My Favorite Doctor Who Stories for Each Season (Some Spoilers)

I decided to list my favorite story of each season (or “series”, if you prefer) of the program. It was harder than I thought, because


a) There were some seasons which contained several favorites of mine, and it was difficult to choose between them.

and

b) There were some seasons where I realized that I wasn’t wild about any of the stories, but I had to pick one in order to complete the task I’d set myself.


The Old Series
1) An Unearthly Child: The cavemen stuff is tolerable, but that first episode is amazing. Must’ve been a real “mind-blower” back in the day.


2) The Time Meddler: The Monk made an interesting adversary for the Doctor. Also, I enjoyed Steven’s reaction to time travel.


3) The Gunfighters: A good comedy story that turns dark when people start dying. Unintentionally amusing for some of the “RADA cowboy” accents.


4) The Tenth Planet: Always had a love for those Mondasian Cybermen. It’s possible this choice might have been different if so many of Troughton’s first stories weren’t missing.


5) The Tomb of the Cybermen: My all-time favorite Cyberman story, and my all-time favorite Troughton story.


6) The Invasion: The first UNIT story – fun if a bit over-long. “The War Games” might have been in here if it hadn’t been longer still. Way too padding, there.


7) Inferno: A number of good ones here – “Spearhead from Space” and “Doctor Who and the Silurians” were close runners, but in the end, I’ve always been a sucker for a good “mirror universe” story.


8) Terror of the Autons: A good introduction for Jo Grant, Mike Yates and the Master. An OK story in a season that was not helped by the Master being the heel in every story.


9) The Sea Devils: Always loved the design of these guys. Probably my favorite Delgado Master story.


10) The Three Doctors: The first multi-Doctor story. The interplay between Troughton and Pertwee was fun. Shame Hartnell was so ill, though.


11) The Time Warrior: The introduction of the Sontarans, and of my all-time favorite companion, Sarah Jane Smith.


12) Genesis of the Daleks: Every story in this season is a favorite, the Dalek origin story just edging the others out. My “Golden Age” of Doctor Who.


13) Pyramids of Mars: Another hard choice, with Sutekh edging out a number of contenders. The Hinchcliffe/Holmes Horror Era is my favorite period of the show.


14) The Masque of Mandragora: Another favorite among a season of favorites.


15) Horror of Fang Rock: Another favorite in a strong season. This is where Louise Jameson really came into her own.


16) The Stones of Blood: The least weak of the weak-overall “Key to Time” arc. The “trial” scene drags. Beatrix Lehmann managed to “out-eccentric” even the mighty Baker.


17) Destiny of the Daleks: A pretty good story in an otherwise mediocre season.


18) State of Decay: Another pretty good story in an otherwise mediocre season. One has the feeling that Baker was tired by now.


19) Earthshock: A good story in an otherwise weak season. I always liked David Banks’ Cyberleader.


20) Mawdryn Undead: The least weak story of an otherwise weak season. Always glad to see the Brigadier again.


21) The Caves of Androzani: A good story in Davison’s strongest season.


22) Revelation of the Daleks: A good story in an otherwise mediocre season. Colin Baker was much better served in the audio stories, at least the ones I’ve heard.


23) Terror of the Vervoids: Not to sound like a broken record, but the least weak of the otherwise woeful “Trial of a Time Lord” arc.


24) Delta and the Bannermen: An amusing (relatively) light-hearted story.


25) Remembrance of the Daleks: The best Dalek story in years, and my candidate for McCoy’s best story.


26) The Curse of Fenric: Another favorite in a series of favorites. Odd that the program’s strongest season in years should be its last.


The New Series
1) Dalek: My favorite story of the Eccleston Months. If this had been the last Dalek story ever, I would have been fine with that.


2) School Reunion: A number of strong stories in this season, but the return of Elisabeth Sladen beats them all for me.


3) Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks: My favorite story of Martha’s run.


4) The Unicorn and the Wasp: Quirky and fun, reminiscent of the old show. Look for David Tennant’s dad appearing briefly as a butler.


5) Victory of the Daleks: My favorite of Smith’s freshman outings. I do always wonder how viewers in India react to the portrayal of Winston Churchill as a lovable scamp.


6) The God Complex: An interesting look at fear and faith. A favorite “oddball” story.


7) The Crimson Horror: A fun story with the Paternoster Gang in rare form. Fun watching Diana Rigg hamming it up to beat the band.


8) Mummy on the Orient Express: A strong story in a strong season. Another hard choice.


9) Sleep No More: Another interesting story that moved a little outside the program’s usual pattern.


10) The Pilot: A strong story, introducing Bill and setting up the season’s arc quite well. It’s even got the extremely unexpected return of the Movellans!


11) Arachnids in the U.K.: Spiders creep me out, but I enjoyed this episode nonetheless.


12) The Haunting of Villa Diodati: My favorite of the latest season. Watching the Doctor and pals interacting with Byron and pals was amusing.


Favorites That Aren’t Part of a Specific Season
1) The Five Doctors: Terrance Dicks doing his best to make a good story of what could easily have been a cluster.


2) The Waters of Mars: Probably the scariest episode ever, with the Doctor getting a memorable shock at the end.


3) The Day of the Doctor: This was just about everything I’d hoped it would be for the 50th anniversary special. A shame Eccleston wasn’t there, but it did mean that we got John Hurt’s amazing turn as the War Doctor. About the only weakness I’d say is that it’s very continuity-heavy. It wouldn’t make a good introductory episode for someone who’d never seen the show before.


4) The Husbands of River Song: A fun comedy episode. I was never a big River Song fan, but she was good in this.


5) Twice Upon a Time: A fun wrap-up for the Twelfth Doctor. Bradley doesn’t quite convince as the First Doctor, but he does quite well for the essentially impossible task of replacing Hartnell.


6) Resolution: A good first Dalek story for the Thirteenth Doctor.

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SIXTH DOCTOR:

22. I would choose "Attack of the Cybermen". (I like to pair it with "Tomb of the Cybermen".)

23. What I would really like to see is just the courtroom scenes of "Trial of a Timelord" edited together without the episodes they frame. My favorite would be "The Ultimate Foe" because, at two episodes, it is the shortest. No, seriously, I like the revelations of the fate (?) of Peri and the identity of the Valeyard. Both of those plot points have been followed up on to great effect at Big Finish, and of course I agree with you that the Sixth Doctor was much better served on audio than TV.

SEVENTH DOCTOR:

24. I choose "Dragonfire" over "Delta and the Bannermen." I like "transition episodes," and this story features the entrance of Ace and the exit of Mel (of course, it also features the single most pointless "cliffhanger" in all of Doctor Who, ever). 

25. "Remembrance of the "Daleks" Check.

26. I choose "Survival" over "The Curse of Fenric" because the former is not only the last episode of the series, but also because it is the only time the Seventh Doctor squares off against the Master (on the small screen, anyway).

Interesting.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SEVENTH DOCTOR:

24. I choose "Dragonfire" over "Delta and the Bannermen." I like "transition episodes," and this story features the entrance of Ace and the exit of Mel (of course, it also features the single most pointless "cliffhanger" in all of Doctor Who, ever). 

25. "Remembrance of the "Daleks" Check.

26. I choose "Survival" over "The Curse of Fenric" because the former is not only the last episode of the series, but also because it is the only time the Seventh Doctor squares off against the Master (on the small screen, anyway).

"NINTH" DOCTOR: After the Time War, the BBC began numbering the doctors differently. Whereas before the Time War, the Doctors were numbered in strict sequential order, after the Time War they were numbered by their regeneration. For example, pre-Time War, William Hartnell was the First Doctor, Patrick Trougton (the first regeneration) was the Second, and so on; post-Time War, Christopher Eccleston (the tenth Doctor overall, but the ninth regeneration), is widely known as the Ninth Doctor for reasons I will never understand. I don't agree with it, but that's the way it is. (Who knows what the revelations of seasons 12 and 13 will bring!) 

1. For the first season of the new series I've got to go with the one that got the whole thing rolling again and introduced Doctor Who to a new generations of fans: "Rose." 

He became known as the Ninth Doctor because at the time, as far as anyone knew, he was the Ninth Doctor, and people couldn't be bothered to change it once Moffat and later Chibnall started fiddling with continuity, so that for aught we know now, he may be the 307th Doctor.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"NINTH" DOCTOR: After the Time War, the BBC began numbering the doctors differently. Whereas before the Time War, the Doctors were numbered in strict sequential order, after the Time War they were numbered by their regeneration. For example, pre-Time War, William Hartnell was the First Doctor, Patrick Trougton (the first regeneration) was the Second, and so on; post-Time War, Christopher Eccleston (the tenth Doctor overall, but the ninth regeneration), is widely known as the Ninth Doctor for reasons I will never understand. I don't agree with it, but that's the way it is. (Who knows what the revelations of seasons 12 and 13 will bring!) 

1. For the first season of the new series I've got to go with the one that got the whole thing rolling again and introduced Doctor Who to a new generations of fans: "Rose." 

"...and people couldn't be bothered to change it."

Like I said, "reasons i will never understand."

TENTH DOCTOR REGENERATION

2. Tough call. Maybe "New Earth" or "Tooth and Claw."

3. Sorry, I know you don't like it, but I've got to go with "Blink." More than any other episode (except possibly "An Unearthly Child" or "Rose" this one is the best introductory episode to Doctor Who to someone who has never seen it. I have shown it to the uninitiated on multiple occasions, always with great success. (I think the Weeping Angels should have been one-shot "monsters" though.)

4. Again, I know River Song is not one of your favorite characters, but I've got to go with "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead," not so much for her later television appearances, but for the seven (and counting) sets of The Diary of River Song audio adventures.

ELEVEN:

I am less familiar with individual episodes from here on out. I like "The Eleventh Hour" for the same reasons I like "An Unearthly Child," "Rose" and "Blink": it's a good jumping on point for new viewers. 

Interesting,

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ELEVEN:

I am less familiar with individual episodes from here on out. I like "The Eleventh Hour" for the same reasons I like "An Unearthly Child," "Rose" and "Blink": it's a good jumping on point for new viewers. 

TWELVE: My favorite overall is "Twice Upon a Time." 

THIRTEEN: I don't know what my favorite episode for this Doctor is; I suspect it hasn't aired yet.

That's always possible.  Are there any you particularly like so far?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THIRTEEN: I don't know what my favorite episode for this Doctor is; I suspect it hasn't aired yet.

To be honest, the one that intrigues me the most is "Fugitive of the Judoon."

Looking ahead, I suspect my favorite might be the one that explains what the heck is going on.

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