Doctor Who has been a much-loved part of British Culture for over fifty years now, both in its classic and modern era. Even someone like me, who never really watched the show couldn’t escape its presence. Calm down! I never really used to watch the show, but not too long ago, I saw all the episodes listed on Netflix and said: “What the hell?”. After recently finishing the first season, I can safely say I haven’t come to regret that choice. Doctor Who isn’t infallible however, and there is a bad episode blended in with the gems from time to time. So, as I did with Teen Titans, I’m going to rank every episode of each season, from worst to best; except this time, I’m unbiased and coming into the show for the first time. Just remember, this is only my opinion and it’s completely fine to disagree with me. Feel free to leave your thoughts on my list in the comments below. Now then, let’s start up the Tardis and go back in time to 2005, back to the revival of Doctor Who.
#13 Aliens of London
Yes, this is quite a cliche choice. The Slitheen, or if you want to get technical, the Raxacoricofallapatorian(the bane of every spelling bee contestant) were probably the worst villains in the first season. They got some justice in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ but we’re getting off-topic here. In my opinion, they’re just a bunch of wasted potential. When you get down to it, the Slitheen(screw you, I’m calling them that from now on), are actually quite a terrifying race. Hulking figure, razor sharp claws and the ability to disguise themselves as humans. But then, they had to throw in that unfunny farting gag that just completely ruined them. Also, the doctor gets the date wrong and Rose ends up missing for an entire year. Wait, how the hell did he get the date wrong? He’s been doing this for centuries forgodsake!
#12 Boom Town
Again with the Slitheen. This could of been a good episode, it really could of. But compared to the excellent ‘The Doctor Dances’, it just didn’t stand much of a chance. There’s some genuinely funny parts of this episode and the Doctor has a confrontational debate with his opponent that causes him to deeply question and revi- it leads to nothing. They tried to be clever by bringing some of the Doctor’s darker actions to light but in the end, it turns out Margaret is just an evil villain and the Doctor was right all along to want to take her to be executed. As well as that, Rose is absolutely despicable in this episode. Mickey’s rightfully angry that she just left him on Earth and expects him to continue to remain her boyfriend despite her being away 95% of the time. Mickey was framed for murdering her because of her actions and he never complained once, yet god forbid he move on with his life and get a new girlfriend. One of the most infamously bad episodes of the first Season.
#11 The End of the World
My feelings about this episode are… mixed. On the one hand, it did an admirable job of introducing new watchers and re-welcoming old fans to the creativity of the Doctor Who world. You can really tell they’re proud of all the different, zany alien designs they came up with by how much they show them off throughout the episode. On the other hand, the plot was passable at best. Someone’s trying to sabotage the station? Why, the black-cloaked figures with long, sharp claws handing out strange metal balls don’t seem suspicious at all! I found Cassandra to be a dull villain and there was a brief thing about subservience and slavery that never really went anywhere. While this episode is definitely creative, it’s lacking in pretty much every other area.
Modern Doctor Who got off to a relatively strong start. It was a great episode, but nothing really amazing. We’re introduced to the 9th incarnation of the doctor as well as his companion: Rose. The Autons were a decent villain to bring back for the first episode though what they did to the Nestene was questionable at best. CGI in live action usually isn’t that great at the best of times, but a big, unoriginal orange lump? Really? Another thing about this episode is it was never actually resolved how the governments of the world managed to explain millions of mannequins coming to life and attacking every human in sight, even killing some. I guess it did show just how powerful some of the Doctor’s enemies could be but did they really have to kill off Clive? I’m still sore about that well into Season Two.
#9 The Long Game
Okay, the concept for this episode was a great and modern idea, but it left us with so many unanswered questions. For a start, how the hell did the Jagrafess manage to take control of the Earth? Yes, it’s using the media, but it controls it through the editor. The Jagrafess is a lump of flesh stuck to the roof so it can’t exactly do much as long as you don’t get too close. It doesn’t look like the Editor is getting anything in return so why the heck is he doing what the Jagrafess says? They never explain how the whole zombie control thing works and Adam is so badly-written a character it’s no surprise he only got one episode as a companion of the Doctor. Great concept, but bad execution.
#8 World War Three
World War Three was the only good Slitheen episode in Season One. Rather than making the Slitheen a laughing stock, this episode-for the most part-actually makes the Slitheen a formidable foe. We get to see them mercilessly hunt their prey down. Rose, the Doctor, Jackie, Mickey and even MP Harriet Jones are all forced to confront the deadly aliens in some form or another. Particularly notable instances of this are the chase in Downing Street at the start of the episode and Mickey and Jackie’s desperate struggle in Mickey’s kitchen. Both of these scenes had me biting my nails at the tension. While a Dalek is terrifying, I think a clawed green hand ripping through a large wooden door like it’s paper comes close to the level of fear the Dalek’s instill. Mickey also had a major part in the episode for once, and was awesome. Just a bit of a nitpick but I wish they didn’t kill off Ganesh. I liked him.
#7 The Empty Child
The Empty Child was mostly just a setup for the second part of Season One’s second two-parter but it was an entertaining setup. We’re introduced to Captain Jack, my personal favourite character in the entire show Humour is almost as prevalent in this episode as the subsequent one and the execution of the Empty Child Plague was chilling to the very bone. Not only that, but it had surprisingly more action than most Doctor Who episodes if Rose hanging from a barrage balloon wearing a Union Jack shirt is anything to go by. An enjoyable episode with good pacing and writing, but not outstanding like the episode that came after it.
#6 Bad Wolf
Bad Wolf was a seemingly omnipresent message throughout the first season, following the Doctor and Rose wherever they went, so upon seeing it as the title of the episode, you know s***’s going to go down. Despite this, the episode keeps you in the dark for the majority of the episode, keeping you guessing about what’s actually going on. This episode’s message on the media was a lot more subtle, but still got its point across better than ‘The Long Game’ did. I loved how it made fun of modern TV shows such as Big Brother though that may be my hate for reality TV talking. Like ‘The Empty Child’, it was mostly just setup, but that didn’t stop it from being an engaging episode.
#5 The Unquiet Dead
This was the first episode of Doctor Who that really got me invested into the series. Charles Dickens was absolutely brilliant in this episode and I was sad when the Doctor didn’t ask him to be a companion considering he’s one of his greatest fans and all. I do suppose he died one week later but he still could of been a temporary companion like Captain Jack. ‘The Unquiet Dead’ tries to give a scientific explanation to the supernatural and does a great job of doing it without being massively confusing or convoluted. More of the Ninth Doctor’s personality is brought to light and although the villains didn’t really have a face, their plot was still frightening. This episode is a joy to watch all the way through.
#4 Father’s Day
For years, casual watchers and fans were plagued by omnipresent questions about the Doctor Who universe. Chief among these was the question: Why can’t the Doctor just go back in time to defeat his villains? Fortunately, this episode was broadcast and answered that question, while also giving some focus and much-needed development for Rose. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of Rose(put your pitchforks down), but I found that in this episode, she was relatable and even likeable. It’s not exactly a unique concept; going back in time to stop a loved one from dying, but Doctor Who handles it damn near perfectly in this episode.
This was the episode classic Doctor Who fans had been waiting for. Easily the most recognisable of Doctor Who villains, the Dalek had been a favourite for years. There was just one question: How would Modern Who handle them? Thankfully, no punches were pulled in re-establishing the terror of the Doctor’s greatest foe. One Dalek. That’s all. Yet it managed to upgrade itself and fight its way through one of the most secure underground bunkers on Earth without getting so much as a single scratch. As well as this, it’s made clear that the Doctor isn’t always the noble hero many make him out to be. “You would make a good Dalek Doctor” is one of the most chilling lines of the series. Somehow, against all odds it also managed to make me feel a sense of sadness and even sympathy for a Dalek. That on its own is enough to get the episode into the top three on this list.
#2 The Parting of the Ways
Doctor Who finales, (most of the time) are pretty damn good, and the finale of the first season is no exception. We were already made familiar to the Daleks’ impressive power and fortitude in the episode of the same name, and finding out there are millions of them still alive was alarming to say the least. The Doctor works frantically to try and defeat the Daleks while Jack and a small group of Satellite Five survivors try to buy him time. Rose is sent back to her time as the Doctor doesn’t want her to get hurt and she, Mickey and her mother try to get back to help him. It’s an intense episode, only helped by the fact that at the end of it, Jack and his small group of renegades couldn’t kill a single Dalek, even with the futuristic weaponry at their disposal. A phenomenal episode, second only to…
#1 The Doctor Dances
I’m about 99% sure it’s impossible to dislike this episode. The Doctor Who team must of used some nanogenes to make liking this episode part of our genetics. All jokes aside though, this really is a phenomenal episode. After listening to the banana joke, I knew this was going to be my favourite episode of the first season. It’s humorous, there’s plenty of action, an intense chase scene at the beginning, a really well-written mystery surrounding the plague and Capatain Jack. Need I say more? Captain Jack elevates this to the top five on its own.When he joins the Doctor at the end, I was positively squealing in delight. This episode contains all the best parts of Doctor Who and more. Easily the best episode of season one.
While the first season had some ‘meh’ episodes, for the most part it was a great first season for modern Doctor Who. It managed to satisfy long-time fans by bringing back enemies such as the Daleks while creating new ones such as the Slitheen and the Jagrafess to prevent the series from being too stale. That was just my opinion however and it’s completely fine to disagree with me! Feel free to share your thoughts on the first season in the comments below as I’m interested to hear what you all think.