Favorite Doctor Who Episodes or How I Loved Steven Moffat Before I Knew Him

David and I started watching Doctor Who in 2010, so basically when the new series had already gone through the 9th and 10th Doctor. We did not go all the way back to the beginning, but just decided to start with the new Doctor Who, Christopher Eccelston as the 9th Doctor. I do not remember my feelings when first watching the show, but I know it was not long until we were hooked.

David and I made sure to get all caught up before Doctor Who Series 5 started and we got to watch it as it aired, at least as it aired in the United States. Now when we initially heard that Russell T. Davies had left the show and there would be a new head writer, we were a little concerned because we had loved the show so far. At first David and I  were not sure who this Steven Moffat guy was, then we started looking over our list of favorite episodes, and that is when we got really excited.

So here it is: David and my favorite episodes of Doctor Who.

Series 1 – The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances by Steven Moffat

This two part episode of the new series with the 9th Doctor was absolutely brilliant. First we get introduced to the incomparable and debonair Captain Jack Harkness who quickly sweeps us off our feet along with Rose. Then we have one of the creepier monster / alien of the entire series. This child in a gas mask quietly saying “Are you my mommy?” and the words just send chills down your spine.

You also get to see such a great side of the Doctor with him dealing with the children and trying to figure out what is going on. This is actually a great episode to start on because it does not deal with any larger story, but is just a monster of the week(s). The character dynamics makes it irresistible. It also has one of the greatest conversation exchanges about the sonic screwdriver.

“Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks, “Ooh, this could be a little more sonic”?” – Captain Jack Harkness

Series 2 – The Girl in the Fireplace by Steven Moffat

This episode was so gorgeous and the way it played with space and time was amazing. The Doctor, Rose, and Mickey end up on a spaceship in the 51st century with a fireplace that leads to 18th Century France. I don’t want to give too much away because people need to watch Doctor Who and if you have not seen it you need to watch it. Again this is an episode that does well as a stand alone so you can watch it even if you have not seen any other episodes.

“The monster and the Doctor. It seems you cannot have one without the other.” – Madame Du Pompadour

Series 3 – Blink by Steven Moffat

So this might be my absolute favorite episode. It does not even have that much of the Doctor in and yet it tells such an amazing story. When I watched this episode the angels freaked me out so much and then you see them everywhere. Luckily I live in a town without many statues, but it is definitely something that never leaves you. Again, Moffat plays very heavily with what could be accomplished using time travel.

“Don’t blink, blink and your dead” – The Doctor

Series 4 – Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead by Steven Moffat

Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Not only is this episode during Series 4 with the illustrious and incomparable Donna Noble, but it is also the introduction of the unparalleled and indescribable River Song. It is just a huge pile of great ideas all working together. We are so far in the future that it takes a small planet to hold all the books in the universe, the largest library in the universe.

It is funny that the Doctor brings Donna here because he keeps pointing out she can’t read many things here because she should not learn about anything in her future. Of course we soon learn that he was summoned by someone. They also quickly learn that they are in the largest library in the universe and yet nobody is there. The monster in these two episodes really makes you think, I guess the biggest question is: are you afraid of the dark?

“Spoilers” – the Doctor and River Song

So as you can see David and my favorite episodes from the first four series were all Steven Moffat episodes. So of course when Series 5 started and he was head writer we were ecstatic and he has not disappointed. The overarching story lines have been so good and complex, it has kept me guessing. There have been some particularly outstanding episodes in the most recent series.

Series 5 – Vincent and the Doctor by Richard Curtis

As a lover of Vincent Van Gogh this episode was fantastic. Tony Curran brought Vincent Van Gogh to life and having the Doctor and Amy interacting with him was such an amazing story. My favorite concept in this episode is the idea that the reason Vincent painted the way he did was because he literally saw the world differently than anyone else. It really was a tragedy that he was not appreciated in his own time.

“It seems to me there’s so much more to the world than the average eye is allowed to see. I believe, if you look hard, there are more wonders in this universe than you could ever have dreamt of.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Series 6 – The Girl Who Waited by Tom MacRae

How do I even begin to describe this episode without giving something away? I guess the thing you need to know is that there was a deadly disease that broke out in some distant alien planet and the disease would kill in 24 hours. So they set up a way for the person with the disease to have that 24 hours last an entire lifetime. They could watch their children grow up and have children all in the 24 hours that they had left to live. Now what happens when Doctor and Rory end up on the opposite side of the time delay as Amy? A second goes by for them and a week goes by for Amy. How can you get her out without taking too much time when time is moving so much slower for you?

“36 years, 3 months, 4 days of solitary confinement. This facility was built to give people the chance to live. I walked in here and I died. Do you have anything to say? Anything, Doctor?” – Amy Pond

It’s been fun to watch some of the other writers flourish with Moffat at the helm! What are your favorite Doctor Who episodes?

9 responses to “Favorite Doctor Who Episodes or How I Loved Steven Moffat Before I Knew Him

  1. You guys probably made the right decision in not delving too far back . . . I decided a while back that I was going to chronologically watch every Doctor Who episode that I could rent from Netflix . . . bad idea. Some of the older stuff is really good, and its kind of fascinating to watch the evolution of the character and concept, but the medicore and bad stuff is almost unwatchable.

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    • We did not decide to go all the way back we just picked a random episode that we saw was on Netflix and that kind of turned us off from watching the older episodes. But we have loved Doctor Who since starting with Christopher Eccelston as the Doctor.

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      • I think there’s a lot of nostalgia involved with that: I first discovered Who when the local PBS station used to run them late Saturday nights when I was a teenager, and they used to play multiple episodes and entire story arcs so you could kind of consume a whole thing in one sitting — I had no real idea what was going on, no Google back then, but it was bizarre enough to be worth tuning in for.

        I dunno, though, I do give them credit for often being far more ambitious in a story-telling sense than they actually had the ability to back it up many times.

        That’s something that gets lost in modern sci-fi, where you almost reverse engineer the creative side by looking at the budget and the technology — here’s a list of things we can’t do because we can’t afford it — instead of just having someone sit at a keyboard and go ‘you know what would be fascinating . . .’

        For all its production warts, Doctor Who always just ran with the imagination aspect, even if the execution sometimes fell a bit flat. It’s great though, to see a much larger audience enjoy it and it not be such a cult, semi-obscure thing.

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  2. Pretty much all of those episodes. I don’t know if I have a favorite from series 6, actually, but exactly the ones you named from 1-5 for the same reasons.

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    • The Doctor’s Wife. Your need for a Series 6 favorite is solved.

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      • That one was pretty good. Now that I’m looking at an episode list, I have to ask–Do Christmas episodes count? The “how to dissect a Scrooge” theme of “A Christmas Carol” really appealed to my interest in solving social problems with time travel.

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  3. Pingback: Why I Loved Listen (Doctor Who Series 8) | Comparative Geeks

  4. Pingback: Favorite Doctor Who? Blink, Moffat, and graphs! Part 1 | Comparative Geeks

  5. Pingback: Favorite Doctor Who? Blink, Moffat, and graphs! Part 2 | Comparative Geeks

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