Doctor Who: 13 Best 'Modern' Episodes!

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Who‘s coming to dinner tonight — Doctor Who, that is (BBC America, 8/7c).

RELATED Doctor Who: We Rank the Best Modern Companions!

Yet, with a new, post-regeneration protagonist (played by Peter Capaldi) set to pick up the sonic screwdriver (and don some fresh Doc Martens), we figured the time was right to count down the sci-fi series’ 13 best episodes since it returned to the airwaves in 2005.

We’ve included obvious moments of brilliance, like the nail-biting “Blink” — in which the Doctor first encounters the Weeping Angels — but are also paying homage to less-heralded gems like “The God Complex.”

RELATED Doctor Who EP, Stars Preview ‘James Bond’ Elements, Lack of Doctor-Clara ‘Boyfriend’ Dynamic and More

Check out the full countdown by clicking the gallery below. Don’t see your favorite episode on our list? Hit the comments and tell us which episodes we egregiously snubbed!

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40 Comments
  1. Brooke says:

    The Doctor’s Wife is truly lovely. But #1 is Blink. Every Whovian knows that.

    • Tony says:

      For me, it’s Midnight (Although Blink comes in at a very close second).

    • Sara says:

      Why is it Blink? I am always hearing people say they tell new viewers to start with Blink and Blink is so amazing. For me, it is good (and completely terrifying), but it most definitely is not my favorite. Please, help me understand what I am missing in regards to the episode.

      • Tom says:

        I agree I like Blink but it is not in my top 5 episodes. The Doctor’s Wife is easily my favourite of the new episodes.

      • Sherry Jones says:

        just my opinion of course, but i think it’s just the SHEER COMPLEXITY of the episode! for me, was actually the FIRST episode i’d gotten to see. actually had to watch in several times to GET everything – so was almost…interactive for me! and it sure as hell got me HOOKED – was able, fortunately to catch up on all the “modern” episodes after that. but ALWAYS watch Bllink when it comes on – it’s just so fabulous! =^,,^=

    • Eva says:

      It’s good, but also overrated. And soured a bit by the exploitation of the weeping angels in the later episodes. Finally – you can’t even compare it to Doctor’s Wife. That one truly lenghts ahead of any other episode.

  2. d4h8a15r16m23a42 says:

    I didn’t read the list as I just started watching recently and didn’t want anything spoiled. I’m about to start series 4 and my favorite so far is definitely Blink probably followed by the girl in the fireplace.

  3. Mel says:

    Excellent Choices! (I will forgive the inclusion of The Girl in The Fireplace). But other than that…FANTASTIC! Bring on Series 8!

    • Maggie says:

      I agree. Excellent choices, with the exception of The Girl in the Fireplace. That episode is the most overrated episode of DW ever.

  4. Kara says:

    Fantastic list! I might’ve ranked GitF a place or two lower, but all 13 of these are brilliant choices and among my personal favorites.

  5. RS says:

    I haven’t watched anything with Eleven, but I fully endorse everything on this list except Midnight. (I’m also apparently the only fan in the universe who found nothing particularly compelling about The Doctor Dances)

    • Eva says:

      Watch octor’s Wife ;) I skipped the last two seasons almost completely and don’t regret it, but I’m also happy that this one was recommended to me, it’s a brilliant episode, despite Eleven.

  6. Louise says:

    The Waters of Mars is clearly the best episode :P I’ve never really understood the fascination with blink and Gitf, but besides that, good choices.

    • Autumn says:

      Yes, agree. The Water of Mars is certainly one of the best episodes for sure. I would definitely have included that over Blink and GITF. But overall, I thought these were pretty good choices.

    • Sara says:

      I wonder if they looked at any of the “specials” to put on the list or if they only considered strictly episodes within the season.

    • Maggie says:

      The Waters of Mars is excellent. It shows why The Doctor needs a companion. He needs someone to tell him when he’s going too far. He needs someone to remind him that just because he can do something doesn’t mean he should do it, and that actions have repercussions.

  7. Matt says:

    WHAT?!?

    Where is “The Day of the Doctor”? That is the single greatest episode in the show’s entire 50-year run. Was it disqualified because it’s considered a special and not a regular episode?

    This list is really light on 11th Doctor stories. Other oversights: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead and A Good Man Goes to War.

  8. Sara says:

    Huh. I am surprisingly quite pleased with this list. I feel like most of these episodes would be on my “best of” list, probably a few place switches, but still it is pretty accurate for me.

    • Sara says:

      On further reflection, I’d probably take out Human Nature/The Family of Blood and put Doomsday in there instead.

  9. Celina says:

    Every list of the best episodes puts “turn left” in a high place, and I don’t understand why… except for the end, I hated that episode. It started ok, but the middle is boring.
    And, “the doctor’s wife” it’s cool, but not the best, for me. I don’t know if I would even include it in my list.

    • Maggie says:

      Turn Left not only shows the impact The Doctor had on the earth, as well as on his companions. Not only is the earth suffering one disaster after another, but Donna’s life is miserable. It’s like when It’s A Wonderful Life shows George what the town would be without him. You see the impact one person can have on so many other people. With The Doctor, his impact is both global and personal. But you can also see the impact that Donna had on The Doctor, and therefore the world. One person, whether human or Time Lord, can make a huge difference.

  10. KK says:

    Any list of best DW episodes that does not include “Silence In The Library,” which introduces River, and is alternately funny, touching and terrifying, just doesn’t cut it, sorry. The best episode of the modern era.

  11. JC1 says:

    Personally I don’t like Midnight at all, or the Human Nature/Family of Blood episodes, but that’s just me. And while I like GitF, I don’t know that I would put it quite so high. I would have put Blink before GitF personally. Some of your others, like Rose, wouldn’t have made a personal favorites list, but I get why it’s on there – as you say, it’s the episode that (re)started the whole thing.
    .
    Some of my favorites not on the list – Dalek, Doomsday, Runaway Bride, Fires of Pompeii, The Unicorn and the Wasp, The Eleventh Hour, The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, The Big Bang, The Girl Who Waited, Closing Time (Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All), and The Name of the Doctor. It’s kind of hard to narrow it down though. :)

  12. Nzf says:

    Great selection! altough I don’t entirely agree with the order in which the episodes are ranked. Also, the girl in the fireplace wasn’t that great imho

  13. AT says:

    Mostly agree! I’d drop Girl in the Fireplace as I find that one overrated. I would have also included Doomsday, Parting of the Ways and Water of Mars!

  14. Ines says:

    Seriously the doctor’s wife is just plain good. It does not deserve the title of the best episode of doctor who !
    Im very shocked that the last episode of season 4 as the regeneration/departure of ten(nant) is not listed. It’s my favorite episode !
    #AFrenchWhovian

  15. Wyn says:

    The Wates of Mars should be on this list. It was superb sand thought provoking.

  16. TVPeong says:

    Definitely “In the name of the Doctor” especially if you watch it with “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”. The story of River Song is so tragic yet so sweet.

  17. So many good episodes to choose from, but I would have to take the Sound of Drums/Last of the timelords, as John Simm as the master was absolutely brilliant. Also, I agree that the 11th Doctor is woefully absent from this list, as The Eleventh Hour (Incredible) & The Time of Angels/Flesh & Stone (Amazing writing) were two of my favorites of all time. Fish sticks & Pudding…..still gets me every time.

  18. AnnieM says:

    I agree with many of these, and was especially glad to see ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ included. That was my favorite Matt Smith episode.

  19. Josh says:

    The Doctor’s Wife? Eh, she was pretty much like every older Moffat woman. What about Doomsday? The Doctor and Rose on the beach is such a great moment(which to be fair, has lost some of it’s meaning and feeling due to future events).

  20. New Earth,Last of the Time Lords, The Christmas Invasion, The Empty Child

  21. jm says:

    I watch Dr.Who for first time. I started with Blink and then The Doctor´s Wife and finaly the new chapter… At first i was annoyed with the girl from Blink but i do really enjoy it and i sort of hope she will be a companion. She was great. Then i watched The Doctor´s Wife and i prefer Blink better. (I dont really like Matt Smiths)I will try to watch the rest of the top episodes…
    When will u do a rank of the doctors :D

  22. Whimsical says:

    Everyone puts “Midnight” on these best lists, and I never understand why. It is the second worst episode of NuWho- second only to “Cold War” it is a rushed, cliche mess, not at all scary and lacks a proper resolution.

    Where is “The 11th Hour”, “The Snowmen”, “The Wedding of River Song”, “The Impossible Astronaut/The Day of the Moon” Any or all of them would’ve been a better choice.

  23. Gray Slate says:

    Great list, but honestly I’m thrilled anytime the ninth Doctor gets a mention. Matt Smith was good, just not my kinda of doctor.

  24. dman6015 says:

    Well, here’s what BBC America viewers voted for, as seen yesterday:

    9am – The Day Of The Doctor
    10.40am – The Time Of The Doctor
    12pm – The Christmas Invasion
    1pm – The Name Of The Doctor
    2pm – The Empty Child
    3pm – Doomsday
    4pm – The Doctor’s Wife
    5pm – Journey’s End
    6pm – The Girl In The Fireplace
    7pm – Blink
    8pm – Vincent And The Doctor

  25. Sherry Jones says:

    was STARTING to get worried, til i finally saw “Blink” on the list! i’m sure there are other eps i liked a lot, but you seem to have HIT most of them very well! i don’t do very well with ep titles, so appreciate the descriptions! =^,,^=

  26. Sherry Jones says:

    have already forgotten the list – sorry, huge memory problems! did i miss or forget something? where there ANY Ood episodes included? my favorite “characters!” =^,,^=

  27. McKenzie says:

    I cannot stand Girl in the Fireplace. Absolutely hate that episode. I also very much dislike Family of Blood.

    The rest, in my opinion of course, are good (mostly great) choices. I probably also would include A Good Man Goes to War, Day of the Moon, Day of the Doctor (if that’s in the running), The Wedding of River Song (mostly because I love how she reminds him that so many people love him) and The Beast Below (that one always makes me tear up).

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