What can you say about the action packed, drama filled, adventure inspiring Doctor Who stories, I love ‘em, well most of them anyway. And ever since the show came back in 2005 more and more stories are slowly joining the ranks of classic epics like Genesis of the Daleks, The Caves of Androzani, Inferno, and so on. So today I’m gonna countdown the top 11 greatest stories the new series’ first 5 series had to offer. “Why Top 11?” Because I have my own story that will never die. So sit back and enjoy the top 11 greatest Doctor Who episodes.
Number 11 – Turn Left
See told you it was here. What makes this episode so great is the setting, it is so effective that I was scared I might get sucked though the screen and into it. The scary moments were also well done, if you weren’t scared when you saw the Time Beetle climbing on Donna’s back or that mushroom cloud over London or when the stars stated going out then you are f***ing fearless. And while the performances sometimes go way over the top, they’re solid and enjoyable most of the time. This episode shows us the grim realization that we need the Doctor more then we’d like to believe and that if the Doctor were to die then we would likely die along with him. Overall this story is brilliant, not perfect but brilliant, 9/10.
Like “Turn Left”, “Blink” tells us a scary story in a semi-perfect way. Steven Moffat delivers the mandatory scary story of the season so well but unfortunately it lies in the shadow of “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood” two-parter but we’ll get to it later. “Blink” is notorious for the introduction of the Weeping Angels, one of the scariest if not the most scary creatures in the new series, they’ve given a new definition of the word ‘monster’. However I really don’t think that the Hugo award it won was justified because the aforementioned two-parter was a lot superior in some aspects to this episode, but that doesn’t mean that the story itself is bad. This episode had its dramatic moments as well but they never had as much staying power as some other moments this season. Overall this episode was near-perfect as it shows how an ordinary person who has never seen an alien before has to deal with the issue (an issue which was executed before but not so well in “Love and Monsters”), 9/10.
Number 9 – Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
I need to justify myself on this one as I said before that I considered “Last of the Time Lords” to be a 7/10 story. That was my opinion on the final episode alone. When you put behind it two incredibly well done episodes you get a near flawless story which keeps you constantly interested in how out protagonists are going to resolve the issues at hand. In this epic three-parter the TARDIS crew are subjected to many trials and tribulations and even though I thought that “Last of the Time Lords” was underwhelming, “Utopia” and “The Sound of Drums” were more than a counter balance in terms of quality. We are reintroduced to the Doctor’s greatest enemy and, unlike how in the original series the Doctor tries to stop the Master from taking over, the Master has already taken over, it just brings the Doctor/Master fight to a whole new level. The action is engaging, the drama works well, it isn’t perfect but it’s almost there. 9/10.
Number 8 – The Waters of Mars
You must have seen this coming as “The Waters of Mars” is the best of the 2009 specials. It has a great setting, impressive visual effects even by modern standards, performances at best, action packed scenes every now and then, and quite possibly one of the scariest moments in the new series – the Doctor just snapping and saying “f**k it, I’m saving whoever I want”. Overall the story is very well done and it got us all hyped for the next one which needless to say was a disappointment. 9/10.
Number 7 – The Eleventh Hour
What else were you expecting, this is the second best story of Series 5 and there’s a reason, Matt Smith just owns the scene. It’s interesting to see the Doctor relying on his brains instead of his TARDIS and Sonic Screwdriver and saving the world in 18 minutes is got to be a record. It’s the best series opener and a Doctor/Companion introduction story. It isn’t perfect because it has to set up the series first genuine story arc, introduce recurring characters, find a reason for a new Sonic and a TARDIS and ultimately it works very good. 9/10
Number 6 – Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel
I love this episode, we have action, we have drama, we have the Cybermen and we even have Mickey to save the day. It’s an action packed reintroduction of the Doctor’s second most powerful adversaries and I enjoyed these Cybus Cybermen for their appearance and their more mechanical personality, but is it just me or does John Lumic look a lot like Davros. Anyway this story is awesome and it shows that the no matter the universe the Cybermen can still be badass, 9/10
Number 5 – Human Nature/The Family of Blood
Again you must have seen this coming as Paul Cornel really outdid himself with the script. I was only mildly impressed with “Father’s Day” but there’s a reason why people think that it’s the best story ever even though I don’t. Firstly the premise has ‘success’ written all over it, secondly there is not a single actor in this two-parter that doesn’t deliver, every single performance out of every single cast member I enjoyed, and finally when someone does or says something awesome that moment stays with you for a long while after the episode is over. Ultimately this episode works because of the superb pieces of dialogue and the eye watering drama, there are a few action scenes but they don’t have the staying power of Son of Mine’s final narration or the cliffhanger of “Human Nature”. Final Score: 10/10.
Number 4 – The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit (Special Pick)
You’re probably wondering how I can place Matt Jones’ only script after the Family of Blood two-parter. The reason for this is that this action packed two-parter is the inverted version of the previous story on the list in terms of the Drama:Action ratio, I would say that is “42” done right except for the fact that this two-parter aired one year before “42”. The reason why I like this story more than the previous one is because Matt Jones managed to give us a scary story which is packed full of action and suspense. Once this episode builds its momentum, it’s downright unstoppable, the pace is fast but not “42” fast, it sometimes slows down just enough for us to catch our breaths but not slow enough for us to get bored. Also we have character development and a pretty effective and scary villain, c’mon don’t tell me I’m the only one who found the Beast to be terrifying (which is more than I can say about “42”). This story kicks ass in the same way “Human Nature” delivers the drama. 10/10.
Number 3 – The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
Uh, oh, the Controversy Alarm is sounding. As I said in my examination of RTD’s series finales I said that “The Parting of the Ways” is better than “The Big Bang” and in the same vein “Bad Wolf” is better than “The Pandorica Opens”. Don’t get me wrong in some instances the story is better than “The Parting of the Ways” but there’s a certain moment towards the end that really insulted my intelligence but I’ll get to it next time. In any case this epic two-parter manages to destroy any doubts that the Moff can’t run the show as well as the fact that it’s the second best series finale after the next story. 10/10.
Number 2 – Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways
Do I even have to talk about this two-parter? It’s awesome, dramatic, epic, action packed and every other good word that comes to mind. The acting is perfect, the comedic moments are spot on, the action is edge-of-your-seat engaging, and the dramatic moments can give anyone teary eyes. This is RTD’s best script and it will be remembered in the history of Doctor Who as one of the greatest stories ever. 10/10.
Number 1 – Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
It is only fitting that the best story of the new series is a one penned by the Hugo award-winning juggernaut himself, Steven Moffat. While I don’t need to explain why I love “The Pandorica Opens”/”The Big Bang” or “Bad Wolf”/”The Parting of the Ways” I think it’s necessary to justify putting the Library two-parter in the number 1 spot so here we go: In this two-parter the Doctor meets for the first time River Song, our favourite badass action girl/archaeologist and her introduction is handled perfectly, there are several hints towards possible future episodes as well as the intro to the scariest creature the new series has to offer: shadows. I can talk about the impressive CGI, the kick-ass action scenes and the scary moments all day long but the story isn’t about them. It’s about the Doctor meeting a woman for the first time who he knows that one day he’ll love just by the way they talk to each-other only for her to sacrifice herself for him. It’s not only one of the greatest dramatic moments in the new series but one of the best moments overall. Also let’s not forget the Doctor scaring the Vashta Nerada away just by saying who he is, Donna getting the life she always wanted only to discover it’s an illusion. Everything about this story is flawless right down to the ending narration by River, it’s like a diamond cut to perfection. Even giving it 10/10 isn’t what this story deserves, “Silence in the Library”/”Forrest of the Dead” gets 11/10. It’s the best story of Doctor Who and one of the best pieces of Sci-fi in recent years. In Conclusion Every single one of these episodes deserves to be watched again and again as they are the apex of Doctor Who greatness.