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Recently, I decided to watch the 2005+ run of Doctor Who from the beginning. This article will be part of a series where I'll pick my top episodes for each Doctor starting with Nine.
The number of episodes will vary with each article depending on how many episodes there are in total for that particular Doctor. Also, any time there's a part 1 and part 2, those episodes will be grouped together as one.
That being said, here are my top 5 episodes from the Ninth Doctor's era and beware this article contains spoilers!
5. Rose — 9/10
"When ordinary shop-worker Rose Tyler meets a mysterious stranger called the Doctor she is drawn into his strange and dangerous world; her life will never be the same again." IMDb
My favourite thing about this episode is that we were introduced to the Doctor and his world through Rose's eyes. That allowed for us to explore everything at the exact same time as her and it even helped us to get to know Rose.
The entire episode is fun and there's nothing overly complicated about it. We mostly get to sit back and enjoy the instant chemistry between Rose and the Doctor as they work together to get rid of the living plastic and slowly get to know each other. It really was the perfect introduction to the revived series of Doctor Who.
4. Boom Town — 9/10
"Stopping off in present-day Cardiff to recharge the TARDIS, The Doctor, Rose and Jack encounter an old foe in the midst of hatching a scheme that could destroy the entire planet." IMDb
This one was a surprise to me. The previous Slitheen episodes had been fun but they certainly weren't favourites so I expected the same thing to happen with Boom Town, however, this episode was surprisingly good.
Something I adored about it was that it kind of felt like a filler episode but in the best way possible. Among the pretty serious moments, there were so many hilarious ones and on top of that, we got to see how well the Doctor, Jack, and Rose got on, as well as getting a chance to see them team up with Mickey.
It's similar to Rose in the sense that there are a lot of important things happening but it also feels laid back and easy to watch.
3. Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways — 9/10
"The TARDIS team is separated and forced to compete in twisted and deadly games on the Game Station." IMDb
"As the Dalek fleet begin their attack on the Earth, the Doctor and his allies make one final stand against his greatest foes and not everyone will make it out alive." IMDb
These episodes were just wild from start to finish. Both felt familiar yet brand new at the same time which was perfect. We had a location we had seen before (Satellite Five) and an enemy we had met previously (the Daleks), and all of that familiarity was balanced out by a somewhat explanation of who/what Bad Wolf was, the regeneration of the Doctor, and the overall fact that the Parting of the Ways is the last episode for Nine before we meet the Tenth Doctor. Those things are brand new so it's good to balance it out with things we have some knowledge on.
Speaking of, the regeneration from Nine to Ten was fantastic and that little moment at the end with David Tennant fit in perfectly with the rest of the episode, especially with Rose's reaction. It adds to a previous point I made in this article: we experience things at the exact same time she does.
A ton happened during these episodes and it allowed for series 1 to go out with some pretty big bangs.
2. The Unquiet Dead — 9/10
"The Doctor has great expectations for his latest adventure when he and Rose join forces with Charles Dickens to investigate a mysterious plague of zombies." IMDb
I'm a little biased on this one because I'm a sucker for anything set in the mid to late 1800s but the Unquiet Dead was genuinely amazing. The aesthetic of this episode was fantastic, the story was interesting especially the way certain things were slowly revealed, and it also felt like a pretty important point in Rose and the Doctor's relationship. They don't see eye to eye throughout most of the episode but when push comes to shove they lean on each other and aren't afraid to say how they feel.
Something else I really loved about this episode is that Charles Dickens was a character. There's no particular reason, it was just awesome and he was very entertaining to watch.
1. The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances — 10/10
"When a spaceship crashes in the middle of the London Blitz the Doctor, Rose and the enigmatic Captain Jack Harkness find themselves investigating a plague of physical injuries and a little boy in a gas mask." IMDb
"The gas mask zombies are on the rise as the plague spreads across war-torn London." IMDb
Everything about these episodes is simply fantastic. I don't think I have a bad thing to say about either one of them. The setting of the 1940s was a great backdrop, the introduction of Captain Jack Harkness was so incredibly fitting (especially after seeing him in several more episodes as well as Torchwood), and the foe they face was probably the best of the season overall.
I really enjoyed the explanation behind the gas-mask wearing zombies and the slow reveal of information across both episodes to get to that point. Even the method of stopping the threat was simple and beautiful.
Both episodes just had everything I loved about Nine's season: a good mix of serious and funny, an emphasis on relationships (and different types of relationships), a beautiful aesthetic, a simple yet interesting plot and/or foe, an idea that not everyone is perfect and that's fine so long as you try, and many other things. Overall, both were the perfect episodes for me.