Continuing my plan to post what I think to be the highlights of every season of Doctor Who, old and new.
For each series I choose 2 or 3 of what I consider to be the best stories, and a selection of also-rans. "Stories" may comprise any number of actual episodes (somewhere between 1-14, typically 4 or 6). Older Who is nearly always episodic, with NuWho most episodes are self-contained. Feel free to expand on my brief comments, agree, disagree etc. This is, after all, purely subjective.
Classic Who (Doctors One to Eight)
New Series (Doctors Nine to Eleven)
Thanks Androgeus for the links in the top post!
And so onto Tennant's second series on the role, and a new companion. Martha starts out well - there's a nice moment in the first episode, Smith and Jones
, where Martha has calmly worked out what is going on whilst her medical student friend has gone to pieces. The Doctor chooses Martha to come with him and, almost with a casual arrogance, dismisses her friend.
Pity that they decided to lumber her with unrequited love for The Doctor as her mooning over him gets tedious, as does his evident sense of loss about Rose. Whilst it is a bold move to give more focus to The Doctor's feelings for his companions, I personally think they take it too far to the detriment of other aspects of the show.
The Christmas Specials, by the way: I am considering them, as part of the series that they precede. In this case, The Runaway Bride. Catherine Tate is a surprise in the role, but more on her next time. I love the way, in the scene where she is trapped in a speeding taxi with a psychotic robot driver, she says "Santa's a robot
!" with a mix of disbelief, resignation ("the way my day's been going, of course
he is") and accusation ("...and somehow it's all your
Series Three (2007)
– Beautifully crafted and, at the time, unusual for featuring the Doctor only as an incidental character. The Weeping Angels are a masterfully scary creation, and this is the episode that gives us "wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey". (My Obligatory Moffat Episode
Human Nature/Family Of Blood
– An interesting story with explorations of jingoism vs. patriotism and attitudes to class and race at the beginning of the 20th century. Stories where the hero suddenly becomes reluctant to be the hero can be quite frustrating, as with this one, I found (I enjoyed Martha's frustration with "John Smith" - "Don't just stand there, run! God, you're rubbish as a human!"). I didn't like the Doctors super-powered punishments at the end, smacked too much of the "cult of the Doctor" for my liking. The moment by the cenotaph was just on the right side of bathos.
The Shakespeare Code
– Silly but fun. What more needs to be said? Well, if you insist; some brief and humourous considerations on historical attitude to race (with Shakespeare's fumbling attempts to find the right words to describe Martha), and the idea of an alien technology based on language is really just an excuse for "magic spells" but is nonetheless an interesting and audacious idea.
Utopia/The Sound Of Drums
– Love Derek Jacobi in the first of these, then John Sims steals it in the second. Ideally, of course, you need to complete the trilogy with Last Of The Time Lords
, but this is easily the weakest of the three, marred by another deus ex machina
(as with The Parting of the Ways
, pretty much literally
a deus ex machina
). The actual storylines are fairly slight, but the villain really makes these episodes. As he should.