Today is the eve of the historic 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, one of my favorite television shows of all time, and while we will have plenty of celebratory coverage – including a special all-Doctor Who podcast posting tomorrow, and my own review of the 50th Anniversary Special after it airs – I wanted to kick things off with a retrospective piece, commemorating what I consider to be the best episodes of the series.
Now, I have limited this list only to the modern series – which began in 2005 with Russell T Davies as showrunner and Christopher Eccleston as Doctor – not because I have any disregard for the classic, 26-season run of the show that began in 1963, but because I simply have not watched enough classic Who to make such determinations. I have seen my fair share of classic serials, and certainly regard stories like “The Time Warrior” or “The Caves of Androzani” among some of my all-time favorite TV viewing experiences, but like many younger viewers, I came to the show with Eccleston and Davies, and my primary nostalgia for the series comes from the last seven seasons of television. And even if I had seen all 798 episodes of Doctor Who, stratifying them out into separate lists for ‘classic’ and ‘modern’ episodes would still probably be the best course of action, given how different the two eras are in terms of narrative and visual style.
In any case, these are my 10 favorite episodes – or ‘stories,’ since two-part installments must of course be included – of modern Doctor Who. It was no easy task to whittle them down, but I am satisfied with how it all shook out. There is a balance here between the different Doctors, Seasons, styles, and genres the modern show has explored, and for those who have yet to sample modern Who, many of these episodes would be great places to start.
Begin reading on the next page…