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Top Post-Regeneration Stories (5-1)

Guest contributors Yossi Pinkus and Isaac Bowen conclude their countdown for the top 11 post-regeneration stories so far.

5. The Christmas Invasion

tennant-doctor-rose-christmas-invasionChristopher Eccleston’s single season was rather an odd occurrence, but a regeneration so soon in the show’s revival, and its success, shows off the strength of the programme. Amusing now to recall that after fans fell in love with the Ninth Doctor, people were sceptical about the Tenth.

Even though Tennant’s new Doctor is unconscious for much of this episode, we get a great look at how time has ticked by in Rose’s absence from the Powell Estate. Christmas time is not so cheery, as the vicious attacks from pilot fish and killer trees are enough to show that the show’s sinister tone should never be put on hold, and even at times of celebration no one is safe. The Sycorax likewise are cruel and callous in their negotiations with humanity, not hesitating to render people into scorched skeletal remains.

Naturally, after he awakes, it takes mere minutes for David Tennant’s charisma to kick in, and suddenly we all know and love the Doctor again. He’s a good man, but not the sort to mess about when there are threats made against the ones he loves. We see principal in him, genuine strength and integrity. There’s little to criticise here. The Christmas special idea simply doesn’t water anything down, this is straight-up true Who.

4. The Eleventh Hour

Doctor-Who-The-Eleventh-Hour (15)The Eleventh Hour was one of the most anticipated episodes of Doctor Who to date, with the question on everyone’s minds being “how is Matt Smith going to top David Tennant’s performance?” To help us with this transition, we had an episode that was all about change.

We had a new Doctor, a new companion, a new TARDIS, a new theme, a new title sequence, a new head writer and an entirely new production crew all coming together in this one hour long episode, and boy does it pay off.

For once we have a post regeneration episode where the Doctor does not spend any time in a coma, a deep trance, or in a state where he wants to murder his companion. Instead we have a new Doctor bursting with energy and youth that Matt Smith carries all throughout his time as the enigmatic Time Lord. With 20 minutes to save the world, no sonic screwdriver to save the day, not to mention Moffat placing in starting points to story arcs that would not be resolved until three years later, this really is classic Who at some of its best.

3. Castrovalva

doctor-who-CastrovalvaServing as both a finale of the trilogy surrounding the Master’s resurrection and rise to power over the Universe and the introductory episode of Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor, Castrovalva works excellently in bringing original ideas forth for a bold new era of Doctor Who.

Expanding upon the harder science-fiction that was shown in the previous season, it gives us further insight concerning the TARDIS, giving us the Zero Room and the dangers of mass jettisoning. But also it shows a new spin of the regenerative process, really emphasising the vulnerability the Doctor displays in his new self as we see this young looking man being wheeled around as if he were made of glass. The concept of The Master creating the world of Castrovalva via a ‘hadron web’ powered by a freshly kidnapped Adric, is like nothing ever written in the series before. Even the design of the city could only be described as something out of an M.C. Escher nightmare.

The conclusion leaves room for the Master’s future return, stranded in his own space-time trap with the furious Castrovalvans, and the new Doctor is doing absolutely splendidly, even if a world of difference away from his predecessor – didn’t it just break your heart when he unravelled Baker’s scarf?- The three seasons to follow could not have started better.

2. Rose

rose-tyler-billie-piper-2005It’s March 2005 and the impossible has happened: the Doctor has returned to our screens in the form of an all new Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. Emerging newly regenerated and battle scarred after the events of the Time War, we are presented with very dark doctor, who remains dark throughout his lone season on screen.

Rose contains has your run-of-the-mill classic alien invasion, while also introducing the domestic side of Rose Tyler’s life and re-introducing the mystery of who this strange man in a leather jacket really is.

This post-regeneration story is a fantastic Doctor Who romp that can be watched over and over again. It has enough elements to appease the parents and grandparents who grew up on classic episodes, while also introducing a whole new generation of fans to the show. As Steven Moffat has said, if you watch Survival and Rose back to back, it really is the same show.

1. Spearhead from Space

spearhead-from-space-doctor-who

Spearhead from Space offers as much a sense of renewal and refreshment as other beginnings of new eras for Who, and as such one can draw several parallels between this and The Eleventh Hour. Both feature brand new Doctors and companions with a familiar enough Earth-bound setting.

We also have the introduction of the Autons, these plastic horrors becoming fan-favourites overnight, not to mention the fact that we learn more about the Doctor’s unique physiology (his binary vascular system). The format of the Doctor working alongside UNIT as tested in The Invasion works perfectly, as does the higher-budget, more violent and gritty direction for the programme. Despite the Doctor spending much of this story unconscious, there’s enough action to keep the viewers enthralled by the exciting plot, well reflected by the new Doctor’s more Bond-esque approach (in flamboyant charm and gadgetry) to those who oppose him.

Spearhead from Space truly is a remarkable display of all of Doctor Who’s elements we know and love forming a well-paced and enchanting gem that will remain well respected for decades to come. It doesn’t feel dated by any means; it stands up well to the test of time, as every good Doctor Who episode should. This story is not only the best post regeneration tale to date, but is one of the best of Doctor Who full stop.

Step back in time...

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81 comments
bringmeknitting
bringmeknitting

Sorry, but lost interest as soon as I saw Rose rated higher than The Eleventh Hour. You have got to be kidding.

sharlowidalot
sharlowidalot

I don't comment very often, but whatever. I present: my list


 1. Deep Breath

 2. Spearhead from Space

 3. Rose 

 4. Castrovalva

 5. Robot

 6. Movie 

 7. Time and the Rani

 8. An Unearthly Child

 9. The Power of the Daleks

 10. The Christmas Invasion

 11. The Eleventh Hour

 12. The Twin Dilemma


My list is more greatly influenced by how much I was entertained than the actual quality of each story. Frankly, with The Christmas Invasion and below (on the list) I was quite bored.

The Finn
The Finn

I'd like to see the Zero room make another appearance.

no_tweeter
no_tweeter

Well that's a list I struggle to get behind. 1, 2 and 3 are very low on my list of episodes in general.

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

1. The Eleventh Hour

2. The Movie

3. Rose

4. The Christmas Invasion

5. Spearhead from Space

6. Robot

7. An Unearthly Child

8. The Power of the Daleks

9. Castrovalva

10. Time and the Rani

11. The Twin Dilemma

felixvitae3
felixvitae3

What happened to all the regenerative energy River Song gave to the doctor as she gave him all her energy to save him but he should have a few regenerative abilities left in his tank?

DoctorMisterio
DoctorMisterio



My list

10.-Time and the Rani


9.-The Twin Dilemma

8.-TV Movie

7.-The Christmas Invasion 

6.-Castrovalva 

5.-Spearhead from Space

4.-Robot 

3.-Deep Breath

2.-The Eleventh Hour

1.-Power of the Daleks 

I can't include "Rose" and "An Unearthly Child" as I don't consider them postregeneration stories.







bluBob
bluBob

Hmmmmmmmm... Let's see here...

(I'm going off the list they have set up...)


12 - Robot

11 - Time and the Rani

10 - The Twin Dilemma

9 - The Movie

8 - The Christmas Invasion

7 - Castrovalva

6 - Rose

5 - Spearhead from Space

4 - Deep Breath

3 - Power of the Daleks

2 - An Unearthly Child

1 - The Eleventh Hour


Just an FYI, there is no episode here that I don't like. Yes, I even like Time and the Rani... well... I was extremely entertained at the very least.

WhoLocked
WhoLocked

Just my humble opinion but I don't think Rose is a regen story - and in any case how can it be rated higher than 11th hour and so high up in the chart. Not one of my favs, but hey if we all liked everything exactly the same, we wouldn't be here would we :)

Benvenfold
Benvenfold

Funny how much love has been given to The Eleventh Hour and yet barely anyone has listed it as their number 1 Post-regeneration story.. With a lot of people even ranking Rose and The Christmas Invasion higher..

MrRazza, Investigating Missy and Mr Pink
MrRazza, Investigating Missy and Mr Pink

I can only rank the ones I've seen so far - instead thinking of them as a Doctor's "first" story rather than "post-regeneration":

1 - An Unearthly Child - 9/10 - This ranking only considers the very first episode of it, as while I do enjoy the rest of the serial it does lower the overall score a little. Atmospheric, intriguing and a perfect introduction to DW to a new audience in the form of... well, everyone at the time!

2 - The Christmas Invasion - 9/10 - Tennant dominates this episode despite lying in bed for most of it, a good balance of plot and introduction to the new Doctor weaved together makes a fine episode.

3 - Spearhead from Space - 8.5/10 - Ah, Mr Pertwee, how I love your Doctor. A fine storyline, spoiled a little by a bit of dodgy pacing at times.

4 - Rose - 8/10 - Exactly how this episode manages to establish everything in just 45 minutes is beyond me, but boy does it manage it. Not a spectacular plot, but then one isn't needed.

5 - The Eleventh Hour - 7/10 - A strong blend of RTD and Moffat tones with a brilliant start. However, I feel it slows a little in the middle and that the rooftop scene is a little overrated.

6 - Doctor Who - 6/10 - I would have to review a film here, but my opinion has been presented by many other people many times in the past on this site. McGann is fantastic, the rest is less so. 


The One Eyestalk
The One Eyestalk

Great list! I'll make my own list after Deep Breath later tonight.

Mikeyboss182
Mikeyboss182

Ok hear's my list although I don't count An Unearthly Child and Rose as post-regeneration stories and can't rank The Power of the Daleks.

8. The Twin Dilemma

7. Time and the Rani

6. Castrovalva

5. The TV Movie

4. Robot

3. Spearhead from Space

2. The Christmas Invasion

1. The Eleventh Hour


Doctor What and Where
Doctor What and Where

How sure are we that ROSE is a post-regeneration story? I mean, sure, it IS, because thats when we first see the Ninth. However, is that really his first post-regeneration story/adventure? I doubt it.


Anyway, Castrovalva should be nowhere near the top five. IMO.

treker68
treker68

Jon finally is number 1. Brilliant

YaelMoise
YaelMoise

1: Spearhead from Space (on the basis that I can't stop rewatching it) 

2: The Eleventh Hour (I really do think it's the best of the new ones)

3: The Christmas Invasion (Three words: The Lion King. Also, of the three new ones, it makes the most of use of past character dealing with the "new" Doctor. Let's face it, there's nothing quite as enjoyable about a post-regeneration story as people reacting to him being the same person but looking nothing alike or being nothing like he was).

4: The TV Movie (Half Human... Half HUMAN. Bah. I'm genuinely not as against this movie as some people are. Not even against the Master in it. Having read The Eight Doctors, I'm actually quite fond it... but, really? HALF HUMAN??? *exhales* Despite the above mentioned problem, I really do find that when viewed after reading The Eight Doctors - a book written with a dislike for the movie in mind - it really is pretty good)

5: Rose (Plastic Mickey was not as good as I would have liked, but all in all, it was an excellent introduction into the "new" Doctor)






6: Power of the Daleks (It's difficult to rate something you haven't seen, isn't it. The story, however, does sound good. The sheer innovation of it does merit a lot, I feel. And, like I said, there's nothing I love more than characters dealing with the change, which this episode seems to do in an emphasized manner. Hence the high rating). 

7: Castrovalva (Peter Davison shines in this. Vulnerable and confused, but still sharp enough to see through the trap he's landed in. The prosthetics on the Master actually had me fooled for a bit - Not sure if I should be embarrassed or whether the BBC should be proud - and all in all, it was genuinely not bad.)



8: An Unearthly Child (The episode is very good... but the parts that come after it leave something to be desired)


9: Time and the Rani  (Despite the MANY flaws in this episode, there's also much to recommend it. McCoy really does make a very interesting Doctor, and you can see it right away in this, his first story. He, admittedly, changes a lot during his run, but he is still interesting in Time and the Rani. It's genuinely difficult to take your eyes off of him in any scene he's in. My fondness for the Rani also makes this for a slight compensation for the multitude of issue. All in all, the decision between this one and 10: relied entirely on percentages - Which was bad when and which was good when and for how long in either case.

10: Robot (Written with Pertwee in mind, this episode lacked much of the charm of the later Baker stories. Just as the article writers said, the King Kong thing wasn't really right here, and to be honest... the only genuine gems in this story are all in the first part, with the Doctor's skip-rope session, and the costume changes).

11: Twin Dilemma (The story that drove me away for several decades.) 

Thank you, Yossi and Isaac! An excellent article, and a good excuse to think about things for myself :)




mrpaddy1984
mrpaddy1984

I suspect this top 5 will need revising tonight... enjoy the show folks!

ilyootha
ilyootha

Pleased to see Spearhead from Space taking up the top position, but personally I don't consider Rose a post-regeneration story. I don't believe that Nine went straight to Rose after The Day of the Doctor, especially since the War Doctor was 800 while Nine and Ten were already 900. I like the idea that he traveled for 100 years alone, getting used to being the Doctor again and trying to help whereever possible (saved some people from Titanic, considered preventing JFK assassination, etc.) in order to make up for the horrors of the Time War. I don't buy the scene of Nine looking in a mirror as a proof of his recent regeneration - he could be just casually commenting on his appearance, or perhaps he looked in a mirror for the first time in 100 years (there is an idea that he couldn't bear looking at his own face after the had gone through Time War), or was simply referring to a new haircut that was making his ears even more noticeable!

Gustaff
Gustaff

I kept wishing spearhead would end when I first saw it. It felt like I was so slow it pained me. Eleventh hour all the way. Rose is a series opener, not really a post-regen. Enjoy Deep Breath everyone

bluBob
bluBob

@Benvenfold I'll tell you what, I'll rate it at number 1.... Mostly, because it's my favorite, but partially for you as well.

The One Eyestalk
The One Eyestalk

Okay, here it is now: 

12. The Twin Dilemma (1/10)

11. Time and the Rani (5/10)

10. Castrovalva (6/10)

09. An Unearthly Child (7/10)

08. Rose (7/10)

07. Robot (7/10)

06. Doctor Who (8/10)


05. The Power of the Daleks (8/10)

04. The Christmas Invasion (8/10)

03. Spearhead from Space (9/10)

02. Deep Breath (9/10)

01. The Eleventh Hour (10/10) 


Does "The Day of the Doctor" count as a post-regeneration story? It was technically the first story to feature the War Doctor following his regeneration.










stargazer0118
stargazer0118

@Doctor What and Where It really feels like 9 had been traveling alone for some time. I can see him feeling too confused, guilt ridden and needing some time alone.

oksandum
oksandum

Well it's certainly the first time nine sees his own face, remarking his ears.

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

@RoastNewt There should be an article or something about our guilty pleasures (episodes)... :D

floppy_who
floppy_who

Where there's a Will, there's a Tom, Dick and Harriet..!

YaelMoise
YaelMoise

My apologies for the atrocious grammar and typing errors in my post. It was written during a break from studying, and my brain just wasn't up for it.

microbat98
microbat98

My headcanon is that the Doctoor was lying on the half human thing to freak the guard out. And when the Master looked into the Doctor's eye in the TARDIS and said that he was half human, he was talking about Eight. Maybe the way he died caused him to be half human, in a way. So my headcanon is that he's the only half human Doctor, besides the Metacrisis.

Rani Nose
Rani Nose

How did you watch 'Spearhead'? All at once, or one episode a week as intended? The classic shows were produced with the understanding that each episode would be watched once with a week between viewing each. A certain level of redundancy and recapitulation was needed each week to remind the audience of what had already happened. That is far from how we now view TV shows. I'd bet that 'Spearhead' and many other classic era shows would seem more modern with some judicious editing to remove many of the repetitive scenes.

Clara Laurinda
Clara Laurinda

@oksandum I was just about to say that--it makes a point of commenting on his ears after catching his image in a mirror for apparently the first time. Course maybe he was busy until then?

Gustaff
Gustaff

Two episodes at a time and again a few days later. Ep 1 was hell.

Gustaff
Gustaff

I love castrovalva. But spearhead really feels like a 5hour movie. At least to me.

KingOfTheInterWebs has Kidneys
KingOfTheInterWebs has Kidneys

@Gustaff  Pacing in older TV shows and films tend to be slow (Not all but quite a lot) so going back and watching old pre-2005 Doctor Who episodes (Or a lot of things from around that era for that matter) is tricky as you need to have either grown up with it, get invested in the story enough or have the attention span. Or all three in some cases. The low budget the BBC gave Doctor Who back then doesn't help because some episodes, it's tricky to get invested in something that doesn't look realistic due to severe budget constraints combined with slightly older effects technology.

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

@Gustaff I like Classic Who for what it is, but if it wasn't for the main character I don't know, it's too slow and has way too much padding to my liking. I don't mind the low budget, but the pacing puts me to sleep. 

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

@KingOfTheInterWebs has Kidneys @Gustaff I can watch long movies like the classic Ben-Hur or newer stuff like Braveheart and The Shawshank Redemption because they are well-paced, engaging and enthralling througout. That's not the case with lots of classic Who, IMO.



microbat98
microbat98

Yeah, pacing could be bad, but I think one hour and a half is the perfect length for Who when done right. New Who's stories are often too short.

Oddly enough, I'm in the minority that thinks The War Games and Miracle Day are extremely well paced.

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

@microbat98 Some of the stories (Classic Who) are genuinely good/brilliant, but the slow pacing let them down a bit. Conversely, some New Who stories REALLY needed more room to breathe.. cough series 7 cough..

floppy_who
floppy_who

Classic series pacing is fine (mostly) if you grew up with it. True, some stories drag more than others, but occasionally you get anomalies such as Inferno which should be a nightmare at 7 episodes, but trots along quite nicely....

Exxilon5
Exxilon5

@stargazer0118 @floppy_who To me, Earthshock is the perfect example of Classic Who. In fact, it was the story that got me into the show. Without thinking, the only other story where the pacing is as good is "Remembrance of the Daleks".