Article by Jake Cannon. Media by Austin Stephens.
Before I begin this article, there’s a very important date coming up quickly: November 25th. It might seem like an ordinary day, but it’s a day that’s been 50 years in the making. I’m of course referring to the premiere of the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who. I know what you’re thinking now: “I don’t even watch Doctor Who. But my incredibly nerdy roommate who has fifteen shirts, nine mugs, two posters, and tall silver plastic stick that glows and makes a funny noise does. I don’t have that kind of money or time, how many seasons are there? Like fifty?”
Fear not, for I have come to your rescue. Whether you can’t tell the difference between a Slitheen and Sontaran or whether you have memorized the entire Shadow Proclamation, this article is for you. Out of the nearly 100 episodes in the 2005 reboot of Doctor Who, I have graciously (and with much thought and hardship) struck down that intimidating number to just a mere 10 episodes. You’re welcome. That’s only 7.5 hours. Again, you’re welcome.
Mind you, this isn’t a comprehensive list of must-see episodes. This is a list to merely introduce beginners to the Daleks and the Time War in preparation for The Day Of The Doctor. So let’s take this journey together; for some it will be a new experience, but for others it will be a trip down memory lane. There’s an old earth saying, a phrase of great power and wisdom and consolation to the soul in times of need and a great way to start off this article: “Allons-y!”
2-Part Finale (Bad Wolf and The Parting Of The Ways)
Doctor Who is known for having multiple part finales and season one is no different. Here we have the Doctor (Christopher Eccelston) in seemingly a random game show when it turns out to be his greatest nemesis (nemesi?): The Daleks, who have been hiding for a very long time. This finale sets us up for David Tennant, arguably one of the greatest Doctors in the franchise’s history.
2-Part Finale (Army of Ghosts Doomsday)
Skipping an entire series may seem harsh, but these two episodes set us up for “feels.” Once again, the Doctor finds himself up against not only the Daleks, but also the Cybermen, an equally evil and robotic enemy. I can remember the chills of seeing the Daleks appear from the sphere and the tears as we said goodbye to Rose Tyler.
2-Part Finale (End Of Time Parts 1 and 2)
Sorry Donna and Martha, you’re getting skipped entirely. This finale is epic. Like Time War epic. Like I cried a lot epic. The Master (from season 3) returns and ends human existence. Unwittingly, it sets off a chain of events that bring back the Time Lords and with them the end of time itself. These are also great episodes that speak a lot about the Time War and the Doctor’s involvement with it. Even though it is vague, in the context at the end of season seven it makes a lot more sense. Or in some cases raises more questions than answers.
Victory Of The Daleks
So. Many. Daleks. There’s a point and purpose to this Dalek invasion on your Netflix. This episode especially stands out because not only is there a space battle with WWII planes, the Daleks get a makeover. Plus Matt Smith as the Doctor is incredible to watch.
If you have time to watch the seventh season, do so. But here we see the second introduction of Clara (we first see her in the first episode of the seventh season “Asylum of the Daleks”). So Clara is back. But she died. Then she’s back. Then she dies again. And then head writer Steven Moffat punches you in the face. But besides the trippy Clara story, there’s something much more sinister afoot than an “Attack of the Deranged Killer Monster Snow Goons.” The Intelligence is introduced and he continues to play an insidious background part in the inner workings of season seven, culminating in the finale.
The Bells of St. John
This is the first time we ever see the Doctor and Clara as his companion together officially and believe me, it’s a memorable sight to see. Plus the Doctor rides a motorcycle.
The Name of the Doctor
If you thought the Clara story was confusing just wait until you add a dying TARDIS’s time stream with the Doctor’s greatest secret set to be explained November 25th. The results are nothing short of jaw dropping.
So believe me, the entire series of Doctor Who is worth watching. This is nothing more than a very brief refresher of the Time War for late starters and long-time fans. A lot has happened in seven seasons and this list only dips one’s toe in the (time) stream. So what are you waiting for? Geronimo!