Well, it took nearly a year, but it’s finally happened…I am officially and completely caught up with Doctor Who.
Some of you might recall, all the way back in January, I made a New Year’s Resolution to watch every episode of the modern Doctor Who series. And waaaaaaay back in April I checked in with my progress up to that point, having just wrapped up David Tennant’s run. Well, starting with “The Eleventh Hour”, it’s been another 3 seasons and 39 episodes (I skipped the 3 Christmas specials on this round, because I had seen them before) and I finally wrapped it all up with “The Name of the Doctor” (man that took a lot longer than I expected; life kept getting in the way during those six months).
So, that means 91 episodes, 11 specials, 3 doctors and about 11 companions, and I have seen them ALL (cue fanfare and confetti)!
And you know what? After seven seasons it’s still freakin’ AWESOME! With the start of the 5th season it was almost like a re-launch of the entire show. New Doctor, new companions and new storylines, with a few villains and characters from before reappearing (Daleks, Stone Angels, Cybermen, etc). Though I believe Tennant will always stay my favorite, I think Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor may have to take 2nd place.
We only have Matt Smith for a little while longer. By the end of this year he’ll be replaced by new Doctor Peter Capaldi. And the cycle that began decades ago will begin again!
But first, let’s see, what were other highlights of the last three seasons? The epic love story between companions Rory and Amy! We learned more about the mysterious River Song. Latest companion Clara has stolen my heart with her wit, her bravery and her sheer adorableness. And the guest stars, monsters and villains remained constant through the whole thing. It seems no matter how many times it happens I just can’t resist another adventure with this Mad Man in a Box. And clearly I’m not alone, as we’re all gearing up for the 5oth Anniversary of the show next month. The second half of the seventh season was, I think, it’s best run of episodes so far, due in large part to the 50th anniversary. Some more obsure villains were reintroduced, like the Ice Warriors of Mars, or the Cybermats, little helpers of the Cybermen. And “The Name of the Doctor” included so many references and footage of the previous Doctors, my brain could barely process it.
So, as with my last check-in, I gotta post some favorite episodes.
Victory of the Daleks: Winston Churchill…yes, THAT Winston Churchill…tries to level the playing field during WWII by employing new soldiers that he calles “Ironsides”, but which the Doctor recognizes immediately; DALEKS!
Vincent and the Doctor: Something strange in a Vincent van Gogh painting leads the Doctor and Amy back in time to meet the painter himself. This beautiful episode featuring one of my favorite painters is a study on whether you can change fate and what kind of impact you will leave once you’re gone. Bring tissues!
The Lodger: The Doctor ends up stranded in modern-day Colchester and has to blend in as a regular guy when he rents a flat with new friend Craig. Easier said than done as something is lurking on the second floor of the flat. Watching the Doctor try to be normal is just priceless.
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang: The stakes are high in 102 A.D., as a confrontation unfolds in Stonehenge between the Doctor and so many of his enemies over a mysterious object called the Pandorica. Amy is in jeaopardy, Rory proves his love for her, history gets rewritten and the Doctor crashes a wedding! For a taste, here’s a clip of one of the best speeches the Doctor ever gave to his various enemies featured in something called BBC Proms, a show they did earlier this year in London for the 50th anniversary featuring a live orchestra, costumed characters and special guests. Because, as Sarah pointed out earlier this month, music just takes a moment on film to a whole new level.
A Christmas Carol: One of my favorite Holiday Specials I’ve seen on Doctor Who so far, the Doctor uses A Christmas Carol and some fancy time-travelling to convince a miser from another planet to do some people-saving. BTW, the miser in question is played by Michael Gambon, who was Dumbledore in 6 of the Harry Potter movies.
The Doctor’s Wife: Written by one of my favorite authors of all time, Neil Gaiman, this episode puts the TARDIS, the Doctor’s main mode of travel, front and center by putting the ships conciousness inside the body of a woman. Awkward moments and Doctor/TARDIS history abound.
A Good Man Goes to War: The Doctor leads a small army of his allies to an asteroid base called Demon’s Run, where Amy and her newborn baby are being held hostage. Why Demon’s Run? Because “Demon’s run when a good man goes to war.”
Closing Time: The Doctor, travelling on his own and running from his destiny, stops in on his buddy Craig, now married with a baby. But a typical drop-in is interrupted by an invasion of the Cybermen. But, as we discover, the human spirit at it’s most primal and good can withstand nearly anything.
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship: As the name suggests, the Doctor and friends discover dinosaurs…ON A SPACESHIP! Not only does this fun episode combine two awesome concepts together, it features a who’s who of guest stars like Rupert Graves (Sherlock), David Bradley (Harry Potter film series) and Mark Williams (also Harry Potter film series).
The Rings of Akhaten: The Doctor and Clara’s first official adventure in space includes planets orbiting a larger planet, an old god, a sacrifice and one of the best speeches ever by the Doctor.
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS: FINALLY, we see parts of the TARDIS that are only mentioned in previous episodes as the Doctor and a salvage team journey through the inner workings of the massive ship, that looks so small on the outside, to find a missing Clara. A pool, an observatory and a spectacular library (natch) are all in that little blue box.
The Crimson Horror: Let’s see, Victorian England, awesome characters Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax, mysterious deaths and something called “The Crimson Horror” linked to a place called “Sweetville”. Sign me up!
The Name of the Doctor: Just the first few minutes alone would have put this episode in my favorites list. But the episode as a whole is dynamite, with the return of River, more of Madame Vastra’s team, the Doctor facing one of his biggest secrets and we discover why Clara is the “Impossible Girl”. Plus, we see something from the Doctor’s past, something we won’t discover more about until the 50th anniversary special.
And again, that’s only a small sampling. Other’s to try would be “The Eleventh Hour”, “The Vampires of Venice”, “Night Terrors”, “The God Complex”, “The Wedding of River Song”, “Asylum of the Daleks”, “The Angels take Manhattan”, ”The Snowmen” and pretty much all of the 2nd half of Season 7.
But, my Whovians and potential Whovians, it’s all leading up to November 23rd, the Anniversary special! Along with signing out Doctor Who DVDs from the library, you can also check out Doctor Who Revisited on Space each weekend leading up to the special. If you’ve never seen Classic Who before (and I haven’t) it’s a great first bit of exposure. I’ve seen the first three Doctors so far and I’ve loved them all!
Here’s a trailer for “The Day of the Doctor”.
Save the date, get your snacks in order, and GERONIMO!