Doctor Who: The Comprehensive Guide to Things I Like, Ninth Doctor Edition

This is a short overview / series for Doctor Who episodes that are my favorite from each doctor after finishing all of the TV show Doctor Who (Old and New).

Just a couple thing before I jump in to it:

  • I broke these down in to Doctors because comparisons between the eras are nearly impossible
  • There’s a link to every other entry at the bottom if you missed any of them
  • These are not reviews or even summaries, they’re just some stray thoughts about what I liked about the episodes usually
  • These episodes are listed in order of airing, not in order of ranking
  • Also :

9th Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston 2005

What can be said about 9th that hasn’t already been said? For catapulting the show back in to the mainstream, for building up an already complex and interesting character, and for working so hard to bring Doctor Who back to life Eccleston deserves the accolades he got even if he walked away from the show too early. 9th Doctor is one of my favorites because he is complex, fascinating, alien, and above all else, sassy.

After a scrape with the Time War which he might mention a few times during the course of the show, it’s not too surprising that this incarnation of the Doctor is little bit darker than his young days before killing off the entirety of his own species. While the Doctor may have never had much of a soft spot for the Time Lords he did love his home and abstractly respected the idea of it. 9th is a culmination of the darkness of every bad deed he’s done and he embraces his title of “oncoming storm” without batting an eyelash because of it. He has moments of utter fury and destruction and death but in all honesty, the Doctor has always been at least a little bit of a bad guy to outright having caused genocides before.

Despite his rough demeanor the Doctor is still a wonderful, playful man at heart who seeks to be redeemed through his actions. Meeting Rose and Jack softens him and he gets a few big wins under his belt and he’s back to be playful-sassy instead of scary-sassy. I think 9th is one of the best interpretation of what someone who has experienced life ways too great to speak of and ways too terrible to dwell on would be like. He can smile but even when he does, it feels like there is a bit of sadness in that smile. 9th also set off what I’d like to call the “redemption arc” for the Doctor which gives the whole series a new goal.

Dalek


Running Time: 1 episode, 45 minutes
Rating: 5 out of 5
Companions: Rose Tyler and Adam Mitchell
Thoughts: Hands down my favorite 9th Doctor episode. I get that most people will choose the gas mask episode and I get that it’s a much more sexy/flashy/scary episode but this episode made me like Daleks. Normally Daleks in an episode mean it’s terrible. Daleks have been a staple and a crutch for Doctor Who for the past 50 years and that will likely continue in the future. In this episode we prove that Daleks are way more deadly and scary when trapped and alone than in groups. Somewhere between the Doctor losing all of his cool at the Dalek and the Dalek freaking out about the nature of his own trapped existence alone this episode propels Doctor Who beyond the moniker of “just a show” and right into an emotional mess for me.

The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances


Running Time: 2 episodes, 45 minutes each
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Companions: Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness
Thoughts: I’ve seen this episode at least 8 times, possibly the most out of any Doctor Who episode because of the sheer love people have for it. The episode is scary as hell in both visual elements and in its actual story and text. Despite that it balances humor, has Jack Harkness, and involves WW2 England – all of which could have been a mistake in an episode like this. It does end in very cliche fashion where everyone lives because of a mothers love and the crazy random happenstance machine but it’s too heart tugging for that to be an undoing of the episode. The actual sense of what the alien nanites are doing makes no sense: I mean why would they fuse organic and inorganic tissue? Why would an alien war ship fix alien species injury? Shouldn’t there be a control panel? But who cares, this episode is about emotion and concept instead of logic and you have to live with that.

Boom Town


Running Time: 1 episode, 45 minutes
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness
Thoughts: I wasn’t a huge fan of the Slitheen in the first episode(s) they were in. Though I really liked the episodes I thought they were kind of stunted and boring as villains and thankfully this episode almost completely fixed all that. I think what I liked about this episode so much is that it includes Jack, Rose, and Mickey and it manages to a balance a lot of humor against it’s fairly serious topic: do people deserve a second chance? People needing a second chance are not only our villain in this episode but also not so subtly, The Doctor. While the Doctor doesn’t think anyone deserves a second chance, not surprisingly, the TARDIS does. Which I think says quite a lot about the show too.

The Parting of the Ways


Running Time: 2 episodes, 45 minutes each
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Companions: Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness
Thoughts: I specifically picked only the second half of this serial because the first half, fun as it may be, is fluff on fluff with a side of fluff. This half of the serial has all the meaty bits in it. It’s still very fun and fast paced but of course there are Daleks so it’s not perfect. I think this episode is one of the stronger ones for confronting the Doctor’s feelings about himself (which he seems to drop at the door after he regenerates for better or worse) and how he ultimately views himself: a traitor, a coward, a monster, and maybe even a fool. He tries to do what is best for Rose but in the end Rose and the TARDIS team up to save him from himself which I also really love to bits – the TARDIS granting second chances having been set up in Boomtown previously. This episode also makes a case that the TARDIS grants 1st Doctor a chance to change his life in the start of the series but that’s an argument for later. The regeneration scene is frankly disturbing as 9th just sort of…lets go of life. What I didn’t like about this episode was mostly Daleks showing up and doing things and sucking at doing things. The Dalek could have been replaced by nearly anything for all they accomplished but other than that, it was fantastic *wink*.

Here’s an index for the other entries:
1st Doctor
2nd Doctor
3rd Doctor
4th Doctor
5th Doctor
6th Doctor
7th Doctor
8th Doctor
9th Doctor
10th Doctor
11th Doctor
12th Doctor

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