• Our Favorite Eleventh Doctor Episodes of Doctor Who

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    Doctor Who on Tor.com
    Our Favorite Eleventh Doctor Episodes of Doctor Who
    Emily Asher-Perrin, Ryan Britt, Chris Lough and Sarah Tolf
    December 20, 2013 11:00AM

    Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

    Doctor Who has been one hell of a rollercoaster under Matt Smith and
    Steven Moffats reign. The quality of the episodes themselves has been
    markedly variable, as reflected in our own reviews, and for a little
    while the staff here was worried that wed always be down about the
    show, or that we were chronicling the decline of the series.

    Even if that had been the case (the 50th anniverary episode and its
    surroundings celebration did a huge, wonderful job at rejuvenating the
    series), Doctor Who is still the best damn sci-fi show on television.
    As we stand here, mere days from the fall of the Eleventh, were
    feeling thankful for all the sheer oddity that his episodes have added
    to the series as a whole. We pick our favorites below!


    Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

    Vampires of Venice

    This episode is simple, clever and absolutely hilarious, which is
    always how Who operates at its best. If you can say that your episode
    involves the Doctor jumping out of a bachelor party cake and flashing a
    library card as credentials, youve already knocked it out of the park.
    But the emotional moments of this episode resonate beautifully as
    wellRory Williams has the distinction of being the first companion to
    truly call the Doctor out on his bullshit, taking him to task for
    making people want to impress him and therefore endangering their
    lives. The defeating of the villain is really a sidenote to this tale,
    one that sees Rory on the outside looking in as Amy and the Doctor jump
    around in frenzied excitement over alien vampires. Its the beginning
    of building the trio into a team, a great historical period, and
    features some measured posturing against the queen mother where the
    Doctor is concerned. A romp, but a meaningful one.

    Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

    Amys Choice

    To begin with, there is no real villain in this episode, which is
    always an exciting story choice. We do, however, get a glimpse of just
    how dangerous the Doctors dark side can bewhile we had seen his
    proper rage come to the forefront during Davies era, we had never been
    subjected to how insidious and deceitful that aspect of the Doctor was,
    nor how it could endanger the lives of his companions. The episode is
    sharp in how it effectively shows Rory and Amys domestic bliss as a
    little too blissful (read: boring), a very realistic fear for a couple
    just about to be married. But more importantly, everything that this
    episode accomplishes is in the title; with the Doctor powerless, for
    the first time ever, he truly puts the most important choice into a
    companions hands. He lets Amy decide how they go out even though that
    decision could kill them, and acknowledges that the choice should be
    hers after what shes suffered. Its a real growing up moment for the
    both of them, and one of the aspects to their relationship that made
    Amy a very special companion.

    Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

    The God Complex

    A perfect example of misunderstood alien life being made out as the
    baddie, one of the best sort of dilemmas Who provides. Its
    particularly satisfying when the Doctor himself misreads a situation,
    proving that 1000+ years of travel in time and space should never give
    you right to presume anything. While the plot takes place in a
    hotel-looking space, it is effectively a several people stuck in a
    room sort of plot, and the extra characters the tale provides are all
    incredibly interesting in their own right, which is essential in those
    stories. But most importantly, the episode still manages to move
    forward Amys emotional arc, examining her attachment to the Doctor,
    and just how deeply it has damaged her. (One of the more fascinating
    aspects of Amys tenure as a companion is how her connection to the
    Doctor may have actually done her more harm than good, which is rare
    for the people who fill those running shoes.) The Doctors decision to
    ask her to let go of him is one of Elevens more heroic moments.


    Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

    The Lodger & Closing Time

    My close friends and readers of Tor.com know Im something of a fickle
    Doctor Who fan. I either find myself being a total apologist for the
    show, or more recently, a hipster hater. (Which at least comes with the
    privilege of $1 IPAs at Mission Dolores before their weekly
    shuffleboard tournament.)

    I do miss David Tennant and it has taken me probably longer than it
    should to warm to Matt Smith. Smith may be a better comic actor than
    Tennant, though, and I love funny! To that point, some of my favorite
    Doctor Who episodes have always been the funniest, which is why I
    absolutely love both episodes with James Cordens Craig: The Lodger,
    and Closing Time.

    Written by Gareth Roberts, The Lodger originally saw life as a short
    comic strip, which featured Mickey Smith and the Tenth Doctor.
    (Famously, Moffats Blink also began life as a comic adventure
    featuring a different Doctor than the aired version.) Both of these
    episodes operate on a low-stakes maybe there are aliens in your
    neighborhood principle, which helps humanize and undercut some of the
    more preposterous Doctor Who baggage. The big epic Doctor Who episodes
    can be fun, but juxtaposing a centuries-old badass like the Doctor into
    a boring domestic situation is automatically comic gold. Whether hes
    just impolitely dominating everyone at football or working (somewhat
    incompentently) at the mall, the idea that a seemingly weird (but
    human-looking) guy is actually there to save the entire planet from
    your living room or local dressing room is awesome.

    Further, I dont mind Amy and Rory at all, but I sort of love Craig and
    Sophie (Daisy Haggard) more. Theres real pain when he just takes off
    at the end of Closing Time, leaving Craigs place for the big stakes
    stuff. You really get the sense Craig is an actual person, a real
    character with a life on Earth whos life was changed for the better by
    the Doctor. This doesnt mean the Doctor isnt SUPER annoying when he
    shows up, sending Craig on super inconvenient adventures. But the image
    of a pudgy guy with a baby strapped to his chest running to help save
    the universe is awesome. And thats what good Doctor Who is all about:
    regular people getting empowered to do battle with monsters, aliens,
    and stuff that goes bump in the night.


    Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

    A Christmas Carol and The Snowmen

    Its downright criminal how good these episodes are. Steven Moffat is
    often at his best when hes not feeling compelled to write towards a
    larger story arc and these two Christmas episodes, especially A
    Christmas Carol, come off as stories that the writer felt a personal
    desire to tell. That care comes through in the weight that he gives to
    the characters in these episodes.

    Former showrunner Russell T. Davies also did his best work under the
    same kind of focus (For example, Turn Left is a total mess of a plot,
    but it comes off brilliantly because of the care RTD took with Donnas
    story.) but Steven Moffat is possibly the most clever plotter the show
    has ever had, and when he really cares about a story hes able to merge
    the horrifying, the daffy, and the dramatic into a single story that is
    greater than the sum of its parts. When that happens, its utter magic.
    This is how good Doctor Who can be. This is how good it should be. This
    is how good ALL television should be. When the show achieves this kind
    of transcendence, like it does in A Christmas Carol and The
    Snowmen, its difficult to watch it come down from that.

    Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor


    I got the same feeling from Hide and although the episodes following
    it have been entertaining, none have quite reached the zenith that this
    one did.

    I also adore it for being an episode thats simply impossible to
    explain, much like the show itself. You just have to watch it, which
    makes it an experience.


    Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

    Vincent and the Doctor

    This one seems to divide the fanbase more than I would expect. Sure,
    its a little overly sentimental and a bit predictable and the Krafayis
    doesnt make much sense, but I couldnt care less. This episode is all
    about the FEELS, and that is perfectly okay. Functionally, it serves as
    a bit of a break in the immediate aftermath of Cold Blood, and gives
    the Doctor a much needed chance to work through his guilt over not
    saving Roryclearly dragging Amy all over the galaxy on a whirlwind
    tour of vacation spots isnt doing the trick. So when the Doctor tells
    Amy that they cant save everyone, the lesson is for his own benefit as
    much as hers. This episode also gets major props because van Goghs
    madness isnt played for laughs. Its instead very real and terrifying
    when he suddenly orders the Doctor to leave, and just as heartwrending
    when he later breaks down at the museum. And that bit where he explains
    the colors of the sky? Im tearing up just thinking about it.

    We could go on! The Girl Who Waited was definitely on this list, but
    we ran out of room. The Day of the Doctor is also one of our
    favorites, but isnt really an Eleventh Doctor affair. What are your
    favorite Eleventh Doctor stories?

    Emily Asher-Perrin once popped out of a wedding cake but cant remember
    how she got in there in the first place. You can bug her on Twitter and
    read more of her work here and elsewhere.

    Ryan Britt is a longtime contributor to Tor.com and solely responsible
    for the slow degradation of Doctor Who. (Sorry, guys.)

    Chris Lough is the Production Manager at Tor.com and remembers every
    black day he ever stopped you, Ryan.

    Whenever Sarah Tolf sees Tony Curran pop up in other shows or movies,
    she STILL wants to give Vincent all the hugs. Sigh.

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