Doctor Who: Season 1 Stories Ranked and Reviewed

Doctor Who is easily one of my favourite TV shows ever, so I thought I’d start a new series ranking and reviewing each episode, one series at a time.

I’ll do things a bit differently for these lists – instead of my usual tiers (“amazing”, “good” etc.) I’ll give each story a graded score (from F to A+).

Another thing I’ll do for Doctor Who is group stories together, for example a lot of the finales are two-parters, so I’ll rank / grade them as if they were an episode by themselves.

Check out my Who Season Rankings as well as What I’d Do With Who in it’s current state in my lists below:

With introductions out of the way, let’s get to the rankings …

10 – The Unquiet Dead

Rating: C-

You’ll notice a common trend in my reviews that I don’t really like Mark Gatiss’s episodes.

This isn’t an awful episode, it’s just a bit bland and boring. I’d honestly rather watch any other episode in season 1.

9 – The Long Game

Rating: C-

Similarly to “The Unquiet Dead”, this episode is just a bit boring and filler. Simon Pegg is a cool actor to have on board, so for his presence alone I’ll put this in 9th.

8 – Aliens of London / World War Three

Rating: C

If only there weren’t so many fart jokes, this probably would have gotten at least a B. Makes for painful re-watching, but at least the story is interesting.

7 – The End of the World

Rating: C

The first foray into time and space has stuck with me ever since I was a kid, but upon later viewing I realise that this episode has some flaws. It’s not a perfect episode, but the nostalgia factor bumps it up a bit.

6 – Boom Town

Rating: B

A more refined story than “Aliens Of London” / “World War Three”, this filler episode does what the aforementioned episodes should have done with the Slitheen – make them an actual threat, and less farting (I can’t believe I have to tell a kid’s show to tone down on the farting).

5 – Father’s Day

Rating: B+

This episode is emotional in all the right ways, and started a trend of “Doctor-Lite” episodes that would be hit or miss in future seasons.

It’s kind of strange to introduce a monster directly linked with time travel and not have them appear again, but Doctor Who just has to do its thing sometimes.

4 – Rose

Rating: B+

The introduction to New-Who is one of the most well crafted episodes in the modern series. We get a perfect introduction to the ninth doctor and Rose, the latter of which provides a grounded reality to the show that hadn’t been seen before.

Even without all the introductions, this is a brilliant episode of Who – the villains are iconic, and the ninth doctor’s gravitas propels the narrative forwards (even if the special effects are a bit pants, even for the time).

3 – Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways

Rating: A

Probably the best regeneration story, this episode hits you in the feels when you know the ninth doctor’s time is at an end.

It’s a shame we didn’t get Ecclestone for more than a season, but disputes between him and the show-runner saw a premature departure from the show. Still, I’m glad we got to experience him in all his splendor.

2 – Dalek

Rating: A

This is easily the best Dalek episode, and it shows how deadly and terrifying the iconic monster can be – and that’s just with only one of them on the prowl.

You can see the terror in the Doctor’s and Rose’s eyes, and that is partly why this episode is so scary. Could easily be a top 10 episode of all time.

1 – The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances

Rating: A+

The show’s crowning achievement in season 1, this Moffat story is chilling in the best way possible (I genuinely believe he is the best writer the show has ever had, even if as a show-runner he wasn’t quite as good as Davies).

I will always remember being scared out of my skin when that creepy little gas mask kid asks for his mummy, and that transformation scene in the hospital is probably the scariest scene the show has ever produced.

Season Rating: B+

I do like this season, and think it’s one of the best we’ve had in the modern series.

I’ll keep a tally of the grades different doctors get, so this is what Ecclestone and Season 1 got:

  • 3 As (30%)
  • 3 Bs (30%)
  • 4 Cs (40%)

Pretty good going, no complete failures and most of the episodes were actually quite good. Definitely a good season of television.

Aaaaand that’s my rankings. Stay tuned for the next season – Season 2, where my favourite Doctor gets introduced. Also check out my other lists below:

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2 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Season 1 Stories Ranked and Reviewed

  1. I never watched or even thought about Dr. Who before I got Netflix. This was my favorite season. I was shocked that Chris E left. I hated David T until I liked him, I hated Matt S until I liked him. I stopped watching when he left simply because (forgot his name) I didn’t like. I certainly don’t watch the new PC version with the female doctor. Have you ever seen the older ones from the 60s and 70s? So different!


    1. I do like season 1 a lot, definitely one of my favourites.
      It’s a shame you didn’t like Capaldi’s 12th Doctor – his seasons weren’t the best but he’s a fantastic actor to have in the role.
      I’ve only seen bits of the serials from the 60’s and 70’s, it definitely seemed like a different TV landscape!


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