Also, "Aliens of London"/"World War Three". I LOVE Mickey and Jackie in this two parter, and I love Rose in it. But the plot itself does nothing for me and then the farting Slitheens are just a bit too silly for me. So yeah, not a fan of these episodes. But now for the Top 10!
#10 "42" by Chris Chibnall
Things That Are Not Completely Awful About This Episode: That one guy who flirts with Martha is cute. Seeing the Doctor so scared is really interesting to see because he's usually so calm and the one you depend on to save the day, so it's incredibly unsettling to see him scared. Also, I love Martha Jones.
Why This Episode Is On The List: This episode makes the list because it just misses the mark on so many levels. It's trying to be something good, but it just fails. It feels like a shallow echo of "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit". The industrial futuristic space setting, the Doctor in the space suit, the cast of secondary characters, Ten believing in/not believing in Rose/Martha, and the alien force possessing people all combine to make it seem like this episode is trying to recreate TIP/TSP, except it is nowhere near as good. The Monster of the Week is not at all as creepy as the Ood or Satan in TIP/TSP, and I just don't care about the secondary characters. They're really underdeveloped, and while I understand that it can be hard to create a lot of fully formed characters in a single episode... maybe Chibnall should have just included less crew members? I mean there's that girl with short hair, that older guy, the husband, the captain, the doctor, and the cute guy that hangs with Martha, but most of them just feel like random red shirts.
As boss as Martha Jones is, this episode is like everything that is bad about Ten and Martha's relationship. Martha is completely there for the Doctor, but he just doesn't see her or appreciate her. Then you have the scene where the Doctor gives Martha her Tardis key which I think shows how much Martha completely idolizes the Doctor.
But the number one thing I hate about this episode is that a lot of the dramatic tension in the story comes from the asinine idea that a quiz show is a valid security system. LOL UM OK. It's like the worst kind of manufactured drama. Getting to the auxiliary engines is too easy so lets put 20-something doors between Our Heroes and where they need to be AND let's make it so that instead of using a key to open the doors, they have to answer pub quiz questions! SO STUPID.
#9 "The Forest of the Dead/Silence in the Library" by Steven Moffat
Things That Are Not Completely Awful About This Episode: The bit with Donna and her not!husband is genuinely moving. Even though it was really ill conceived to have what should be the most tragic moment of River's life be one of the first times me meet her (so on first watch I really could not find it in me to care), in retrospect it is very sad. Too bad most viewers don't care enough about the show to go back and watch this episode and view River's death in context.
Why This Episode Is On The List: Again with the bland secondary characters! Although unlike "42" there are actually two full episodes to develop them. If you want to see secondary characters done right, go watch "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit". But here the crew that travels with River are either caricatures or blank slates. They don't feel real at all and it's hard to care about any of them.
The Monster of the Week is just not scary. The concept of the Vashta Narada is the same as the Weeping Angels. Something that you see everyday but could really be deadly! Which, whatever. It's a valid concept even though it has less impact on the second go around, imo. BUT ONCE THEY BECOME LUMBERING PLASTIC SKELETONS? LMAO. NO.
Then you have the fact that in order to keep the plot suspenseful, the Doctor is an idiot. WHAT DO TREES AND BOOKS HAVE IN COMMON? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. I cannot believe it takes him as long as it does to figure out that the books were made from the Vashta Narada's forest. And the safe/saved thing is idiotic. The Doctor says, "Safe. You don't say saved, nobody says saved, you say safe. The data fragment! What did it say?" BUT YOU DO. If there was a search and rescue mission of some kind, I WOULD say that X number of people were saved. I WOULDN'T SAY THEY WERE SAFE.
Finally you have River. The fact that in this episode River is all "Now my Doctor... I've seen whole armies turn and run away. And he'd just swagger off back to his TARDIS and open the doors with a snap of his fingers. The Doctor... in the TARDIS... next stop: everywhere." Here it comes off like this is GOOD THING. But in "A Good Man Goes to War", River chews the Doctor out for the exact same thing. This makes no sense. AGMGTW River is one of the oldest Rivers we've ever seen, so really that River isn't far off from Library!River which is of course the oldest River we'll ever see. Why the change in opinion, River?
And really, her ending just sucks. I've heard it posited that being in the library computer means that she can relive any adventure in the library's archives, but... I just don't remember getting that impression at all. I don't think River is in control in the computer. Isn't CAL still in control? Even so, if River is supposed to be able to live every adventure in the library's books, the script should have been clearer about it. Because all I got from her final scenes is that she's playing mum to CAL and some other (fake?) kids and walking around wearing a floaty dress with some work acquaintances which is not at all what the River we've come to know would want.
#8 "Victory of the Daleks" by Mark Gatsiss
Things That Are Not Completely Awful About This Episode: There is a Dalek with tea! Also, the Doctor hits a Dalek with a wrench which is pretty lulzy.
Why This Episode Is On The List: This episode gives me so much second hand embarrassment. OMG. I know this is Doctor Who and all, but for some reason, the spitfires in space is just a step too far for me.
The plot is kind of boring and really it's all just some plot device to bring the Daleks back (but this time they're multicolored!). Also, I still don't quite get why Amy doesn't remember "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End". Was it just because of growing up near the Crack of Doom? Like that... sucked her memories away?
But the real reason I think this is an awful episode is the idea that the ~Power of Love~ that comes from fake memories can make a bomb... not a bomb? LIKE I DON'T GET HOW THAT WORKS. The ~Power of Love~ can be used to save the day and make sense (see: "Closing Time") but it is just so nonsensical here.
#7 "The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood" by Chris Chibnall</b>
Things That Are Not Completely Awful About This Episode: Eleven is cute with the kid. Amy trying to remember Rory after he was erased was legitimately sad.
Why This Episode Is On The List: Remember that time you'd get swallowed by the crack and erased from history if the light touched you and how that happened to Rory and then 10 seconds later the Doctor actually stuck his hand in the crack like it was no big deal? WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT? This is one of several things I hate about the crack plot of series 5. (The other main one being that the script keeps saying that being swallowed by the crack means that people get erased from time/history as if they never existed WHEN THIS IS PATENTLY NOT THE CASE or else when Amy's parents were swallowed by the crack, she would have ceased to exist. Being swallowed by the crack just erased people from memories. But this is all neither here nor there.)
This episode is just really unlikable. The secondary characters (with the exception of Nasreen) are either flat out annoying or they're obnoxiously stupid and make bad decisions in order to further the plot. The plot itself is really boring and doesn't capture my interest or imagination in any sense of the word. I totally relate to Amy when she is bored during the negotiations because that is exactly how I feel while watching this episode.
#6 "A Christmas Carol" by Steven Moffat
Things That Are Not Completely Awful About This Episode: The visual of sharks flying around is pretty. The singing is nice. It's all very Christmas-y which is appropriate for a Christmas special.
Why This Episode Is On The List: I HATE IT WHEN COMPANIONS GET BENCHED. So the fact that Rory and Amy are pretty much non-entities for 80% of the episode annoys me. Utilize your main characters, Moffat!
I also cannot get over the fact that Eleven just leaves all those other people frozen in Kazran's basement. Like a 10 second scene of a changed Kazran pressing some magical release button and all the people walking out would have been fine and actually worked to resolve that plot. But no. Kazran ends the episode, riding off in a sleigh to spend one last day with Abagail while all those other people being used as collateral just get to hang out in a frozen coffin until when/if Kazran decides to let them go.
And then we have the character of Abagail. In order to make me feel better about her lack of personality or purpose in the story beyond being Kazran's love interest, I have to pretend that it is a conscious spoof of the way Dickens writes a lot of his women (like Kate Nickleby or Lucie Manette). The alternative is too depressing. I mean, Abagail is literally (as well as figuratively) fridged in order to provide growth for Kazran. And there's also that fun Moffat trope of kids being obsessed with an adult and then later having a relationship with that adult. It's so creepy. The sequence that really gets me is where Abagail is all "Doctor!" while Kazran is a kid and then is all "Kazran!" when the door opens the next year except it's been like 15 seconds for her and I'm like "Girl.... look at your life, look at your choices". I guess I just don't understand the idea that one second you've been hanging out with a kid and the next he can be a viable romantic interest. Blegh. Whatever.
But mostly, I hate how this episode looks in relation to the rest of series 6. The entire premise of this episode is that Eleven is messing around with Kazran's past to make his life happier and to make him a better person. Eleven can't do this with River because....? Eleven shouldn't be able to do this with Kazran because once the Tardis has entered a time stream it has to stay there. The Doctor has already become part of events, he shouldn't be able to go back and alter the events that he's become a part of. But since this episode establishes that he can do this, WHY NOT CHANGE RIVER'S LIFE? Or is Eleven only ok with playing God when the mood suits him? IDGI.
Tune in tomorrow to see who lucky numbers 5 through 1 are. Which episode will get the honor of being the Worst Episode of Doctor Who? I know, the suspense is killing you, I'm sure.