Friday, November 7, 2014

Doctor Who: The First 50 Years Poll (or The Mighty 241)

Way, way back in 2009 I posted an edited version of The Mighty 200 which appeared in Doctor Who Magazine #413. See that post here.

More recently, Doctor Who Magazine #474 covered the entire 241 episode Doctor Who run save for the latest episodes starring Peter Capaldi. It will be fascinating to see where many of those episodes fall next go round. In keeping with the fact I love both polls and Doctor Who, I present you an updated and full version of that very poll here at Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic for a bit of light fun on the eve of Peter Capaldi's Series 8 finale.

My interest in providing this to you as a guide to watching Doctor Who was first inspired by the two-part Human Nature and Family Of Blood (Series 3 featuring David Tennant). This particular story from Series 3 offers an exceptional bit of science fiction implementing familiar ideas (alien invasion, body snatching) in a fresh new way. And Human Nature would definitely land itself the prestigious honor of being my favorite Tennant entry of Series 3. Tennant also delivers possibly his most impressive turn as the Doctor unwittingly transformed into human John Smith. Tennant is quite good. Tennant performs out of character and isn't permitted to fall back on his Doctor shtick which, as you know, can become repetitious.

Blink (Series 3), too, is excellent. You'll see below that Blink landed itself in the number two spot for second best Doctor Who episode of all-time. While very good, I'm not so sure I'd be quite so willing to go that far. As impressively simple as the Weeping Angels concept is in Blink and as delightful a performance as actress Carey Mulligan turns I'm not so sure I would be that generous. It's certainly a quality episode with Tennant essentially relegated to a supporting role. It's notable that earlier in the season Andrew Garfield guested in Daleks In Manhattan and Evolution Of The Daleks. Mulligan and Garfield would star together in the exceptional science fiction film drama Never Let Me Go (2010) a few years later based on the dystopian tale by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Before we begin it was also interesting to note two additional polls in the issue - Favourite Doctor and Favourite Companion.

Favourite Doctor was ranked as follows: 12. Jon Hurt. 11. Colin Baker. 10. Paul McGann. 9. William Hartnell. 8. Christopher Eccleston. 7. Sylvester McCoy. 6. Peter Davison. 5. Jon Pertwee. 4. Patrick Troughton. 3. David Tennant. 2. Matt Smith. 1. Tom Baker.

Christopher Eccleston is far better than this list would suggest. I'll leave it at that. Tennant may be a bit overrated. Tom Baker remains the king. Verdict is still out on Smith until I given his stories a proper look.

Favourite Companion was ranked as follows: 15. Tegan Jovanka. 14. Rory Williams. 13. Barbara Wright. 12. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. 11. Ian Chesterton. 10. Romana II. 9. Leela. 8. Jo Grant. 7. Clara Oswald. 6. Ace. 5. Any Pond. 4. Jamie McCrimmon. 3. Rose Tyler. 2. Donna Noble. 1. Sarah Jane Smith. Just amazing the power and chemistry of the Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen collaboration as Doctor and Companion. The two have traversed time and space in popularity and appears to remain secure as long as many of us fans are still alive. They would easily place together atop a Favourite Doctor/ Companion Combination poll if ever there was one. Now there's an idea for an issue, because the results would no doubt vary from the above. And, for the record, Clara Oswald, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, is easily one of my all-time favorite companions. She's a modern delight in a fashion similar to the late, great Elisabeth Sladen.

It's also worth noting that actress Freema Agyeman is nowhere to be found on the list of favorite companions. In a rare instance, The Sci-Fi Fanatic is not alone in having a distaste for the annoying Marth Jones character or the performance by Agyeman. She doesn't even make the list and she wouldn't make mine either.

So, as far as the best episodes of Doctor Who, how you rate nearly 250 episodes is something of an impossible task it would seem, but here it is. When it comes to any quality sci-fi series like Doctor Who, there are so many ever so slight variations in quality that it becomes a matter of degrees nearly impossible to separate. It's certainly easier to articulate and pinpoint what makes a great episode and what makes a lemon, but becomes harder when episodes have their strengths and weaknesses in play. How do you rate one over the other? And even one man's lemon is another's lemonade. Nevertheless, it is good fun. And thus into the Tardis we go.

241. The Twin Dilemma.
240. Fear Her.
239. Time And Rani.
238. Timelash.
237. Time-flight.
236. Underworld.
235. The Space Pirates.
234. The Dominators.
233. The Rings Of Akhaten.
232. The Space Museum.
231. Meglos.
230. Paradise Towers.
229. The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe.
228. The King's Demons.
227. The Curse Of The Black Spot.
226. Warriors Of The Deep.
225. The Sensorites.
224. The Underwater Menace.
223. The Horns Of Nimon.
222. The Time Monster.
221. Arc Of Infinity.
220. Love And Monsters.
219. The Web Planet.
218. Four To Doomsday.
217. Delta And The Bannerman.
216. The Monster Of Peladon.
215. Dragonfire.
214. Planet Of Giants.
213. The Mutants.
212. The Power Of Kroll.
211. Creature From The Pit.
210. Galaxy 4.
209. Terminus.
208. Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution Of The Daleks.
207. The Krotons.
206. Silver Nemesis.
205. The Long Game.
204. The Armageddon Factor.
203. Nightmare In Silver.
202. The Gunfighters.
201. Journey To The Centre Of The Tardis.

200. The Lazarus Experiment.
199. Colony In Space.
198. The Savages.
197. The Celestial Toymaker.
196. The Invisible Enemy.
195. The Idiot's Lantern.
194. The Smugglers.
193. Victory Of The Daleks.
192. The Keys Of Marinus.
191. Planet Of The Dead.
190. Nightmare Of Eden.
189. Night Terrors.
188. The Invasion Of Time.
187. Attack Of The Cybermen.
186. The Beast Below.
185. The Rebel Flesh/ The Almost People.
184. The Ark.
183. Inside The Spaceship.
182. The Mark Of The Rani.
181. New Earth.
180. The Doctor's Daughter.
179. Boom Town.
178. The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood.
177. The Wheel In Space.
176. 42.
175. The Chase.
174. The Leisure Hive.
173. Aliens Of London/ World War Three.
172. The Happiness Patrol.
171. The Rescue.
170. The Reign Of Terror.
169. Mission To The Unknown.
168. The Trial Of A Time Lord.
167. The Vampires Of Venice.
166. The Highlanders.
165. Closing Time.
164. The Power Of Three.
163. A Town Called Mercy.
162. The Sun Makers.
161. Planet Of Fire.
160. Revenge Of The Cybermen.
159. Battlefield.
158. Voyage Of The Damned.
157. Dinosaurs On A Spaceship.
156. Black Orchid.
155. The Awakening.
154. Destiny Of The Daleks.
153. The Runaway Bride.
152. Doctor Who.
151. Let's Kill Hitler.

150. The Macra Terror.
149. The Next Doctor.
148. Death To The Daleks.
147. Frontios.
146. The Android Invasion.
145. The Myth Makers.
144. The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky.
143. Full Circle.
142. The Faceless Ones.
141. The Ice Warriors.
140. The Sontaran Experiment.
139. The Claws Of Axos.
138. The Two Doctors.
137. Invasion Of The Dinosaurs.
136. Gridlock.
135. Vengeance On Varos.
134. The End Of The World.
133.The War Machines.
132. Cold War.
131. The Romans.
130. The Face Of Evil.
129. The Wedding Of River Song.
128. The Crusade.
127. Frontier In Space.
126. The Seeds Of Death.
125. Planet Of The Ood.
124. Rise Of The Cybermen/ The Age Of Steel.
123. Planet Of The Daleks.
122. Image Of The Fendahl.
121. Castrovalva.
120. The Bells Of Saint John.
119. Hide.
118. The God Complex.
117. Mawdryn Undead.
116. Robot.
115. Warrior's Gate.
114. The Pirate Planet.
113. The Moonbase.
112. Snakedance.
111. Smith And Jones.
110. The Visitation.
109. State Of Decay.
108. The Greatest Show In The Galaxy.
107. The Shakespeare Code.
106. Partners In Crime.
105. Amy's Choice.
104. The Masque Of Mandragora.
103. The Ribos Operation.
102. The Unicorn And The Wasp.
101. The Hand Of Fear.

100. The Massacre Of St Bartholomew's Eve.
99. Resurrection Of The Daleks.
98. The Androids Of Tara.
97. A Christmas Carol.
96. The Ambassadors Of Death.
95. The Time Of The Doctor.
94. The Keeper Of Traken.
93. The Curse Of Peladon.
92. Planet Of Evil.
91. The Girl Who Waited.
90. The Lodger.
89. Tooth And Claw.
88. A Good Man Goes To War.
87. The Abominable Snowmen.
86. The Unquiet Dead.
85. The Tenth Planet.
84. Marco Polo.
83. The Crimson Horror.
82. The End Of Time.
81. Planet Of The Spiders.
80. Ghost Light.
79. Survival.
78. 100,000 BC.
77. The Time Meddler.
76. Mind Of Evil.
75. Enlightenment.
74. The Stones Of Blood.
73. The Mind Robber.
72. Rose.
71. The Fires Of Pompeii.
70. Revelation Of The Daleks.
69. Fury From The Deep.
68. The Snowmen.
67. The Angels Take Manhattan.
66. Father's Day.
65. Day of The Daleks.
64. Carnival Of Monsters.
63. Kinda.
62. Logopolis.
61. The Aztecs.
60. The Sea Devils.
59. Terror Of The Autons.
58. The Impossible Astronaut/ Day Of The Moon.
57. The Christmas Invasion.
56. The Enemy Of The World.
55. Utopia/ The Sound Of Drums/ Last Of The Time Lords.
54. The Time Warrior.
53. The Time Of Angels/ Flesh And Stone.
52. The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit.
51. The Three Doctors.

50. Doctor Who And The Silurians.
49. Asylum Of The Daleks.
48. The Dalek's Master Plan.
47. The Dalek Invasion Of Earth.
46. The Mutants.
45. Army Of Ghosts/ Doomsday.
44. Midnight.
43. The Waters Of Mars.
42. The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang.
41. The Brain Of Morbius.
40. The Name Of The Doctor.
39. Turn Left.
38. The Daemons.
37. The Doctor's Wife.
36. School Reunion.
35. The Stolen Earth/ Journey's End.
34. The Evil Of The Daleks.
33. The Invasion.
32. Horror Of Fang Rock.
31. Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead.
30. The Green Death.
29. The Girl In The Fireplace.
28. Spearhead From Space.
27. Vincent And The Doctor.
26. The Curse Of Fenric.
25. The Five Doctors.
24. Earthshock.
23. The Tomb Of The Cybermen.
22. The Ark In Space.
21. The Deadly Assassin.
20. The Seeds Of Doom.
19. The Power Of The Daleks.
18. Inferno.
17. The Eleventh Hour.
16. The Web Of Fear.
15. Dalek.
14. Terror Of The Zygons.
13. Bad Wolf/ Parting Of The Ways.
12. The War Games.
11. The Robots Of Death.
10. Remembrance Of The Daleks.
9. Human Nature/ The Family Of Blood.
8. Pyramids Of Mars.
7. The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances.
6. The Talons Of Weng-Chiang.
5. City Of Death.
4. The Caves Of Androzani.
3. Genesis Of The Daleks.
2. Blink.
1. The Day Of The Doctor.

Whew. My fingers hurt. Kidding. Honestly, I have my problems with the positions of these nearly 250 entries. Let me take a moment to correct them. I swear I've tried my very best to avoid endless Doctor Who viewing, which in turn may result in Doctor Who fatigue thus affecting my judgment and selections.

This much is clear. Genesis Of The Daleks and Terror Of The Zygons should be lower. Silence In The Library higher. Blink lower. The Girl In The Fireplace higher. Love And Monsters much higher. The Unicorn And The Wasp higher. Army Of Ghosts lower. New Earth and The End Of The World higher. Gridlock higher. Robot lower. The Unquiet Dead higher. The Utopia trilogy lower. Father's Day and Midnight higher. Wellllll, I could go on.

That should do it for this highly un-scientific, non mathematical conclusion to the latest Who poll. Much better wouldn't you say? Confused? I know I am. Where my own personal list would place all of these entries I have no idea.

But like the Doctor said in Blink, it really is "like a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff." So let's leave it at that. On the eve before Capaldi's finale, let's bring on those Peter Capaldi additions. Will he make the Top 10? He would on my list.

Here are more of the many wonderful images from Doctor Who.


El Vox said...

Well, your and their list is as good as mine in the subjective realm of Timelords. From the magazine's list it appears they have remembered the present over the past episodes with The Day of the Doctor holding the #1 spot. But that's okay, something has to be #1, and it's a pretty good episode showcasing all the doctors, except the current one. And it's only one of two Blu-Ray disc I currently own--don't have a player yet.

One of my fave companions was always Leela too. Thanks for providing the list by the way, I didn't pick up that magazine, and will enjoy looking it over.

I really can't quibble with much as I haven't seen all the episodes, and I think watching too much of any one thing sort of blurs my opinion. I do like Blink for one of the more modern eps., and at least the Talons of Weng-Chaing holds the #7 spot, which is one of my fave older eps. I also like Pyramid of Mars quite a bit too. Horror at Fang Rock is another fave from the older years. It seems the Five Doctors in past polls have always made it into the Top Fifteen or so, and notably so, as it's a classic eps. The Caves of the Androzani was a good Davidson eps. All in all it's a mammoth undertaking, but it's not like you have to watch them back to back or all at once. Good list overall though. Thanks for posting.

Dog In Space said...

Thanks El Vox. Hope you are feeling better.