the fireplace and onto the ship. Then when he steps back through the fireplace he finds that many months have passed and Reinette has grown up into a teenager. He soon discovers that clockwork soldiers are trying to capture Reinette and use her body parts to fix their ship and return home.
In the recreation of the Doctor Who series this was the first time we got to see the Doctor have a romantic connection to anyone. Also, because that the woman was the mistress of King Louis XV and that he almost wants to be with her and not at the same time makes a fantastic episode with great time travel within it. Also, for the romantics this episode showed the Doctor as a protector and watcher of Reinette for her entire life and when she was of age she wanted to be with him but knew that she could not because of her position within the French Monarchy.
6. The Impossible planet/The Satan Pit (2006)
In these two episodes the Doctor and Rose Tyler find a planet that is incredibly close to a dark hole. They also find a language that is so old that not even the TARDIS cannot translate it. After they meet the crew the find that strange things began happening after a massive cavern is discovered in the middle of the planet. Soon one member of the crew is possessed by an entity who begins killing all the crew in an attempt to escape. After they detain the man the Doctor goes down into the pit to find a massive beast chained into the middle of the planet. The Doctor realizes that this was the creature that inspired Satan on Earth and could not be allowed to escape. So he destroys it mind and leaves it to be pulled into the black hole and destroyed. These two episodes uses some amazing imagery and concepts to make a place where Satan himself was chained for hundreds of thousands of years. It shows us the deductive power of the Doctor and his vast knowledge and bravery in the face of pure evil. Also, when we see the beast in the pit for the first time everyone got a shiver running up their spines seeing a beast roaring and yelling at the Doctor.
7. The Bad Wolf/The Parting of Ways (2005)
The ninth Doctor, Jack Harkness, and Rose Tyler find themselves on a 500 floor gamestation that has many enemies the doctor has fought against together in one place. After competing in the games for a while they find out that the ones behind the Gamestation is his most ancient enemy, the Daleks. Soon they find the Dalek Emperor who survived the Time War in a badly damaged ship. When the Doctor discovered this the Daleks kill Jack Harkness and soon the Doctor. But then the TARDIS appears and it opens to reveal Rose who has absorbed the energy of the TARDIS declaring herself the Bad Wolf and an all powerful being. After she vaporizes the Dalek emperor and his entire fleet the Doctor tells Rose to give up the power but she instead brings Jack back to life and begins to disappear into energy. But instead of letting her die the Doctor takes the energy into himself putting it back into the TARDIS. This destroys the doctor and causes him to regenerate into the Tenth Doctor.
These episodes were the last of the ninth doctor and finally showed us what the words Bad Wolf meant. These had been one of the biggest hidden ideas in doctor who. This also was the first reincarnation in the new Doctor Who series and introduced viewers to a fan favorite, the Tenth Doctor played by David Tennant.
8. The Daleks (1964)
After the Unearthly Child arc came the Daleks. We see the Doctor, this Granddaughter Susan and her teachers accidentally landing on a jungle planet. They are captured by the Daleks who are at war with a peaceful people called the Thals. The Daleks want the jungle for themselves because they are feeding on the radiation they created during the war with the Thals. They find that the planet is called Skaro and that the Thals are pacifists and will not fight back against the Daleks. The Doctor convinces the Thals to fight back and are thought to have wiped out the Daleks.
These episodes introduced the most powerful enemy of the Doctor and cements the idea that they had been wiped out into the cannon of Doctor Who. It is interesting that the Daleks have been around in the realm of Doctor Who for so long and these episodes made it happen.
9. A Good Man Goes to War/Let’s Kill Hitler (2011)
In these episode we see the eleventh doctor and an army of alien allies to wage war against the organization holding Amy captive. The doctor calls on every person he has ever helped and they come in by the dozens. With a resurrected Rory and hundreds of aliens they storm the asteroid known as Demons Run. They succeed in saving Amy but her daughter melody is captured by the organization. With much help Melody is saved and in the end we find out the Melody is River Song, The child of the TARDIS is the wife of the Doctor. What an episode.
This is the end of the saga about Amy Pond’s pregnancy and the mystery behind River Song. We get to see the Doctor at his most badass and in typical Doctor style comes in to Devil’s Run with only his wits, knowledge, and of course his sonic screwdriver. He uses his reputation and the friends he has made over thousands of years to overcome an insurmountable enemy. It is a great episode that makes Matt Smiths doctor someone not to be messed with.
10. The Angels Take Manhattan (2012)
This is the episode that broke the heart of the Doctor and Whovians everywhere. The weeping angels have set up a feeding ground in 1950’s where they could trap people forever and feed off of their energy for all eternity. The Doctor and his companions must figure out a way to stop the angels or else they will never see each other again. Along with River Song and an angry Mob boss they try to solve the mystery and save New York. This is the end of Amy and Rory Pond’s time with the Doctor and one of the Angels greatest triumphs. Also, the fact that the statute liberty is a weeping angel is utterly terrfiying. It is a good episode with twists and turns that made me gasp.