Chapter 2 in our look at the first decade of NuWho offers a curated collection of the most memorable episodes of the series thus far. Now we know… memorable is a sweeping term that can mean different things to different people, so for our purposes here, we mean episodes that diverged from the norm, carried a distinct emotional weight, and left us wanting just a bit more. The stories that challenged us and our view of the Doctor and the show itself.
Towit, we kick off the list with…
The ultimate baddie from the Classic series’s return to Who was peppered with a host of distinct moments, including a bareshirted Doctor being tortured, and his terrified reaction to being locked in a cell with the last of his enemy. Eccleston’s acting shines as he confronts his old enemy, and we get our first hints at the Doctor’s role in the terrible last days of the Time War.
Unlike the classic version, NuWho wasn’t afraid to turn the focus away from the Doctor to his companions and on occasion, even to the “regular folk” who get caught up in his exploits. Such was the case with Steven Moffat’s gem Blink, memorable both for introducing a terrifying new enemy with Angels and for telling a time travel story from the perspective of the ones the Doctor leaves behind.
THE DOCTOR’S WIFE
Neil Gaiman’s first (and best as far as we are concerned) foray into Whodom was the brilliant series 6 story which left us a bit choked up as the Doctor finally got to meet his dearest friend and confessed his love for her…her being the Tardis. In a bizzarely poignant tale, the Tardis’s soul was transferred into a human named Idris and interacted with her “pilot”, revealing that she in fact chose him all those years ago on Gallifrey. We also got a fan loved/loathed nugget about Time Lords being able to switch genders upon regeneration.
Another companion focused story (and a terrific one) charted Donna’s sliding doors moment and the incredible consequence of her choice. Entire realities are born and destroyed, Rose’s mysterious appearances are explained and Donna’s ultimate fate is set up, but the really memorable part of this story was showing how vital the Doctor’s companions are to his life and ultimately, to the Universe.
A Twilight Zone-esque masterpiece rolled out in real time that painted the Doctor in a rather selfish and vulnerable light, it examined group mania, fear and sacrifice in a way the series hadn’t done before. Beautifully shot, tense and full of sharp dialouge, AND we get a subtle hint to what was coming: Medusa Cascade. Rose Tyler. Daleks. Well played RTD.