Welp, this isn’t going to be a fun season to review. I was skeptical when Chibnall was announced as show-runner, and even more skeptical when Whittaker was announced in the title role. My skepticism turned out to be well-founded, as this season is easily the worst in the show’s history. Where are the two-parters? Classic villains? Characters that we actually care about?
We’d better get to the rankings before I have an aneurysm.
You can also check out some of my other Doctor Who lists below:
10 – The Tsuranga Conundrum
How the hell did Chibnall come up with a name like Pting? Did he throw a pen against a metal surface and just rolled with it?
This barely even counts as television, and it’s so unbelievably poorly conceived and written. Only gets an F+ because it’s not THE worst episode of the show, but it’s close.
9 – Arachnids in the UK
2 F+ grades in one season? Chibnall would probably say “at least they’re not F grades”.
The worst offenders here are the obvious Trump rip-off character, Stormzy saving the day, and the Doctor being seemingly OK with suffocating thousands of spiders when killing just one is too far for her. Abysmal.
8 – The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos
This was just insulting.
I thought there would be some sort of season arc that would lead to a finale, but it turned out Chibnall couldn’t even do that and produced the worst finale in the show’s history (maybe second worse, we haven’t reached season 12 yet).
7 – The Witchfinders
Similarly to Bill Potts and “Thin Ice” in season 10, I knew an episode like this was coming with a female Doctor. What I didn’t expect was a terrible episode that didn’t do anything right (other than Alan Cumming’s portrayal of King James, but even that wasn’t enough to carry the episode).
6 – It Takes You Away
A high-concept story that falls flat on its face, if any other show-runner had been given this idea they probably could have made something interesting out of it.
5 – The Ghost Monument
The first proper forray into time and space for the 13th Doctor, and it was so disappointing.
What was the point of introducing a deadly water if it doesn’t mean anything? Did Chibnall just throw the Timeless Child in and thought it through later? These are just some of the questions I have for this episode.
It doesn’t help that the TARDIS, which this story is based around, isn’t lit well at all when you first see it, so I thought it was a terrible TARDIS design. It’s more visible in later episodes and I think it’s fine as a design, but at the time I was livid.
4 – The Woman Who Fell to Earth
This was the episode that was supposed to convince me of Whittaker’s Doctor, and I don’t think it did enough.
It doesn’t help that the Doctor is bed-ridden for some of the run-time, which is a cardinal sin as far as I’m concerned. None of the characters are introduced and developed in a sufficient way, and the cliffhanger was quite stupid even by Who’s standards.
3 – Rosa
Now we’ve hit the episodes that I’d consider to be passable, but we only have 3 left. The first of these is Rosa, a good story let down by the fact that the villain is one of the worst we’ve ever had in an episode of Who. This could have been at least a B- if it wasn’t for the forgettable space racist.
2 – Kerblam!
A good story let down by Lee Mack’s character dying in the first few minutes (his appearance was literally the only thing I was looking forward to).
Still, it’s good to have an Amazon critique in this day and age, and the monster of the week is probably the best of season 11.
1 – Demons of the Punjab
The episode I’d consider to be the best of the season, and I still wouldn’t be comfortable calling it “good”.
The emotional story of the Partitian of India is probably the best of the season, and it’s nice having some actual character development for Yaz. Similarly to Rosa, the monster of the week is what let’s the episode down – they seem menacing at first, but it turns out they don’t really do anything.
This was the only episode of the season that I vaguely liked when the credits rolled, which just goes to show how much I hate this season.
Season Rating: F
Ouch. This is definitely the worst season we’ve had, and I’d go as far as saying it’s a failure of television. Let’s see the awful stats:
- 3 Cs (30%)
- 3 Ds (30%)
- 2 Es (20%)
- 2 Fs (20%)
Abysmal. Only 3 of the 10 episodes were passable, and of the 7 sub-par stories a whopping 4 of them were terrible. Not a good start to the Whittaker / Chibnall era.
Next time we look at the latest season of Who, and at least it’s slightly better than this train-wreck …
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