Top 10 Favorite Doctor Who Season Premieres

'Doctor Who' has just begun its 35th season so naturally with that many seasons - there are a lot of premieres. 35 to be exact. With that many premieres I think it is fair to put together a list of the top 10 best ones. Now surprisingly even though there are a lot of them - there are still a surprising amount that are not very good. Really there has only been one showrunner that really upped the game for how good a series opener can be... and he is currently in charge right now.

I really do not have a lot of rules for this top 10. The only stories I count are just the first story of the season - so no 'The Bells of Saint John' does not count. I am also judging the stories on how well they work on their own and also how they work as a season premiere. Before I actually get into the top 10 I will also adress some of the stories that are not on the list. 'An Unearthly Child' has a BRILLIANT first part, definitely one that could make the list. The problem however is that I do not only count the first part of a story and the other three are not very good and drag the overall quality down spectacularly. I was also really struggling whether or not to put 'Horror of Fang Rock' or 'Smith and Jones' in the tenth spot but the reason why I ultimately went for 'Smith and Jones' is because I feel that as a whole works better as a season premiere. Though I have nothing against 'Horror of Fang Rock' as it is a great story.

10. Smith and Jones
I actually re-watched this very recently after I saw that Judoon cameo in 'The Magician's Apprentice' and I am glad that I did because it reminded me of just how good this story is. In my humble opinion Russell T Davies did not exactly have the best openers in his era (ALTHOUGH there is only one of them that I flat out do not like which happens to be 'New Earth') but 'Smith and Jones' is fantastic and stands out heads and shoulders above the others. In terms of plot it is relatively simple but quite outlandish. The introduction of Martha Jones was very well handled and it looked like she would become quite an excellent companion. Now while that did not end up happening as the series went on, she is really great in this story. Really the main flaw of the whole episode is every mention of Rose - and specifically near the end when the Doctor flat out tells Martha that she is not replacing her (way to hit home the "change" part in 'Doctor Who' there, Russell). Nevertheless, this is a great story and a fantastic opener for a fantastic season.

9. The Tomb of the Cybermen
Still one of the very best Cybermen stories ever made, this is a Patrick Troughton classic base-under-siege story with possibly the creepiest Cybermen the show has ever had (it is impossible to watch it and not remember their voices long afterwards). The story DOES have its fair share of problems but the positives are still SO utterly positive that it easily deserves its place in the 'Doctor Who' legacy. The pacing is fantastic, the characters are memorable and Patrick Troughton has possibly his greatest moment in his entire tenure as the Doctor. I really like how the Cybermen are not trying to take over the world or something to that extent, they are simply just waiting for humans to come by and release so they can convert them and repopulate their forces. These are the kinds of stories I want to see more of with both the Cybermen and the Daleks, they do not NEED to take over the world in every story they are in.

8. The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
This story holds a special place in my Whovian heart naturally as 'The Impossible Astronaut' was the first episode of the show that I saw when it first came out (I did not become a fan until February of 2011) but this is still a great story in its own right. This is part of what I consider to be the golden streak of Steven Moffat as a writer as he had written 5 episodes in a row and they were all amazing (from 'The Pandorica Opens' to 'Day of the Moon'). A feat he has yet to reach again - but really it is only possible with a 2-part finale, a christmas special and then a 2-part opener. Being the first time 'Doctor Who' was shooting in the USA, they REALLY make sure that they do not waste it as every single shot looks gorgeous and the script definitely lives up to the location with one of the smartest resolutions to a story I have seen in the new series. Also let us not forget that this officially introduced the wonderful new villains the Silence who were definitely at their best here. Simply put, this story kicks ass and is one of the most re-watchable on this entire list.

7. Deep Breath
Following my review of the episode, I really do not have a whole lot more to say about it so I will really just sum up what I said in the article. While it is a tad too long - the filler is still really entertaining and the actual plot of the episode is very inspired and adds so much to the Doctor's character and what he goes through after a regeneration more than any other episode. In many ways it is a character piece but it still has the epic scale you would expect from the modern series. The half face man villain is amazing and one of the most memorable villains a season premiere of 'Doctor Who' has had. The three real stars though are Peter Capaldi, writer Steven Moffat and the director Ben Wheatley as they all shine here and that especially comes through in the scene when The Doctor is talking to the Half Face man in the "restaurant". Wonderful story that kicked off Series 8 in tremendous fashion.

6. Terror of the Zygons
Possibly the best original villain for a 'Doctor Who' season premiere (although they do have a very strong contender with the autons in 'Spearhead from Space'). This Tom Baker classic is the best premiere of the Hinchcliffe era - which is still the best era the show has ever had. The Zygons look genuinely good which was rather uncommon in classic 'Doctor Who'. While Philip Hinchcliffe is definitely the best showrunner the show as ever had, this is really the only opener in his era that I liked enough to put on the list. In fact, I love it. Yes it slowly gets weaker and weaker as it went on but it never lost its touch as a fascinatingly written story that is surprisingly re-watchable and of course - really entertaining.

5. The Three Doctors
In terms of scripts, this is quite possibly the best anniversary story the show has ever had. My personal favorite is still 'The Five Doctors' due to the amount of actors they got to return and for how well that story actually celebrates the show. 'The Three Doctors' however is just a GOOD story that is very well written. While it is obviously a damn shame that William Hartnell was practically on his death bed so he could not appear a whole lot in the story - it is still really cool to see him featured in it as they could have easily just dropped him entirely. The third Doctor and the second have possibly the best interactions with each other than any of the other Doctors so to have an entire four part story with mostly just those two interacting - nothing can possibly go wrong.

4. Spearhead from Space
Certainly the best looking story of the classic series as it was actually shot on film. Jon Pertwee's first story is known for being the first masterpiece of Robert Holmes' long line of producing quality stories for the show (he is the best writer 'Doctor Who' has ever had for a reason) and it is also known for being one of the BEST introductory episodes for a new Doctor. The autons are a wonderful creation that works just as well as a threat then as it does now (probably even more now as we saw in 'Rose') and they serve as such a wonderful introduction to the earth based show 'Doctor Who' was about to become at this point.

3. Remembrance of the Daleks
The ultimate earth-based Dalek story. This is not only the best Dalek story of 80's 'Doctor Who', it is also the best Sylvester McCoy story overall. With the introduction of the Special Weapons Dalek, a Dalek finally conquering stairs and a surprising appearance from Davros. This story is filled with surprises and memorable moments. Ace hitting a Dalek with a baseball bat remains one of her best moments in the show and setting the episode in the same space and time as the very first episode 'An Unearthly Child' allowed for a lot of nods - in fact, maybe a bit too many. Of course while it is a shame "I.M Foreman" is misspelt in the episode, the novelty was great. Sylvester McCoy is on top form here and just owns the role as he gets possibly his greatest moment as he talks to Davros in the final part.

2. The Eleventh Hour
I think it is impossible to imagine a "top 10 season openers" without this episode in it. Crashing the TARDIS into a shed in little Amelia Pond's backyard, the eleventh Doctor burst out with so much energy and Matt Smith grew into the role faster than any other actor had ever done up to that point. The whole plot is really well put together because it just oozes "introductory" and "pilot". If you watch the first couple of episodes in Series 1 and you feel "Hmm, this is not really for me" - then you can EASILY jump in and watch 'The Eleventh Hour' and you will feel right at home. It is THAT good. Giving us more backstory to a companion than we have ever gotten before and a newly regenerated Doctor having to save the world in 23 minutes without a screw driver or a TARDIS. This perfectly establishes that this IS The Doctor and the scene on the roof as he tells the villains to leave and never come back is without a doubt THE best scene in any season premiere the show has ever had (and there are QUITE a lot of seasons). 'The Eleventh Hour' rules.

1. The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar
Yes, the whole point of why this list was even made in the first place DID make it to number one but honestly, ever since 'The Magician's Apprentice' aired I have not been able to get it out of my mind - in fact I have not been able to stop re-watching it (I am probably on my seventh re-watch at the point of writing). My biggest worry was naturally whether or not 'The Witch's Familiar' would be able to match it and if you have read my review, you know it most certainly did. The interaction between the Doctor and Davros are some of the best scenes I have scene in the new series and it is also intercut with some really wonderful moments with Missy and Clara too. I love how well these episodes work together because if you watch them back to back, it really feels like a movie with a first act, second act and finally a third - and unlike some other 2-parters in the new series, the second part IS superior to the first and the final scene sets off the rest of Series 9 with quite a difficult uphill battle because surely it cannot have peaked the series in the SECOND episode?


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