Board 8 > Inviso Ranks The Doctor Who Reboot

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Inviso
05/10/22 8:11:22 PM
#1:


With the announcement of the 14th (15th? 16th? More?) Doctor recently, I felt compelled to look back on the rebooted series and rank the thirteen seasons we've experienced thus far. I've also been watching the classic era, but that doesn't quite rank as well, since the individual seasons largely don't have a strong throughline (aside from a few seasons where the entire focus is a season-long story). So, we're sticking with just the reboot for now.

Series 1 (Christopher Eccleston/Billie Piper)
Series 2 (David Tennant/Billie Piper/Noel Clarke)
Series 3 (David Tennant/Freema Agyeman)
Series 4 (David Tennant/Catherine Tate)
Series 5 (Matt Smith/Karen Gillan/Arthur Darvill)
Series 6 (Matt Smith/Karen Gillan/Arthur Darvill)
Series 7 (Matt Smith/Karen Gillan/Arthur Darvill/Jenna Coleman)
Series 8 (Peter Capaldi/Jenna Coleman)
Series 9 (Peter Capaldi/Jenna Coleman)
Series 10 (Peter Capaldi/Pearl Mackie/Matt Lucas)
Series 11 (Jodie Whittaker/Tosin Cole/Bradley Walsh/Mandip Gill)
Series 12 (Jodie Whittaker/Tosin Cole/Bradley Walsh/Mandip Gill)
Series 13 (Jodie Whittaker/Mandip Gill/John Bishop)

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Inviso
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colliding
05/10/22 10:44:08 PM
#2:


quick question: is this streaming anywhere?

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Inviso
05/10/22 10:45:33 PM
#3:


HBO Max

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NFUN
05/10/22 11:06:31 PM
#4:


kill kill the moon

i look forward to seeing it place #200 instead of #15ish this time around

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Cody11533
05/10/22 11:21:26 PM
#5:


Tag

I still need to catch up on the latest series.

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Inviso
05/10/22 11:39:27 PM
#6:


NFUN posted...
kill kill the moon

i look forward to seeing it place #200 instead of #15ish this time around

Not ranking episodes. Just seasons.

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Inviso
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Grand Kirby
05/10/22 11:42:52 PM
#7:


S4 is the GOAT

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Inviso
05/11/22 1:26:29 PM
#8:


I realize now that I should've put a spoiler tag in the topic title. Oh well. Just assume that every write-up will have spoilers for its season, and you're good to go.

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Inviso
05/11/22 1:27:05 PM
#9:


13. Series 13 (The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker, Companion/s: Yasmin Khan & Dan Lewis)

*SPOILERS BELOW FOR SERIES THIRTEEN OF DOCTOR WHO*

Best Episode: War of the Sontarans (Eve of the Daleks, if I'm to count the 2022 specials as part of Series 13)
Worst Episode: The Vanquishers

Hot take, I know, but the Flux season is the first season of the reboot where I genuinely feel like the producers had no idea what made Doctor Who work in the first place. This season just did so many things unbearably wrong, so I feel like I need to go through the list, point-by-point.

First off, the decision to make a six-episode season is a rough one. I don't care if they made the episodes longer to compensate...when you're given a longer runtime and shorter season, you wind up with a mess. Hello there Game of Thrones seasons 7 and 8. But more than just the limited run (which feels like a disservice in general and a lack of care for the season as a whole), the showrunners decided to turn this six-episode run into a serialized story.

Doctor Who can do a season-long storyline...if it's subtle. The second you decide that EVERY episode needs to be interconnected as part of a larger narrative...that's when you run into problems. Suddenly, if your story isn't working out, you're stuck with it. You can't just have a fun little one-off episode, because it still needs to tie back into the overarching storyline. Don't get me wrong: Flux has a pair of good episodes, but they're hindered from being truly GREAT episodes by the fact that they need to keep tying back into the mess of the Flux plot.

When I say a mess, I'm not even exaggerating. The first episode of this season introduces half a dozen plot points or more, many of which get a brief scene and are then left unattended for several episodes, until they're finally brought back into focus. So you'd think that the first episode was just the set-up, and the rest of the season would be dealing with those plots. Nope. Every subsequent episode kept introducing more and more characters and more plotpoints (including the return of Kate Lethridge Stewart in episode 5 of 6), to the point where you come to the realization that there's no way to tie up all these loose ends in a satisfying manner.

They don't, by the way. The angels, who are set up in the first episode and come back in the fourth episode...are immediately discarded after the big twist at the end of episode four. They're defeated off-screen. The big bad disintegration aliens who are introduced in episode one, and serve as recurring antagonists throughout the season...are defeated easily by an omnipotent being that just turns them to dust. The Sontarans, who play a prominent role throughout the season...admittedly they're defeated in an acceptable manner, but the show also introduces the Cybermen and Daleks, just to have them get wiped out as well. And snake man, introduced as part of the storyline for Vinder, goes MIA for so long that I forgot he existed until randomly showing up to menace the returning Kate Stewart. And then he's shunted off to the middle of nowhere, a la Samuel L. Jackson in Jumper.

But the worst thing? The Flux is this massive destruction of all of space, and there's simultaneous a complete destruction of all of time. Time is fixed pretty easily, and then the Flux wipes out three major armadas, only to be stopped by a convenient shield of the Lupari race...and that's it. Nevermind that like, 90% of the universe has been eradicated. Nope, the Flux is stopped and Earth is safe...so that's all that matters, apparently. It's such a disappointment, becuase the show doesn't even give us a half-assed deus ex machina to reset everything to the way it was. All that matters is Earth.

Finally, the running theme throughout the season is about the Doctor's past, first introduced in series 12. She's constantly trying to find out who she was in a past life, and we learn that she was involved in some special ops bullshit, and it's just more nonsense added onto the pile of existing nonsense. The Doctor does not need to be the focal point of the entire universe. In fact, the stories are worse when the Doctor is treated in that fashion. The Flux season is just the culmination of EVERYTHING Chibnall gets wrong about how Doctor Who should be.

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Lightning Strikes
05/11/22 1:30:00 PM
#10:


I liked Flux even though it clearly got messed around by the pandemic. It was the first season of the Whittaker era that felt like it had a vision and felt like it was actually fun and full of life even if some of it didnt exactly make sense. Also Village of the Angels is a great episode. I would rank it above series 11, 12, 2 and maybe 7.

I feel we will disagree on at least one more lol.

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Inviso
05/11/22 1:35:50 PM
#11:


See, I feel exactly the opposite about Flux. It had a vision, but the problem is that it had too much vision, so there's TOO MUCH going on in the season, and the end result is that a lot of the plot threads feel like they got tied up improperly. And there's not a lot of fun, because you're dealing with an overarching storyline that involves the complete destruction of the universe, and the sadness of people living as refugees in that world. It's such a bleak plotline, and it's peak Chibnall in that way.

The two GOOD episodes of the season are War of the Sontarans (literally the only time I've liked a Sontaran episode) and Village of the Angels (the first time since Blink that the Weeping Angels felt threatening and menacing). And that's because both felt largely self-contained and one-off as storylines...but both still had a lot of hooks connecting them to the other plots that detracted from my enjoyment of the series.

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andylt
05/11/22 1:36:15 PM
#12:


Tag! I stopped watching after... season 9 it seems, I was worn out by the show and didn't feel anything towards it anymore, but I'll read the writeups for s10 onwards anyway. I remember considering watching again when I saw Moffat was leaving, hoping some new blood would liven things up, then I decided against it as soon as I saw who was replacing him lol. Looks like I haven't missed out on a lot!

#TeamKillKilltheMoon

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Menji
05/11/22 1:38:52 PM
#13:


Tag

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RyoCaliente
05/11/22 1:40:38 PM
#14:


Well deserved. Having watched all of the Classic Series, I would probably still rank Flux at the bottom of the list. Not only is it the culmination of Chibnall's awful reign, with the bare-boned companions and Doctor, the entire story is nonsensical and stupid. War of the Sontarans is the only episode in that series that I could enjoy, and Eve of the Daleks if it counts.

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Lightning Strikes
05/11/22 1:46:08 PM
#15:


Oh man you should watch series 10 because the finale is one of the best Doctor Who stories ever and possibly the best thing Moffat has ever written. Its interesting that he actually wanted to leave after series 9, couldnt, yet still managed to produce a fantastic series.

On Flux I dont even disagree, I just enjoyed the chaotic nature of it, it felt big and creative. I really like the first episode as well which has a lot going on but manages to be intriguing as well as just mad. It is weirdly bleak giving that its a massive planet- and time-hopping adventure story, but I feel that is a very common feeling for Doctor Who, see most of the Baker, Davidson and Tennant eras that were simultaneously fun romps while also being grim and brutal for a family show.

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Inviso
05/11/22 1:59:52 PM
#16:


12. Series 6 (The Doctor: Matt Smith, Companion/s: Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song)

*SPOILERS BELOW FOR SERIES SIX OF DOCTOR WHO*

Best Episode: The Girl Who Waited
Worst Episode: Night Terrors

What I said about Flux, and trying to have a very visible, season-long storyline first really appeared in series six. Up until that point, the previous seasons had their season-long stuff (Bad Wolf, Torchwood, Saxon, Planets, Cracks), but it was largely minor moments in otherwise self-contained stories. Series 6 though is when things go extremely off-the-rails, and up until Flux, there was no question in my mind that this series was the worst we had seen.

The season opens with a decent two-parter revolving around the moon landing and Richard Nixon, with the Silence actually serving as a decent spiritual successor to the Weeping Angels. But the thing about this opening story is that it kicks things off with the Doctor getting shot and killed, and given the timeline shenanigans we know about with River Song, there's no way for that event NOT to loom large over the rest of the season. Additionally, the other major plot point of the season is that Amy gets pregnant on the TARDIS and then has her baby stolen away. This SHOULD weigh heavier than it does, but it's kinda handwaved. That's probably for the best, because it's WAY too dark of a subject matter otherwise.

Anyway, focusing more on the Doctor...we saw it in series five, but I feel like series six is the culmination of this mindset Steven Moffat had, where the Doctor is THE most important person in all of time and space. The running plotline of the series (which covers six of the first eight episodes...plus the finale) all revolves around the Doctor being super important and people needing to plan for how to trick and trap him, lest the whole of time crumble at the seams. When you do this, it makes your season feel like it has a lot to live up to, and if you don't nail it (Lord knows "The Wedding of River Song" doesn't nail it, and is one of the worst season finales), then that's a lot of wasted time and effort down the drain.

Beyond that though, I just don't enjoy large chunks of this season. I'll give it credit that, of the five episodes revolving around the "Doctor Dies/Amy Loses Her Baby" plotline, four are decent, and only the finale drops the ball super hard. But it's the rest of the season that doesn't quite work for me. Curse of the Black Spot is a campy pirate episode, but it winds up being exceptionally bad for what it is. I personally find The Doctor's Wife too goofy for how serious it's meant to be played. The Rebel Flesh/Almost people two-parter is TERRIBLE. It's bland, the characters give me nothing, and the whole visual design of the episodes is gray and gross and dull. Night Terrors is one of the worst episodes ever, largely because it feels like the Matt Smith equivalent of a different worst episode ever. And Closing Time is just a far inferior version of what we got with The Lodger.

The only things about this season that I would say are genuinely good are The Girl Who Waited, and The God Complex. Both of them are interesting stories that play around with time and space, and they both have an emotional component that I think was desperately needed after just how heavy the first half of the season was. Plus, despite the Doctor being important as always, he's not the sole focus of those episodes, and instead we largely get to see the story from Amy and Rory's perspectives...which tends to make for better television.

Ultimately, a few good things can't make up for how overly-flawed the series is as a whole, and I think this season, more than his other two, show the limitations behind casting Matt Smith as the Doctor in the first place.

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mnkboy907
05/11/22 2:05:44 PM
#17:


Flux was 13's best season, though it wasn't a high bar to pass. The dog man was good and the main villain duo had amazing presence (even though their motivation and defeat were underwhelming). I could've done without Vinder's evil boss coming back for the last two episodes.

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Lightning Strikes
05/11/22 2:13:39 PM
#18:


Theres the second disagreement haha. Series 6 is an all-time banger and a top 5 season.

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redrocket
05/11/22 2:36:23 PM
#19:


Just like put in my two cents that its ridiculous that its called a reboot. Its a direct continuation of the classic series that is in full continuity with it. If it has to called a re something it should be a retool.

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Dancedreamer
05/11/22 2:41:28 PM
#20:


redrocket posted...
Just like put in my two cents that its ridiculous that its called a reboot. Its a direct continuation of the classic series that is in full continuity with it. If it has to called a re something it should be a retool.

I'd say Revival. I think that's what someone called it when I did my watchthrough of the classic series.

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redrocket
05/11/22 2:45:12 PM
#21:


That works too.

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htaeD
05/11/22 3:00:04 PM
#22:


I like Series 6 a lot more than some later Series (especially the Chris Chibnall ones)

But the main plotline is probably the most overbearing and annoying

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andylt
05/11/22 4:25:49 PM
#23:


It's called 'revival' over here a lot.

What annoys me the most about s6 is how 'River Song' is the answer to every ongoing mystery, and it's treated like a mindblowing reveal each time. That and them pulling the ol' 'That is The Doctor, and he is most certainly dead. No, for real. I promise. He was killed here. Definitely.' only to give a cheap cop-out in the finale. Obviously he was never gonna stay dead but don't emphasise it so heavily if you're just gonna pull a crappy Teselecta twist at the end like that!

The plastic people two-parter was bad (I second the complaint about its aesthetics), especially because its lesson is immediately undermined by Doc 'killing' plastic Amy at the end. And 'A Good Man Goes to War' does the same thing that 'The Pandorica Opens' does- give The Doctor a 'badass' speech where he talks his way to victory, then five minutes later reveal that he had fallen into the antagonists' trap and it was all for nothing lol.

Overall I think there's a bunch of good ideas in S6, I even like the main arc episodes aside from the big inconsequential reveals scattered around. But it isn't written nearly well enough to justify being so serialised, and they flub the landing big time. Amy and Rory's emotional arcs are not given the importance they should, and River is used as a plot device far more than a character (except in Day of the Moon, I like her talk with Rory there). I agree The Girl Who Waited is probably the highlight.

Lightning Strikes posted...
Oh man you should watch series 10 because the finale is one of the best Doctor Who stories ever and possibly the best thing Moffat has ever written. Its interesting that he actually wanted to leave after series 9, couldnt, yet still managed to produce a fantastic series.
Ooh this does tempt me!

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htaeD
05/11/22 5:04:48 PM
#24:


especially because its lesson is immediately undermined by Doc 'killing' plastic Amy at the end

I mean that I at least understood as the Plastic Amy being not the same as the actually separately sentient Plastics from before (considering Amy seemed to remember being that one)
Still it sure was convenient that not only one of each pair die, but also that the plastics could immediately be made human.

I did enjoy some ideas in that episode, but it shouldnt have been a 2parter.

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Grand Kirby
05/11/22 5:11:02 PM
#25:


The whole plotline about Amy's baby was really poorly done. She seems to barely care about it after her baby is stolen from her. I know the explanation was that they grew up with Mels all along, but that's not really good enough. It feels like an incident like that would devastate a person completely, but you can't have it dragging down the non-arc related episodes, so Amy just kind gets over it with no issue. I remember being online speculating about the story arc with fans as it was airing and seeing a lot of people theorizing that her behavior was an "obvious" sign that she was still a ganger or something because no normal human being would act that way after losing their child. But after the season ended it was like... nope, that's just the way she was written.

andylt posted...
Ooh this does tempt me!
Well, don't get too excited. Season 10 is pretty lame imo (even though I like Bill as a character). So many awful episodes. But the finale is actually incredible, yeah.

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RyoCaliente
05/11/22 5:25:40 PM
#26:


I can't properly judge any of the Pond seasons because I absolutely can't stand Amy and she's easily my least favourite companion.

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MysteriousStan
05/11/22 5:34:51 PM
#27:


I really liked the premise of the Flux and it started out very good imo. Swarm reminded me of a Buffy villain which was pretty cool but in the end he didn't amount to much sadly. Still thought Flux was Jodi's best season sadly.

Season 6 certainly isn't my favorite season but of Matt Smith seasons I like it more than 7 and I'd place it higher than all of Jodi's season and probably most of Capaldi's and Season 2. I agree with your highlights of the season though I'm a huge fan of The Doctor's Wife so heavy disagreement there.
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Inviso
05/11/22 6:07:23 PM
#28:


11. Series 12 (The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker, Companion/s: Ryan Sinclair, Graham O'Brien & Yasmin Khan)

*SPOILERS BELOW FOR SERIES TWELVE OF DOCTOR WHO*

Best Episode: Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror
Worst Episode: The Timeless Children

Everything I just said about series six basically applies to series twelve. The season feels like it forgoes a lot of what makes Doctor Who good in favor of trying to tell some grand, overarching storyline that places the Doctor at the center of the universe. It's actually worse than season six in a very distinct way, because Chris Chibnall decided to overturn fifty plus years of continuity in order to throw in a big twist about how the Doctor doesn't know everything about her past, and in fact she's the child from whom all of Time Lord power spawned. It's extremely dumb and honestly upsetting, because it's a pointless plot twist that ONLY serves at the kind of cheap, mystery box twist you would use to get people watching a season finale/season premiere, before ultimately everything is reset at the end of the episode.

Despite being actively worse than series six in that regard, I still rank it higher for a couple reasons. First off, if you've got two seasons that are similar in theming, I'm gonna give the edge to the season with better acting. Sorry to the Matt Smith fans out there, but I dislike him as the Doctor a lot of the time. I don't think he fits the role well. Jodie may have a shit script to work from, but she manages to toe that line between upbeat and quirky, and serious and forlorn in a way not unlike Eccleston, Tennant and Capaldi. She's able to elevate bad writing to be passable in a way that Matt Smith could not. Hence, a lot of the episodes in series six suck outright, whereas the episodes in series twelve are just okay. There's not a lot of GREAT episodes, and even the best (Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror) doesn't come close to Girl Who Waited, but at the very least, I got out of the season with minor dislike for the individual stories.

I think series twelve is also helped a lot by the fact that it's only really bad in retrospect. Timeless Children is an awful episode that ruins the season, but up until that finale, I admit to being intrigued. The introduction of the Alpha Doctor (or whatever you want to call her) in Fugitive of the Judoon was interesting and if they'd managed to stick the landing, I think it could have been solid. They just completely botched the ending by trying to go too big and trying to make the Doctor the focal point of her entire race. The reintroduction of the Master, while not as good as John Simm and DEFINITELY not as good as Michelle Gomes, was still a fun return after series 11 took pains to keep all stories completely original. And I think the return of the Cybermen, as much I don't care for them, was needed to combat Chibnall's lacking writing style.

Really, that's what it comes down to: series twelve sets up a lot over the course of its run, and it stumbles flat on its face in the finale. Between building the Doctor up far too big (and effectively setting into motion series 13), wiping out all of Gallifrey, and just generally biting off more than they could chew...it hurts the previous storyline episodes leading up to it in retrospect. And given that Chibnall's tenure as showrunner was already weak, this did not help matters. I still think it's better than series six, but it's admittedly a close call.

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RyoCaliente
05/11/22 6:42:39 PM
#29:


This is the first one I disagree with for a variety of reasons. I think Series 12 is easily the best of the Jodi seasons. TC is the single worst thing/story in all of Doctor Who, but the rest of the series is real good, and Fugitive of the Judoon runs rings around S11 and S13 by itself.

I also disagree on your assessment of Matt Smith versus Jodi. I think Matt Smith excels at being the old man in the young man's body, and I think Jodi (mostly due to the writing) never sells the idea that she's this ancient being who's had many adventures before. I think she's not great a serious or forlorn tbh.

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Anagram
05/11/22 8:33:47 PM
#30:


Sounds like you arent a fan of Jodie Whittakers Doctor. I havent watched this series since like 2009, so I cant comment at all.

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NFUN
05/11/22 8:39:34 PM
#31:


Inviso posted...
Jodie may have a shit script to work from, but she manages to toe that line between upbeat and quirky, and serious and forlorn in a way not unlike Eccleston, Tennant and Capaldi. She's able to elevate bad writing to be passable in a way that Matt Smith could not


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Inviso
05/11/22 9:38:54 PM
#32:


10. Series 2 (The Doctor: David Tennant, Companion/s: Rose Tyler & Mickie Smith)

*SPOILERS BELOW FOR SERIES TWO OF DOCTOR WHO*

Best Episode: The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit
Worst Episode: Fear Her

For a bit there, I was considering ranking this one a single spot higher than this, but after taking a look at what series two actually consists of, I can't do that in good conscience. I don't care how enjoyable David Tennant is; series two just isn't that solid of a season of television. And I'm sorry to say it, but it's largely because of Billie Piper in relation to David Tennant.

Here's the thing: not to get too spoilery for this list, but I don't mind Rose in series one. I think she and Eccleston have just the right amount of chemistry. But something just get losts in the transition from Eccleston to Tennant with her. I feel like she doesn't really grow as a character with a second season under her belt. Season one, her growing up comes in the finale...and then we get season two and there's nowhere else for her to really go. She's largely a static character over the course of season two, which renders a lot of the plots kinda shallow.

Season two isn't outright terrible in terms of its writing, but I would say it has a LOT of filler episodes. Don't get me wrong: filler episodes can be good, and good writing is good writing, regardless of how filler it is. But when you have a Doctor/Companion duo of Rose being a giggling schoolgirl who's just traveling around with her cool, new boyfriend...it just doesn't work for me. It really manages to dumb down the season as a whole. It feels, in a lot of ways, like a season of those early episodes that are just meant to be goofy and fun, before amping up the drama towards the season's end.

New Earth, Tooth and Claw, and the Idiot's Lantern are all dumb, but acceptably campy episodes. School Reunion is the same in my opinion, though I guess fans were excited over Sarah Jane? I hadn't watched the classic series when I first saw School Reunion, so I didn't get the hype...and after watching Sarah Jane's tenure...I still think she's lame compared to Jo and Leela/Romana II, respectively. Girl in the Fireplace and the Cybermen two-parter were both solid stories, but a bit overrated in my opinion (plus Mickey gets done SO dirty for a guy who gets dragged along by his ex to hang out with her and her new boyfriend).

The first half is very standard, so where season two lives or dies is in the back half. Impossible Planet/Satan Pit are obviously the top tier as the best of the season...but then series two just goes out in such a flop fashion. Love & Monsters is largely despised, and rightfully so (even though I think it had a lot of potential, if not for the flabby fart monster), but Fear Her is just Night Terrors in a nicer neighborhood. It's just as bad. And then the finale manages to take a big war between the Daleks and Cybermen...and turns the Cybermen into complete chumps, before having a big emotional scene about Rose losing the Doctor (which is annoying when you consider how much I hate the romance aspect of their relationship).

The romance is just awful, and it taints the whole season in my opinion. The second the Doctor/Companion relationship went from friends or teacher/student to couple...the writing suffers. And Rose goes from being this plucky everygirl kind of character, to kind of a cocky nuisance. She gets LESS likable, especially when we see how she treats Mickey when he goes traveling with her. What can I say...I was glad to see her go at the end of the season.

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MysteriousStan
05/11/22 11:26:45 PM
#33:


Yup season 2 is a very weak season. Rose is pretty bad like you mentioned. And it doesn't help that it contains the single worst episode of Dr. Who in Fear Her plus a couple other bottom tier episodes. Looking back to when I first watched the series, I remember not getting the hype after I finished season 2. I saw potential but it hadn't hooked me yet. Glad season 2 didn't sour me on the series though!
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Dels
05/11/22 11:38:26 PM
#34:


I'd rank Flux above the other Jodie seasons, because, well, like you said, it at least tries to do a thing, and has two decent episodes... whereas the other two I consider to be basically entirely forgettable. (And yeah I consider the whole doctor's past arc to be more offensive than whatever Flux did, which, well, honestly I don't remember much of Flux's actual plot - overly complex plot arcs just go in one ear out the other for me because I'm not interested enough in them for them to stick in my mind - which is why season 6 is also bad, and also the entirety of whatever they did at the end of 11's run, and also the entirety of season 9)

I like season 2 though. Rose being flawed makes her more interesting than most companions nowadays. Clara sucked when she had no flaws but got better when they actually gave her some negative traits.
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RyoCaliente
05/12/22 4:01:26 AM
#35:


I would agree with the assessment of Sarah Jane. I don't think she's lame, and I enjoy her, but beyond her longevity I don't really understand the hype. I guess she did kinda set the example of being a bit more take-charge, where previous Companions were more passive and hid behind the Doctor more.

I love Love & Monsters though, it's the exact kind of story DW exists for. It has some dumb aspects, but as a whole I really enjoy it. Also they didn't turn the Cybermen into complete chumps; aside from The Tenth Planet, the Cybermen have always been complete chumps.

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Inviso
05/12/22 9:40:51 AM
#36:


9. Series 7 (The Doctor: Matt Smith, Companion/s: Amy Pond, Rory Williams & Clara Oswald)

*SPOILERS BELOW FOR SERIES SEVEN OF DOCTOR WHO*

Best Episode: The Power of Three
Worst Episode: The Snowmen

Series seven has some definite flaws, but ultimately, it feels like one of the bigger "filler" seasons the reboot has to offer. I can honestly say that, aside from The Snowmen (a Christmas episode during the mid-season break), I don't really HATE any episode from series seven, but I also don't harbor that much emotion towards the episodes at all. They're largely just filler. It doesn't help that, for the first time, we had a whole season (including the finale) without a single two-parter. We saw that take shape in the back half of series six, but it stands out more in series seven.

Really though, series is practically two series mashed together, instead of a single, coherent series. The first half, which is only five episodes, is the third part of the Amy/Rory saga. Every season with those two seems to take on the overarching narrative of one stage of adulthood, with series seven handling the inevitability of death. Honestly? The three-episode stretch from Town Called Mercy through Angels Take Manhattan is actually pretty solid, and feels like a solid send-off to the Ponds. It's no surprise that the first half of the season is the strong half (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship notwithstanding).

But then you hit Snowmen, and after introducing Jenna Coleman in Asylum of the Daleks, we see her again, this time playing a governess who is apparently the same person the Doctor met back in the asylum. And thus, the mystery begins. The Snowmen winds up being a mediocre Christmas special, tanked even harder by just how much Clara's mystery persona is played up in lieu of any content to make the episode feel interesting in its own right. This becomes a running theme throughout the rest of Clara's tenure with Matt Smith.

None of the Clara episodes in series seven are BAD per say. Name of the Doctor is a little weak, but I feel like every finale I've discussed thus far has been underwhelming at best. But the point is that the entire back half of series seven feels like a filler season. There's nothing that stands out, and the only running subplot is the Doctor's desperation to figure out why Clara is so special and unique and important that he's run into her in three different locations and times. Meanwhile, as a character, all we know about Clara is that her mom died. That's it. She's a blank slate and a plot device, before she's a character. As I've said, Matt Smith is not my favorite Doctor, so giving him a companion devoid of personality doesn't improve his stories in any way.

Ultimately, the back half of this season is what tanks it, because it's just so completely unmemorable, and it revolves SO heavily around the mystery behind this character who isn't interesting in the slightest, that it feels like a lost season. Knowing how she improves with Capaldi (note, none of his season have appeared yet), I feel like Clara just got hit with a bunch of filler stories because the show was just building up to Smith's departure and the 50th anniversary. And as such, series seven comes across as less valid of a season overall.

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Inviso
05/12/22 9:44:01 AM
#37:


RyoCaliente posted...
This is the first one I disagree with for a variety of reasons. I think Series 12 is easily the best of the Jodi seasons. TC is the single worst thing/story in all of Doctor Who, but the rest of the series is real good, and Fugitive of the Judoon runs rings around S11 and S13 by itself.

I also disagree on your assessment of Matt Smith versus Jodi. I think Matt Smith excels at being the old man in the young man's body, and I think Jodi (mostly due to the writing) never sells the idea that she's this ancient being who's had many adventures before. I think she's not great a serious or forlorn tbh.

I just can't take Matt Smith seriously in his role. He never comes across as an old man in a young man's body, so much as a young man acting like a manic pixie dream boy and occasionally being put into positions where he has to put on a tough face and act like he's a grizzled veteran...which doesn't work in the slightest for me. He's too animated and goofy ALL the time, so the instances where he comes out and gives his big "I'm awesome" speeches feel forced and fake by comparison. I just don't feel like Jodie has that same problem. Admittedly, part of that is because Chibnall's writing swings too far towards the "serious" end of things...but I think the Doctor works better when you have someone who can nail the serious aspect, because at least then, trying to fake the "light-hearted" side of things makes sense.

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RyoCaliente
05/12/22 10:07:34 AM
#38:


I feel like Jodie's Doctor is far more often silly than serious, as an explicit choice towards the more serious nature of Capaldi.

I can kinda understand what you mean about Matt Smith, but I think of the lot of the charm there is the fact that at the end of his tenure, he becomes an old man, and then he shifts wonderfully from old man in old body to young man in old body, back again to the old man in young body. But I guess we'll always differ on Matt Smith.

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MysteriousStan
05/12/22 10:18:58 AM
#39:


Name of the Doctor got me to watch the classic series. Whisper Men were wasted potential though. I agree with Ryo on this one. Smith is my favorite Doctor and we had very different reactions to him.

If I'm being honest, it more comes down to the writing than anything for me. All the Doctors have been good imo.
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andylt
05/12/22 11:04:26 AM
#40:


Series 7 is my least favourite of the ones I've seen. I don't think 7a's Pond arc is any good (I dislike Angels Take Manhattan quite a lot) and 11+Clara is probably my least fav doctor/companion combo in the whole revival. That's not to say anything against Smith or Coleman, who are much better in other seasons, but there is absolutely nothing compelling between those two. As you say, Clara is pure plot device and mystery machine at this point, she's a collection of all of Moffat's most tiresome tropes without any of the humanising qualities they would thankfully give her when they made her a real person in s8. I don't particularly like how Clara's characterised in s9 either, but we'll get to that soon enough.

Smith isn't my fav but I'm not particularly down on him, I don't like his big speeches but I think he plays the quiet moments nicely and I like his dynamic with Amy. Can't speak to Jodie.

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LinkMarioSamus
05/12/22 12:18:35 PM
#41:


From the few 13th Doctor episodes I've seen Whitaker at least seems believable as the same old Doctor. It's the writing that really fails her. My mom is a big fan so I occasionally watch new episodes with her.

Even as someone who likes Amy Pond quite a bit, I just lose interest quickly when watching Season 6. Good to know it's not just me. WTF happened to Doctor Who?

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Lightning Strikes
05/12/22 12:30:20 PM
#42:


What happened is a fantastic season with some of the best episodes of the entire show in quick succession.

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Inviso
05/12/22 12:50:30 PM
#43:


Lightning Strikes posted...
What happened is a fantastic season with some of the best episodes of the entire show in quick succession.

What are you referring to, exactly? Because Girl Who Waited and God Complex are the only episodes that REALLY stand out in that season, and they're offset by some TRULY terrible stuff.

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Dels
05/12/22 12:51:42 PM
#44:


yeah, even though i dislike, like, almost of seasons 9/11/12/13, the back half of 7 was the closest i came to quitting the show, just out of pure boredom. could barely pay attention during the episodes. honestly i couldn't even tell you the names or concepts of most of the episodes. clara's introduction was evil wifi. cold war russian sub episode? some victorian vampire episode maybe...? i remember the name "rings of akhaten" and that the doctor made a speech about a leaf but that's it. i don't even know what the finale was.
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Dels
05/12/22 12:53:45 PM
#45:


i feel season 6 started off alright enough, "a good man goes to war" was really the start of the whole "oh, we're just going to throw a million 'cool' ideas into an episode with absolutely no pacing and no taking time to develop any of them" which basically signaled where the show was heading for... the rest of moffat's run

i find moffat's run frustrating because he actually does really great when he keeps things relatively simple (5, 8) but then he just can't help but go off the rails.
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Mega Mana
05/13/22 7:26:15 AM
#46:


Dels posted...
i feel season 6 started off alright enough, "a good man goes to war" was really the start of the whole "oh, we're just going to throw a million 'cool' ideas into an episode with absolutely no pacing and no taking time to develop any of them" which basically signaled where the show was heading for... the rest of moffat's run

i find moffat's run frustrating because he actually does really great when he keeps things relatively simple (5, 8) but then he just can't help but go off the rails.

Yuppp. He's the Lost of Who runners.

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Inviso
05/14/22 9:24:49 AM
#47:


8. Series 3 (The Doctor: David Tennant, Companion/s: Martha Jones)

*SPOILERS BELOW FOR SERIES THREE OF DOCTOR WHO*

Best Episode: Blink
Worst Episode: Last of the Time Lords

Like I said in series two, the romance aspect that got added to David Tennant's early tenure just doesn't entirely work for me. I know Eccleston's run ended with him kissing Rose, but the actual romantic Doctor/Companion relationships started with Rose and continued with Martha, and I think both detracted from the series overall. I still love David Tennant as the Doctor, but his connection to his companions in these two seasons is rough, to say the least. I will say that one of the reasons series three outranks series two is because the companion relationship is handled better...but that's more me feeling largely ambivalent to Martha and just disliked Rose in series two.

Really though, Martha's not a great companion for several reasons. First off, she feels very much like a transition companion; we had two seasons with Rose, and Martha's just there to fill the void until someone better comes along. She's not especially interesting, nor is she especially bad. Martha is distinctly different from Rose in that she's a legitimate doctor, and has all the intellect that comes with that role. But it also means there's just less for her to play off of. She lacks the wide-eyed enthusiasm Rose had with Eccleston, and that doesn't really get replaced by anything. Thinking back on the classic series...it's the reason why Liz Shaw is forgettable, and Jo Grant is Pertwee's best companion. When you have someone too competent, you limit the shit out of their potential storylines.

I think Martha's shortcomings (tied into her overarching storyline of being attracted to the Doctor when he's still getting over his love for Rose) are apparent in the first half of the season. That first half is ROUGH. You have the standard grouping of cheesy, early-season episodes, but then the Daleks in New York, and the Lazarus Experiment are absolute trash writing. Again, I think the fact that these episodes had to rely almost entirely on David Tennant's charisma really hurt them, because Freema Agyeman just could not inject personality into stories that should have had a lighter and more comedic tone.

However, all of this has been me shitting on the season. I will say that the ending scene of Gridlock is solid, because up into that point, there had been no real chemistry between the two leads. But starting at "42" and continuing for the next five episodes, series three is really good. I think they reached the point in the season when they'd gotten the goofy shit out of the way, and once they could be more serious, it played more into the strengths of this particular Doctor/Companion combination.

42 is a solid filler story, where Martha is largely disconnected from the Doctor and forced to come into her own as a character. Then Family of Blood/Human Nature, while it's not the Doctor so much as John Smith, is still an EXTREMELY well-written story with genuinely-creepy characters and great emotion throughout. Blink largely writes the Doctor and Martha out, but it's still widely considered one of the best episodes the reboot has to offer, and the creation of the Weeping Angels is fantastic. And though the finale itself is weak, Utopia and Professor Yana are interesting, especially with the reveal and return of the Master. I wish we'd gotten a little longer with Derek Jacobi, but I'm fine with the energy John Simm brought to the role, especially in Sound of Drums.

Like I said, that's solid...but then the finale episode itself is AWFUL. It's a boring slog, it's unpleasant, and it all culminates in one of the most bullshit "power of love" climaxes Russell T. Davies ever put on-screen. The old man make-up for the Doctor is LAUGHABLE, and it's genuinely a flop of the highest order. Granted, it seems most finale episodes are disappointments (seriously, I would say there have only been TWO outright good final episodes in the reboot), but my God this stands out as especially awful. I will say that giving Martha the chance to leave on her own terms was good, and it at least made her feel like she'd grown as a character. After a whole season of pining for the Doctor, I appreciated her getting some agency there.

That's about it. I would say series three is the last season that has a large, systemic problem that causes its low ranking. Everything else from this point on is at least thoroughly decent (if mediocre at times).

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andylt
05/14/22 11:00:19 AM
#48:


I have zero recollection of '42' lol. Agreed on most of your s3 takes, though I think the Judoon moon platoon is the best series opener of RTD's run. I tend to forget how uneven s3 is, as Human Nature-Sound of Drums is a great stretch of eps, but you're right that most of the first half isn't good (that Dalek two-parter...), and LotTL is an all time dreadful episode. I was so disappointed watching that finale live after a week of hype from SoD! I wish we'd gotten to see more of Jacobi's Master, though his ep works well with it being so limited. I have no strong opinion on Martha, they didn't give her enough.

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htaeD
05/14/22 11:00:24 AM
#49:


I barely remember series 7 as well
I guess boring might be a more serious offense than painful to some. I would still take it over the Whitaker seasons though.

The family of blood 2parter also probably would have put the 3rd season higher if it hadnt been lifted from the books with the more fitting 7th doctor.

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RyoCaliente
05/14/22 11:24:39 AM
#50:


Martha is one of those characters that just got the short end of the stick. The Doctor had to be showcased mourning the loss of Rose, considering her importance to the series up to this point, but this just mean Martha never really got to do anything.

Also I think the middle of this season was so rough because Davies fell ill for a while, which meant he had little to no impact on the production or the writing (because he rewrote pretty much every script during his tenure).

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