“Nu Who” – the contemporary series

Ninth Doctor


“Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!” – The Doctor

Likes: Though perhaps a bit much, the giddiness of the Doctor mirrors that of fans at the return of the character and it’s nice they start “in the middle” of things with him up to his usual adventuring in a fairly simple and straightforward story. Nice call back to the Auton shop window dummies in the original.

Dislikes: Some hokey scenes of plastic with Mickey (trash can, bouncy head) with a less than impressive Nestene Consciousness.

New Canon: The Time War

Re-introduced: Everything else

Interesting: The Doctor checks himself out in the mirror as if seeing his face for the first time (ie, immediately post regeneration) but future stories will contradict this idea.

The End of the World

“Everything has its time and everything dies” – The Doctor

Likes: Another fairly familiar and straightforward story arc as the Doctor arrives to a group event only to discover and foil an evil plan underneath it. The “ipod” joke is fairly funny. Some tender sympathetic characters but I also like the little hard edge of the Doctor shown in his reaction to Cassandra’s death.

Dislikes: Some of the aliens are over the top and the Doctor’s “faith step” is oddly emphasized for no seeming reason.

New Canon: Phoning across time, psychic paper

Re-introduced: TARDIS translation (but explained further)

The Unquiet Dead

“Echoes in the dark, queer songs in the air, and this feeling like a shadow passing over your soul.” – Mr Sneed

Likes: The first of the new era to feel like a classic Doctor Who gothic story with its eerie opening and Dickensian stylishness. Good guest characters portrayals.

Dislikes: Always feels a bit off-putting to meet real life people in the fictional world as it seems undercut by historical knowledge [though explained here by Dickens early death]

New canon: Higher races that at the human level we cannot be aware of experienced the Time War, Cardiff as a site of a time rift and great power

Re-introduced: The vast TARDIS wardrobe

Interesting: Even though it’s technically mentioned in the episode before, this is the first mention of Bad Wolf that clearly marks it as something significant to be looking for. It also sets up the idea of a season long thread tying together episodes that would continue for the next several years of Doctor Who.

Aliens of London

“Excuse me, do you mind not farting while I’m saving the world?” – The Doctor

Likes: I can only find a few elements to like in this story: the red herring alien pig and Harriet Jones’ character.

Dislikes: Otherwise, the body humor and other tongue-in-cheek jokes seem to be the only things driving this episode.

New canon: The Earth is aware of alien invasions (although for this one there is a possible out that it can be proved as a hoax, later episodes confirm that everyone remembers this event as the start of alien invasions on earth)

Re-introduced: UNIT (but their return is wasted as their just a bunch of government and military with no personality)

World War Three

“It’s not fun, it’s not smart, it’s just standing up and making a decision because nobody else will.” – The Doctor

Likes: The Slitheen feel like less of a joke and much more of a threat as they toy with people in the hunt  which makes this second-parter a much better episode than the first.  

Dislikes: An odd wrap up – both parliament and Big Ben have now been destroyed. Shouldn’t that reverberate for ages?

New canon: The Doctor resets his anonymity online


 “I can feel so many ideas. So much darkness. Rose, give me orders. Order me to die.” – The Last Dalek

Likes: Exciting to see a Dalek back and the redesign is not bad. Great to have it so manipulative even in the midst of being tortured and nice that the Daleks are established in the new series as so powerful that one could wipe out an entire city.

Dislikes: Van Statten is a bit cartoonish and unbelievable as a character.

New canon: The (supposed) destruction of the Daleks in the Time War

The Long Game

“The right word in the right broadcast repeated often enough can destabilise an economy, invent an enemy, change a vote.” – The Editor

Likes: Some good bait-and-switch (even if you are not aware of the even bigger one to come later that is hinted at in the name). Simon Pegg being weasely

Dislikes: The moralizing about Adam’s bad decisions to the point of abandoning him back home is a bit much—and frustratingly makes it not clear if we should count him as a companion or not? The Great and Mighty Jagrafess is a bit of let down in terms of graphics

Father’s Day

“Time’s been damaged and they’ve come to sterilise the wound.” – The Doctor 

Likes: Nice exploration of time travel paradoxes and the trickiness of overlapping time lines. The first Rose and Doctor watching is reminiscent of Jo and the Third Doctor seeing themselves in “Day of the Daleks”. Good that they explain us never having seen this happen before because of the absence of the Time Lords.

Dislikes: The Doctor is wrong about it being a paradox for older Rose to hold her younger self—it’s only a paradox if the baby dies. (They should have just referred to the Blinovitch Limitation Effect.) Not sure if I like the emphasis on time being changeable (Rose’s story)—now that’s a paradox since her dad dying alone is what led her to be there. The creatures are not quite convincing CGI

New canon: Overlapping timelines create fixed points, everything is different without the Time Lords

The Empty Child

“Are you my mummy?” – The infected

Likes: Great atmosphere of dread even though we are not sure what’s going on with the creepy kid in the mask. Very believable settings with great direction and lighting.

Dislikes: Too much sexual innuendo for Doctor Who.

New canon: Time agents and vortex manipulators

The Doctor Dances

 “There isn’t a little boy born who wouldn’t tear the world apart to save his mummy…and this little boy can.” – The Doctor

Likes: The momentary jump thrill of realizing the child is in the room. Clever scifi explanation for what is happening and fun to see the Doctor’s joy at actually getting to save everyone this time.

Dislikes: More pushing the envelope of suggestive dialogue

Boom Town

“Every now and then, a little victim’s spared because she smiled, because he’s got freckles, because they begged. And that’s how you live with yourself.” – The Doctor

Likes: The tete-a-tete at dinner is nicely played and written, a very challenging moral discussion, and obviously the reason for the episode existing…

Dislikes: …but isn’t particularly “Doctor Who” and the rest around it is rather poor filler. Even the suggestion that the Slitheen would escape on a sonic surfboard is rather too ridiculous to imagine. And where does this ability of the TARDIS to revert people suddenly come from?

Re-introduced: The ‘heart’ of the TARDIS

Bad Wolf

“My masters–hiding in the dark space, watching and shaping the Earth so, so, so many years.” – The Controller about the Daleks

Likes: A good pace of wondering what’s happening and slowly realizing the dangers. The Doctor and Jack’s very different reactions to Rose’s apparent death are good, especially the Doctor’s expressionlessness that makes us think he’s given up until we see he has not. Love his dismissive gesture that he was obviously not going to use the gun. The Controller’s desperate and self-sacrificial betray of the Daleks is moving.

Dislikes: The gameshow scenes seemed amusingly satirical on first watch but I can see all the references will get dated very quickly.

New canon: The Daleks weren’t all destroyed after all

The Parting of the Ways

“You are tiny. I can see the whole of time and space. Every single atom of your existence, and I divide them.” – Vortex Rose 

Likes: Though it doesn’t entirely make sense, Rose’s gaining of godlike powers from the TARDIS is impressive and the Bad Wolf loop is a pretty clever idea. A re-working of the Fourth Doctor’s moral dilemma about destroying the Daleks but less nuanced.

Dislikes: The casualness of the people dying fighting does not come off as heroic as much as rather stupid. 

New canon: Much more dramatic regeneration