New Who Speed Through

A friend made this request of me:

Now as for Dr. Who if you have any content that helps someone interested but not indoctrinated like myself get to a must-watch list of the most recent few seasons, that’d be super cool. I started watching occasionally with the Ninth Doctor.

Since my taste when it comes to this show can be idiosyncratic, a simple list of my personal favorites won’t do the trick. So I’ve picked out an almost-bare-minimum subset of episodes that fit at least one of three criteria:

Continuity Continuity You’ll definitely be confused about what’s going on in the larger story if you skip these.

Fan Favorite Fan Favorites There’s a general consensus among fans that these are among the best the series has to offer.

My Favorites My Favorites Stories I personally love the most. Sometimes I agree with the fans, and sometimes I go my own way.

If a story has two or three of these icons, you should definitely watch it.

Continuity only: also definitely watch it. It might not be the greatest story ever but you’ll be lost without it.

Fan Favorite only: probably worth your time. You COULD skip it and maybe come back to it, but it’ll be better if you watch it in order.

My Favorites only: there’s a good chance you’ll think I’m nuts for liking this. But if you really get into the show, it might appeal to you the way it appealed to me. Watch if you have time, skip if you don’t.

And it’s entirely possible a story that has no continuity impact and isn’t considered a major classic might still greatly enhance your enjoyment of the show. “Robot of Sherwood” isn’t on most people’s top-ten lists, but I saw someone cite it as their favorite Capaldi episode the other day, and if “The Doctor meets Robin Hood” sounds like fun for you or maybe something you’d like to watch with the kids, you won’t be disappointed.

Series 1

Rose Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites

The End of the World Continuity My Favorites

The Unquiet Dead Fan Favorite
This is kind of a marginal choice, but there are people for whom it’s their favorite story of the first season.

Dalek Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites

Father’s Day Continuity Fan Favorite

Empty Child / Doctor Dances Continuity Fan Favorite

Bad Wolf / Parting of the Ways Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites

Series 2

Christmas Invasion Continuity Fan Favorite

School Reunion Continuity My Favorites

The Girl in the Fireplace Fan Favorite

Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel Continuity
Not the show’s finest hour, but it introduces an important enemy and has a big impact on a character’s path.

Impossible Planet / Satan Pit Fan Favorite My Favorites

Army of Ghosts / Doomsday Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites

Series 3

The Runaway Bride Continuity

Smith and Jones Continuity My Favorites

Gridlock My Favorites
A divider. I love it, but a lot of people would tell you to skip it.

Human Nature / Family of Blood Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites
Probably my favorite story of the entire run of New Who. An adaptation of a novel about the Seventh Doctor, but it works brilliantly for the Tenth and kind of has everything. Do not skip.

Blink Continuity Fan Favorite
Many people, especially people who are not already huge Who nerds, count this as their favorite episode ever. It’s not mine, but I think it’s pretty good, and I see where they’re coming from.

Utopia / The Sound of Drums / Last of the Time Lords Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites
The general consensus is that the first two parts are REALLY good and the last one…maybe not so much. But you can’t very well stop on the cliffhanger. Just watch it all.

Series 4

Partners in Crime Continuity

Fires of Pompeii Fan Favorite
Some very mild continuity stuff here, in the area of character development and themes.

Planet of the Ood Continuity

Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites

Midnight Fan Favorite My Favorites
I don’t think anybody knew Doctor Who could pull off an episode like this until it happened. Chilling.

Turn Left Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites
Even more disturbing in 2017 America.

Stolen Earth / Journey’s End Continuity

Specials

The Waters of Mars Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites
Another of the very best.

The End of Time Continuity

Series 5

The Eleventh Hour Continuity Fan Favorite

The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites

Amy’s Choice My Favorites
Another episode that pushes the envelope for the show and is a nice change of pace.

The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood Continuity
I hesitated to include this but again, it (re)introduces an important alien species. I left out a two-parter in Season 4 that does the same, but I couldn’t bring myself to recommend that even for continuity reasons. You can take or leave this one.

Vincent and the Doctor Fan Favorite
This is another divider. This time I’m on the wrong side of it, but everyone else loves it so much that I can’t tell you to skip it.

The Lodger My Favorites
Another of my favorites. Non-essential but really fun.

The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang Continuity Fan Favorite

Series 6

A Christmas Carol Fan Favorite

The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon Continuity

The Doctor’s Wife Fan Favorite My Favorites
By Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman comic series, the novel American Gods, and a whole bunch of other great things.

The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People Continuity
This is REALLY dreadful. But it sets up the next story so you have to suffer through it.

A Good Man Goes to War Continuity

Let’s Kill Hitler Continuity

The Girl Who Waited Fan Favorite My Favorites
One of the best. Highly recommended for anyone really into the time travel aspect of the show.

The God Complex My Favorites
Another of my favorites of the season.

Closing Time My Favorites
If you watched and liked “The Lodger” you’ll probably like this too. If you skipped that, don’t bother with this.

The Wedding of River Song Continuity

Series 7

Asylum of the Daleks Continuity

The Angels Take Manhattan Continuity Fan Favorite

The Snowmen Continuity Fan Favorite

The Bells of Saint John Continuity

Hide My Favorites
Another on my short list of favorites. Maybe others agree with me more than I think? Another good one for time travel buffs.

The Crimson Horror Fan Favorite My Favorites

The Name of the Doctor Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites
This had a big impact on us fans of the classic series, but also on pretty much everyone else.

The Day of the Doctor Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites
Another of the very best. I’ve come to admire it more and more over time, not least for being perfectly tuned to please almost everyone without being any the worse for the effort.

The Time of the Doctor Continuity

Series 8

Deep Breath Continuity

Listen Fan Favorite
A “Blink”-level classic in some people’s books. It has its moments.

The Caretaker Continuity

Kill the Moon Fan Favorite
I hate this episode more and more the more I think about it. But some people think it’s amazing. It might depend on how important the “science” in “science fiction” is to you.

Mummy on the Orient Express Fan Favorite
If you watch “Kill the Moon” watching this becomes a continuity issue. If you skip it, you can skip this too, though it’s more enjoyable.

Flatline My Favorites

Dark Water / Death in Heaven Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites
Crazy good. Essential viewing.

Series 9

Last Christmas Continuity Fan Favorite

The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar Fan Favorite My Favorites

The Girl Who Died / The Woman Who Lived Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites

The Zygon Invasion / The Zygon Inversion Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites
May or may not be a continuity issue, depending on what happens next season, but definitely not to be missed.

Face the Raven / Heaven Sent / Hell Bent Continuity Fan Favorite My Favorites

The Husbands of River Song Continuity My Favorites

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