The Doctor has been traveling with his TARDIS for hundreds of years, meeting fiery humans and evil aliens, and saving the world along the way. Since its rebirth in 2005, Doctor Who developed The Adventures of Timelord, providing viewers with some of the best sci-fi movies the BBC has ever produced.
While Doctor Who is known for its long timey-wimey arcs, the UK series is also home to some incredible standalone episodes that have achieved fan-favorite status over the years. Whether it’s outwitting the terrifying Weeping Angels, battling Daleks, or battling his own demons, the Doctor will always do his best to win.
ten ‘Angels take Manhattan’ is heartbreaking and frightening at the same time
The Eleventh Doctor takes his companions, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, on a trip to New York in 2012 so that they can picnic in Central Park. Soon their seemingly normal journey escalates when Rory is attacked by the Weeping Angels and is sent back in time. Now, in the 1930s, he reunites with his daughter River Song, who works as a private investigator called Melody Malone, while Amy and the Doctor try to find a way to bring him back.
“The Angels Take Manhattan” marks the return of the Weeping Angels and the last appearance of Rory and Amy. The episode is a mix of black aesthetics and horror and has a heart-wrenching ending that makes it the best Eleventh Doctor adventure of season seven.
9 “School Reunion” is a return to Classic Who
The Doctor uses his alias “John Smith” in “School Reunion”. Impersonating a physics teacher, The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, who works as a table maid, investigate the strange creatures that haunt a high school. At work, they meet the Doctor’s former companion, Sarah Jane Smith, who is also carrying out her own investigation around the school. Now reunited, the Doctor and Sarah seem to fall back into old ways, which makes Rose weary of her own importance to the Time Lord.
The success of “School Reunion” led Doctor Who head writer Russell T. Davies to create a spin-off titled The Adventures of Sarah Jane. Seeing the Doctor interacting with Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane is definitely a treat and gives insight into her past and her character.
8 “The Girl in the Fireplace” has a fantastic ending
Landing on a seemingly abandoned spaceship in the 51st century, the Tenth Doctor, Rose, and Mickey Smith soon discover that they are not as lonely as they initially thought they were. Several time windows on board reveal a strange murderous plot against Reinette, Madame de Pompadour, an 18th century French aristocrat. The Doctor meets Reinette throughout his life as he and his companions try to understand why a group of masked robots seem to be obsessed with her.
“The Girl In The Fireplace” is considered one of the best episodes in the series, because its writing and romantic setting make it a standout piece. The episode has an intriguing mystery at its heart, beautifully crafted villains, and an incredibly fantastic reveal at the end.
7 “Doctor’s Day” Celebrates Doctor Who Story
An urgent summons forces the Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald to rush to the National Gallery to listen to a message from Queen Elizabeth I. In the 1500s, the Tenth Doctor’s appointment with the Virgin Queen goes awry when the Zygons Who Switch of form arrive on the scene. When they meet, the two medics must face the past they have sworn to forget lest Gallifrey fall again.
“Doctor’s Day” is a celebration of Doctor Whothe legacy of science fiction and British television. As a 50th anniversary special, it follows the tradition of uniting multiple Doctors together in one of the series’ biggest adventures to date. It has linked several ends related to the Last Great Time War without straying from the main plot, making it a great episode for who connoisseurs and beginners.
6 “Vincent & The Doctor” is a loving tribute to a great artist
While visiting the MusÃ©e d’Orsay in Paris with Amy, the Eleventh Doctor notices a strange creature peeking out of a window in a Van Gogh painting. Worried, the Doctor and Amy travel back in time to 19th century Provence to investigate. They find and befriend Van Gogh, who seems to regularly fight internal and external invisible demons.
“Vincent and the Doctor” is a favorite of many for its take on mental health and its respectful tribute to Van Gogh. Its imagery and landscapes, which are primarily based on Van Gogh’s paintings, give the episode an incredibly endearing feel that makes it one of the most heartwarming of the Eleventh Doctor’s era.
5 “Dalek” explores the doctor’s battle scars
The Ninth Doctor and Rose are forcibly transported into the basement of an alien artifact collector who proudly offers to show them their only living specimen called the Metaltron. Upon meeting this alien, a horrified doctor realizes that he is in fact a Dalek survivor of the Last Great Time War. The Doctor faces an internal battle between his instincts, which tell him to destroy the Dalek, and his morality, which prompts him to save him.
“Dalek” is a wonderful exploration of the Doctor’s past, his motivations and his choices. It reintroduced the Daleks as the Doctor’s arch enemies and is the best standalone episode starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor.
4 “Midnight” is the perfection of the locker room mystery
While on vacation with Donna on the planet Midnight, the Tenth Doctor decides to take a short trip to see the Sapphire Waterfall. He takes a four-hour shuttle to his destination alongside six other passengers, including recently divorced businesswoman Sky Silvestry. The Doctor gets to know his companions when a mysterious being slips inside their shuttle and possesses Sky, making him repeat everything the others say.
“Midnight” is one of the Doctor Whomost suspenseful episodes of, rendered by the superb play of the cast and the lack of bodily form of the strange alien entity. âMidnightâ is a perfect episode for fans of locked room mysteries and is the first of a few âcompanion-liteâ episodes in which the Doctor goes solo for most of the running time.
3 “The Doctor’s Wife” turns the TARDIS into a character in its own right
The Doctor finally communicates face to face with his beloved TARDIS in “The Doctor’s Wife”. After being tricked into visiting an asteroid by an entity known simply as House, the Eleventh Doctor, Rory, and Amy, must prevent it from escaping and wreaking havoc in their universe. But when House transfers the consciousness of the TARDIS into a woman’s body, the Doctor must also find a way to restore his time machine before it’s too late.
The episode was written by famous English writer Neil Gaiman, known for his fantastic stories such as The sandman, the American gods, and Coraline. âThe Doctor’s Wifeâ explores the Doctor’s relationship with his TARDIS, providing important details about the two characters and how they feel about each other.
2 “Blink” is a new masterpiece from Who
After breaking into an old house and finding her name written on the walls, Sally Sparrow comes face to face with a group of terrifying statues called the Weeping Angels. When two people she knows are taken back in time, she decides to take the advice of a madman who continues to appear as an Easter egg in a series of DVDs.
The Weeping Angels make their spooky debut in fan favorite “Blink”. The episode is written by Steven Moffat and has Carey Mulligan as Sally, who takes on the role of Tenth Doctor with a minimal but vital role. Many consider “Blink” to be new who at its best, with a healthy dose of good acting, goosebumps, and timey-wimey goodness.
1 “Heaven Sent” is a Shakespearean exploration of the doctor’s psyche
After losing Clara, a grieving twelfth doctor is unwillingly teleported to a room inside an old castle. A hooded figure, his captor, keeps following and tormenting him, asking him questions the Doctor doesn’t want to answer. As he tries to escape, his mind keeps returning to his TARDIS and Clara, who helps him figure out what’s going on.
âHeaven Sentâ is technically not stand-alone, as it is the middle episode of a threesome, but its structure allows the episode to work on its own. “Heaven Sent” reads like a play by Shakespeare, the Doctor diving deep into his own psyche as he deals with Clara’s disappearance and her uncertainty. Peter Capaldi’s superlative acting is the driving force behind the entire episode, giving the Doctor a new quality of soul-searching that he previously lacked.
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