Greetings fellow Whovians and those with a passing interest in the British sci fi TV show.
How is the year of no new series treating you? Binge watching a lot of NuWho reruns or discovering some classic stories?
As we all wait for the Christmas special (see my list of most wanted character returns here Jack’s out, but who should be in: Top 6 most wanted for Doctor Who Christmas Special) consider this post a little amuse bouche to help tide you over. I decided to rank the top 9 stories from the last season, series 9, which I will say off the bat I thoroughly enjoyed and was an improvement over series 8.
Keen eyed readers would notice I wrote “stories” and not “episodes” as this list will be combining the two partners. So allons-y, Geronimo and here we go:
#9 The Husbands of River Song (Christmas Special) – Writer Steven Moffat, Director Douglas Mackinnon
My friend Rach loved this episode. I did not. While I love River Song and both Alex Kingston and Peter Capaldi were great I did not enjoy them together. I know the plot was meant to be whimsical but I found it dull, all over the place and the humour forced. And I find it very hard to believe River would not be able to recognize the love of her life after spending so much time with him, even with a new face. Finally seeing the Singing Towers was really great and the couple did have a tender moment but the rest of the episode did nothing for me.
#8 Sleep No More – Writer Mark Gatiss, Director Justin Molotnikov
Seriously? Eye gunk monsters? Why not the manifestation of evil desires like sci fi classic Forbidden Planet? An interesting concept and I enjoyed the found footage format but I cannot get over the silliness of those creatures.
#7 The Girl Who Died – Writers Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat, Director Ed Bazalgette
A decent story though Odin and the Mire are some lackluster villains. Maisie Williams as Ashildr is cool if nothing special. And we do get the explanation about the Twelfth Doctor’s appearance which was a nice extra.
#6 Under the Lake/Before the Flood – Writer Toby Whithouse, Director Daniel O’Hara
The first half of this story was chilling and scary but I was let down by the conclusion. The design of the Fisher King was interesting but he did not do much. And after the cliffhanger ending the explanation was not as fascinating as I thought it would be. Sad they could not stick the landing.
#5 The Woman Who Lived – Writer Catherine Tregenna, Director Ed Bazalgette
Hello, is it Me you’re looking for? Williams in her Me persona bubbles over with personality and this episode is a grand ole adventure. Lovely costuming as well.
#4 Heaven Bent/ Hell Sent – Writer Steven Moffat, Director Rachel Talalay
Now before you get all up in arms let me say that picking the final four was tough for me. All these stories are fantastic but I couldn’t do a four way tie now could I?
The first part feels like a Twilight Zone episode but in a good way. The second was not as strong but still entertaining. It was a dream seeing Gallifrey again and all that Capaldi posturing was hilarious. The running around with Clara and the conversation with Me were also highlights.
#3 The Magician’s Apprentice/ The Witch’s Familiar – Writer Steven Moffat, Director Hettie MacDonald
The first story really knocked that ball for six (that’s a cricket reference btw). Daleks, Davros and Missy being her deliciously wicked self? Good times. Colony Sarf was really visually interesting as well. This is the first time we had a version of the Master meet Davros – two of The Doctor’s greatest nemeses. And what does Missy do? She pokes him. Hilarious. The chats between Davros and the Doctor was riveting and the conclusion exciting.
#2 Face the Raven – Writer Sarah Dollard, Director Justin Molotnikov
Get out the tissues folks; it’s feels time. Now there were people who were sad to see Clara go and people who were glad. I found her underdeveloped with the Eleventh Doctor up until Day of the Doctor but I enjoyed her relationship with the Twelfth. In this well written and nail biting episode Coleman brings her A game and, like her or not, that death scene was beautiful and touching.
#1 The Zygon Invasion/ The Zygon Inversion – Writer Peter Harness (both parts) & Steven Moffat (part two only), Director Daniel Nettheim
This two parter was like a great movie. We have the continuation of both Day of the Doctor and Death in Heaven storylines. The Zygons are back and more menacing than ever. We have the great Kate Stewart, more Osgood (which is always good), evil Clara and Capaldi’s best speech ever. We also have an allegory for world events told in a thrilling story. Hands and suckers down – best of the series.
So what was your favorite series 9 story? What was your least favorite? Feel free to comment below?
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