Fave Doctor Who Episode (Eccleston -> Tennant)

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Firsts, TV

It was partly geek shaming that motivated me to finally start watching Doctor Who. You know what I mean, the taunting and teasing that occurs when one is uncovered as not having knowledge of a particular corner of The Complete Geek Experience. For most things, I could care less of such judgment and am amused at the presumption that I MUST partake AND worship it in order to attain or maintain “Geek Cred.” Again, I could care less of my Geek Cred ranking/rating. I’m like Cartman. I do what I want.

I started watching the newer incarnations about 3 months ago. The final determining factor was being told not to bother starting further back than when Christopher Eccleston took over the role. I love him, so went ahead and dove in. Surprisingly, at least to me, my favorite episode does not include him.

“Blink” aka the Weeping Angels episode is the one I keep hearing about as the BEST EPISODE EVAR!!!! And I’ll grant you, that is one finely crafted, shiny-whiny episode. It is, quite literally, haunting and goose-bump-raising moments are scattered throughout. In spite of that, the light presence of the Doctor himself in the episode, with his brooding and burdensome role in the Universe, keeps it from being too heavy and dark. For being so spooky, it’s down right charming. And it’s clearly an episode that has resonated with fans, as I’ve already seen Weeping Angels costumers at conventions with their beautifully executed creations.

Weeping Angels

Weeping Angles seen at Farpoint Convention, Feb 2010

Still, it is not my favorite episode, which I was able to easily compare since it was immediately after what I have deemed my favorite episode.

“Family of Blood” is episode 9 of season 3, and is the second of a 2 parter. The first part, “Human Nature” sets it up beautifully and I was immediately pulled into the story. The characters are compelling and the acting superb. Without going too deep into spoiler country, you get a peek at another of the many burdens carried when you are the last known Timelord. It is absolutely wrenching to watch as David Tennant, Tenth Doctor, masterfully demonstrates the pain of having to choose between the life and love he wants and the life he’s destined for. It’s something I would have expected earlier in the series, at least the newer ones that I’ve watched. Maybe it was covered with one or more of the previous 8 Doctors? I don’t intend to go back and watch those, so if you know then please share in the comments below.

I won’t go into greater detail, but I urge you to give the series a try. It’s pretty family friendly, fairly campy and the aliens appear almost harmless and silly looking. (Except for the Racnoss. I didn’t like that spidery thing, no sir, not one bit.) It’s crucial that you start with Eccleston if you want to understand how Rose Tyler and others tie in during later seasons. If you do decide to skip his Doctor, you won’t be completely lost but you will lose some fantastic details and inside jokes.

The writer of both “Human Nature” and “Family of Blood” was Paul Cornell, and the only other episode I see attributed to him is “Father’s Day” during the first Eccleston season (as the Ninth Doctor).  This was also a great episode, so I’m not tremendously surprised. I found it to also be a great pull on the heart strings as Rose has to go back and witness a very painful experience in her life and decide whether or not to change it. I’d love to see more written by him, although it doesn’t appear that he will anytime soon. He has written several Doctor Who novels and comics, as well a few episodes of Robin Hood (2006) among many other things.

There are also a few Doctor Who specials. There seems to always be a Christmas special, and 2010’s was fantastic. Michael Gambon added to it as only he can. I also just watched “Waters of Mars” and all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not a Timelord. Heartbreaking life.

Of tremendous interest to (now fellow) Doctor Who fans is that Neil Gaiman has written what is currently scheduled to be the third episode of the upcoming sixth season.

Although I started watching them months ago with Chooch, I finally mainlined them by myself in the last 2 or so weeks. I finished Seasons 1 through 4 via Netflix streaming, Season 5 I’ll have to get via Netflix by mail. And while I’ve seen several episodes featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, I’ll still watch the entire season in order since I wasn’t really paying attention to detail. I plan on being up to date when the sixth season starts.

So, why don’t you tell me in the comments –  Who’s your favorite Doctor Who? And which is your favorite episode from Seasons 1 through 4?

8 Responses to “Fave Doctor Who Episode (Eccleston -> Tennant)”

  1. Thomas Gideon Says:

    My favorite Doctor was John Pertwee, the third Doctor. By common reasoning, my Doctor should be Tom Baker, the first I saw play the role but I love the mod attire of Pertwee and there is a certain charm to the stories resulting from the constraint of an entirely Earth-bound Doctor.

    I know you are not going to watch any episodes earlier than Eccleston but my mention of Pertwee wasn’t without consideration as it informs my favorite of the modern era. I do like Matt Smith, he is growing on me but I like Tennant best because he is the most mod of the modern Doctors.

    I’ll have to get back to you on favorite episode out of the new set of series as I can say I honestly haven’t given it a ton of thought, enjoying episodes as they aired, really. To me, the Doctor is like pizza (as Andrea likes to say), even a bad Doctor Who episode is still a Doctor Who episode and far, far better than none at all.

  2. David Sobkowiak Says:

    I enjoyed Eccleston because he brought something back to the role that I feel had been missing for a time. That and the fact that after so long it was back on the air was a real treat. Tennant is likely my fav new Doctor, tho I will always have a place in my heart for Baker. Tom Baker that is, as he is the Doctor of my youth. Matt Smith is an interesting choice. I have to admit that when I watched the newest series on BBCA I was frustrated by the rampant commercial breaks which felt awkward and ill timed, but when I watched the season again without the commercials it had a much better rhythm to it. I’m looking forward to the new season to see what is what, and I heartily enjoyed the Christmas episode as my fix until the new season starts.
    As for my favorite episode, I would have to say Blink. It was enough of a departure from the typical show in pacing and story line. I truly enjoyed Sally Sparrow, and I had hoped she would have returned at some point. Not yet though. Maybe someday.

  3. Paulette Jaxton Says:

    Before the Paul McGann (8th Doctor) TV movie in the mid 90s the BBC considered Dr. Who a children’s show. As such the content was covered by a different set of standards and practices than is the current Saturday night time slot. That being said, Dr. Who took on some pretty heady topics in the old days. The one I remember being used again and again was the Doctor facing accusations of genocide whenever he was about to destroy the Daleks/Cybermen/etc for the umpteenth time. In the post-WWII/cold-war days of the 70s, the Holocaust was something Europeans were coming to grips with, so it makes sense the BBC would try to give kids some perspective.

    Now, I don’t remember anytime where the Doctor faced quite the same choices as in ‘Family of Blood’. Certainly they never portrayed the parting of any companions with the same depth as they have Rose, Martha, and Donna. Even when they finally killed one off — Adric (think Wesley Crusher and you’ll know why fans weren’t that upset) — the Doctor didn’t carry on about it that much.

    While most of my all time favorites are Tom Baker (4th Doctor) episodes, I’d probably go along with you that ‘Family of Blood’ is the best of the “adult” Dr. Who.

    Paulette “Old Enough to Remember Dirt 1.0” Jaxton

  4. Cmaaarrr Says:

    Doctor Who wasn’t on my radar until I met Laura in college, who was a big fan of the show. Watching it late Saturday evenings on the local PBS station quickly became a tradition. Much like Thomas noted above, Tom Baker was my “first” Doctor, but my favorite of the older era is Pertwee. His take on the Doctor, with a regal flair and physicality noone else has brought to the role before or since, was excellent, especially in the context of the characters and stories involved during his run.

    That noted, Tennant is my favorite Doctor of all the actors that have take the role. Simply put, he nailed the depth of charisma, fun, joy, sadness, and rage of what I would imaging such a being would be like to a degree others have not.

    As to favorite episodes, I am forced to go with “Human Nature”/”Family of Blood”, because of the fantastic writing and it epitomizing Tennant’s Doctor. I did enjoy “Blink” quite a bit, but the other standout episode for me is “Midnight” – I found it tense and compelling, and the best written Doctor Who story by Davies, period.

  5. Vivid Muse Says:

    Thomas,
    I also prefer David Tennant of the modern doctors, although I’ve not seen all of Matt’s episodes yet. This was a surprise as I was annoyed that Eccleston’s reign was so short.
    Thanks for the read and the comment!

  6. Vivid Muse Says:

    David,
    I wholeheartedly agree, Sally Sparrow is someone that should definitely return. As a strong intelligent female, she’s perfectly suited for more of the Doctor’s adventures.
    Thanks for the read and comment!

  7. Vivid Muse Says:

    Paulette,
    I’m impressed that the writers tackled the difficult subject matter you mentioned. I’m sure it went a long way with the confusing and horrific Holocaust legacy.
    You certainly impressed my with your thorough knowledge of the Doctor Who universe last week. I call dibs on having you on my team in any future Doctor Who trivia challenges!

  8. Vivid Muse Says:

    John,
    I went back to re-watch “Midnight”, as the title didn’t trigger which episode it was. This is also a favorite episode of mine, and was the first one that I actually was compelled to watch while knitting when Chooch watched it. It also encouraged me to watch the new series.

    “Midnight” has the trapped-in-a-small-space-with-strangers suspense that I always find so delicious to watch. Watching people’s personalities unfold under great stress is completely fascinating.
    And not knowing the name of the hostess is poignant while unsurprising. I also love the peek of Rose on the display, letting us know that we’d be seeing her again.

    Thanks for the read and the comment!

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