5 Must-See Doctor Who Episodes

The madman with a box has stolen the hearts of people worldwide.  Doctor Who, now nearing it’s 50th anniversary, has grown from being a cult British sci-fi show, to being a global fandom phenomenon.

So, how, exactly, does a new fan get started on their own adventures in the TARDIS?  What episodes should a new fan watch first?

Here, a ranking of the five must-see episodes for any new Whovian!

5 Must-See Doctor Who Episodes

5.  Blink

Of course, this countdown is not complete without the most famous episode of the relaunched (2005-present) Doctor Who.  Blink gives us our first look at the Weeping Angels, one of the most terrifying, memorable monsters in the show’s history.  While the Doctor is not featured very prominently in this episode, it is still a fan favorite (and, actually, it has been many a fan’s first episode.)

So why should a new Whovian see it?

“Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.”  Need more be said?  Blink is, without a doubt, one of the most quoted episodes.  It has been ingrained into the show’s folklore, becoming one of the most recognized and referenced episodes, and, essentially, a must-watch for those new to the show.

This episode also features the adorable and talented Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow (who, sadly, has not made a second appearance on the show.)  She alone makes this one worth the watch.

4.  Army Of Ghosts/Doomsday (two-part story)

Rose Tyler was the first companion of the relaunch era, and is, inarguably, one of the most beloved.  Doomsday marks the character’s (unwilling) departure, marking one of the most pivotal moments in the series.  Also, this two-episode story pits two of the Doctor’s most famous foes against each other — the Daleks and the Cybermen.

So why should a new Whovian see it?

This is definitely one of the most emotional stories of the relaunch era.  Among the most memorable moments is the goodbye between Rose and Ten at Bad Wolf Bay, a scene that has moved many a Whovian to tears.  David Tennant and Billie Piper deliver, their performances in this episode are brilliant (yes, pun intended, fellow Ten fanatics.)  Just keep the box of Kleenex nearby.

Also, watch for the verbal battle of wits between the Daleks and Cybermen, another must-see moment.

3.  Turn Left

Turn Left is the “Butterfly Effect” episode, exploring the concept of a small decision’s ability to drastically alter one’s life.  A Time Beetle attaches itself to Donna, reversing her decision of where to turn at an intersection one morning, causing her, thus, to never meet the Doctor.  Chaos ensues as Donna’s life — and the entire world — spiral out of control, with no Doctor to help.

So why should a new Whovian see it?

This episode really showcases Donna Noble — and it’s a wonderful episode.  Catherine Tate steps up to the plate and brings her A-Game to this one, and Donna really shines as a character.  It’s also worth it to see how Doctor Who handles the somewhat-cliche “Butterfly Effect” plot.

Another thing that is often overlooked about this episode, is the fact that it sheds some light on the importance of the companions, as it shows what would become of the Doctor if he traveled alone (spoiler — it’s not good!)

2.  Silence In The Library

An immense library containing every book ever written, a little girl with a huge imagination — and a thrilling episode that will leave anyone who watches it counting shadows for a long while.  This is what Silence In The Library offers us.   This episode also marks the first appearance of River Song,  a character that will be of extreme importance later on (though, if you ask why or how that happens, well… spoilers!)

So why should a new Whovian see it?

River Song.  There really is no bigger reason to watch this episode.  Fated to become the Doctor’s “equal”, River is one of the most mysterious characters in recent Who history.  Love her or hate her (the fandom seems to be very polar about her), this is a crucial River episode.

1.  Vincent And The Doctor

While most episodes of the show go for more towards the sci-fi route, Vincent And The Doctor is one of those rare treat episodes, where, instead, the focus is on a “real life” historic person or event.  In this episode, the Doctor, along with Amy Pond, visit famous painter Vincent van Gohg.  This episode explores the meaning of art, the impact of it, and a process that many an artist will be familiar with — dealing with pain and suffering through their craft.

So why should a new Whovian see it?

Simply put, this is one of the most beautiful episodes of the relaunch era.  Even for those who are not fans of van Gohg (or not even art appreciators in general), this episode is a must-see.  It showcases the emotional depth Doctor Who is capable of, not to mention this one gorgeous special effects sequence with The Starry Night.

Of course, the humble opinion of every Whovian is that all the episodes are worth watching.  But, for those wanting to get a small taste before deciding if a marathon is worth their time, these five stories should serve as a good starting point.  So, if you are looking to hook a new friend on Doctor Who, or you are curious about it and wondering where to start, these are definitely five to watch.


Andie is the resident Doctor Who expert (read; “obsessed fan”) of The Nerd Nexus.  Other notable fandoms of hers include Resident Evil and Harry Potter — expect plenty of blogging about all three from her.  You can also catch her on Twitter (@OhHiAndie).

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