Series 7 of Doctor Who starts tomorrow and while BBC will be airing a Doctor Who marathon all day, I’ll be having my own marathon of my favorite Eleventh Doctor episodes from series 5 and 6. It was really hard to narrow it down to only five episodes, so there are some honorable mentions. If you disagree with me, let’s fight it out in the comments, but these are my personal Top 5:
5. “A Christmas Carol”
What It’s All About: The Doctor, Amy and Rory are on an intergalactic cruise ship that is about to crash into a planet, and the only person who can stop it is kind of a Scrooge. So the Doctor alters this Scrooge’s past, which changes the present and future. This is one of those Steven Moffat episodes where I find myself unable to explain to someone else the actual plot of the episode, but it evokes so many emotions that it really doesn’t matter. It’s a very new twist on the Dickens classic that takes place on a planet that resembles 19th century with some peculiar new technlogoy. And, oh yeah, a dense fog cover in which fish can swim.
Why I Love It: It’s a classic Doctor Who episode with lots of adventure and mind boggling timey-wimey stuff.
The Added Bonus: A world where fish (and bigger things) can swim in the fog? Count me in.
4. “Vincent and the Doctor”
What It’s All About: When the Doctor and Amy find a curious (and alien) monster in the background of a Vincent van Gogh painting, they travel to 1890 France and find the troubled artist who is the only person that can see the creature. This episode is just downright beautiful. There is a moment where Tony Curran as Vincent van Gogh is explaining the way he sees the world while looking up at the night sky and it morphs into a living painting. Then there’s a beautiful and seriously emotional moment when the Doctor takes Vincent to the future so that the painter can hear what people think of his work after he dies.
Why I Love It: I’m partial to most of the Doctor Who episodes that visit famous figures in history (Previous incarnations of the rebooted Doctor visited Dickens and Shakespeare), but this episode is my favorite. It’s heart-wrenchingly human.
The Added Bonus: The cameo and monologue from Bill Nighy are perfect.
3. “The Beast Below”
What It’s All About: The Doctor takes Amy to Britain in the future, aboard Starship UK and they attempt to puzzle out the secret that no one wants to talk about. It’s the first episode after the introduction of Amy to the Doctor, so it’s the first time Amy Pond gets to prove herself as a companion. And, boy, does she prove herself. She proves that she knows her “Raggedy Doctor” better than anyone else.
Why I Love It: I like conspiracy theories and corrupt governments. I loved the added depth of the choice buttons. But the decision that Amy makes at the end and her monologue are beautiful and wonderfully written; they completely make the episode.
The Added Bonus: We get to see that the Doctor isn’t always right.
2. “The Doctor’s Wife”
What It’s All About: After following a Time Lord distress signal to a junkyard planet, the Doctor finds himself in some trouble when his TARDIS seems to be dead. However, he meets a woman, Idris, who contains the essence of his TARDIS and is essentially his TARDIS in human form. This episode brings about a situation that I’m sure many Who fans had wanted to see (or, like me, didn’t know they wanted to see) for some time: the Doctor’s TARDIS could talk back to him!
Why I Love It: There is such wonderful humor and chemistry between the Doctor and Idris. This is the episode when the viewers can finally understand both sides of the most important relationship in the show.
The Added Bonus: The opposite side of the Doctor’s runaway story: “I wanted to see the universe, so I stole a Time Lord and I ran away.”
1. “Closing Time”
What It’s All About: When the Doctor pays a visit to his friend Craig, who is now married and a father, he discovers some Cybermen lurking beneath the town. At this point of the series, the Doctor has accepted the fact that he is going to die. This is the moment just before he goes to meet his fate, and it’s a hilarious moment. This episode has perfect comedic timing within the series and we get to revisit an old foe in current day England.
Why I Love It: It’s funny. As much as I like when the Doctor makes me cry, I like it a lot better when the Doctor makes me laugh.
The Added Bonus: The Doctor speaks baby! To a baby that calls himself Stormageddon, no less.
Honorable Mentions: “The Pandorica Opens”/”The Big Bang,” “The Time of Angels”/”Flesh and Stone,” “A Good Man Goes to War,” “Let’s Kill Hitler,” and “The Wedding of River Song.”
Tomorrow night is going to be emotional for all Doctor Who fans, so I suggest plenty of marathoning, maybe some tea, and to definitely check out Pond Life. It’s the web series focused on Amy and Rory that will fill you in on some of what’s happened since we last saw the Doctor.