It has been more than a decade since the long running British sci-fi series Doctor Who returned to television. This era, which comprises nine full series (seasons in America) and four actors playing the titular Time Lord, is referred to as “Nu Who” as distinct from “Classic Who”.
After my last Doctor Who post Doctor Who Watch – Top 9 stories from Series 9 I was chatting on Facebook about the best series so far and thus this post was inspired. So we will be ranking the top nine series of Nu Who – the year of the Tenth Doctor specials, Christmas and other specials excluded – based on the portrayal of the Doctor, performance of the companions, quality of the villains, addition/reinforcement to the mythology and overall the quality of the episodes.
This post will feature the bottom five series and part 2 tomorrow we will go through the final four. So Allons-y, Geronimo and here we go:
#9 Series 7, Asylum of the Daleks – The Name of the Doctor, 2012-2013: Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), Amelia “Amy” Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman)
This split season was just a mess and had quite a few dull episodes. The stuff with the Ponds felt rushed and Clara had little to no personality. There are a few gems in there like Asylum of the Daleks but not enough to save it from being last on the list.
- Doctor 3/5, Companion 2/5, Villains 3/5
- Mythology 3/5 – introduction of Kate Stewart, reintroduction of the Ice Warriors and the Great Intelligence
- Overall episode quality 7/10 – Strongest Asylum of the Daleks & Weakest Cold War
Series 7 Final Score 18/30
#8 Series 5, The Eleventh Hour – The Big Bang, 2010: Eleventh Doctor, Companions Amy and Rory
Smith’s introductory season was nothing to write home to Gallifrey about. A couple of great episodes like the fun The Eleventh Hour and the touching Vincent and the Doctor, but otherwise a whole lot of average.
- Doctor 4/5, Companion 3/5, Villains 3/5
- Mythology 1/5 – reintroduction of the Silurians
- Overall Episode Quality 8/10 – Strongest Vincent and the Doctor & Weakest Victory of the Daleks
Series 5 Final Score 19/30
#7 Series 2 New Earth – Doomsday, 2006: Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), Companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)
Tennant’s debut season was one of polar opposites: some of the best episodes and some of the worst. You go from raising your eyebrows and griping at Fear Her and Love and Monsters to crying your eyes out at and cheering at The Girl in the Fireplace and Doomsday. It is quite the emotional roller coaster.
- Doctor 4/5, Companion 4/5, Villains 3/5
- Mythology 3/5 – introduction of Torchwood, reintroduction of Sarah Jane Smith and Cybermen
- Overall Episode Quality 7/10 – Strongest – Tie between The Girl in the Fireplace and Army of Ghosts/Doomsday & Weakest Fear Her (Love and Monsters gets a dishonourable mention)
Series 2 Final Score 21/30
#6 Series 8, Deep Breath – Death in Heaven, 2014: Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara
Capaldi gives an outstanding performance as a darker Doctor and Clara finally feels like a fleshed out character. The chemistry between the two is also great. Missy is delicious as a villain but the season was generally lacking in good bad guys. Listen is one of the scariest episodes of all of Doctor Who but series 8 also has its share of duds.
- Doctor 4/5, Companion 4/5, Villains 2/5
- Mythology 4/5 – introduction of Missy, reappearance of Coal Hill School, young first Doctor, and reappearance of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
- Overall Episode Quality 8/10 – Strongest Listen/ Weakest In The Forest of the Night
Series 8 Final Score 22/30
#5 Series 3, Smith and Jones – Last of the Time Lords, 2007: Tenth Doctor, Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)
Tennant’s sophomore season features the Doctor and companion-lite episode Blink which tops many people’s favorite episode lists, and deservedly so. Human Nature/The Family of Blood was also pretty fantastic but Martha’s pining and those awful Dalek episodes drag the season down a bit. Silly pig people.
- Doctor 4/5, Companion 3/5, Villains 4/5
- Mythology 5/5 – introduction of the Judoon, the Ood and the Weeping Angels, reintroduction of the Macra and the Master
- Overall Episode Quality 9/10 – Strongest Blink & Weakest Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks
Series 3 Final Score 25/30
So what is your favorite series of Nu Who? What is your least favorite? Feel free to comment below?
And for part two of this list you can click here.