My Top Doctors - 2010 Edition

Before I sit down to watch this year's Doctor Who Christmas special, I thought it'd be nice, for tracking purposes, to list my Top 11 Doctors in order. I want to see where these same Doctors will rank in a year from now after not only a new 11th Doctor series, but also my regular ingestion of classic Who DVDs, audios and novels. Now, I don't have a list from this time last year, but I have a sense of which Doctors rose and which fell, so I'll attempt an analysis at the end.

1. Sylvester McCoy (7th)
2. Matt Smith (11th)
3. William Hartnell (1st)
4. Peter Davison (5th)
5. Colin Baker (6th)
6. Christopher Eccleston (9th)
7. Patrick Troughton (2nd)
8. Jon Pertwee (3rd)
9. David Tennant (10th)
10. Tom Baker (4th)
11. Paul McGann (8th)

Analysis: In the past few years, the 7th Doctor has never really gone down below second place in my mind, and he still sits atop the list. While the current Doctor is always quite high on my list - because he's the exciting one still getting new tv stories - Matt Smith blew everyone out of the water in his first series. He'd do well regardless. I love his alien awkwardness. Hartnell has risen steadily throughout the year thanks to the release of quite a few of his stories on DVD. Davison and Colin Baker do rather better than they should thanks to their Big Finish audios, which are way better than their television episodes. There's also some good will attached to the actors' commentaries on the DVDs. Like it or not, they influence me. The biggest surprise, I'm sure, is how low the more popular Doctors have dropped. This, my friends, is due to overexposure. I haven't made secret the fact that, in retrospect, the RTD era has many things that bug me, which has dropped Tennant in 9th place and Eccleston in 6th. Tom Baker's ego continues to make his Doctor trend downward, but I expect Pertwee to spike in 2011. I'm warming up once again to his Doctor. (See how fickle Who fans can be?) It's traditional to put the 8th Doctor in last, but I've usually had him higher on account of his audios. However, the ones I've listened to of late (I'm up to the 2006 season) have been repetitive and lackluster, and I could say the same for McGann's performance in them.

Stay tuned for the 2011 edition in 12 short months! And for more Doctor Who material this week!

22 comments:

snell said...

Interesting that "things that bug you" about the RTD era have Tennant dropping like a stone, but the JNT era Doctors are all climbing. Not nitpicking or starting an argument, just noting. A JNT renaissance in the offing?

I've never listened to the Big Finish or very many of the commentaries (someday, someday), so my choices are influenced by only what I see on the telly. Suffice it to say I have Tennant substantially higher, and Hartnell substantially lower, than you...

Siskoid said...

Like tectonic plates, this ranking is continuously shifting. It might not be true by next month!

The JNT era remains rather terrible (until he lets go of the reins near the end, which becomes the Cartmel/NA era), but the ranking is about the Doctors (in discussions, I usually have a separate ranking for eras, which doesn't shift as much). The Big Finish audios do a great deal for the 80s Doctors, and completely redeems Colin Baker's, who on TV material alone drops down to #11 every single time.

There's also a game of expectations in play. Hartnell's stories are better than I expected, while I'm so used to Tennant's mannerisms (and lines), they became irritatingly unsurprising to me in the Year of Specials.

What is the old expression? Familiarity breeds contempt?

snell said...

"Hartnell's stories are better than I expected..."

Obviously, The Gunfighters hasn't been released on DVD yet...shudder

I am rather higher on the JNT era than you--at least the early portion of it--but I freely admit that just may be nostalgia goggles, as that's the era I first discovered DW...

Radagast said...

Re: Eight, are you taking his audios in strict order, or have you started at all on his BBC7 (Lucie Miller) stories?

Rest assured things should go a bit better for him once you do, I'm confident.

Siskoid said...

Strict order, but yes, I've heard good things about Lucy Miller.

kingbeauregard said...

Falling below the Colin Baker line is harsh. I understand your rationale, but it still stings. Dude!

Siskoid said...

No one EVER falls below the Colin Baker line when discussing the tv episodes ONLY.

LiamKav said...

I still think that Colin Baker written by Moffat (or, hell, RTD) would be pretty amazing.

The other interesting list I find is... in a life-threatening emergency which Doctor would you want to turn up to save the day?

(This can be expanded to how differennt Doctor's would cope in different stories. Would the 6th's impatientness have helped or hindered in A Christmas Carol. Or the 5th's compassion?)

Siskoid said...

Well, seeing as Rob Shearman and Gareth Roberts have written for both the new series AND Big Finish's 6th Doctor...

As for who I want to see in a crisis, doesn't the 11th Doctor have the best record for innocent bystander survival?

LiamKav said...

Moffat does have a history of having very few deaths in most of his stories. He did write the first "everyone lives" episode (sort of), after all.

Siskoid said...

Right. If we go with just Doc 11...

11th Hour: 1 death (the lady doctor)
Beast Below: 0 deaths
Victory of the Daleks: A few pilots
Time of Angels: A few soldiers
Vampires of Venice: A few young girls, but they had been turned into vamps by then. The father.
Amy's Choice: 0 deaths
Vincent: The invisible monster gets one or two, and Vincent's death is history.
Hungry Earth: 0 deaths
Lodger: 3-4 deaths
Pandorica/Big Bang: 0 deaths

Pretty clean. Only monsters truly get killed.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

Poor Troughton! 7th, and he doesn't even get an analysis? As the Doctor I'm currently viewing, I must protest on his behalf! :-) Still, an excellent list in my book. Very similar to what I imagine my rankings to be, had I seen more than the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 11th. :-) Tennant and Eccleston are odd ducks- beloved in their time, but strangely unsatisfying in the light of retrospect.

Snell: "With rings on their fingers, and bells on their toes, the girls come to Tombstone in their high silk hose..." :-)
Even so, "Come on, fellas, I already sung it FOUR times!" (which I made my ringtone) has to be up there on the list of best moments from a Hartnell serial, right alongside the Space Museum old-timey bicycle. :-)

Siskoid said...

Pat is definitely the victim of not enough DVDs (understandably, since he's the most wiped of the Doctors). Give me an Ice Warriors with the missing parts animated though, and he'll shoot right up.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

Interesting you should use that example, though- as I thought the official Ice Warriors reconstruction (while still more of a slog than watching a moving picture) was one of the best of the bunch- and two episodes in 15 minutes isn't too long to have to sit through a slideshow, after all... ;-)

Siskoid said...

2|entertain has not been using the reconstructions (which are fan made). I wish they would, because I'd certainly buy the stories that way on DVD.

I chose the example, because it's the Troughton story I'd most like to see right now.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

Really? From the look of that one, I'd say it was beyond fan means. Maybe just a very professional one. Having over-viewed all of lost episodes save for Wheel In Space (next on the list) as various fan recreations, I must say that the Ice Warriors wasn't up to much, sadly- if there's a lost Troughton that needs finding, I'd say Faceless Ones would be the ticket- even as stills and audio, it's fantastic. Enemy of the World is a close second.

Siskoid said...

I was going for reasonable, so a story that is mostly intact (2 missing eps).

But yeah, if we're talking archaeological find, it would be Enemy of the World. Or I guess the holy grail of Who, Fury from the Deep.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

Fury's our most recent view- it was decent, I suppose, but I'd still rate Faceless Ones and Enemy far higher. And remember, when it comes to Lost Who- since you're dreaming an impossible dream already, may as well dream big! ;-)

LiamKav said...

*Posted two years later*

!

!!

How did...

But...

How...

(You want to make a comment for this year's edition where you say you're holding out for "Power of the Daleks"? Because that's the one I most want.)

Siskoid said...

I didn't mean to be prophetic. After all, the second story I called out was Fury from the Deep, though I'm quite happy we got The Web of Fear instead. Fury is likely overrated, and we already have an intact story about a foam machine.

LiamKav said...

You didn't make any other comments about wishing that there was more McGann material, did you?

Siskoid said...

Many times.

Eerie!

 

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