Ten years. That’s how long Russell T. Davies’ revival of Doctor Who has been running.
Sure, it has its ups and downs, but under Davies and now Steven Moffat, Doctor Who has reached never-before heights of popularity. Ten years is a huge amount of time for a TV show, and it’s bound to pick up a cool moment or two. Here are 10 great moments from a decade of Doctor Who.
It goes without saying that if you have not seen all of the Doctor Who revival, there will be spoilers.
The Pandorica Speech (The Pandorica Opens)
Cornered by all his greatest enemies with no weapons worth a damn, the Eleventh Doctor defies expectations and defiantly gives a speech to invite his enemies to go ahead and take the allegedly greatest weapon in the galaxy, the Pandorica. Of course, we know this turns out to be a trap and he gets captured in the Pandorica – which is actually a prison meant for him – but the speech itself is iconic enough that fans have often asked other actors who have played the Doctor to put their own spin on it.
The DVD Conversation (Blink)
Right now, we’re probably sick of Moffat’s numerous timey-wimey bootsrap paradox solutions. But back when Blink first aired, Doctor Who has mostly utilized time travel only as a means to change the show’s setting. The DVD conversation in Blink was great because it was an amazing reveal on the mystery of the one-sided conversation on the DVDs. Blink was also a precursor to the Matt Smith era where his life was defined in more ways than one by numerous bootsrap paradoxes.
“Physician, Heal Thyself” (The Night of the Doctor)
Of all the Doctors, Paul McGann may have been shortchanged the most. He was a talented and charismatic actor when he took over the role of the Doctor from Sylvester McCoy but was shoehorned into a terrible TV movie. He may have a great ongoing run in the Big Finish audios, but he deserves a decent TV appearance.
The Night of the Doctor, although it did not air on TV, finally gave us the Eighth Doctor story that he deserved, and as a bonus, he was given a bad-ass final line as he regenerated.
The Man That Stops The Monsters (Flatline)
Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor has been a breath of fresh air to the series. Straightforward, alien, and abrasive, he broke the mold that David Tennant and Matt Smith have established. However, those who had feared that he was too alien and too distant had their fears assuaged when Capaldi gave this chilling speech where he expressed both his regret and disgust that the Boneless failed to live up to his expectation that they were a harmless and misguided race, and he now had no other choice but to be their enemy.
Time Lord Victorious (The Waters of Mars)
What do you do if you were one of the most powerful beings in the universe, travelling alone, without anybody to keep you in check, and you realize that the rules that held you back are no longer in place? That was the chilling idea explored in The Waters of Mars with the power-mad Tenth Doctor. His hubris – and quick downfall by means of Adelaide Brooke’s suicide – was one of David Tennant’s greatest Doctor Who performances.
The Fury of The Time Lord (The Family of Blood)
David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor has always been a friendly and approachable character that it’s often easy to forget that he’s a lonely god carrying centuries’ worth of wrath in him. He lost control once with the Racnoss and almost died. You’d think he’d keep his anger issues in check, but The Family of Blood pushed him over the edge. After the Doctor had given The Family multiple chances to turn away and leave him and the Earth alone, he snapped and gave each and every one of them a fate worse than death.
Dalek Stare-Down (Dalek)
When a friend forced me to watch Doctor Who, I spent the first few episodes of series 1 scratching my head over how bad the special effects are and how campy everything is. Sure, episodes like The End of the World were fantastic and insightful, but I couldn’t help but feel that Doctor Who was a goofy show that I can live without watching.
Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor’s stare down with the other lone survivor of the Time War in Dalek, however, elevated the entire first series into must-watch TV for me. That scene still gives me the chills.
All Twelve – No, Thirteen – Doctors (The Day of the Doctor)
The Day of the Doctor was a fun 50th anniversary, featuring the snarky interactions between Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and John Hurt’s War Doctor. But it felt more like a celebration of New Who as opposed to the 50 years it was supposed to celebrate. That was until this moment where all the Doctors – yes, including one future Doctor – went out of their own timestreams and came together to rescue Gallifrey from destruction.
“Hello.” (The Doctor’s Wife)
Sure, we knew all along that the TARDIS was alive. But aside from the Doctor tapping the console lovingly, there was no real attempt to capture the complex relationship between the Doctor and the TARDIS until Neil Gaiman’s The Doctor’s Wife came along. We had the TARDIS, stuck in a human body, and finally able to talk, trying to express her thoughts while struggling with experiencing the past, present, and future all at once. In the end, she finally manages to say the one thing she meant to tell the Doctor all those centuries ago: “Hello.”
“Everybody Lives!” (The Doctor Dances)
The Doctor’s travels have always been marred by death and loss. Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor, especially, was desperate to escape being surrounded by death after he lost his entire race in the Time War. He may be arrogant, he may be abrasive, but the look of pure joy on his face once he realizes that for once, nobody dies is enough to make Eccleston the favorite of so many Doctor Who fans. This one moment has informed so much of New Who that no matter how dark and gritty the show may get, at the end of the day, it is anchored on one Time Lord who would be so happy just to see everybody live.
Notable Mentions: “Good men don’t need rules,” from A Good Man Goes to War, Fish Fingers and Custard from The Eleventh Hour, Missy reveals herself in Dark Water, the Doctor saying goodbye to Amy and Rory in The God Complex, the mysterious monster in Midnight, Professor Yana remembers who he is in Utopia, and “Coward, any day,” from The Parting of the Ways.
What are your favorite moments from New Who?