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Series 1-7 Face-Off Results: Dream Run (Episodes 9-13, Specials)

Across March and April Doctor Who TV pitted all the revival episodes so far against each other and asked you to vote on each. The results are now in and we’re revealing the “Dream Run” – these are the episodes that topped their respective slots.

Catch-up on other articles:

Now join Mark McCullough as he examines the second half of episodes in the list.

Episode 9: The Empty Child

the-empty-child-mummyUtilising the backdrop of war torn London in the midst of the blitz, The Empty Child drew its terror from a different source. A child in a gas mask looking for its mummy, a simple idea yet incredibly scary, especially as it was infectious. Maintain too close contact and you became like him. The narrative follows Nancy, a young woman who has made it her duty to look after those children who have nothing else, risking everything to get a meal as bombs drop around then. Her situation is very poignant and as such she becomes a very likable character. The episode is also the first appearance of Captain Jack Harkness. In truth several episodes could have occupied this slot in the Dream Run, they are all equally as good as each other.

Episode 10: Blink

lucy-blink-angelDoctor Who has always been considered as ‘hide behind the sofa television’. I always considered that a cliché and an exaggeration, that was until I seen Blink. The Weeping Angels are without a doubt the best new monster to be introduced to the show, both terrifying and merciless. The creature which can only move when you are not looking kill you by sending you back in time, feeding on your potential energy. An even smarter move by Moffat was to have them take the appearance of statues commonly found in graveyards. The Angels are integrated into a strong plot focusing on Sally Sparrow. To take the Doctor out of the equation, by falling victims to the Angels only served to increase the terror and tension further. To complete the formula for success the character of Sally was particularly strong and relatable. Given all this, it is no surprise to see Blink here.

Episode 11: Turn Left

turn-left-donnaVery deserving of its place on the Dream Run, Turn Left went for a dramatic twist on the Doctor-lite episode by creating a universe without him. This allowed for Donna’s character to shine and for the return of Rose. The episode featured a particularly strong narrative packed with emotional moments as we learnt of the deaths of some of our heroes. The performance from the cast was sublime, especially from the members of the Noble family. The integration of concepts such as concentration camps, and the constant nods to previous series of the show added to the impact of the episode. Quite possibly the best concept featured in an episode of the show and certainly one of the most poignant.

Episode 12: The Pandorica Opens

the-pandorica-opens-endSteven Moffat knows how to do two-part specials and his offering for Series Five was sublime. As such I am delighted to see The Pandorica Opens on this list. Right from the opening scenes where the Doctor’s friends unite to send him a message, the narrative had a feel of epic-ness which should define a finale. The Pandorica, as teased through-out the series along with the cracks, maintained a sense of mystery throughout. Only when it was too late did the audience (and the Doctor) realise what was happening. The concept of the Alliance is certainly an interesting one and most certainly served to increase the scale and stakes of the episode. The conclusion took the Doctor to the lowest he has ever been and left the audience with literally no idea where it was going. What more could you want from the first part of a finale?

Episode 13: The Name of the Doctor

name-of-the-doctor-promo-pics-(5)I’ll be honest, when I seen that The Name of the Doctor had made the Dream Run, I was a little disappointed. I have a few major gripes with the episode, not least the complete and utter lack of any real motive whatsoever from the villain, the Great Intelligence. Furthermore, the return of Post-Library River served only to undermine the majority of the character’s story for me. To compound my misery, the brilliant concept of the Whispermen was brutally underused. That said, it does have a lot of good parts too: the dream conference scene was stunning, once again Moffat fooled us all with the grave being discovered rather than the secret, and it was nice to finally have some answers to the Clara mystery. As always the main cast gave some stellar performances. The episode also featured a lot of fan service (which evidently worked) including cameos for each previous Doctor and a scene set on Gallifrey. Does it deserve to be on the Dream Run? Well it was voted here so I can’t deny that it does. Personally I think a few of the other finales deserve to be here more though.

Russell T Davies Special: The Waters of Mars

watersofmars5Those who know me will know which episode I was hoping would win this section. Thankfully if another episode had to win, it had to be The Waters of Mars. One of the best character driven narratives in the history of the show takes the character of the Doctor further than he has ever gone before. As he reaches breaking point, we see him adopt the name The Time Lord Victorious and declare himself in charge of time. The concept of the Flood was a fantastic one, taking water (an essential precursor for life) and turning it into a threat is a frightening prospect. The supporting cast for the episode were also exceptional, particularly Captain Adelaide Brooke. The wonderful direction and use of Wikipedia-like pages to map the impact on time was also a masterstroke. The emotional gravitas of the episode was exceptionally compelling and was supported by a wonderful score by Murray Gold. The Waters of Mars is fully deserving of this spot on the list.

Steven Moffat Special: The Day of the Doctor

john-hurt-50th-poster-day-of-the-doctor-landscapeWhat else? As I had said in the introduction to this section of the poll, I was expecting a non-contest. Surely enough, The Day of the Doctor emerged as the winner taking the spot for Moffat Special in the Dream Run. Whether it deserves it or not is barely a question, of course it does. Some of my favourite moments in the history of the show come from this episode, as do my fondest memories of being fan. The Day of the Doctor is more than just an episode; it’s a celebration, recognition of how far the show has come and an indicator as to where it is going. No surprise then that the narrative changed one of the biggest events in the Doctor’s life and it took all thirteen Doctors to do it. Whilst I may consider The Time of the Doctor to be a better episode, it’s always going to be the wonderful 3D celebration, The Day of the Doctor that holds a special place in my heart.

Concluding Thoughts

As with the Nightmare Run, I am going to break the results down by writer and by series. But first as I’m sure you are aware, accompanying the poll was a series of introductions where myself and a team of writers predicted a winner, named a Dark Horse and gave our own favourite episode. Purely for interest’s sake, I have looked at how we done:

Correctly Predicted Winners: The Eleventh Hour, School Reunion, The Doctor’s Wife, The Angels Take Manhattan, Dalek, A Good Man Goes to War, Blink, The Pandorica Opens, The Name of the Doctor, The Waters of Mars, and The Day of the Doctor.

Successful Dark Horses: Turn Left

So as you can see, we predicted the majority of episodes correctly (12/15 – 80%) with only one of the Dark Horses winning, that means there was only two introductions where the eventual winner was not covered. No Writer’s Picks featured in the Dream Run.

Now let’s have a look at the composition of the run by writer:

  • Ten Episodes: Steven Moffat
  • One Episode: Robert Shearman, Neil Gaiman, Toby Whithouse, Russell T Davies, Phil Ford

As you can see, the list is made up mostly by Moffat Episodes. Not much to say there only that it proves Moffat’s unbelievable ability as a writer. Interestingly Moffat’s stories from the RTD Era of the show almost all make an appearance with only The Girl in the Fireplace narrowly missing out. This would tend to suggest that the quality of Moffat’s scripts have remained unaffected by the transition to show-runner. Another thing worth commenting on is the 100% record of both Phil Ford and Robert Shearman, which would indicate that both men are in dire need of a return to the show (fortunately Ford is returning for Series 8).

Finally analysing the composition of the Dream Run per series gives the following results.

  • Three Episodes: Series Six,
  • Two Episodes: Series Five, Series One, Series Four, Series Seven
  • One Episode: 2009 Specials, 2013 Specials, Series Two, Series Three

Not huge amounts to comment on here as all series are represented. No one series has run away with it and the results follow a normal distribution. Good to see all series represented.

So there you have it, your dream run voted by you. I’ll certainly be trying this as a marathon idea this summer in the wait for Series Eight. Speaking of which, If Series Eight can live up to the quality of this list, I will be one happy fan.

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323 comments
VortexDan
VortexDan

Ah the HugBox returns with the abysmal Day and Name of the Doctor beating extremely superior episodes

twoheartsonemind
twoheartsonemind

I wish Human Nature and/or Family of Blood had made the list. They're make my favorite Doctor Who story.

B910
B910

It'd be cool if they could do the best episode of a season marathon too

JJ2000
JJ2000

9. The Empty Child

10. Blink

11. Boom Town

12. The Pandorica Opens

13. The Parting Of The Ways

Russell T Davies Specials: Voyage Of The Damned

Steven Moffat Specials: The Snowmen













Romanadvoratrelundar
Romanadvoratrelundar

Pretty good selection, I just wish that Human Nature got the episode 8 spot, Flesh and Stone got episode 5 (I don't mind TATM but I'm not sure it deserved the win), The Crimson Horror won for episode 11, and The Snowmen wasn't up against The Day of the Doctor. 


TheCallumRead
TheCallumRead

I was heartbroken that neither 'The Girl in the Fireplace' or 'The Family of Blood' made the list, but this is pretty much what I voted for!

AileenSaint
AileenSaint

The doctors wife and the girl who waited they are the best 


MrRazza, the Newly Qualified Omega Identifier
MrRazza, the Newly Qualified Omega Identifier

EPISODE 9 - Forest of the Dead The Empty Child is fantastic, but Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead is just a masterpiece. Also - as I mentioned below - I don't think I could ever have a dream run where I'm only seeing half a story, so I can't split up a two parter. 

EPISODE 10 - Midnight Blink is most certainly a worthy winner, but I find Midnight chilling, brilliantly different, and a brilliant piece of writing. 

EPISODE 11 - Turn Left What I find so brilliant about this episode is the expert construction of a believable, harrowing and dark alternative timeline, with real depth, maturity and issues not so often explored by Doctor Who. Series 4 really hit a peak here. 

EPISODE 12/13 - The Stolen Earth/Journey's End It's a close rivalry between this and Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways, but the cliffhanger at the end of the Stolen Earth, the most heartbreaking and real departure of a companion of the revival and the childish awesomeness of the gathering of all the Doctor's companions and the return of Davros wins it for me. 

RTD SPECIAL - The Waters of Mars An exciting, pleasingly adult episode of Doctor Who with great tension and, as the author of this article brilliantly summarises, "one of the best character driven narratives in the history of the show". 

MOFFAT SPECIAL - Day of the Doctor Not sure an explanation is needed here, but I have to say, I was left distinctly underwhelmed by all but the most recent of the Moffat era specials, so it faced little competition besides Time of the Doctor.


TheTimeOfTheCommenter
TheTimeOfTheCommenter

Would've preferred Midnight to win best episode 10 and The Big Bang to win best episode 13, but Blink and The Name of the Doctor are still worthy winners in my eyes. Overall I'm very happy with the results. :)

YourSpacialHatness
YourSpacialHatness

Neither Human Nature OR Family of Blood made it?! WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?

DW_girl
DW_girl

I would have picked:

9) Forest of the Dead (The Empty Child is probably 4th place for me)

10) Blink or Midnight

11) Turn Left

12) The Pandorica Opens

13) The Big Bang (The Name of the Doctor would be 4th also)

RTD) The Waters of Mars

Moffat) The Day of the Doctor


Overall, I'm happy with the results. The Empty Child and The Name of the Doctor aren't my favourites for their respective episode slots, but I still love them and I appreciate that they made the list.

gunslinger19
gunslinger19

My Dream Run: 

Impossible Astronaut.

day of the moon.

a town called mercy.

 the doctors wife.

Angels Take Manhattan.

 Dalek.

 Amys choice.

 the impossible planet.

 the satan pit

. blink.

 utopia.

 pandorica opens

. wedding of river song. 

rtd special, waters of mars. 

moffat special, time of the doctor :)





chinnysandshoes
chinnysandshoes

The only one I did not vote for was Name of the Doctor. The build up was beautiful, but the resolution was an anti-climax - you knew where it was headed from the moment he opened his tomb. As a season finale, it was blah, lacked that jaw-dropping OMG moment.

I've said it time and again - my biggest issue with Moffat's scripts is the extent of liberty (or wriggle room as he likes to call it) he takes in allowing what the Doctor can do to change things. RTD was a lot more rigid in his parameters and I believe that is the way because even the Doctor must obey the laws of the Universe or risk turning into the Time Lord Victorious again. When Moffat wrote for RTD, I felt he was held to those parameters and that's when his brilliance and genius really showed. But left to his own, it got a little too wobbly wobbly for me. I still think he is brilliant, just would prefer to see more discipline and less liberties in his scripts.

lukashcartoon
lukashcartoon

When Name of the Doctor "won" it's slot, that should not give the writer a license to complain on why it shouldn't have earned the title.

Perhaps it would be better serve by accenting why it is so successful.

RoryWilliamsPond
RoryWilliamsPond

Interesting that Series 6 has both the top number of dream and nightmare runs. Still my favourite series because of those amazing moments, and Amy and Rory's characterisation and relationship during the series. Also disappointed Parting Of The Ways didn't nip Name of the Doctor in the butt.

MrThorfan64
MrThorfan64

Good. The most overrated DW story, that ended S4, isn't there.

Meh Meh Meh Meh Meh
Meh Meh Meh Meh Meh

I don't understand the Moffat haters.

When I first started watching Doctor Who on Netflix, I would rarely pay attention to the title theme. However, whenever I saw "written by Steven Moffat," I immediately got excited because I loved his scripts the most. He was the first name in Doctor Who I knew, and I still think he is the best current writer.

Personally, I find most (except the brilliant "Midnight") of RTD's scripts to be extremely "meh." The only character of his that I liked was Donna.

To each their own, I suppose.

NMW2412
NMW2412

Would be great if you could post all the results of the polls just in a list so we can see what episodes came where if you get what I mean

RickXeros
RickXeros

Ugh, The waters of mars... My most hated special, but what can you do right?

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

Brilliant. I love all of these episodes.


A series entirely of that kind of quality would truly be a "dream run".

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

Are you serious? The Name of the Doctor is one of the worst finales ever. Honestly people gush over Moffat too much, when it's not that great. Honestly I'm half considering whether I like the nightmare run more...

Nosliw Rennoc
Nosliw Rennoc

I hate Turn Left, it's not even worthy of the name epsiode

DavrosLives
DavrosLives

1. Smith and Jones

2. The End of the World

3. Gridlock

4. The Doctor's Wife

5. Flesh and Stone

6. Dalek

7. Amy's Choice

8. Father's Day

9. The Satan Pit

10. Midnight

11. The God Complex / The Crimson Horror (couldn't decide SOZ)

12. Army of Ghosts

13. Doomsday

RTD: The Waters of Mars

Moff: A Christmas Carol

no_tweeter
no_tweeter

@WiblyWoblyTimyWimyMOFFAT  Actually I couldn't imagine what else could possibly win it, it was a fan favourite, and satisfying resolution to an arc and led into the 50th. Couldn't see it not winning, and I do love it. That said I *think* I voted for the Big Bang, I was torn between the two.

JamesStroud
JamesStroud

@JJ2000 You have my eternal love, as you understand the greatness of Boom Town. And The Parting of the Ways too! Fantastic

mlawesome
mlawesome

I like UR episodes except for 13, I like name and bang better

Romanadvoratrelundar
Romanadvoratrelundar

@MrRazza That's not what the poll is about, it's just saying that this is the very best selection of new-Who. It doesn't mean that you should sit down and watch them all in this order because it's the "dream run" 

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@chinnysandshoes  I agree. Though I'd be more harsh, I don't think he is brilliant any more. There are very few episodes in his era, that I think could have a chance of making it to this list (had it been all my choice).

Though out of all of the new episodes, his tend to be mildly better. I did like 'The Big Bang'. And the Silence are a very well created creature; particularly in 'The Impossible Astronaut', and 'Day of the Moon'. I also like the whole Clara relationship and emotional aspect in 'The Snowmen', but as a story, it lacked.

Overall however, I don't like what Doctor Who has become, as the creatures are constantly being re-used and their rules are being changed (like what you said); the weeping angels for example have effectively been ruined due to the changes from their once scary and simple design (design in terms of rules and regulations of the alien, not physical - although having the statue of liberty as a weeping angel is so silly).

Also on a side note, Doctor Who is become far more fan based, in that Steven Moffat tries to include as many references, to other episodes and for the fandom, as possible. Which the general fandom do of course love, but I personally don't, as too many easter eggs causes things to lose believability.



JamesStroud
JamesStroud

@lukashcartoon But why did it win it's slot? As the writer highlights, there were big faults that loomed over the episode, and if you look at the comments for the polls, people were complaining about smaller problems in other finales that made them "bad" endings to their series. Personally, this was my LEAST favourite finale, so I, like the writer, am very disappointed at it's appearance here

Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

Agreed. I loved Moffat right from the start! People didn't start disliking him until he came the show runner, I think. The real reason, whatever people may say about his "plotholes" and "sexism,"is simply that when he took over from RTD it completely changed the show and I think a lot of people were turned away by that. I mean, it was still Doctor Who, but the whole style changed into something very different than RTD's Doctor Who when Moffat took over. That's the main reason I think people hate him, anyway. Personally I think he's a brilliant writer, although he does have his cruel troll moments and it is pretty fun to blame him for everything :) I have no preference RTD to Moffat. It's basically the same show and in actuality neither era has more issues than the other, people just like to look for reasons to complain. I'm guilty of it myself sometimes. Oh well, haters gonna hate.


IamTheDoctorBasicallyRun
IamTheDoctorBasicallyRun

Oh sorry... People didn't choose the episodes you like. Maybe you should punish them. How they dare...

Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

Actually I'd say he gets just about as much hate as he does gushing. The fan base is basically divided into factions. Those who prefer RTD, those who prefer Moffat, those who prefer classic Doctor Who and swear all the new stuff is crap, and then....the Divergents. Those who are impartial and love all things Doctor Who. XD


Leggy
Leggy

@Nosliw Rennoc  Left Turn has the best ever Doctor Who performance in it - and it's not the Doctor, it's Catherine Tate's 'Donna'. The best companion ever too! And while I'm at it -series 4 was the best new Who has been. There, little rant over. Happy Easter. 

JamesStroud
JamesStroud

@no_tweeter @WiblyWoblyTimyWimyMOFFAT It's the only episode of Doctor who that I actively dislike, so I was very surprised to see it there! I presume that it was a close contest between all the finales, as most people have their favourite and stick to it, but we shall have to wait and see when they release the full results

NewWho2012
NewWho2012

@Seaborn W Deadman I'm not a complete Moffat fan myself but I can't deny that his scripts are good and some very good. The one thing I always hated about this was once Moffat had taken over and The Eleventh Hour had aired etc, everyone was loving Moffat, the new Doctor is so brilliant with no mention to the previous 4 years of Doctor Who we had witnessed. That's what I hated once he took over, considering I'm not a huge adapter to change straight away because everything changed so abruptly and at once I just didn't like it, although my passion was too strong to stop me watching. Once we were two series in it was better for me. I'll always love and remember the RTD era because it introduced me to the show and made me rush home from anywhere, wherever I was to watch it. Didn't do that as much with Moffat, but the feeling was still there. But seeing as there aren't many people on here that like RTD very much, it just always seems slightly unfair, but I don't mind now, I know Moffat is doing a good job and I respect that, but not seeing much praise for RTD does sadden me a little.

DW_girl
DW_girl

@Seaborn W Deadman I'm a divergent! I don't think there's one episode of Doctor Who I hate or greatly dislike. I love about 90% of them, really like about 7.5 % and think 2.5 % are okay. Moffat and RTD are better in respect to different things. I think RTD is better at character development, consistency and story arcs; whilst Moffat is better at keeping the show diverse, being more imaginative with his storytelling and introducing lots of different themes.

ajl117
ajl117

@Seaborn W Deadman The difference is that the haters are a lot more vocal then the fans. The fans are fine with it and therefore have nothing much to say, but you hear every little thing they didn't like from the haters. As shown here however, Moffatt dominates the dream run and the actual silent majority has proven their point. :)

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

@Seaborn W Deadman What about people who love Classic Who and Moffat Who but are only apathetic towards RTD Who?

(Hint: That's me.)