After yesterday’s post required a wee bit more work than I expected (I started out “oh, I know all about this, let’s go!” and them ended up trying to check everything in a fit of paranoia) today’s one is nice and straightforward. And a meme once again nicked off Twitter: my Top 5 Doctor Who Stories of the 2010s.
It’s a tough one. It’s the whole Moffat era, which I love and adore and is one of my most beloved Who eras, plus The End of Time Part 2, and Whitaker’s first year. And I fear it’s going to be 5 Capaldis as my love for his era is, I’ve finally accepted, just a touch less than my love for the Trought and Tom Baker.
So, my favs. My absolute favs. Today. At this hour. And I went to the extra specially hard effort of putting them in order.*
5) Robot of Sherwood
Stop judging me, you have no idea how much joy this episode brings me. When I am sad, when I need a pick me up, this is *the* New Who episode I turn to. Nothing else touches its ability to make the world brighter to me.
The humour works perfectly for me, I love the petty snark, the spoon fight, the egos, and I love that we’re playing out Clara’s fantasy. That’s what really lifts it up for me beyond just being tremendously fun: she’s daydreamed about joining Robin Hood’s gang and having adventures in Sherwood Forest (and, y’know, so have I), and now she’s actually getting the chance to do it. Vicarious wish fufillment for the win! And she has ever such a pretty dress.
4) The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
Ah, my favourite for so many years, but I am, I must remind myself sometimes, allowed to change my mind. It’s still magnificent though. A truly epic sequel to Blink, and despite being Matt Smith and Karen Gillan’s first recorded story, they are straight-up *perfection*. Every time I watch this, I want to pause every scene so I can flail at someone about how brilliant one thing or another was in it.
The bit where Amy’s trapped with the Angel and River and the Doctor work to get her out is distilled essence of Doctor Who. Some of the most perfectly Who-ish minutes ever created. And the angel in the eye thing gives me the childhood chill of Bad Guys That Really Scared Me (I’m looking at you Sutekh) which remains an incredibly rare feeling amongst New Who eps (not that there isn’t top scary stuff, I’m just not seven years old anymore).
Alex Kingston is, as ever, wonderful, and every moment of interaction between River and the Doctor is pure joy.
I remember that when Moffat was announced as showrunner the first thing I did was wish really, really hard that he’d bring River Song back. I’m glad he heard me.
3) The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar
OH MICHELLE GOMEZ. After season 8’s finale I was *desperate* for more of Missy, and to get TWO EPISODES of her at the start of the next season was more than I could have hoped for (please imagine how giddy I was about her arc in s10.)
The relationship between Missy and the Doctor is, for me, perfection. It’s everything I want from the Doctor and the Master. It’s the modernised Degaldo!Master and Three. It has Such Respect for their friendship, and their history, and the way that they *get* each other. The look between them when the Doctor’s playing the guitar. That was everything.
And then there’s Clara and Missy. Which is such delicious fun and any opportunity to have more of those two interacting in any media would be most heartily welcome.
2) The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
The Eleven era family story of my heart. The beautiful, heart-melting fairytale finale that I never knew I wanted or needed until I saw it. The huge epic scope of the first part condensing down into saving the universe in a museum. Amy’s summoning of the Doctor; the Doctor asking River if she’s married; shooting the fez; riding to Stonehenge; LITTLE AMELIA POND; the stars going out; and the perfect end to the season: Amy doesn’t choose the Doctor or Rory. She chooses them both. And the final shot of them waving goodbye as they fly away in the TARDIS…if Doctor Who had ended there, I could have lived with it.
1) The Husbands of River Song
It’s a hard choice, but, at this moment, if I force myself to choose my favourite, it’s The Husbands of River Song. I’m a bit surprised. I suppose the fact I’ve just put up a Christmas tree might be affecting my judgement a little. But it is easily my favourite Christmas Special, and gives me everything I could possibly want from a final Doctor & River story.
The concept is a delight, the banter so sharp, the chemistry so fizzy, the atmosphere so very cosy and joyous. Kingston and Capaldi…I love them. I love them so much. And there’s hardly a moment of Doctor Who that does things to my heart so much as the Doctor’s “hello, sweetie.” And, after River’s confession that she doesn’t believe the Doctor could love her, the Doctor does the *exact same thing* in the final scene. And giving them that happy ending. And that final look. That perfect final look.
Shoot, I’m legit tearing up just thinking about it. Happy tears, laced with melancholy.
But, yes, The Husbands of River Song. This was my perfect Doctor Who Christmas Special. What a story. And, apparently, the one I ❤ best from this past decade.
*Narrowly missing out on this illustrious list were The Eleventh Hour, The Day of the Doctor, Mummy on the Orient Express, Flatline, Dark Water/Death in Heaven, Last Christmas, The Woman Who Lived, Hell Bent, Oxygen, Extremis, and The Witchfinders.