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The 30 Day Doctor Who Meme

Day 01 - Your Favorite Quote
Day 02 - Your Favorite Classic Series Episode
Day 03 - Your Favorite New Series Episode

Gentlemen ... the envelope, please?

*opens envelope* We have a winner ... Yes!

*coughs*

Ahem. Yes, well, that won't do, will it?

The truth is, as it always is with me (and as you might have guessed from my two previous meme entries,) that I can't pare it down to one. The show simply won't oblige and neither, therefore, can I. I can narrow it down a bit, going season by season, and that shall have to do.

Series 2005/NuWho 01 - Oh hell, can I come back to this one?
Series 2006/NuWho 02 -
  1. The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. This one's my top pick because it made me care for every single person, including the Ood, on Krop Tor. It was partly the script, by Matt Jones, because he imbued the story with a sense of great age and terror, but his words were given life by the people who played Sanctuary Base's crew - from Shaun Parke's Zachary Cross Flane (I love that name), the unwilling but decent leader, to Mr. Jefferson, who Danny Webb made three-dimensional and honorable, to Claire Rushbrook's wonderful Ida Scott - afraid, but willing to jump - to poor Danni and even more tragic sacrifice Toby Zed (I love that name, too.) They, and Billie Piper's magnificent Rose showing me that she could help people save themselves without the Doctor around, thank you very much, more than made up for Tennant's Shouty McShoutypants in the second episode.
  2.  I'll take portions of School Reunion (Sarah Jane! K-9! SJ and Rose work it out!) Love and Monsters (not the paving-stone lover bit, which is insane, but the fandom meta that showed me what RTD loves about fandom, and what he has no patience for, and also Jackie!!Doomsday (Jackie and Pete's reunion meeting, which brings tears to my eyes) and, well, every episode that has Pete or Jackie in them, for as long as they're on screen.
Series 2007/NuWho 03 -
  1. Gridlock for what it said to me about faith. Russell Davies is an atheist, but he is also, I think, a mystic. He understands the call of the heart, and the hunger for connection that lies at the heart of all spiritual searches. When everyone in that crazed closed-circuit rat race, who live in hope because they either don't know it's a rat race, or because they've chosen to live as if it weren't one, sing that hymn - hell, I'm tearing up just thinking about it. That is the best of humanity, trapped by the worst of humanity, and not giving up. The other part of the best of god, whether or not you believe in him her it them us god, is the message that when one loves something enough, one will sacrifice one's self to save it. Novice Hame sacrificed herself for the Face of Boe, who was Himself a willing sacrifice for a humanity willing to love and hope on the motorway. (Love, and sacrifice, and humanity ... it's part of what I liked about Last of the Time Lords but I'm not going to go there, because that's a whole different monograph.)
  2.  The Family of Blood because Cornell took it from the personal (Martha and the Matron taking each other's measure, and reaching an understanding, Thomas Sangster's elfin and otherworldish Tim Latimer fighting fear and embracing wonder and, later in the trenches, saving one who had done him wrong) through the political (the stupidity of war, as frightened boys see a dehumanized enemy, mow them down and are pitifully grateful to think they haven't killed real people) straight through to faerie tale and myth - a huge structural leap that ought not to have made sense, and yet did, for me, in the "Once Upon a Time" kick-to-the-teeth strength of the Grimm Brother's tales.  (Father-of-Mine, weighed down by chains and sent to hell; Mother-of-Mine tricked into another Hell; Son-of-Mine, left paralyzed and blinded by an executioner's hood in an empty field, and Daughter-of-Mine trapped, not just in one looking glass, but in every looking glass. Bloody hell, that's brilliant - and it brilliantly and mercilessly forces us to see the cruelty of the Doctor. We pay lip service to that, and we somehow think it's cool, or romantic, but it isn't. Cornell brought us up, hard, against the reality that  the other side of whimsy can be arbitrary and wicked. The Doctor can do, and has done,  evil things, not because there is a reason; simply because he can. We'd better understand that, or our understanding of the Doctor is dangerously incomplete.
Series 2008/NuWho S04 -
  1. This is particularly difficult for me, because I adored damn near every episode. Donna Frakkin' Noble is just about 100 percent Awesome, so I'm simply going to point out that Donna rocked in Fires of Pompeii when she helped the Doctor do what he had to, and coaxed him to do something better than that; in every scene where she interacted with her Grandad Wilf; when she was brave enough to take the Ood's song into her mind, then cried for them and was smart enough to admit she couldn't handle it in Planet of the Ood; when she figured everything out in the otherwise disappointing The Doctor's Daughter, and when she saved the Doctor's ass and, oh, yes, the entire universe as the DoctorDonna!!
  2. Midnight - which, for me, epitomizes the word "bravura." Tennant was marvelous because he and director Alice Troughton combined to bring his worst teeth-baring under control, and allowed him to become a Doctor completely without any control, showing me his terror and frustration with his eyes alone. Lesley Sharp made it impossible to take my eyes off her, as Sky Silvestri became something completely unhuman, and completely malevolent. Everyone else in the cast made the weakness and cowardice they felt so real, and yet so understandable, that I squirmed in my seat, understanding that I could have acted the same way. Anyone who thinks that RTD is writes angst for angst's sake was proven wrong, as far as I'm concerned, with this; he wrote it with an unflinching understanding of the weakness in humanity - and yet it was a human, the hostess, and not the Doctor, who saved everyone in the cabin. For me, "Midnight" manages the seemingly impossible task of being both a mirror image and a reiteration of the previous season's "Gridlock," and that makes it brilliant.
  3.  Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead - River Song. Miss Evangelista. What people can sacrifice for love. What people will do for love. "Watch Us Run!" This was Steven Moffat with a heart. Oh, and did I mention River Song?
Series 2009/NuWho Gang of Four-

 
  1. Waters of Mars, about which I wrote previously.
Series 2010/NuWho S05 -
  1. Vincent and the Doctor, The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, Amy's Choice, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.  I'm still in the process of working out the reasons I love this season, past the fact that Matt Smith has become one of the best damned Doctors going (I think he's up there with Nine and Three for my money.) And I know I'll write more about the season, and probably more about these five episodes (I've already written a little bit about TToA/FaS over here.) But I've already blathered on a great deal, and I still haven't talked about 2005/S01 yet. Trust me, though; I love them because of what they say about love, and sacrifice. And because of River and Rory and, yes, Amy. 
And finally?

Series 2005/NuWho S01 -

 
  1. Rose (her smile as she ran to the TARDIS, the first TARDIS vworp in too long, Nine!!!!); End of the World (Raffalo, "Everything has its time, and everything dies."); Aliens of London (Jackie's tears letting us know there are consequences to getting on board, "Stitch this, mate!"), World War III (Harriet Jones.); Dalek (The Doctor's fear and rage, Rose's refusal to blame him, the beauty of the Dalek's luminous eye as it rejected beauty and life out of fear); Father's Day (Pete Tyler, Big Damn Hero, "Who am I, love?"); The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (Dr. Constantine! Captain Jack Harkness! Nancy! "Everybody Lives!" "Rose! I remembered! I can dance!");  Boomtown (Eccleston reminds me he can make me laugh; Team TARDIS, Rose faces her own consequences, and ... OT3!!!); Bad Wolf (Lynda, who dared, and The Controller, who dared more); The Parting of the Ways (it broke my heart, but gave me the Blue Rose, with the Wolf in her eyes. So many heroes, so much loss, so much poetry. If only he could have shown her Barcelona ....)
And there you have it. At tl:dr length.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
tardis_stowaway
Jul. 19th, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. This one's my top pick because it made me care for every single person, including the Ood, on Krop Tor.

Yes! I adore TIP/TSP for how it sets up this team and makes us love them. Too often the guest stars are just set dressing for the adventures of the Doctor and his companion, but here we have an entire cast of people I'd love to see again.

Russell Davies is an atheist, but he is also, I think, a mystic. He understands the call of the heart, and the hunger for connection that lies at the heart of all spiritual searches.

I agree! For an atheist, he definitely spends a lot of time on themes that are important to Christianity and many other religions. The hidden connections between people, the yearning for something more, the value of faith, the immense love that makes one sacrifice for others, the power of forgiveness...it's all there. I don't like Gridlock as a whole, but the hymn was a beautiful moment.
kaffyr
Jul. 19th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
Something I'd like very much to do is view some of Davies' other shows, because I think it would give me an even clearer understanding of his world view, without my love of DW muddying up the critical waters.
ljgeoff
Jul. 19th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
*icon love* and We share a brain on this.
kaffyr
Jul. 19th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks! That makes me feel less alone - I looked at what I wrote and realized that my choices made it look as if I was in some weird splinter of NuWho fandom, liking everything that a whole boatload of other fans don't and not praising things that many fan and folks on my flist think are wonderful.

The icon (Ro-ry! Ro-ry! Ro-ry!) is eminently gankable; credit the talented llorona_llorona.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )