A Twelfth Chance to Make a First Impression

So we’re off into another era of Doctor Who.  But it should be remembered that first stories for any Doctor tend to be atypical of the whole of the era. Heck Tom Baker’s run was so long that he had three distinct eras (coinciding with changes in Producer) within his seven years on the show alone.

But first stories are important and can indelibly set the public attitude towards the Doctor Who for years to come.  What on earth was John Nathan-Turner thinking putting The Twin Dilemma forward at the end of Season 21 and then having that set the impression of Colin Baker for nine months without a more suitable follow-up?

Also because this is the internet and lists need to be seen we’re ranking our own impressions about each Doctor’s first story with the odd pithy comment thrown in for … reasons.

  1. The Eleventh Hour  A tour-de-force for Matt Smith and set the style for his entire first fairy-tale of a season.  Simply marvelous.
  2. The Christmas Invasion  The best Christmas special has Tennant horizontal for the first two-thirds of the story, then he is simply commanding.
  3. Spearhead From Space  The first colour story changes almost everything about Doctor Who.  An important inflection point.
  4. Deep Breath  Speculative but we suspect that Capaldi’s first will follow the Pertwee mold well here.
  5. Castrovalva  A most assured beginning for Davison, but that shouldn’t surprise as it was the 4th story filmed.  If Four to Doomsday had been first, it would have made quite a difference.
  6. Rose  Such a change in tone from the classic series.  Eccleston’s great, but the underlying goofiness knocks it down a bit.
  7. The Enemy Within  An oasis during the wilderness years.  McGann was wonderful and would’ve been great.  If only but lonely.
  8. An Unearthly Child  Hartnell is imperious, difficult, and captivating.  So is episode 1.  As for 2, 3, and 4 …
  9. Robot  Tom Bakers first story is a cheery goofball of a mess that begins to put away UNIT, but lacked the Gothic tones that were only weeks away.
  10. Time and the Rani  Sylvester McCoy first story might have a few good ideas buried deep, deep down.  But the clowning around and slapstick make this a woeful beginning.
  11. The Twin Dilemma  Change for the sake of change.  Thinnest of thin gruels.

Not rated only because we haven’t seen it is The Power of the Daleks.  Those few who did and remember claim it to be a great beginning for Troughton.  For us at the Tour it’s an interesting listen.

Second episodes a typically much more in keeping with their eras.  Will Into the Dalek follow that trend?  Sounds like another list to us.