Well, here it is Doctor Who fans! Following yesterday’s part 1 of our readers’ 50 favorite episodes so far, we proudly present you with your Top 25! Where will your favorite rank?
So, there were some surprises in yesterday’s list, as adventures like “The Waters of Mars,” “Dalek” and “The Unicorn and the Wasp” ranked in disappointing places – failing even to break the Top 40. Trust us, there are plenty more surprises to come as we count down from 25 in order to crown our readers’ favourite Doctor Who episode so far.
Onwards and upwards. GERONIMO!
|“This is the story of how I died,” announces Rose in the prologue of “Army of Ghosts.” While her death is more metaphorical than initially made out, this episode begins the most heart-wrenching departure we’ve seen on Doctor Who. It’s not long before The Doctor, Rose and Jackie Tyler find themselves in Torchwood HQ (the irresponsible London division, not the cheeky Welsh team who fight car-driving blowfish and sleep with each other). As four Daleks prepare for war with the Cybermen and all of human kind, we were glued to our chairs waiting for the second part.|
|The beginning of the end for The Tenth Doctor, “The End of Time, Part 1” has plenty of set pieces and epic moments. Everything from an unstable Master turning all of humanity into a projection of himself to the sinister return of the Time Lords cranks up the Richter scale to stratospheric heights. But despite all the grandiose, returning character Wilfred Mott keeps The Doctor grounded and pulls on our heart strings – creating the perfect mixture of action and drama.|
|Oh, the feels. With part 1 narrowly missing out on a place in the top 25, “The Family of Blood” takes everything up a notch. From the action and suspense of the scarecrow attack on the school, to John Smith’s tearful farewell (there’s a good reason David Tennant won awards for his performance in this episode), our hearts are working overtime until they’re left broken by the ending. The conclusion to one of the most unique stories we’ve even seen on Doctor Who has everything an episode needs and then some.|
|In the opening minutes of “Day of the Moon,” Rory, Amy and River are apparently killed by Canton Delaware. But of course, this episode is full of twists, turns, surprises and general deceptiveness. Its genre bending narrative veers from sci-fi to horror to conspiracy so suddenly and so confidently that by the end we feel like we’ve watched a feature length movie. And of course, there’s the mysterious regeneration at the end of the episode – planting the seeds that are continuously sown throughout the series.|
|Steven Moffat’s Weeping Angels always make for a terrifying adventure, and “Flesh and Stone” keeps us on edge throughout. Continuing from “The Time of Angels,” the adventure rattles on at breakneck pace (and plenty of soldiers get their necks broken as well). The sense of humour remains present – specifically with The Doctor’s conversations with Angel Bob – but it takes a backseat as Amy’s time begins to run out. If you maintain that you weren’t hiding behind the sofa watching this one, you’re lying.|
|A unique, high concept sci-fi story that manages to keep the drama present and the emotion touching is always a compelling adventure, and “The Girl Who Waited” is as good a science fiction tale as you will ever see at the movie theater. With Amy stuck in a separate time-stream on an alien planet, some wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff leaves her trapped for 36 years. Rory breaks into the quarantine facility and tries to free her, but finds himself with both an older and present day Amy. As the rules of fixed points and paradoxes come in to play, the three must battle robots and Rory is forced to make a heart-breaking decision.|
|Ranking a little higher than its concluding part, “The Time of Angels” brings the spectacular return of River Song and a tribe of Weeping Angels that are more powerful than we had ever seen before. There’s a surprising amount of comedy for such a dark adventure, with the chemistry (and plenty of flirting) between Matt Smith and Alex Kingston bringing welcome relief from the murder, suspicion and body-horror. “The Time of Angels” is all the more impressive when you remember that this was Smith and Gillan’s first shoot – you can’t tell, as they give confident and assured performances throughout.|
|“A Good Man Goes To War” was Doctor Who‘s first mid-series finale, and it justified the format with all the action, twists and effects we’ve come to expect from a series climax. “This is the day The Doctor finds out who I am,” warns River early on. The eventual revelation left fans with their jaws on the floor, but not before our hearts and nails had received a beating from the Star Wars like battles and tragic loss of young Melody Pond. When The Doctor is shown the consequences (both moral and mortal) of his knee-jerk reactions, we can see that he’s a changed man. A wonderful array of supporting characters and quotability galore ensure this episode will be remembered for a long time to come.|
|The Tenth Doctor’s swansong has all of the action and apocalyptic stakes you’d expect after Part 1’s cliffhanger, but that’s not what we love it for. It’s the last fifteen minutes that mark Part 2 as something special, with David Tennant’s Doctor given an unprecedented chance to bid farewell to all of his companions. These short moments are poignant and touching, wrapping up not just Ten’s arc but also many of his companions. As he saves their lives, finds them partners, looks on from the distance, and (in the case of Rose) says hello, he grows weaker. “I don’t wanna go,” he says before regenerating. We didn’t want you to either, David.|
|“The Impossible Astronaut” marks the first time Doctor Who had filmed in America, and the gorgeous Utah surroundings lend scope and beauty to a mind-boggling series opener. Minutes into the episode, The Doctor is struck down dead and laid to rest. Later, an earlier version of himself swaggers into a diner and whisks his companions away to the 1960s. With President Nixon, the mysterious Silence, and a distress call from a trapped girl, we crash into an adventure of twists and turns aplenty. As the groundwork is lain for a puzzling series arc, we’re left scratching our heads and picking up our jaws from THAT cliffhanger.|
|When the role call of Doctor Who stars’ names whiz across the screen at a frantic pace in the opening credits, we know we’re on for the reunion ensemble piece of the decade. And as the Daleks relocate Planet Earth and begin to invade, companions past and present assemble to protect the earth. But with his “children” fighting for their lives, The Doctor and Donna are left out of the loop in a desperate search. After an ecstatic reunion with Rose leads to tragedy, the turbulent events and adrenalin injected action comes to a crashing close – ready for the return of The Doctor’s most frightening adversary.|
|“Midnight” is a clean break from many of the sci-fi conventions we’ve become accustomed to. No CGI alien, no chase, no clever reveal. Just people in a room, talking. Oh, and slow-burning, agonizing tension that builds to a downbeat climax. As one of a shuttle’s passengers is possessed by an unidentified monster, the assorted tourists find themselves turning against eachother out of fear. Using words as weapons, panic and suspense mount and not everyone gets out alive. This adventure was a big risk for Doctor Who, but it all paid off and great directing, writing and acting gave us one of the most terrifying things in television history.|
|A lengthy pre-credits sequence follows a message from the delirious Vincent Van Gough through time and space, eventually leading The Doctor, Amy and River to Stonehenge in search of the ominous Pandorica. Various aliens, monsters and villains gather as the box begins to open – and it’s revealed to be a prison for The Doctor. When a revived Rory turns out to be an Auton, things get worse. With The Doctor imprisoned, Amy murdered, River and the TARDIS caught in a looping explosion and the whole Universe coming to an end, it looked like the game really was up. Breathtaking scope and a range of clever concepts cement “The Eleventh hour” in our collective psyche.|
|New Doctor, new companion, new rules. After the spectacle of “The End of Time,” Steven Moffat grounded things back on Earth to introduce the wacky Eleventh Doctor. As the newly regenerated alien waltzes in and out of Amelia Pond’s life, he finds himself having affected a whole childhood just by being “five minutes” late. When he returns, the feisty Amy is all grown-up and in danger as her home plays safehouse to the escaped Prisoner Zero. Confident performances and masterclass writing guides us towards a thrilling climax. And as Matt Smith steps out of the (literal) shadows of previous incarnations and declares “I am The Doctor,” we find ourselves asking “David Who?”|
|Davros is back, and has The Doctor right where he wants him. The assembled companions of the past fight the Dalek empire and save the earth (and indeed the Universe) from certain extermination. The mindblowing climax doesn’t pass without its casualties, and Donna is forced to forget her adventures and just how remarkable of a person she really is. This heartbreak is balanced by Rose finally getting her happy ending. “Journey’s End” is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, veering from action set pieces to tender tearjerkers in the blink of an eye.|
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