Sunday, July 27, 2008

Best (Three) Nu-Who episodes

Damn. I've spent all week chewing on this and I STILL can't do it.

Here's some thoughts on what works for me, my moods and my overall response.

For the love of downbeat:
Turn Left - bleak, and even bleaker in the light of what comes afterwards for Donna. And Bad Wolf.

For the tears:
Journey's End - oh come on, whatever faults it has - and I know there are many - the horror of what happens to Donna and Wilf's final scenes are just pure tear-fests
Father's Day - because damn it may be cheesy but it works
Doomsday - yes, I know some of you will think it's a contradiction to praise both JE and D in the same breath, but regardless of HandDoctor and the beach revisitation I still well up at the ending of Rose and the Doctor (even though the balance of the episode overall is skewed)

For the fan-girl in me:
Utopia - I refer you to the Squeeing...
School Reunion - Sarah Jane!!!
Time-Crash - grinning pretty much throughout

For the needing of daylight to watch them:
Blink - freaky blooming Moff.
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances - freaky blooming Moff!
Midnight - don't you dare repeat my words

For the punching the air:
The Christmas Invasion - come on, when the Doctor comes out of the TARDIS, it was a great moment.
Tooth and Claw - for the Doctor putting on his glasses
The Family of Blood - "you really shouldn't have let me press all those buttons"

For the story-telling:
The Unquiet Dead - a gloriously put together spooky narrative
The Girl in the Fireplace - for with and tears and scares and love
Dalek - the best of the Nu-Who dalek tales

So what do I do now? I'm tempted to try and be even-handed. But I don't think it can work with just three to choose.

  • Human Nature/Family of Blood - because it makes me tingle beautifully

  • The Girl in the Fireplace - because you can't always get what you want (but the pay-off of the final shot just rounds this story so well)

  • Turn Left - because Donna just plays a blinder and although the Doctor is only in it briefly his playing of the scene when Donna edges towards saying who she saw is breathtaking.

Not original choices I grant you, but there you go.

Honourable mentions for: The Christmas Invasion, Utopia/Sound of Drums, Blink... oh and everything from Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead up until the white heaven saved ending... and... and... and...

Oh crap. I could come up with justification for almost any episode (fill in your own most unfavourite here no doubt).


Stuart Douglas said...

So long as you didn't mention 'Boom Town' or any part of the Cyber or Dalek kiddie two parters, you can't really go wrong. Those are the only unforgivable choices :)

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

See, I get where you are coming from, but there's a problem with 'unforgiveable' choices - it's the effort to say 'you cannot' to someone for their taste (I am reminded of a Blakean line "with 'Thou Shalt Not' writ over the door")

It's not that I don't think there are no faults, even lots of faults, with episodes like Boomtown, or the Cybermen two-parter etc, or even the much-reviled 'Fear Her'. It's rather that personal taste is just that: personal taste. Besides, the meme was for the favourite - not 'best'. And there are so many factors which may make for a favourite that may have very little to do with (logical, rational, externally verifiable) motives. And that's before you get to the issue of the kid's perspective -- or even the inner kiddie!

Stuart Douglas said...

Ah, I was only kidding :)

And I forgot 'Fear Her' - God that was awful stuff.

Jane Henry said...

Yes I'd have Fear Her, Boom Town and the Dalek two parters as my least favourite, but can report that my kiddies liked all three.

Lisa, am so glad I am not the only one procrastinating over three. I couldn't choose really either. And I didn't mention the Dickens one on my blog which I did really love, or Shakespeare, or the one with Cassandra in or.....

So I predictably went for Moffat instead. But there's such a lot of good other stuff it is a deeply unfair meme I think!

Stuart Douglas said...

Jane: "Yes I'd have Fear Her, Boom Town and the Dalek two parters as my least favourite, but can report that my kiddies liked all three."

That's very true - I hated the Dalek two parter in particular, but both my boys thought it was the best story of the season. I must keep telling myself that Dr Who isn't actually written with grown men in mind :)

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Don't worry Stuart I did get you were being funny, but it IS an interesting debate because heck knows a lot gets exercised about what is an appropriate response/choice or reaction to episodes.

We can easily forget that it is not always/consistently intended for the adult viewer but instead for the subtely different family viewing...

Stuart Douglas said...

It also raises the quesiton of when is it a wholly kids programme, as opposed even to family viewing? I watched the Tom Baker serial, The Invisible Enemy, yetserday and that is, I think, the first time I could point at a Who story and say 'that's kids telly', no different from or better made than 'Rentaghost' and aiming for the exact same demographic as 'Take Hart'.

I'm not sure if there's been what could fairly be described as kids edition of New Who - the Daleks in Manhatten perhaps, which ditches the whole idea of the sinister and scary Daleks in favour of a child friendly Muppet Dalek in a Suit?

AnnaWaits said...

May I suggest that this is cheating, just ever so slightly, Lisa?! ;)

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Anna - I do SORTOF just choose three in the end but make the proviso that I will probably change my mind again just as quickly / slowly as I first decided!

Cheating? Moi?!


Rob said...

Think I'd have replaced 'Human Nature/Family of Blood' with 'Silence In the Library/Forest of the Dead', but your other two were spot on.