In 2014, Doctor Who Magazine ran a poll that ranked Doctor Who‘s first 241 stories – An Unearthly Child to The Time of the Doctor – where readers ranked each story by giving it a rating between one and ten. While these rankings can be a great indicator of relative story quality, there’s a few very important things to note about this poll:
- The poll, of course, included all episodes from 2005-2013 as well as the Classic series – this means that 85 of the 241 results are not included as part of my guide. It is also worth noting that The Day of the Doctor and Blink took first and second place respectively, so the highest ranking a classic story can possibly have is 3rd place (aka Genesis of the Daleks)
- DWM readers are well-seasoned Whovians, and have often been watching Doctor Who for decades. This means that stories that may be enjoyable on first viewing but become dull after the initial novelty wears off may have a low ranking, and may not reflect a good recommendation for first-time viewers.
With that in mind, the results of this poll can be split into five brackets. To help you get an idea of where each story sits in comparison to it’s New-Who siblings, see the following new series examples:
- 1st to 50th – Generally episodes that are renowned by the fandom, and are therefore absolute must-watches.
- New-series stories in this bracket include The Day of the Doctor, Blink, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, Dalek, Vincent and the Doctor and Turn Left.
- 51st to 100th – Stories still regarded quite highly by the fandom, and are therefore definitely worth checking out.
- New-series stories in this bracket include The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, Father’s Day, Rose, The End of Time, The Girl Who Waited and The Time of the Doctor.
- 101st to 150th – Although these are a little lower on the list, they still rank fairly well and are worthy of serious consideration. I recommend reading my review and deciding if stories in this bracket sound like something you think you might like.
- New-series stories in this bracket include Amy’s Choice, Smith and Jones, Hide, The Wedding of River Song, Gridlock and The Next Doctor.
- 151st to 200th – We’re starting to get down to the rubbish end. Still take a look at these stories – may find a real gem at this end of the list – but don’t expect a masterpiece.
- New-series stories in this bracket include The Runaway Bride, Closing Time, Aliens of London/World War Three, The Doctor’s Daughter, Planet of the Dead and The Idiot’s Lantern.
- 200th to 241st – Let’s be clear about this; you will probably still find something you like here. In fact, some of my most favorite stories sit in the bottom 50. Just don’t be too quick to judge, but at the same time keep your expectations low.
- New-series stories in this bracket include Nightmare in Silver, Love & Monsters, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, The Rings of Akhaten and Fear Her.