Doctor Who has been around for 50 years. That is impressive. I am a newer fan of Doctor Who, but that does not make me any less a die hard fan. Doctor Who swept me under like a violent riptide and I will never, ever look back. It helped me get through a dark time of fear and uncertainty because that is what the Doctor faces in nearly every episode. It encompasses all genres. It takes me on an adventure every episode. It makes me fall in love, find friendship, and believe. It is a wonderful, wonderful show.
With the 50th Anniversary special airing this weekend, I can only hope for 50 more glorious years. I have decided to do a blog series this week pointing out my favorite episodes in a variety of different “categories” of Who. Today, I present my favorite stand alone episodes from the new generation of Who. In 2009, Doctor Who was put back on air with Christopher Eccleson (Thor: The Dark World) taking up the mantle of Doctor as his 9th reincarnation. The new series has opened up the flood gates for many new fans. This new series made Doctor Who a global powerhouse and recently announced the 12th Doctor’s actor, Peter Capaldi. The other two reincarnations were played by David Tennent and Matt Smith, both of which will be in the 50th Anniversary this Saturday along with John Hurt as the “War Doctor”.
Here are my Top 5 “Stand Alone” episodes of the New Who
The first episode of Doctor Who I ever watched was Gridlock (S3E3). Everyone starts somewhere when it comes to Who. I had actually watched the Christmas special Voyage of the Damned before but did not know what Doctor Who was, so Gridlock was the first episode I watched with concious knowledge of the show. You never forget your first episide. This episode gripped me because of the variety of colorful characters that it offered. There were aliens and humans of all shapes, sizes, and species. It’s a good episode to show the range Doctor Who has. With an interesting story and a phenomenal performance by David Tennant (accompanied by the companion Martha played by Freema), I wholeheartedly think this episode can be consumed by someone that has never watched Doctor Who at all. It takes place in New New York, a future of New York City and deals with a traffic jam where drivers have been waiting for decades on the motorway. Something unknown lurks in the fast lane and with Martha being kidnapped, the Doctor has no choice but to venture there…
Midnight (S4E10) is the most chilling episode of the New Who. I dare anyone to disagree. Not exactly an eventful episode for those wanting to get started with Doctor Who, the episode plays of the psychology of humanity in the face of an unknown and unseen entity. Leaving his companion, Donna, at a spa, the Doctor goes off on a train view to the surface of the planet Midnight. No one can actually go on the surface, however, so when something is spotted outside the train it envokes fear in the passengers. The episode is simple, but accompanied by terrific dialogue and an amazing musical score it elicits a wide range of emotions it the viewer.
When Asylum of the Daleks (S7E1) aired, I was sitting in a Doctor Who panel at Dragon*Con. The entire audience screamed NO SPOILERS at the panelists, showing unity and protectiveness over the beginning of a season we had long awaited for. I liked this episode because it had Daleks, of course! But it had something that I liked to see from the Daleks – fear. The otherwise fearless creatures feared their own “sick” Daleks, banishing them to a planet that they were afraid to set foot on. Therefore they asked their sworn enemy, the Doctor, and his two companions, Amy and Rory, to help them by going to the planet. This episode also introduced us to Clara, the mysterious souffle baking woman who provides a heartbreaking twist at the end of the episode.
The God Complex (S6E11) is a weird one for this list. It is not an episode that many would list, but this Eleventh doctor era episode struck me and I have rewatched it numerous times. Finding themselves stuck in an odd hotel, the Doctor must figure out a way out when there appears to be no exits. Meanwhile, everyone trapped there is faced with their fears. The episode was interesting because it dealt with the concept of faith as a consumable resource.
Finally, the best episode of Doctor Who ever: Blink (S3E11). Many fans will say that this episode is perfect to show those that have not watched Doctor Who before. That is because this episode really plays with the concept of time, but not in an elaborate way that you are probably thinking. This episode is certainly “timey wimey” and does not even deal with the Doctor very much at all – shocking! How can an episode not dealing directly with the Doctor be so good? The episode is well crafted with a brilliant story.
All fans of Doctor Who will have different episodes that have stood out to them. I have only named five in this post, but I can go through every single episode of the show and talk passionately about it. Rarely, for me, there is a dull moment or one that I do not like. It is hard for me to think of a bad episode. There were those I liked more then others, but all of them were entertaining enough for me to devour.
In the next blog I will tell you my favorite Multi-Part episodes. The show is has some episodes usually split into two parts. In an effort to not include these longer stories with single episode stand alones, I decided to just do seperate posts. The more Doctor Who, the merrier.