News Categories
Archives

Series 1-7 Face-Off: Episode 1

Doctor Who TV is kicking off a new series pitting all the revival episodes against each other to decide your dream run. This will be done on an episode by episode basis, starting with all the openers of each of the seven series so far.

Note: Splits are not counted Specials will have their own categories at the end.

episode-1-face-off

Introduction by Mark McCullough.

Today’s Candidates

  1. Rose (2005)
  2. New Earth (2006)
  3. Smith & Jones (2007)
  4. Partners in Crime (2008)
  5. The Eleventh Hour (2010)
  6. The Impossible Astronaut (2011)
  7. Asylum of the Daleks (2012)

What makes a good Episode One?

The series opener is an important episode for any show. As such, in Doctor Who it is written by the current head writer. Reintroducing the show to the audience after a long time off-air is no easy feat. For this reason, Episode Ones are usually very strong with a relatively simple storyline. The idea being that the viewer is hooked and tunes in for the rest of the series. For Doctor Who, it is usually also the introduction of a new Doctor or companion due to the changeable nature of the show.

Predicted Winner.

Episode Ones of New Who have been very strong indeed. Despite this, I would guess that we have to look no further than The Eleventh Hour to find the winner. The episode introduces the audience to a new era of Doctor Who. Featuring not only a new Doctor, but a new companion joining him, it was the biggest change since the show returned. Not just this, but a new head writer at the helm of the show. The result was an episode which felt fresh on initial viewing, rekindling all that is good about Doctor Who and making it feel more magical than ever before. Even now the episode is extremely re-watchable and filled with nostalgia. The Eleventh Hour is a true Doctor Who master class, one which seems to have the majority of fans singing its praises (evidenced by its recent placing in the Best of Matt Smith polls).

The Dark Horse

When it comes to series openers, one of the more underrated offerings is Partners in Crime. Donna Noble’s reintroduction perfectly complements her character and her relationship with the Doctor. As a perfect blend of humour and poignant moments, Partners in Crime is a brilliant example of a fun episode. It has a unique storyline playing upon the growing obesity epidemic, yet still possessing possibly the cutest aliens ever to grace the small screen. Again this episode is easy to watch over and over again, always giving its viewer an emotional lift. It is also the episode I use when trying to encourage friends to get into the show. Unfortunately the episode does not seem to get the praise I feel it deserves.

Writer’s Pick

My favourite start to a series is The Impossible Astronaut. An episode which felt different from other series openers was always a risk. Thankfully it was filled with fantastic ideas and concepts which typify Moffat’s writing. The Silents are an incredible creation preying on a primitive human idea, which is that anything could happen when you’re not looking. As the first series opener to have the same cast as the previous finale, Moffat had to think outside the box to captivate his viewers. How he did this was totally unexpected, the Doctor’s death came as a shock. Location and characters played a major role in my enjoyment of the episode. The scenes in Utah were breathtakingly stunning and Canton was one of the best received one-off characters in the show. The story worked extremely well and held a tense atmosphere throughout. An episode certainly deserving of any praise it gets.

Vote

You’ve heard Mark’s thoughts, but what about your own? Which one tops your list? Vote below.

COMMENT GUIDELINES

Please be civil and keep article comments relevant and on topic. Flag and report any offensive/trolling behavior, or contact us with details.
Please do not post SPOILERS including anything from leaked episodes! Your account could be banned. For complete details on our comment policy please read.
194 comments
Dalekoverlord
Dalekoverlord

Silence will fall when impossible astronaut wins the poll...

DW_girl
DW_girl

1. The Eleventh Hour 10/10

2. The Impossible Astraunaut 10/10

3. Asylum of the Daleks 10/10

4. Smith and Jones 9.5/10

5. Rose 9/10

6. Partners in Crime 8.5/10

7. New Earth 6/10  

Moffat's openers are better than RTD's openers :)

SEDAKRO XIV
SEDAKRO XIV

I chose The Impossible Astronaut as it's the first part in one of my favorite two parters. Asylum came a very, very close second as it reminds me a lot of The Daleks from series 1, especially when viewed in black and white...



master no six
master no six

1. New Earth 10/10




2. Rose 9/10


3.The Eleventh hour 9/10



4. Partners in Crime 9/10







5. Smith and Jones 7/10




6. The Impossible Astronaut 7/10



7. Asylum of the Daleks 6/10



WhoMallow666
WhoMallow666

partners in crime is one of my favorite episodes of all time, the humor is spot o, the adipose are adorable, it introduces Donna as a full-time companion, and Gramps makes a cameo. What more could you ask for in a light-hearted, season starter for ten?

craig33
craig33

For me its remembrance of the Daleks every time.

Doctor What and Where
Doctor What and Where

I don't understand why are the Season 4B/ Series 4 Specials excluded? They are, after all, essentially a season of their own, sold as such seperately from series 4. This limitation is kinda stupid, if you ask me.







That said... its between Rose and The Eleventh Hour, and I'll choose the latter because it is so infectuously energetic. It introduces the new Doctor, the new companions and the lingering Silence story arc very effectively, and its so wonderfully paced. I may prefer 9 and 10 as Doctors, but 11 definitely got the best start.




The rest of the episodes are OK, though New Earth might be the weakest one, and Asylum of the Daleks is just lame.



















Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

1. The Eleventh hour

2. Smith and Jones

3. Asylum of the Daleks

4. The Impossible Astronaut

5. New Earth

6. Rose

7. Partners in Crime

Special Weapons Dalek
Special Weapons Dalek

I HAVE to pick Rose it such a great start for New-Who but with The Eleventh Hour a close second :)

doctorwhofan63
doctorwhofan63

Very difficult, but I did the maths and I surprised myself, but Asylum of the Daleks came out on top.

DaftDalek
DaftDalek

1. The Impossible Astronaut: It didn't feel like a first episode and that's why it's the best. Fast-paced, great monster, shocking moments, impressive scenery.


2. Smith & Jones: Fast-paced, cool moments, lots of running.

3. Partners In Crime: Great dialogue, fantastic acting, cute aliens. The episode in general is one of the fuuniest of Doctor Who classic and new.

4. The Eleventh Hour: Fast-paced, lots of runnin, almost like a 10 episode. Still I don't like it as much as most people. The enemy wasn't used at its maximum potential.

5. Asylum Of The Daleks: Visually stunning, shocking reveal, sometimes creepy and much epicer than most first episodes. Still, the great misuse of Daleks (insane Daleks!) and the Amy and Rory break-up storyline out of nowhere (something that made it little effective) make it a bit underwhelming.

6. Rose: This is where it all started, but by watching this episode you can understand that time has passed since then. However, it's still an effective introduction to the Whoniverse and features some beautiful dialogue.

7. New Earth: It's visually stunnuing, has great acting, a timey-wimey end and an original idea with humans being guinea pigs. Somehow, it ends up being uninteresting.

NineFan
NineFan

My vote was for Rose.  There was a lot of anticipation for Who coming back to the air before it actually did and the biggest worry at the time was that it would suck.  Flop, flop, flop.  But then it aired.  From something as simple as showing Rose getting out of bed, you knew that the show was going to be different.  The music was new and exciting, and miles above what we'd seen before.  The Doctor was SO different and alien it was marvelous to watch.  The Doctor in leather?  With that accent?  WOW.. what a completely different take on it.  No other series of Nu Who could have existed if the first Series hadn't made it, and it was sold and sealed in the first episode.  You knew who the Autons were if you watched Classic Who.. I was just expecting the Master to appear behind him.  Parts of it were weak, as you'll find in any opener, but the show FELT like it got its legs under it and ran almost as soon as it hit the ground.  And added to that was the expectation of over a decade of waiting fans.  No other Nu Who opener ever had to compete with that, and Series 1 sold Doctor Who to the world again.  :)


GWad84
GWad84

My choice: Asylum of the Daleks. For me this was the episode that made the Daleks creepy again. Everything living or dead was a Dalek, from the mother seeking a meeting with the Doctor on Skaro to a corpse in the snow and shockingly the girl aiding the doctor and his companions. The Doctor fixing the Ponds like he fixes his bow tie was good also the brief return to Skaro. It was a rip roaring start for any series adding a strong Dalek threat with the twist of them seeking the help of their "predator" made it my pick.

2nd choice: The impossible astronaut

3rd choice: The eleventh hour

WHOturnedoutthelights
WHOturnedoutthelights

I've thought of the Bells of Saint John as my favourite series opener, as it feels more like a fresh start than Asylum did. It doesn't really fit for me how that isn't a series opener. I hate the split! So, I voted for Partners in Crime. It brought me back into NewWho after skipping series 2 and 3.

hazwho
hazwho

For me, it's close between partners in crime and new earth

cameronnud
cameronnud

What's the time scale on this series? Daily? Weekly?

TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

The Impossible Astronaut definitely. It was brilliant, paired with Day of the Moon it felt like a big blockbuster movie. And the Silence were terrifying. I loved the gothic horror influences. 

11th's Sonic
11th's Sonic

For me, Partners in Crime. It's just so good!

DawnTime
DawnTime

Difficult choice 3 favourites there. The Eleventh Hour, The impossible Astronaut and Partners in Crime.Hmmm decisions, decisions. OK The Eleventh Hour. ! for the wonderful acting of young Amy, and fish fingers and custard.

Romanadvoratrelundar
Romanadvoratrelundar

11th of April 2010:

"You have to watch Doctor Who. They just came out with a new series, it's awesome."

Me: "No thanks. I've watched a but of it here and there and it doesn't seem like something I would like."

"Trust me and watch it."

"Fine."

And so there I was on the couch, 'forced' to watch the weird TV show some of my friends had been talking about. And over the course of the next hour, my life changed. Within minutes The Eleventh Hour reeled me in and made me fall in love with the magic of Doctor Who. Within weeks I was watching all of New-Who, and in a bit more time the classics too.

Strangely enough, I'd seen Rose about a year earlier but decided the show was too weird and wasn't for me. Funny how things work out.

Matt999
Matt999

I had a tough time deciding between The Eleventh Hour of The Impossible Astronaut. Both get 10/10s in my book. TEH has the record of being the episode I've watched the most times (and I still love it) and had a lot more pressure riding on it, so I went for it. In terms of other openers, AOTD is great, Partners in Crime is good thanks to Donna, and the rest are fairly average.

ManWithChips
ManWithChips

Asylum of the Daleks for me. Quite divisive among the Doctor Who fandom, but one of my personal favourites.

lukashcartoon
lukashcartoon

Yeah, Gooing with the 11th Hour.  It's a gateway episode, much like Rose.  If you've never seen an episode of Doctor Who, it works as an introduction. I like Rose, but Rose seems to be a lot weaker in terms of structure. I also liked the set up for the subplots for the season (that turned into that particular Doctors arc.)




Ava Averson
Ava Averson

Impossible astronaut is possibly my favourite episode of all time, so I chose that. But 11th Hour was the perfect 1st episode for any Doctor. Rose has nostalgic value, but it actually put my boyfriend completely off watching DW, and I was certainly not taken in by it.. I like it better in retrospect though.

mgm1229
mgm1229

Rose. Without it, there is no New Who.

IanKerns
IanKerns

Eleventh Hour will win this handily.

pinkjaguar12
pinkjaguar12

I was gonna say the Eleventh Hour but I think I'm gonna go with Smith and Jones.  It introduces the companion AND the Doctor very well, has a decent plot and monster, and shows off all the Doctor's characteristics - both completely mad and selfless.

JLS1138
JLS1138

Something about the Eleventh Hour just calls to me. The stark departure from the RTD era and everything we ever knew (and loved). The mystery of the crack in the wall, and the story of the Raggedy Doctor. It was perfect.

NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

I like 'The Eleventh Hour' very much. It had so much to prove. New Doctor, new companion and new writer too and it did achieve those objectives exceptionally well. 'Rose' also brought us a new Doctor, a new companion and a new writer, but it did not have the advantage of an app. 8 million fanbase ready to tune in. It started from scratch, hoping to build a following. It achieved that and grew into the show we love today, so for me 'Rose' has to take the title of 'most important first episode' purely because it was so well done, and that without it, the other contenders may not have even existed. If 'Rose' had been less good, then we may not even be having this conversation today ...



Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

Eleventh hour or Partners in Crime. I love Donna so bloody much XD


Bert_Macklin
Bert_Macklin

I voted for Impossible Astronaut, what I considered to be the creative high-point of the Moffat-Smith-Pond era. Just coming off a nearly flawless season and awesome Christmas special to one of the more mind-blowing episodes I had seen in a while. I wish the rest of S06 was that good.

EdWhovian
EdWhovian

Eleventh Hour for me. I love Asylum and Partners as well. Perhaps giving each episode a rating, like the Matt Smith Era polls, would have been fairer?



twoheartsonemind
twoheartsonemind

I went for The Eleventh Hour, but it was close between that and the Impossible Astronaut. The Eleventh Hour was not only beautifully written and acted, but it introduced a new Doctor and companion perfectly. The Impossible Astronaut is just as well-written and acted, but the Eleventh Hour did such a good job at introducing the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond (and to a lesser extent Rory).

Rose may have restarted New Who, but after watching it, I am glad it wasn't the first episode I'd ever watched; I most certainly wouldn't have tuned back in next week. Both the writing and acting were sub-par with the exception of Billy Piper and Camille Coduri.

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

The Eleventh Hour easily, everything was brand new and they were given the challenge of making us trust it all in an hour and it did it beautifully.

Timhogan
Timhogan

I went with Rose.  As much as I like all of them, Rose is what started it all.  Plus the conversation leaving Rose's place where the Doctor tells Rose who he is and then to forget him is one of my favorite conversations in all of Doctor Who.  Rose will always have an important place in my heart and will always get my vote.

DWTV
DWTV moderator

They're not excluded. If you read the top it says specials will have their own poll at the end.


no_tweeter
no_tweeter

@mgm1229  But can we forget it come into the world with Rose? It shouldn't win by default, it's either a good episode or a bad, and it's not even one of the strongest of season 1. 


Polyphase
Polyphase

@JLS1138 The crack in the wall got a bit naff, After the first 2 episodes It was like OK where will the crack be at the end of this episode :)

Polyphase
Polyphase

@TimhoganI will never forget this little speech by the 9th Doctor
Do you know like we were saying about the Earth revolving? It's like when you were a kid. The first time they tell you the world's turning and you just can't quite believe it because everything looks like it's standing still. I can feel it. The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour, and the entire planet is hurtling round the sun at sixty seven thousand miles an hour, and I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go. That's who I am. Now, forget me, Rose Tyler. Go home.

no_tweeter
no_tweeter

@Polyphase @JLS1138  Yup, placing Bad Wolf everywhere, with no tangible meaning was a far better idea 8-) The cracks were the best arc in the shows 50 year history, each time teasing out a bit more information about what they were, connecting the universe, undoing time, until finally a piece of TARDIS was removed - they were fantastic exactly BECAUSE they weren't just spot the reference, the idea that the TARDIS caused a tear in the universe came to every viewer at a different point of progression through the series. They were ongoing and expanding clues to the audience.


NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

@Polyphase @Timhogan  It's interesting that everyone seems to rave about the Doctor's big set piece speeches, with big stakes, with big music and with big effects. 

Now don't misunderstand me, i like them very much. But to me this monologue is all the more powerful for it's depth and feeling and understated nature. 

It is not trying to prove anything. It is just pure and honest and because of that, probably the very best of them all.

Polyphase
Polyphase

@no_tweeter IMO I prefered Bad Wolf as it was a surprise when the true meaning was revealed. The crack just appeared at the end of every episode and the resolution was weak :)

NineFan
NineFan

@NeutronFlow @Polyphase @Timhogan  And think of how many more times you'd hear the Doctor say something that just drove it home.  "Just this once, everyone lives."   The emotion, the joy, the happiness.. all in realizing that they could all be saved.  Every one of them.  In the billions and billions of deaths, for once, he could walk on and know that he saved them all, brought them back.  The Doctor.