Top 10 'Doctor Who' Episodes: The Eleventh Doctor's Era
The 10 Best Episode from Series Five Through Seven of Revived 'Doctor Who'
In 2018 I wrote two Doctor Who articles like this one. The first was my top 5 episodes of the Ninth Doctor's era, and the second was my top 10 episodes of the Tenth Doctor's era. Now it's the 11th Doctor's turn!
Picking just 10 episodes wasn't so hard this time around, however, it was incredibly difficult to order them. I loved some of these episode equally but after mulling over it for a long time I finally settled on my list. Just a heads up, this list does not include special episodes and any time there's a part one and part two, those episodes will be grouped as one.
That being said, here are my top 10 episodes of the 11th Doctor's episode and be warned, this post may contain spoilers.
10. A Good Man Goes to War/Let's Kill Hitler [6x07/08]—9/10
A member of The Doctor's team has been abducted and he will call in every favor and maybe even go to war to get them back.—IMDb
The search for Melody Pond brings the Doctor and his friends to Berlin in 1938, face-to-face with Adolf Hitler, River Song and a justice-serving, shapeshifting robot.—IMDb
These two episodes take the 10th spot because I believe the second episode isn't as good as the first. That being said, there are things I loved about both of them. I really liked that we saw some old faces band together to save Amy, and I actually enjoyed the reveal that River Song was in fact, Melody. In the second episode, I really appreciated that we didn't spend too long on her being raised to kill the Doctor. There were also some pretty touching moments and that, along with the character development of Melody/River helped to put these episodes on the list.
9. Asylum of the Daleks [7x01]—9/10
Kidnapped by his oldest foe, the Doctor is forced on an impossible mission—to a place even the Daleks are too terrified to enter ... the Asylum. A planetary prison confining the most terrifying and insane of their kind, the Doctor and the Ponds must find an escape route. But with Amy and Rory's relationship in meltdown, and an army of mad Daleks closing in, it is up to the Doctor to save their lives, as well as the Pond's marriage.—IMDb
This episode makes the number nine spot because really the only part I liked was Clara. The plot itself didn't really interest me much but Clara and her interactions with the Doctor were so well done that I couldn't help but put it into my top 10. Both of these things really helped to keep the story moving and to add a bit of depth to it. Seeing the ups and downs of Amy and Rory's relationship was also a pretty interesting addition too and overall it was the characters and their relationships that really drove this episode for me and placed it in my top 10.
8. The Lodger [5x11]—9/10
No sooner does the TARDIS land on Earth that it leaves again - but without the Doctor who had just stepped outside. The Doctor soon finds himself at the home of Craig Owens, who has been advertising for a lodger. There's clearly something odd in the house with people being lured to the upstairs room, but never reappearing. The Doctor is having a good time of it and is having a bit of fun; he proves to be a rather good football player. Craig the landlord is very much in love with Sophie but can't quite bring himself to tell her. The Doctor tries to help them out. But then there's always the problem of that upstairs room.—IMDb
This episode was really just a ton of fun and felt like a bit of a break from the really intense plot lines of Doctor Who. James Corden was really great as Craig and his character was so easy to care about despite this being the first we had seen of him. I loved the mystery of the episode and the fact that Amy was there to be the Doctor's companion and help him out but she was hindered by being trapped inside the TARDIS. "The Lodger"was just a really funny, entertaining episode to watch and it's always fun to see the Doctor have to live in a very domestic environment.
7. Amy's Choice [5x07]—9/10
Five years after finally leaving the TARDIS Amy and Rory now married, live in the quiet little village of Leadworth. But everything is not what it would seem.—IMDb
Similarly to "The Lodger," this episode felt like a bit of a break from the more detailed and bigger plot lines but this episode gets a spot higher purely because it was a good balance of funny moments and serious moments. It was interesting to move between two places and be caught in the dilemma of which is real and which is fake. It was also interesting that not only was there a choice of which was the dream world but there was also the personal decision of Amy to decide whether she wanted a cosy, normal life with Rory or traveling in the TARDIS. Something I did appreciate is that she was always adamant that the TARDIS one was real, but her final decision was made because she couldn't believe that a world without Rory could be real—not because she wants to travel with the Doctor.
6. The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon [6x01/02]—9/10
The Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song are reunited in the Utah desert.—IMDbThese were such good openers to the season and both were so very interesting. We all knew he was going to be fine eventually but seeing the Doctor get killed toward the start of episode one only to find that it was a future version of himself was so interesting. Naturally, we don't get any answers straight away and this is the start of a season where we know the Doctor is going to get shot at some point by an astronaut. This episode also brought the addition of the Silence and watching our team try to fight them in the second episode was incredibly intense and really interesting. Each twist and turn was just as entertaining as the last and this was a two-parter that made it feel, more than usual, like there was a lot at stake.
The Doctor and his allies mount a rebellion against invaders who have been controlling humanity from the very beginning.—IMDb
5. The Wedding of River Song [6x13]—9/10
April 22, 2011; 5:02pm. Having finally accepted his fate the Doctor travels to Lake Silencio for his final day. But one woman refuses to let time take its course.—IMDb
Next on the list is the conclusion to season six where we go back to the mysterious astronaut and the day the Doctor dies. We now know that it is River who shoots him and that he invited everyone to his death so he could say goodbye and so River could know it was not her fault, that he had to die. Of course, things too don't go quite to plan. I found this episode so entertaining. Not only do we get to see what would happen to the world if a fixed point was altered (in this case, River doesn't shoot him when she's supposed to), also that the Doctor is able to use trickery to not only fix what went wrong but also to alter things.
Now, I did debate putting this lower on the list because more often than not the Doctor will say that fixed points always have to happen, however, I'm going to give the show a chance and believe that things were different this time because the fixed point had been changed. So, it was easier for him to use trickery and keep the change while still putting the universe back together. He didn't necessarily have to put the timeline back to the way it was supposed to be, just something similar enough. At the end of the day, these episodes were really fun to watch. We finally got some questions from earlier in the season answered, we got to see that some relationships are stronger than others, and there were some old faces who made appearances again.
4. The Doctor's Wife [6x04]—9/10
The Doctor is lured to a sentient asteroid outside of the Universe by a Time Lord distress signal and soon realises his TARDIS is in grave danger.—IMDb
This has remained a long time favourite episode of mine mostly because of the insight we get of the TARDIS. I adore the way she was done. The way she spoke, how she interacted with the Doctor, and even simple things like the mannerisms all worked really well. Even though the TARDIS doesn't speak she has always appeared to have a personality. We know she's not just any spaceship and through the eyes of those who come in contact with her (mostly the Doctor), we have grown to think of her as a character in the same way we would any other. She has appeared to have a lot of qualities and opinions that we see that for sure when she gets to be in human form. We finally discover what the TARDIS is truly like at its heart and how she cares for the Doctor just as much as he cares for her.
3. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang [5x12/13]—9/10
conclusioRiver Song returns to deliver The Doctor a serious warning from his allies: the mythical Pandorica, said to contain the most feared creature in the entire Universe, is opening.—IMDbThe Pandorica opened, silence fell, and now planet Earth is left alone in the universe. Jumping through time, the doctor must figure out a way to bring back those who never were and save his friends from the collapse of reality.—IMDb
There are few things to love about these episodes. The overall intense plot of the two episodes, the well-done pacing of events, the mystery not being what it first appears and the conclusion to said mysteries, the return of old faces such as Churchill and Van Gogh, and the sheer scale of everything. We got Rory back although that wasn't straightforward, and thanks to him we saw the sheer scale of their plans through the stories of Rory waiting 2000 years to protect Amy instead of taking the quick route in the TARDIS, and all in all we are presented with the grand conclusion to season five. This was the 11th Doctor's first season and I think it concluded pretty perfectly. We continued that long-term story of Amy, the crack in her wall, and her constant decisions between a normal life with Rory and one on the TARDIS. Something else to be adored is that the second episode ends with Amy and Rory's wedding day and the two of them both deciding to continue traveling with the Doctor. For once it's a decision they both make in which they are both one hundred percent on board.
2. The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone [5x04/05]—10/10
The Doctor and Amy emerge from the TARDIS to find the wreck of the Byzantium spaceship. Down below the Weeping Angels are stirring, but the Doctor has someone else to contend with; none other than the mysterious Professor River Song.—IMDbThe Doctor, Amy, Dr. Song and the remaining soldiers manage to escape from the crashed ship and into the forest. The Angels attempt to create a rift in time and space much as the Doctor had found in Amy's room when they first met. Amy meanwhile is counting down from 10 minutes and the Doctor has determined that an Angel has taken over her mind.—IMDb
The Weeping Angels are probably my favourite Doctor Who enemy so this episode was always going to get a reasonable rating from me but what pushed it to get a 10 out of 10 and the second spot on this list is how well done it was. I really enjoyed the build-up and the pacing of both of these episodes, it always felt like we were moving forward through events but not being rushed. This time with the Weeping Angels felt different and made them feel like even more of a threat. We got to see that even a small video clip of an Angel could be dangerous and at the same time, we saw our heroes face the mysterious crack in Amy's wall. I feel like everything in this episode blended together perfectly. On top of that, we got some touching character moments and an episode that has a good balance of funny, upsetting, and intense scenes.
1. Vincent and the Doctor [5x10]—10/10
The Doctor and Amy travel back in time to meet Vincent Van Gough and face an invisible monster that only the painter can see.—IMDb
This one takes the first spot because of how beautiful it is. The writing, the acting, everything was incredibly well done. Tony Curran did a fantastic job as Vincent Van Gogh and something I've always appreciated about Doctor Who is that most often than not, when it uses real-life people or events in their stories they often deviate enough to make an interesting twist but they also respect the history they're dealing with, in this case, they don't save Van Gogh and prevent his suicide. Instead, they delve into his life, add an alien twist, and give him hope that will, even just for a moment, make him happy but ultimately isn't enough to change history.
And that concludes my top 10 episodes of the 11th Doctor's era! As I mentioned at the start, this list was really hard to order but in the end I got there. Eleven's run was incredibly entertaining and these were by far the most shining episodes of his era.