I've written about Doctor Who
every Saturday for several years now. It's the day the show traditionally airs, after all, so it seemed appropriate. But I guess that changes next week (or technically the week after next) when the show moves to Sunday. A big part of the pitch this season is that everything's different--the day, the cast, the Doctor's sex, the composer, the directors. Everything's different except, of course, the new showrunner, Chris Chibnall. He's written several episodes of Doctor Who
and its spin-off, Torchwood
. So I thought it would be appropriate to rank all of Chibnall's Doctor Who
episodes to-day. Maybe we'll get some idea of what we can expect in the upcoming season première.
4: "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"
I liked this episode when I first saw it but found it too irritating to watch through the second time. Part of the problem was that in their last few episodes, the Eleventh Doctor's companions, Amy and Rory Pond, had well overstayed their welcome, a problem exacerbated by the intentionally broad zaniness of this premise. I remember this season was billed as more cinematic than previous seasons, something that seems to be a promise going in to nearly every season, including the one starting next week.
3: "The Power of Three"
Also suffering from Amy and Rory fatigue, this one drags us through their weirdly smug domestic life while they guilt trip the Doctor for hinting that maybe exploring all of time and space might be more fun than working in a hospital. This one also suffers for being the debut of Kate Stewart on the proper series, the inadequate, dull replacement for her father, the Brigadier. I wonder if this means Chibnall will be bringing her back, despite the promise that the new season will feature almost nothing from previous seasons?
2: "The Hungry Earth"/"Cold Blood"
I always like when the new series does a two-parter. One-off Episodes generally feel rushed and the nearly two hour format still feels like it's natural for a Doctor Who
story. It's a shame the upcoming season is said to be all stand-alone episodes. "The Hungry Earth"/"Cold Blood" featured some of the best qualities of traditional Doctor Who
stories--it established a group of new people handling a problem in an interesting, atmospheric situation into which the Doctor is an unknown interloper. It's also the first appearance of the Silurians on the new series; they're not quite as fun but they do provide the basic look for the much better Madame Vastra later on. I suppose we've seen the last of the "Paternoster Gang"? I hope not. There's always the Big Finish audios, I guess.
Chibnall's first and still best, in my opinion. A tight, self-contained Tenth Doctor episode that is a nice sequence of suspense in the small confines of a spacecraft. It was one of my favourite episodes of the Tenth Doctor's second season and its humbler goals work out a lot better than the comparative garishness of "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". I hope we see more like this in the new season.