For the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, I’ve decided to attempt something that normally I find excruciatingly difficult: picking favorites.
I’ve chosen 35 stories from the classic series and 15 from the new series that I personally think most fondly of. They’re the stories I’ve been most eager to own on DVD, the ones I’d be most excited to rewatch, the ones that contain the elements that, to me, make for the most pleasurable Doctor Who.
They are not necessarily the best stories. This is not about objective critical judgment. I’ve included only televised stories I’ve personally seen, so that automatically rules out a number of audio-only 60s stories that might otherwise have made the cut. I’ve definitely omitted some stories most “serious” fans would hold up as shining examples of the potential of the show (such as “Carnival of Monsters,” “The Brain of Morbius,” and most of the late McCoy era) and included some that regularly come in for abuse. Many of my choices are colored by nostalgia, such as the story that scared me the most as a child, and the two Davison stories about which most people’s most polite remarks are usually “at least they’re not ‘Time-Flight.'” Many of them I’ll probably change my mind about in a month, after rewatching some other story that didn’t quite make the cut this time. That’s fine. There’s plenty of Who to go round.
I’ll post the first 15 stories, along with very short remarks about each, on Nov. 1. The second 15 will come on Nov. 8, and the third 15 on Nov. 15. Then I’ll post longer reviews (perhaps more like reminiscences) of each of my 5 top favorites each weekday leading up to the 50th anniversary special on Nov. 23.
I don’t want to spoil it too much, but the breakdown of stories by Doctor looks like this:
FIRST DOCTOR: 0 (sorry, Hartnell)
SECOND DOCTOR: 1 (stupid lost episodes)
THIRD DOCTOR: 9
FOURTH DOCTOR: 15
FIFTH DOCTOR: 7
SIXTH DOCTOR: 1
SEVENTH DOCTOR: 2
EIGHTH DOCTOR: 0 (sorry, McGann)
NINTH DOCTOR: 3
TENTH DOCTOR: 6
ELEVENTH DOCTOR: 6