I enjoy all series of Doctor Who, but it’s undoubted that some are better than others. In the first part of the countdown, I’ll start at ninth place, my least favourite series, and finish at 5th place. I’ve ranked each series based on the episodes within each season, the series arc, the finale and the Doctor/companion relationship.
9. Series 7
It’s a shame all of series seven wasn’t as good as part two, however part one dragged the series down as we endured what was probably the worst run of episodes in the modern era. Asylum of the Daleks, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three were all abysmal. Angels Take Manhattan saw a fitting end for the Ponds, who in truth probably should’ve departed before this series. Although the episode itself had numerous plot holes, their exit was written perfectly by Steven Moffat. The introduction of Clara Oswald added a new and exciting mystery. We didn’t know who the companion was really or why she’d appeared and died a couple of times previously in the show. Although the resolution of her mystery was overshadowed by John Hurt’s appearance, The Name of the Doctor is still a solid finale. I preferred the Doctor with Clara than I did with the Ponds and it’s a shame they didn’t get longer together. Despite the slow start, series seven is still quite good, but other series are better.
8. Series 6
Despite having the most spectacular series opener, series six is one of my least favourites. It started so well with The Impossible Astronaut but somewhere along the line, Moffat seemed to lose his way with the plot and it got muddled up towards the end. To see the Doctor get shot stone dead within ten minutes of the beginning of the series was stunning and had everyone wondering what could possibly come next. A Good Man Goes to War was an excellent episode that uncovered the mystery of River Song, it’s my favourite episode of series six. However, the split in the middle of the series did not help at all and Let’s Kill Hitler was the beginning of the downfall. It was a messy episode that virtually gave away everything. The rest of the season was made redundant and it went out with a whimper in The Wedding of River Song, an episode that tried to fit way too much into forty five minutes, it should’ve been a two parter. This series saw the first full time TARDIS team of the modern era and at times I didn’t particularly like Rory or Amy. Amy treated Rory very poorly in series six although Rory mainly just stumbled about (apart from his epic role in the first five minutes of A Good Man Goes to War). Quite a lot of the episodes were terrible too, The Rebel Flesh, The Almost People and Night Terrors are all forgettable. I liked the arc of the Doctor’s death for part one of the series, it’s a shame that it didn’t end satisfyingly and it was resolved way too soon. There are some episodes that are worth mentioning though, The God Complex and The Doctor’s Wife are both brilliant and lift this series up a lot.
7. Series 2
Probably the most inconsistent of the modern series, David Tennant’s debut season is littered with phenomenal and awful episodes. Tooth and Claw, School Reunion and Army of Ghosts are all fast paced, thrilling stories. But then there’s New Earth, Love and Monsters and Fear Her. These weak efforts make this the worst series of the RTD era. Although I really enjoyed Doomsday it was ruined by the final ten minutes and the scene on the beach. In fact the whole series was unfortunately overshadowed by the romance between the tenth Doctor and Rose. The best Doctor/companion relationships are fun and involve friendly bickering, this one was spoiled by their more intimate relationship. The Torchwood story arc is one of the best, not only did it build up to a strong finale, it also led to a fantastic spinoff show. Overall, series two was mostly good, if it wasn’t for a few weak episodes and an irritating romance, it could’ve been much higher in the ranking.
6. Series 8
This is Steven Moffat’s most consistent series as show runner and In the Forest of the Night is the only truly bad episode. However it just lacked something, a bit of oomph perhaps, to make it even better. I’ve grown to like the mystery of Missy and the eventual big reveal of her identity. However the finale, Death In Heaven just annoys me the more I watch it. I can’t buy into the Cybermen being given to the Doctor as a present as a valid motive. Certain scenes like the Doctor dropping from a plane into his TARDIS and Missy’s theatrical landing in the graveyard just nagged at me and put me off the episode. I liked the Doctor and Clara in this series although they weren’t as good as series nine, they were just getting used to each other here. There are a few episodes I really love. Listen and Mummy on the Orient Express are both two of my favourite episodes in the modern era. It just needed a few more like that to make this series even better.
5. Series 3
This series gets a lot of hate from fans and I really don’t know why. Although the Doctor wasn’t always as nice as he should’ve been to Martha, their relationship was enjoyable and her character development was excellent, particularly in The Last of the Time Lords. That episode was a great finale, one that rounded off the first three part story of the modern series very well. John Simm’s portrayal of the Master was new but amazing, his lunacy was gripping and you couldn’t take your eyes off of him. Of course this series has Blink, an episode that speaks for itself in terms of how good it is. Utopia and The Family of Blood are also great episodes. The discrete Harold Saxon arc wasn’t quite as prominent as Torchwood or a Bad Wolf, but it still worked and the revelation that Professor Yana was the Master was a superb moment. We also got the return of Captain Jack Harkness to Doctor Who, and his chemistry with Martha and the tenth Doctor was terrific. Overall, this is a strong series that is hard to fault and despite the stick it gets, it deserves to be in fifth place.