3.20.2014

The Doctor Who Project: Ranking Series 7


This is it! We've reached the terminus, the end of all current episodes of Doctor Who! As of this writing, the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, is busy filming series 8, and we're all wondering how we're going to survive the murky months until this August when the new episodes are allegedly arriving. If you're looking to kill some time, head over to our compendium page and reminisce through the seasons with us!

It's already happened, but I'm still not ready!
But before we get back to our moping, let's go through our rankings of series 7, which definitely has its share of ups and downs. Actually, it's kind of all over the place. Wibbly-wobbly, but not always in the best way.

Special Episode: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe

A recent war widow escapes with her children to a house in the countryside to find the crazy caretaker (the Doctor) has a whole slew of surprises in store for them. Only things take a turn absolutely no one expects.

Justin: I enjoyed the beginning of this episode, but found the rest to be slightly boring.  I had no idea this was going to be the feeling that would return through the first half of the seventh season. I wish I had liked this Christmas special more, but the problem was it didn't feel "special". 4 Sonics

Jaime: I liked the overall feel of this episode. Very Narniaish. And I was very glad there was a happy ending for Madge and her children. Overall, the Christmas specials are never my favorites. They always feel kind of average, and this one was no exception. 5 Sonics

Allison: I liked this one a smidge more than my friends here, but only just. I loved the setup, and I thought Smith was hilarious in his introduction as the caretaker in big kid mode with all his "I know" business as he's showing off all the awesome things he's done to the house. But the middle act hits a brick wall with weird tree people, and then it ends on a schmaltzy note that I felt guilty for enjoying. As far as Christmas specials go, I still prefer it over pretty much all of the Tennant ones, but it still shies from greatness. 6 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 5


Episode 1: The Asylum of the Daleks

The Doctor along with an Amy and Rory who are headed for divorce are kidnapped by the Daleks. They find themselves before the Dalek Parliament and the Doctor is quite surprised when he learns why: they want the him to save them. (IMDB)

Justin: Spoilers: Amy and Rory leave this season. Now, if they had left at the end of last season I might have missed them, but I very quickly grew to hate them so much that I was happy they were gone. Maybe that was the thought. Have the Doctor meet them less and less and it will be easier for the audience to say "so long". The saving grace for this episode: SoufflĂ© Girl aka Oswin Oswald (played by the spunky Jenna-Louise Coleman). I kept hoping things would work out for her and she would hang out with the Doctor. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. Another great part was the Doctor saying his "name" first as a question and then as a statement. 5 Sonics

Jaime: Amy and Rory are divorcing. This felt a little contrived to me, and of course they are back together by the end of the episode. I thought the idea of the Dalek puppets was kind of interesting, and Souffle Girl was a nice addition. At this point, I knew she was going to be the Doctor's new companion eventually and this was a good introduction. Though, she isn't exactly Clara... This season as a whole didn't have much of an ongoing story arc, except for maybe, "The question that must never be answered. Doctor Who? 6 Sonics

Allison: I agree that the divorce of Amy and Rory felt very forced. Even more unrealistic was the reason for said divorce when it finally came out. Amy gave Rory up because she couldn't give him children? Give me a damn break. Relationships just don't quite work that way in real life, and it's hard to believe it happening in the fictional realm too. So it's yet again with the artificially forced conflict that turns Amy into a melodramatic Ophelia, similar to The Girl Who Waited, but not quite as infuriating. Still, I liked the Dalek puppet idea and Oswin. But my daughter asked an interesting question  the other night, and it seems a valid one. Why was it the Doctor and everyone could hear her real voice through the intercom, even though she had a Dalek voice in the end when it was revealed she'd been converted. I've seen explanations (that the intercom system was different and she'd hacked it), but they are also a little forced and feel like an attempt to cover up a gaping plot hole. 5 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 5.3


Episode 2: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

The Doctor and the Ponds, accompanied by Rory's father Brian, Queen Nefertiti, and John Riddell, a British big-game hunter, lands on a large spaceship that contains dinosaurs and discover that it is a Silurian ark. However, the Silurians have been murdered by Solomon, a black market trader who is intent on finding something of value. (Wikipedia, edited by Allison)

Justin: What a cool sounding title. If only I had enjoyed the episode more. The only person I cared about--besides the Doctor--was Rory's dad Brian Williams (played by Mark Williams--no relation), but the rest was just... 4 Sonics

Jaime: Oh how I wanted this to be a good episode. But it sucked. I thought the special effects were just bad, and the supporting cast (with the exception of Rory's dad) were plain annoying. I did like the engine room, and the Doctor saying he has a Christmas list. A little humor kept this one from being a complete bust. 3 Sonics

Allison: Gotta depart with my friends here, because I really enjoyed this one. It was over the top and silly, yes, but it was a hell of a lot better than some of the episodes I had to endure in the latter part of this season, so I look fondly on its spark and energy level because we will not see its like again for awhile. The characters played well together, and I particularly loved the addition of a Weasley on the crew (that's Rory's dad, in case you aren't up on your Potter). 6 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 4.3


Episode 3: A Town Called Mercy

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory travel to the "Wild West", where they encounter a town which is cut off from the rest of the frontier until they hand over Kahler-Jex, an alien doctor, to a cyborg called the Gunslinger. However, the Gunslinger is a product of experiments by Jex to win a civil war on his planet, and the Doctor is unsure of what is the right thing to do. (Wikipedia)

Justin: I went into this review thinking it's was split into two shows, and not for the same reason as the finale of season six, but because it was so boring. 1 Sonic

Jaime: After the last episode, this one was almost stellar. It wasn't really, but I enjoy Westerns and seeing the Doctor in a Stetson. And hearing the name "The Gunslinger" always makes me happy. I liked the setting of this episode, and the twist of the villain becoming the hero at the end. I also thought Amy made a very astute observation in saying the Doctor had changed for the worse from traveling alone. This only confirms the Doctor's need for a companion. 6 Sonics

Allison: The American in me loves when the Doctor visits a western setting. I also have a thing for westerns combined with alien tech, at least when they're done well, and I think this episode pulls it off admirably enough. It lags in places, but I liked the thematic elements of the Doctor showing his darker side, and about people being accountable for the evils they commit, even after they try to redeem themselves. I also liked the twist of the sympathetic villain. I wish I could give this more stars, but so far in the season, there seems to be a discernible lack of energy that is weighing everything down. 6 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 4.3


Episode 4: The Power of Three

Earth is suddenly visited by millions of small black cubes of unknown origin. The Doctor joins Amy, Rory and Rory's father, Brian, to help discover what these cubes bring for humanity. (IMDB)

Justin: How could this season have come to this?  I read somewhere Moffat wanted to make mini-movies instead of a giant arc, which for me is the problem. I loved the giant arc.  I was again bored by another episode. 2 Sonics

Jaime: This was kind of a boring episode. Again, filler in my opinion. It almost felt like a lot of foreshadowing for the next episode. What I did like about this episode: Brian Williams (aka Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter universe) and the conversation him and the Doctor had about the Doctor's past companions. Also liked the Doctor trying to live a "normal" life. 4 Sonics

Allison: I understand some of the frustration Justin and Jaime have had with this season. The lack of arc is really dragging the show down, but I actually feel like this is the best episode of the season up to this point. I liked the illustration of the two different lives Rory and Amy lead. I liked the way it showed the passage of time and developed emotionally into something where you feel like the end is nigh for our trio. The mystery of the cubes was enticing, but the resolution was a disappointment, and the episode felt like it had a wee bit too much stuffed into it. Overall I thought this was well done and an improvement on previous episodes. 7 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 4.3


Episode 5: The Angels Take Manhattan

The Doctor and the Ponds visit Manhattan. There, recurring monsters the Weeping Angels send Rory back to the 1930s, where he is reunited with River Song, Amy and Rory's daughter. Amy and the Doctor attempt to rescue Rory, but the Doctor becomes aware that their future is inevitable, and Amy and Rory are to leave him forever. (Wikipedia)

Justin: This episode had some really great things the previous ones did not. Paradoxes, noir, books with knowledge of events that would transpire because they already had, Weeping Statue of Liberty and of course...River Song. I said this before: had (something like) this been the ending to season six I would have been in tears over Amy and (maybe) Rory going away, but with the lackluster season seven I was glad they were gone.  I hoped River would have taken over as full companion, but there was something else blowing in the wind. 5 Sonics

Jaime: I really wish I had not seen so many spoilers for this episode. I'm sure it would have been a lot more moving, but even so it was a great one. The departure of Amy and Rory was long overdue, and for them to be victims of Weeping Angels is just brilliant storytelling. I loved having River along for the ride too; it has been way too long. Paradoxes, time travel, all the good stuff I love about this show. And the book they read along the way just added a little something to the whole story. In the end, we say goodbye to Amy and Rory. Oh, and I cried. Just a little. 8 Sonics

Allison: I love the return of the Angels and River Song, and I'm such a sucker for the noir thing. It really was time for Amy and Rory to go, but that didn't make the ending any less heartbreaking. I think it's because it made me incredibly sad for the Doctor to lose his closest companions. The way Smith's face crumbles when Amy says goodbye...yeah, I got a little misty there. I am kind of curmudgeonly about the Weeping Statue of Liberty, though. It made for a great visual spectacle, but it's not a stone statue. 8 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 7


Episode 6: The Snowmen

London, 1892. Snow is trying to evolve, feeding off of the nightmares of a little girl. But the Doctor has given up on saving the world. It is up to a young governess named Clara to convince him, with just one word, to save the day. (IMDB)

Justin: This was some Doctor Who. It was even the best of episodes, but it felt like the show I've been watching since the Ninth took over. There is the Doctor's face in the opening credits (brilliant), the Doctor has a new look that says more of his grown-up personality, the TARDIS looks amazing, the return of the Paternoster Gang, and a cool villain with a sadistic sounding name: Dr. Simeon (played with much evilness by Richard E. Grant--who played Doctor Who in a charity skit.). Then there's Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman), and she is remarkable. Bringing the Doctor out of his shell, and setting her up to be the next companion. Again...didn't happen. Great stuff in this episode, and I don't want to forget the Snowmen created by the Great Intelligence aka Calvin. 7 Sonics 

Jaime: This may be the first Christmas special I really enjoyed. There is of course the wonderful trio of Jenny, Vastra, and Strax. The Snowmen prove to be quite creepy, as is Doctor Simeon. I loved seeing the TARDIS in the clouds, and then we have the mysterious Clara. We find out she is the same person from the Dalek Asylum, which makes her all the more intriguing to the Doctor. My only complaint about this episode is how quickly the Doctor is ready to take Clara on the TARDIS. He is obviously still in pain from losing Amy and Rory, yet he immediately gives Clara a key to the TARDIS. This seems a little out of character to me. 7 Sonics

Allison: Oh I love this episode. Particularly its humor, which is interesting because the Doctor is not in a particularly humorous disposition here. It's been quite some time since he's parted ways with Amy and Rory, and he's become a grumpy recluse, installing his TARDIS on a cloud above Victorian England, no longer involving himself in the affairs of others. He's almost a bit of a Scrooge character himself this time, until he meets the plucky bar maid disguising herself as a governess, Clara Oswald. Her dialogue and chemistry with the Doctor makes this episode special, but what I really love is the trio of Strax, Jenny, and Madam Vastra. And Who's interactions with Strax produce some classic lines. ("I'm the clever one, you're the potato one!"). The villain was interesting, but not my favorite due to its criminal under-use of the great Ian McKellan. I love the new look of the TARDIS and the change in the Doctor's costume. Overall, though, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and have seen it three times, so I can attest to how well it holds up. 8 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 7.3


Episode 7: The Bells of Saint John

A chance phone call reunites the Doctor with Clara in the present day. A mysterious organization, lead by the evil Miss Kizlet, sends robots known as "Spoonheads" to steal the minds of people who use the company's WiFi. The Doctor and Clara must work together to find the location of the organization and destroy it before the whole world is trapped by the WiFi.

Justin: Finally, Clara (the 21st century version) joins the Doctor as his newest companion. She doesn't pine for the Doctor, not does she have some boyfriend to leave behind. Like Donna, she's a free bird and ready to take the TARDIS (again, looking as awesome as I always wanted it to) out to fly. I can't help but chuckle as I type about this episode on my iPhone. Maybe I'll find myself sucked into the WiFi?  It was a good action-packed episode, and a fun way to show Clara to the world. 7 Sonics

Jaime: The mystery of Clara continues. I liked the idea of someone using Wi-fi to control people. I liked that Angie was reading a book written by Amelia Williams. I also liked that like Donna, Clara initially rejects the Doctor's offer to travel with him. I remember at this point, I wasn't yet sure of my feelings for Clara. I liked her, but wasn't convinced she was a good traveling companion for the Doctor. Overall, an interesting episode. 6 Sonics

Allison: And here's where things got all topsy-turvy and I become the "Justin" of this part of the season (stingy with my sonics). Although we start to see the development of an arc with the whole "Impossible Girl" thing, and I do like Clara as a character, I was not a big fan of the direction the show went with her. Also, the Doctor as a master hacker? While I know I am supposed to buy it because he's an alien genius or whatever, I'm not quite sure I do. I like the idea of people being trapped in the WiFi (though the "spoonhead" things were just odd and didn't make much sense at all) and there were a few other charming little touches, the effort as a whole just felt a little off to me. Like it was trying to throw too many new things at me at once. 4 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 5.7


Episode 8: The Rings of Akhaten

Still not quite able to explain just who she is, the Doctor and Clara set off on their first adventure. He takes her to see the Rings of Akhaten and its famous pyramid, where the area's inhabitants have an interesting ritual of singing to a very hungry "God." (IMDB, with additions by Allison)

Justin: Something awesome. Not only was this Clara's request for her first real trip with the Doctor, but it also sums up the episode. From her origin to the beautiful CGI locale, this episode was grand. Like Donna, I couldn't wait to see more of the universe through Clara's eyes. 6 Sonics

Jaime: I've read a lot of bad reviews of this episode, but I absolutely loved it. Mostly because of the epic speech the Doctor gives at the end. There is also more information revealed about Clara, but still no real explanation of why she keeps dying and reappearing. I thought the setting was wonderful. I really liked that the alien marketplace used sentimental items as a form of currency—very unique. 8 Sonics

Allison: Does this episode deserve all the ire it's received? No. But that doesn't mean it isn't one really big hot mess. It just happens to be a somewhat enjoyable one. The good stuff: Clara's leaf and the story behind it, the production values, the Doctor's soaring, chill-giving speech at the climax. The bad: the story of the Akhaten people, the cheesy singing scene that went on far too long and made my teeth ache from all the sap, the almost creepy stalker vibe the Doctor is giving off in his quest to find out just who the hell Clara is. I've seen this episode twice now and I still dislike and like it in equal measure. In fact, I really don't know what to do with it at all. So I guess that means . . . 5 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 6.3


Episode 9: Cold War

The Doctor and Clara find themselves dealing with Cold War tensions when the TARDIS lands aboard a disabled Soviet ballistic submarine. The Doctor isn't the only alien being on board however - while engaged in undersea drilling, Professor Grisenko thought he'd found a mammoth and brought the creature on the boat encased in ice. It isn't a mammoth but an Ice Warrior, who has been lying dormant for 5000 years.

Justin: The Hunt for Red October is a pretty good movie. Setting the Doctor and Clara on a Russian sub during the still tense but also twilight years of the Cold War was an interesting choice.  The Ice Warrior was okay choice for a villain, but I was more interested in the human drama of this episode. I also enjoyed David Warner as Professor Grisenko, because Warner has a way of making the characters he plays as very real (yes, even Evil from Time Bandits). 5 Sonics

Jaime: No. Just no. I fell asleep. Booooooring. So this is a first for me... 1 Sonic

Allison: I'm with Jaime on this one. This episode is a joyless, dull, and utter snoozefest and I couldn't wait for it to be over. Generally I like stories that take place on submarines, but I felt none of that claustrophobic excitement here. The energy of this season is still overall very laggy, and this episode is the nadir. 2 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 2.7


Episode 10: Hide

The Doctor and Clara visit a mansion in the 1970s owned by Professor Alec Palmer (Dougray Scott), which appears to be haunted. Palmer's assistant, Emma Grayling (Jessica Raine), is an empath who is able to connect to the ghost. The Doctor discovers that the ghost is really a time traveller from the future (Kemi-Bo Jacobs) who is trapped in a pocket universe, and travels there to rescue her.

Justin: In some alternate universe Hugh Jackman played the role of Alec Palmer. During the filming of Mission: Impossible II Dougray Scott was hurt during a motorcycle sequence. This caused the producers of X-Men to fire Scott from his role as Wolverine and go with a little known musical actor from Australia instead.  Back to the review.  This is an enjoyably spooky episode. I enjoyed Scott as Alec Palmer, and thought the episode really captured the look of the 1970s. 5 Sonics

Jaime: Okay, I felt like I was watching an episode of Supernatural. Which is fine because I love Supernatural. I really liked this episode. It had a very dark vibe to it. The supporting cast was brilliant, and the pocket dimension was very intriguing. The idea of going through time and taking pictures at different intervals is fascinating to me. And I wonder if maybe the TARDIS doesn't like Clara. And this is the episode where I finally accepted Clara and really began to like her. However, the "love story" of the two monsters at the end kind of felt like a stretch. 7 Sonics

Allison: After the previous episode, anything is an improvement, but this is a VAST improvement. Neil Cross, creator of the excellent crime series, Luther, penned this. He also wrote the aforementioned hot mess, Rings of Akhaten, and this one is the far superior effort. I saw this not long after seeing The Conjuring, so I love the seventies ghost story vibe it had going on, and I liked Jaime's comparison to Supernatural. I also liked the sci-fi twist the story later took. Also, you really can't go wrong with the addition of Dougray Scott to something. 7 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 6.3


Episode 11: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

The Doctor and Clara find themselves aboard a space freighter that has taken the TARDIS on-board as salvage, severely damaging the ship's core and setting loose a very odd series of events as the Doctor, Clara, and the salvage crew wander the TARDIS corridors in search of a way out. (IMDB with edits by Allison)

Justin: By now you should know my love for disaster movies, and setting one in the TARDIS took this show to the next level. The brothers plot line wasn't bad nor was it great, but I would have just been happy seeing the Doctor trying to find Clara on his own. The vocal inclusion of the past Doctors was also a stroke of genius. I loved this episode. 9 Sonics

Jaime: This was like a disaster movie set on the TARDIS. Pretty cool, in my opinion. And that library? Yes, please, I want to go there. It was cool finally getting to see different rooms in the TARDIS. But I didn't completely understand how the mummy things were them from the future. Maybe I missed something, but that didn't really come together for me. 6 Sonics

Allison: I neither loved nor hated this episode, though it did have some pretty incredible visual moments, like when they're inside the broken time core (see the picture above) and when they're "outside" but they really aren't, and the Doctor and Clara have to take a leap of faith from a cliff in order to get out. The storyline with the brothers dragged everything down, though. I didn't like any of them and didn't feel at all invested in their outcome. Also, the resolution of the plot where it's basically a "rewind" and it never ended up happening? Major cop-out, especially for a show that usually plays smarter with the whole time travel thing. Per usual for this season so far, the energy level just really dragged for me. It has felt distinctly like no one is really in charge this season and I'm waiting for the grownups to return to the writing room and stay there. 5 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 6.7


Episode 12: The Crimson Horror

The Doctor and Clara arrive in 19th century Yorkshire where moral crusader Mrs Gillyflower is recruiting beautiful people for her idyllic garden city. At the same time rigid corpses dyed red are piling up and the brother of one of the victims seeks help from Madame Vastra. (IMDB)

Justin: You know I'm happy about my Victorian trio being in here, but what I really enjoyed (and later found disturbing) was Mrs. Gillyflower. I was so creeped out by her that I decided to see who played who (yes, I know Smith plays Who) in this episode. I scrolled through IMDB and saw Diana Rigg (for some it's her work on the Avengers that people think of her from, but for me it's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.), and I couldn't figure out who this lovely lady played. I was shocked to see it was the evil and horrifying Gillyflower. I also enjoyed how the used Mr. Sweet. 6 Sonics

Jaime: Loved seeing Jenny really step it up in this one, and how Strax always calls her "boy" just makes me laugh. Their confusion over Clara shows that the Doctor is still confused about her too. The creepy old Mrs. Gillyflower and her poor daughter are a great addition, as well. And then finally seeing Mr. Sweet made me shudder, actually shudder. 6 Sonics

Allison: FINALLY the adults are back! Although Mark Gatiss has written some hit or miss episodes for this show, it feels like someone familiar enough with the characters is back in the driver's seat and has injected a swift kick in the ass the show has needed since Snowmen. I love the creepy Victorian setting, the red people, and the excellent acting on the part of Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling, who are actually mother and daughter in real life acting together for the very first time. The return of Vastra and the crew really brought this one up a notch, and I'd love to see a spin-off show with these three. 8 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 6.7


Episode 13: Nightmare in Silver

Hedgewick's World of Wonders was once the greatest theme park in the galaxy, but it's now the dilapidated home to a shabby showman, a chess playing dwarf and a dysfunctional army platoon. When the Doctor, Clara, Artie and Angie arrive, the last thing they expect is the re-emergence of one of the Doctor's oldest foes. The Cybermen are back! (IMDB)

Justin: Facts: Wicket is my favorite Star Wars character. Warwick Davis played Wicket. I enjoy anything Warwick Davis is in. So, putting him on a great show like Doctor Who was superb. The Cybermen felt like an actual threat, and Smith did a great job playing good vs evil. The only downfall--for me--was having the kids tag along. Gaiman wrote another stellar episode. 6 Sonics

Jaime: And Gaiman does it again. He succeeded in actually making the Cybermen seem like a real threat. Add in Matt Smith's incredible acting and the guest appearance of Warwick Davis, and you have a pretty remarkable episode. All set in a dilapidated amusement park. I absolutely loved this one. 9 Sonics

Allison: This is one of my favorite episodes that nearly made my Top 10, and easily my favorite non-special episode of this season. I ask yet again: can Gaiman write ALL the shows? I love Moffat, but I think Gaiman writes with a certain clarity and humor that really befits Who. Not only that, but the Cybermen were finally used in a visionary way, and Smith's acting was absolutely remarkable here as he battled between the different halves of his brain. I also loved the moment when Jenna was trying to decide which Doctor she was talking to and asked if he thought she was pretty. His response really made me laugh. Combined with the defunct amusement park setting and the great Warwick Davis (whom I hope returns to the show at some point) this episode is a major winner. 10 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 8.3


Episode 14: The Name of the Doctor

The Doctor's friends are being kidnapped, which leads him to the fields of Trenzalore, where his greatest secret will be revealed and Clara's mystery will be solved. (IMDB)

Justin: This episode starts off with a First: showing how the Doctor took the TARDIS. It's really quite an epic tale, and it includes many of the characters I've come to enjoy. I'm glad they didn't reveal the Doctor's name, but I won't be shocked if they do it in the future.  Then there's the ending. Seeing a good chunk of the Doctors run by, and then seeing the one that shall not be talked about: the War Doctor. 9 Sonics

Jaime: Are we really going to find out the Doctor's name? Well, no, but damn this one was good. We finally get the answer to who Clara is and why she is the impossible girl. We have a beautiful appearance by River Song. And the sight of the TARDIS on the fields of Trenzalore is breathtaking. Also, getting to see the first Doctor almost steal a different TARDIS was a humorous addition. This one is my top ten because it grabbed me from the beginning and wouldn't let go. I thought it was so well crafted and heartbreaking at the same time. I wonder if we will ever see the lovely River Song again. Alas, I think when the Doctor finally said goodbye, it was goodbye for us too. Again, damn this one was good. 10 Sonics

Allison: Once this episode started, it really held my attention. Chilling was the sight of the TARDIS on Trenzalore and the explanation of what happens when the machine starts to die, how it becomes bigger on the outside. I loved the Doctor's tomb and what was inside it, and that gorgeous moment between the Doctor and River as they said goodbye was probably the best singular moment of this season. What ultimately detracted from the power of this episode was the season-long string of weak and inconsistent episodes that preceded it. It all had the feel that suddenly, after a whole season of dicking around and trudging through the muck, they remember that there is a story arc and a ton of threads they need to tie up, so they cram as much as they can into Name/Day/Time of the Doctor. In fact, you don't even really need to watch ANY of the episodes between Snowmen and Crimson Horror in order to stay up to date on the mythos of the show, and to me that's a problem. If the whole season had consisted of such high caliber episodes as this one or Nightmare in Silver, I would have been blown away by what I saw here. As such, I can only lament all the missed opportunities for tighter storytelling. And while I liked some of the clever moments of Clara interacting with all the previous Doctors, the whole resolution of the Impossible Girl as Doctor's Savior story thread just underwhelmed me, and I was glad when it ended. The reappearance of The Great Intelligence pretty much out of nowhere also felt disjointed here. Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and loved seeing the appearance of John Hurt at the end. 9 Sonics. 

Average Sonics

x 9.3


Special Episodes: Doctor Who '96 & The Night of the Doctor
*leading up to the 50th Anniversary Special, Justin reviews the movie and the short film featuring the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann. Allison also has some words on the Night of the Doctor.

The newly-regenerated Doctor takes on the Master on the turn of the millennium, 31 December 1999. (IMDB)

Justin: I really felt a review of The Night of the Doctor must be done, and in turn a review of the 1996 TV movie Doctor Who should come with it. The 90s version was an attempt to bring the Doctor back after going away in 1989. It starts off with Sylvester McCoy aka the Seventh Doctor, and show how terrible writers can cause him to regenerate into the Eighth. The Eighth (played by Paul McGann) isn't terrible. In fact, his actions show where the Ninth might have come from. The inside of the TARDIS is lavish. I mean friggin' bigger on the inside. Eric Roberts as the Master is...well...Eric Roberts. Smug, crazy, and not always the best bad guy. The issue I have with this movie is my issue with the majority of 90s TV movies. They attempt being big budget spectacles, but only end up being horrible big screen 80s flicks. 2 Sonics

With the aid of the sisterhood of Karn, "The Doctor" regenerates into "The War Doctor". (IMDB)

Justin: Night on the other hand redeemed the 90s movie and did so in the span of a few minutes. I was surprised to see the return of Paul McGann when I watched this. His failure to save a person in need who did not need his persona. Then upon his dying moments he's helped out by Ohila (played by the wicked Claire Higgins of Hellraiser fame) only to become what he must not be: not a doctor, a War Doctor (John Hurt albeit a younger version). 10 Sonics

Allison: I still haven't seen the 1996 film, and I'm not sure when I'll get around to it, but I have to say I absolutely loved seeing how eight became the War Doctor and the way it all tied into the whole Time War thing that has really been the glue holding this whole reboot together. The Doctor, having made himself an enemy of the universe at large due to a war that has raged on and on and killed so many, has to make the difficult choice to cast aside his conscientious objections to fighting and take up arms. It's a great lead-in to Day of the Doctor. Check it out on YouTube if you haven't seen it yet. 10 Sonics

Episode 15: The Day of the Doctor

In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London's National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. (IMDB)

Justin: I never thought I would see Ten meet Eleven. I had hopes Nine would join the movie, but Chris seems to want to distance himself from Who. Can you imagine that trio meeting the War Doctor?  There was so much to like about this episode that I'll just rattle several off: the humor, Bad Wolf, all the Doctors (those eyes!!!), and of course the wonderful ending. I hope they'll have Ten and Eleven meet Twelve someday, and if so, maybe they'll make it a slightly longer episode. 10 Sonics

Jaime: I'd been looking forward to this one for a long time. The 50th Anniversary Special. And it did not disappoint. Eleven meets Ten. We meet the War Doctor, played beautifully by John Hurt. The story of what happened between the Doctor's 8th and 9th incarnations is wonderful. And to think The Moment chooses to appear in Rose's likeness feels like a high five to Rose/Ten fans. I also liked learning more about the Time War. And the ending is truly fantastic. 9 Sonics

Allison: I echo all my friends' sentiments here. This whole episode was like so much eye candy for fans of this show, and I imagine it was teeming with even more Easter eggs that I completely missed as a new fan. At times the show felt a little ham-fisted with its themes, but it's forgivable enough because it's just so much damn fun watching all these guys interact with one another. Smith and Tennant are golden together, and Hurt as the cantankerous old man chastising them for the way they use their sonics was particularly funny. Also, I loved the cameo of Tom Baker at the very end. My hope is that Gallifrey stays locked up in that painting forever. Yet again I am left with the impression that the the planet's inhabitants are douchebags, and there is a reason we love our rebel Time Lord. 9 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 9.3


Episode 16: The Time of the Doctor

The Doctor's worst enemies, The Daleks, The Cybermen, The Angels and The Silence, return, as the Doctor's eleventh life comes to a close, and his twelfth life begins. (IMDB)

Justin: This is it. It's all been leading up to this review. It's time to say goodbye to the Eleventh Doctor. I feel the chemistry between the Doctor and Clara was getting to that great moment. Now it's gone. Finding out how Trenzalore came to be, and how the crack in the wall is the Doctor's doing was very nice. Even a Cyberhead as a companion was nice. I wonder, does the Doctor control his aging look?  Is it will power that keeps him young looking or does boredom kick in and he lets himself go?  Maybe that question will be answered someday. Let's talk about the ending. I expected--as it was set up to be--that the Twelfth was walking up the TARDIS stairs. Then to see Matt (young again) was very nice. Then to see him imagine Amy was beautiful. Follow this with a speech about not forgetting who you are when you were a Who and then the hollow sound of removing yourself by letting the bow tie hit the floor was absolutely haunting.  Last but not least: the regeneration. Quick and to the point. Gone was Smith. Enter: Peter Capaldi. The look on Clara's face was ours. What comes next? Who knows. 9 Sonics

Jaime: So much happened in this episode. But my favorite was the moment between Clara and the aged Doctor when he thinks he is about to die. The chemistry between them then is the best it ever was and ever will be. That scene alone makes this a high ranking episode. In my opinion, Matt Smith's acting in these last four episodes is incredible. That he can get you to genuinely care about a Cyber-head named Handles is proof enough. I'm also glad the writers chose to give us a regeneration explanation. The fall of the Eleventh. It's all been building to this, regeneration. Two final things: I'm glad we got to see the Eleven as his younger self one last time (and how epic was his final speech?). And I think Peter Capaldi is going to give us a hell of a good time as the Twelfth Doctor. 10 Sonics

Allison: Ah, this episode. This damned episode. I've seen it twice now and it doesn't get much easier. As far as send-offs for Doctors go, this one was pretty damned great. I only wish it had been a little longer so it didn't feel quite so crammed. Certain answers to hanging story threads (like the Silence) felt rushed or tacked on. But I loved the whole thing with the Papal Mainframe. I also loved Handles, and that "Wilson" moment the Doctor had with him near the end. I do feel again like Clara got the short shrift in favor of sweeping along the narrative, but they had some great moments together as things wrapped up. When he envisioned Amy and she says "Raggedy Man, good night," I teared up, but when that bow tie hit the floor, I lost it. Again, when a Doctor regenerates, it seems to be more about the actor saying goodbye, and I genuinely felt Matt in those final words ("I will not forget one line of this."). I'm really really going to miss him. But I am very excited about Mr. Capaldi, and I hope he comes to like the color of his kidneys. 10 Sonics

Average Sonics

x 9.7


Episodes Ranked Best to Worst
*episodes that tied in rank are color-coded

1. Time of the Doctor
2. Day of the Doctor
3. Name of the Doctor
4. Nightmare in Silver
5. The Snowmen
6. The Angels Take Manhattan
7. The Crimson Horror
8. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
9. Hide
10. The Rings of Akhaten
11. The Bells of Saint John
12. Asylum of the Daleks
13. The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe
14. The Power of Three
15. A Town Called Mercy
16. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
17. Cold War

Overall Sonic Average for the Season

x 6.4

Well, that concludes all of our seasonal rankings! Like I said, series 7 was very uneven. We didn't always agree on which episodes were the weakest, but I think we could all agree on the overall wonkiness. That being said, it managed to avert disaster like a singer who is off key through most of the song, but pulls it all off with a glory note at the end so good that it makes you forget or at least forgive some of its missteps. Make sure you pop on over to our compendium page to see some other fun metrics I've put together with the numbers I've gathered from all the seasons. But before you go, Justin and Jaime, and I all have some final words we want to say about this project and about the show in general. 

Justin: Doctor Who is a great show. The episodes aren't always the best, but the overall idea and what it strives to be makes it wonderful. I had a great time reviewing all these episodes and enjoyed discovering different feelings I had about them since my original viewing. I look forward to the next season (and beyond), and maybe--if these reviews are popular enough--we'll continue to rate the man in the blue box.

Jaime: I have so enjoyed going back through all the episodes of this remarkable show. Doctor Who has impacted me possibly more than any television show I have ever watched. There is something charming and impossibly unforgettable about the madman with the box. I will continue loving the Doctor and obsessing over his adventures for many years to come. Thank you for coming along this journey with all of us. See you in August when we join the Twelfth Doctor for his first adventure. Good night, Whovians.

Allison: I'm with my friends here 100%. I've really enjoyed this opportunity to think about this show and its episodes in depth, and it's even inspired me to go back and review the Classic Doctors at some point. The thing I've discovered about Doctor Who is that even when the shows are lacking or even downright terrible, I never regret having spent the time watching them. There is a feeling of whimsy and fun that percolates through even the worst episodes of this show. Discovering Doctor Who has made me feel like a kid again, completely unafraid of outlandish and ridiculous ideas. Thank you to both of my friends for joining me on this journey, and I hope we get to pick it up again sometime and that all of you will come along with us for the ride!

Justin, Jamie, and Allison