Continuing on from my previous article, I will be counting down my least favourite New Who episodes. But, as I stated in Part 1, I won’t be doing a usual “top whatever” article and instead will be listing my favourite stories from each respective series.
Once again, I wish to remind you that this is my personal list and you are entitled to your own personal list, to which I would love to read within the comment section below.
Are we good? Good! Let’s conclude the journey…
Series 6 : “Closing Time”
“Closing Time” is definitely the weakest episode within Series 6 by far, despite “The Curse of the Black Spot” and “Night Terrors” not being very far behind. The reason this episode was chosen is because it’s just plain stupid. I was never the biggest fan of “The Lodger”, which began this idiotic portrayal of The Doctor in which he’s incredibly out-of-whack with human society, acting rather strangely, messing up every kind of social interaction (despite spending extensive periods of time on Earth) and being stupid for the sake of cheap laughs.
Then there’s the fact that Craig Owens just wasn’t all that interesting, and bringing him back just for the sake of James Corden‘s persistent whining about returning was just ridiculous decision making. It was basically a disastrous sequel to “The Lodger” and it fell flat on its face. Sure, it could be considered harmless fun, and it could actually be considered entertaining in certain sections, but that’s not what I want to be seeing in a Doctor Who episode, especially when it’s the penultimate narrative supposed to be focusing on a serious story-arc.
Which is a shame because there are a few hints to a really intriguing point in The Doctor’s life where he is finally forced to face his demons, having spent so long running away from them for as long as he possibly could. But this is quickly glossed over by the pathetic comedy duo of Matt Smith and Corden, and it just ruins the tone and makes this entire plot feel totally out of place, to the point were I wonder how it got green-lit in the first place, not to mention makes me wonder how Gareth Roberts fell so far as a writer (he used to be good, especially when writing for The Sarah Jane Adventures).
And then there’s just the mistreatment of The Cybermen. Holy-shit, this was the episode’s biggest crime and Roberts’ should be ashamed of himself. I know he really wanted them to appear in his story but if you haven’t got a good reason for them being there in the first place then don’t include them. They ended-up being completely wasted, which is a shame because Roberts’ had some neat scenes in place that actually made them look scary again, but kept focusing on Smith and Cowden instead of a good Cyberman story. Then the resolution happened and the fandom nearly died…
Series 7 [2012-2013]: “Nightmare in Silver”
Seems to be a running trend me plunking up Cybermen stories and slapping them on my list. But I can’t help sniffing out a bad story when I see one. “Nightmare in Silver” had every possible potential to be something bold, and exciting, re-inventing The Cybermen for a new era of the show. But Neil Gaiman failed miserably.
The world-renowned writer (who was responsible for cult-classic “The Doctor’s Wife”) gave us a Cyberman story that didn’t feel like a Cyberman story. He changed them so much that it felt like he was just trying to be clever for the sake of being clever. Adding random bits of terminology that had never been used before and you felt like he was trying to re-invent them under his own pissing name.
To which thank-God these ideas didn’t stick and were quickly tossed out for future stories (which weren’t much better to be honest, but we’ll get to them in due time). The narrative itself just wasn’t all that interesting, the characters weren’t very engaging, the location (despite looking fantastical in concept) looked very cheap because of the shooting locations used to represent key scenes, and there wasn’t much consequence.
Plus, the whole inclusion of the children didn’t add anything to the narrative whatsoever, not even a warning to Clara Oswald that The Doctor’s world isn’t always bright and wonderful, thus collateral damage occurs in the wake of his meddling. Sure, having the children partly converted, or killed, may have been a tad bit too dark but then what’s the point of having them in there if there’s no real consequence. They don’t get harmed and are sent home scot-free without any repercussions.
Also, I don’t like the characterisation of Mr. Clever. I absolutely adore Smith’s acting as both this deranged intelligence as it plays a devious game of chess with The Eleventh Doctor but it never once felt like a Cyberman mind, always feeling too emotional and (dare I say) human, to the point where its character was wasted in this story because of my believability into what it was supposed to be.
Then there’s of course the fact that The Cybermen feel less like cybernetic creatures of conscious and more like armoured drones, with the constant gimmicks applied throughout making them feel less like the iconic creatures they once were. Essentially, bad writing!
Series 8 : “In the Forest of the Night” & “Dark Water/Death in Heaven”
I’m afraid I have to cheat again by having two picks from one series. I was just going to go for my obvious choice but then remembered “In the Forest of the Night” and just couldn’t bare not to put it on this list because it’s fucking horrendous. It’s really boring, without life, and feels like a watered-down episode pandered for small children, becoming extremely condescending and ridiculous with its concepts and ideas in the process.
It was just bad, having no significance or interesting meaning. The characterisation was all wrong, the whole shoe-horned Clara and Danny Pink sub-plot just felt awkward, and The Twelfth Doctor just felt completely redundant, making for one of the worst episodes within Doctor Who‘s 53 year-long history. Not to mention the resolution is such a major cope-out, making the entire experience feel even less important and completely unnecessary.
Plus, the design of the episode looked extremely laughable, to the point where you could tell all the production team did was place random street objects in the middle of the woods, making the narrative appear even less believable.
My obvious pick for Series 8 had to be “Dark Water/Death in Heaven”. Now, I want to make it clear that “Dark Water” was really good until the conclusion, to which I nearly lost my shit after being completely violated by Steven Moffat and his braindead ideas for evolving the show. That moment was the start to my utter hatred towards Moffat and my first sign of doubt towards Doctor Who, something that never went away.
“Death in Heaven” was the beginning to Moffat’s trend of “chuck everything good away from the previous episode and just have a very bland, unoriginal, and dialogue-heavy bore-fest as the concluding feature (I’m sure my fans won’t mind)”. The whole concept of having Cybermen built from the dead was a chilling idea that made me feel that Moffat hadn’t lost his touch of being ballsy, but doubts filled my mind because I was staring at The Master with tits, who had snogged The Twelfth Doctor in the previous episode, and was referring to himself as Missy.
The Cybermen did absolutely nothing throughout this entire narrative (accept when required [which was barely ever]) and were later used as a mockery to Missy’s stupid character (who, by-and-large, was an even bigger mockery). The annoying shoe-horning in of The Master being turned female really bugged me, no definitive reasoning was ever established, and everyone was randomly okay with it (like it was normal) and now The Master was referred to in past-tense as “she”. Fuck off Moffat!
Series 9 : “The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar” & “Hell Bent”
Again, I’m gonna have to cheat with Series 9 as I couldn’t leave out “The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar” from my little rant. This was a two-part opener that set-up so many cool, and intriguing elements that could’ve gone on to redefine the show. This was especially apparent considering it served as a some-what sequel to the cult-classic serial, “Genesis of the Daleks”, in which The Doctor was once again tested with the dilemma of killing for the greater good.
But, nothing actually happens. It’s a complete waste of time, and nothing remotely important comes out of this narrative. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this two-parter is insulting not only to the mythology of the show, but also to its audience for making them sit through two episodes worth of nothing. Don’t build up expectation Moffat and then do nothing with it. Actually deliver the goods or don’t bother writing at all!
I didn’t sit through this tale to watch The Twelfth Doctor and Davros pull off one of the most engaging conversations in the show’s history (literally defining their awesome chemistry) to then have the rug pulled from under me with the CAPTION: “By the way, Davros was faking his good will to trap The Doctor, having needing him for the most ridiculously conceived scheme in Dalek history, only for him to be told that The Twelfth Doctor knew this all along, making everything that happened completely pointless”.
Also, remember the really interesting plot-point introduced about whether or not The Twelfth Doctor was going to kill Davros’ younger-self? It’s completely wasted! Add insult to injury Missy was forced in just to add extra aggravation through her new appallingly written interpretation of The Master and The Doctor’s past relationship (thank you Moffat for ruining one of my favourite hero and villain dynamics with your selfish egotistical nonsense).
Plus, Clara does absolutely nothing useful in the entire narrative, and UNIT are made to feel absolutely redundant. It was if Moffat stopped caring and wanted to take a huge steamy shit on the franchise just because he could.
Of course my other choice had to be “Hell Bent”. What else could I pick really? (I know most of you would say “Sleep No More” but I actually like that episode – moving on!) “Hell Bent” was definitely the point were I pretty much stopped caring about the New Series. If Moffat was simply allowed to write whatever piece of crap of his choosing, which could basically fuck-around with both the canon and the future of the show (thus wrecking Doctor Who‘s future potential with political agenda that makes no sense) then why should I remain invested?
Seriously, I don’t know what goes on inside that little head of Moffat’s. Once I admired him (in fact, I used to look-up to him as inspiration as a wannabe writer) but now I look at him in disgrace and wonder why I ever thought highly of him. It generally feels like betrayal, and I’ve never even met the man. Once again “Hell Bent” built up to nothing. We had been teased about “The Hybrid”, it came to nothing but speculation, wasting a lot of the finale’s run-time with pointless heavy dialogue scenes.
And then the biggest insult was the return of Gallifrey. It was completely glossed over as a pathetic tool to allow Moffat’s beloved creation Clara (who was killed off a couple of episodes prior, but now was miraculously brought back to life [because why not?]) to have the most amazing, self-indulgent wank-fest in order to send her on her way (accompanied with her very own TARDIS [what the fuck is your problem Moffat?]).
Essentially, this finale pissed-off so many fans (and for good reason). And when you’ve just come off the back of master-piece “Heaven Sent” you expect the bar to be higher than ever before. But nope…
Instead you get given a wasted opportunity that feels self-indulged to satisfy Moffat’s incredibly annoying over-expanded ego. Gallifrey is wasted, The Twelfth Doctor’s struggle to reclaim his home-world from Rassilon is a farce, the ramifications of the Time War are totally absent, and The Doctor is completely out of character throughout, especially when he randomly kills The General for no apparent reason. And then we receive the most forced politically correct regeneration possible, followed by a line of dialogue that is completely sexist towards men.
Series 10 : “The Doctor Falls”
As you’ve probably noticed by now I don’t like modern Cybermen stories. In a nutshell “The Doctor Falls” is just another crude attempt from Moffat to look impressive, but instead makes himself look like a complete pillock as he wastes every chance at delivering a great story.
Once again he created a delicious concept to stick our teeth into revolving around The Cybermen, thus actually developing some of the most chilling Cybermen moments within the show’s history, only to then throw away all those fantastic ideas, and sinister tones, for a fucking bland setting and insulting Cyberman plot, which renders them as canon-fodder.
Not to mention this finale completely wasted the return of John Simm who just stood there in the background impatiently waiting to do something interesting. Forget about the promise of a exhilarating two-Master narrative because it never happens. Sure, there are two Masters in this tale (well, one in my books because I refuse to count Missy as an incarnation of my favourite villain) but they aren’t the main threat. They’re just sort of there because they were a part of the previous episode, which feels completely at odds with this episode, almost as if they were two separate ideas awkwardly forced together.
It’s just poorly executed and just feels flat. I’m so glad Moffat is leaving at Christmas because I just grew tired of his failed promises and lack-luster conclusions which didn’t even conclude the interesting ideas he’d set in place, instead opting to create an entirely different story, with a completely different tone and feeling, which didn’t deliver anything special and just messed up the overall narrative.
Anything remotely good about this episode was crushed by the overall poor structure and piss-poor creative decisions, which again, I have to ask how they were ever allowed to be put into action. Things became incredibly irritating when Simm’s return was simply to allow Missy to have a conclusion, thus apparently killing off Simm’s Master for the sake of Missy’s progression as a “good guy”. Fuck off Moffat!! At least Simm’s Master killed Missy, granting me some sense of satisfaction, but that’s not really the point.
Also, the resolution was just pathetic, once again demonstrating Moffat’s reluctance to kill off his precious darlings, instead opting to swing about his magic wand to make everything better in the most cope-out way possible. And the reveal of The First Doctor at the end made me especially anxious that Moffat would fuck-around with the canon further and make my enjoyment of “The Tenth Planet” (and the Classic Series in general) unpleasant because he’s added-in something I really don’t like.
- “The Curse of the Black Spot”
- “Night Terrors”
- “Into the Dalek”
- “Kill the Moon”
- “Extremis/The Pyramid at the End of the World/The Lie of the Land”
- “Empress of Mars”
And that’s it. That’s all of my least favourite New Who episodes from Series 1 all the way up to the recently released Series 10. This was certainly an interesting experience, and although I can’t say I enjoyed being negative towards Doctor Who, it was certainly fun being able to discuss the show in a critical way, establishing that the show isn’t perfect and has flaws, especially when it comes to the show-running and how creative control can impact the show’s quality.
But, on the bright side there’s still more Doctor Who to talk about, such as the Classic Series (which, I would argue, is the better era of the show) and of course all the wonderful work done by Big Finish Productions. So, yeah, expect more fun articles to come within the near future…
Again, feel free to share your thoughts below and start a fun discussion over your LEAST FAVOURITE New Who episodes and why you hate them so much!