The most representative episode of Doctor Who

Doctor Who

If you watch Doctor Who and are a raving crazy lunatic about the show (if you watch Doctor Who and you are not a raving crazy lunatic about the show, I’m now looking at you with my squinty I-don’t-trust-you eyes), I’m sure at some point or another, you’ve tried to explain Doctor Who to someone who has never seen it and after several minutes of them staring at you as if you have 2 ½ heads, you realize just how incredibly impossible that task is.

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago during my daughter’s report card conference. Her teacher was explaining a recent assignment in which the kids could review anything they wanted. My daughter, naturally, chose Doctor Who. Her teacher continued to explain how my daughter became completely lost in the information. She was trying to explain so much that she ended up explaining very little. I said, “Yeah, that tends to happen with Doctor Who.” I then had to refrain from giving my own pitch of the show because this was a parent-teacher conference and there were other parents scheduled after me. Okay, I mostly refrained. I held back. A lot. And I did manage to keep from whipping my sonic screwdriver out of my pocketbook, for which I think I deserve some credit.

Afterwards, I started thinking about what episodes might best convey just how fantastic, brilliant, and cool Doctor Who is. I decided they needed to stand on their own. They can’t be heavily focused on a larger arc because a new viewer wouldn’t understand it. This could leave out a few favorites, but that’s okay . . . there are plenty of favorites from which to choose!

Vincent and the DoctorSeveral nights later, I was watching Vincent and the Doctor and while crying like a baby (as I do every time I watch that episode), I thought, this might just be that episode. It stands on its own. It’s funny, visually stunning, and, of course, incredibly emotional.

A few other episodes that I think fit the bill are The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (yeah, I’m including 2-parters), The Girl in the Fireplace, and Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. Basically, I think if none of these episodes can pull someone in, that person is a lost cause!

What episode do you think best represents the Doctor Who universe?


8 responses to this post.

  1. “Vincent and the Doctor” is a really good choice! It’s tricky to decide, because a lot of my favorite episodes are hard to watch out of context. I suppose that’s why everyone loves “Blink” and recommends it to newcomers as a welcome episode — and I’d agree with that, though you don’t get much of the Doctor in it. I like your choice better, because it’s a tear-jerker, and I think your first tear-jerker episode of Doctor Who is the one that sticks.

    Although I’d watched a few Doctor Who episodes before, I started with the 11th Doctor in “The Eleventh Hour” and thought it was a perfect intro to who the Doctor is. I’d also maybe say “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang” — would have to watch again to make sure there aren’t too many spoilers for a newcomer — because they introduce the Doctor at his most mental and heroic and include loads of great time-traveling twists and turns. (Plus, River!) Also a Christmas episode might be a cool place to start.

    But it’s almost like you’d need to recommend one historical episode (“Vincent and the Doctor” is perfect!), one sci-fi episode, and one modern-day episode… or something. So…. yeah, Doctor Who is a little confusing to explain. =)


    • I *love* “Blink,” and I would certainly recommend it to new viewers, but I don’t think it’s representative of all of Doctor Who. There’s really no other episode like it.

      “The Eleventh Hour” is a great choice. The homage to past Doctors at the end was epic!

      “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang” are also fabulous (and yes, LOVE River), but I worry that they might be a little too timey wimey for newbies 😛

      I definitely agree that you’d have to recommend the three different types of episodes. It’s the best way to explain everything Doctor Who is!


  2. I love Vincent and the Dr. I have always thought that the writer or writers were Van Gogh fans and wrote this episode. It is a great episode and of course Amy is so caring in this episode and her inner beauty is recognized by Vincent. I love “Blink” I find that it is so well thought of and so well written. How did they come up with that plot is beyond me. Blink is my favorite but I will say “The 11th Hour” is a great starting point. The Dr is so “odd” and poor Amy believed in him and waited all those years for his return. How can you not like Matt Smith.


    • Oh, I have no doubts that the writers were Van Gogh fans 🙂

      I’m totally with you on Matt Smith! I’m usually a must-watch-in-order type, but I skipped around a lot with Doctor Who in the beginning. It actually took me a bit to really get into it. I was a Torchwood fan first, so I started by watching all of the episodes with Captain Jack, which definitely helped pull me in . . . but it was Matt Smith who really grabbed me. He’s definitely my favorite!


  3. Posted by WillieSun on April 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Vincent and the Doctor is definitely a great choice. I also love, LOVE, loooove, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. Blink is also a favourite as it is just fantastic. Everything is backwards and it has some great quotes.


  4. Yet another post where I again realize I need to start watching so I don’t feel left in the dark LOL


    • Hehehe, I have more Doctor Who posts in the works, so you better hurry up and start watching! . . . Actually, this post is great for you because it gives you a bunch of episodes that are great to start with! (If you decide to start with any of them, let me know and I’ll give you the season and episode number 😛 )


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