"I'm a fan. [...] But here's what I don't do: Let's list our ten favorite episodes. Let's list our least favorite episodes. Let's list our favorite galaxies. Let's make a chart to see how often our favorite galaxies appear in our favorite episodes. What Romulan would you most like to see coupled with a Cardassian and why? Let's spend a weekend talking about Romulans falling in love with Cardassians and then let's do it again. --- That's not being a fan. That's having a fetish."
-- Josh, in one of those West Wing episodes where Sorkin was in a bad mood with the fans.
But since I freely admit I have a fetish, here's that meme (snagged from pretty much everyone):
Five least favourite arcs
I was finding this hard until I changed the title back to "arcs", which lets me vent at the spinoffs:
- Planet of the Daleks Three and Jo are my least favourite team anyway, and here they're stuck in a completely bog standard Terry Nation Saturday morning serial, any word sounds better with "space" in front of it, "OMFG a Dalek at the end of Noun of the Daleks Part One, u iz surprised y/n?" script. The only good bit is the ice volcano, because I just think that's a really cool idea (my fave solar system body is Enceladus for exactly the same reason). Except that it's in the middle of a tropical jungle and so makes no sense. Toss up with Death to really, except that at least has SJS and some silly puzzles.
- The Divergent Universe (Big Finish) "Scherzo" is great, though a bit thin over four eps. "The Natural History of Fear" is superb and very narrowly missed out on being in the next list. "Caerdroia" is great fun. But the rest of the stories are mostly appalling trad runarounds and the conclusion is overlong, massively self-indulgent and the revelations in it are just rubbish and don't make sense of what went before. I like C'Rizz, though, so I'm glad he stayed.
- The Gunfighters Huge amounts of death played entirely for laughs. Nasty, though an interesting early example of the "historical period done as its popular perception rather than the reality" thing that the new series does so much.
- The Seeds of Doom As above, the story relishes all the death and destruction far too much. Worse still, the Doctor is completely out of character throughout, happily waving guns around and such. UNIT isn't the same without the proper people. It's also a complete rip off of a much better Avengers episode.
- Placebo Effect (EDA) Gary Russell in general is not very good, but I pick on this in particular for a) the continuity wank of trying to integrate the Radio Times strips, only doing it in such a way that Eight looks like a total jerk and b) the "religious debate" which makes Sam look like an idiot for giving a free pass to horrendously fallacious reasoning.
Five favourite arcs
(Argh, far too many to pick from.)
- Inferno Sheer genius from beginning to end. I can't watch this episode by episode, as soon as it's in the machine I have to get through to the end because otherwise the tension would kill me. And yet it never feels like three hours.
- Ghost Light It makes perfect sense, and is the perfect McCoy era story.
- The Earth Arc (from the EDAs) The overall concept of stranding the Doctor on Earth without his memories is great. The Burning and Casualties of War are meh story wise but have loads of brilliant Eight!angst, Turing Test is (slashy) win, Endgame is Uncle Terry being Uncle Terry, Father Time is a great slice of Parkin, and Escape Velocity I have decided doesn't properly count because it's got Fitz and Anji so it's clearly not part of the same thing as the others.
- The End of the World I was full of squee all through Rose just because it was DW, but this was when I realised that the series I loved really was back, and yet was all new and 21st Centuryish too. The Earth burning to "Toxic" is genius. Rose's disorientation at the future is handled really well. This is the episode of the new series I have watched most often. Also: Jabe is the best pseudocompanion ever.
- An Unearthly Child Not just the perfect first episode; the whole thing is the perfect introduction to the series. When they visit caveman times it's actually scary the way it would be if you've just been thrown into the distant past with nothing to survive on but your wits, and I really like the attempt to create a working caveman society.
Five least favourite female companions
- Jo. I blame the writers entirely for making her such a sterotype, but I have the same reaction to Jo as the Doctor in Terror of the Autons - wah! gimme Liz back! - only I've never really gotten over it the way he did. She is emblematic for me of the often-not-really-trying runaround-i-ness of the "UNIT family" era. Even in her last ever story, she only gets to save the day by being clumsy.
- Sam (offa the EDAs). What was the point of her, exactly? No real personality of her own, far too much of a designed-by-committee cookie-cutter perfect companion. Unfortunately, not really redeemed by the hints in Alien Bodies and then the eventual revelation in Unnatural History that she really was.
- Rose. See Sam, minus the having it explained away. (For anyone keeping count of drippy blondes from the last decade, Miss Pollard avoids this list because I love India Fisher's voice.)
- Mel. In principle, Mel should be one of my faves, on account of being a) clever and b) ginger. But then I see her in action and my skin crawls. Her character concept is actually quite good, and I like Bonnie, but Mel went horribly wrong, mainly because at no point did anyone on the script side care much - Saward was on his way out by the time she was introduced and when Cartmel came along he just wanted to get rid of her so he could introduce his companion of choice. (I do not mind this much, see below.) The upshot is that Pip'n'Jane wrote the entirety of the first half of her tenure, so of course she was doomed.
- Vicki. Never really comes out from under Susan's shadow for me.
Five favourite female companions
(Far too many to choose from here, I could easily have a completely different list tomorrow. That's a lie; Ace would always be at the top.)
- Ace. "Aces are rare." She is my childhood companion. She is perfection and my mind is incapable of assimilating any evidence to the contrary. Also she totally did lesbianism that one time with Shou Yuing in Battlefield.
- Nyssa. I have a huge soft spot for Nyssa. It is mainly 'cos she is one of the clever ones and I like the clever ones. She can't act very well but I can handwave this in my head as Trakenite reserve. Most importantly, you can do bucketloads of angst with her - lost her home planet, Master occupying her Dad's body, etc. etc. Also: I happen to think she is rather pretty
especially with her skirt off in Terminus. Also also: with Tegan (who doesn't quite make it into the Top 5), she is half of one of my three Who OTPs.
- Liz. I don't care if she never went in the TARDIS, she counts. She is proper clever and she calls the Doctor on his shit.
- Romana II. For exactly the same reasons as Liz, really.
- Barbara. The Aztecs had it right: she is a goddess. She is the grounding for the whole of the first season while the Doctor's being mysterious, Susan's oscillating between teenage and alien and Ian's trying his best at being the action man. Half of my other non-timeship-involving OTP.
Five least favourite male companions
- Adric. Obvious choice, and he's not as bad as some people claim (like I say, I have a soft spot for clever companions), but he is still very annoying.
- Samson (from BF). Not his fault, I just hate the fact that he exists entirely for the purpose of retconning a single line in Minuet in Hell because Gary Russell was so determined that BF didn't exist in the same verse as the EDAs. (Compare and contrast his attitude to the relationship between the RT strips and the EDAs.)
- Kamelion. Bad idea, badly done.
- Adam. I feel bad about putting him on, because we're manipulated into disliking him. But it worked on me, and there is a shortage of male companions to put on this list, so here he is.
- Ben. And the shortage gets even worse: I don't hate Ben or anything, he's just my least favourite of the ones I don't actively like. Erm, he's a bit annoyingly sexist, even above and beyond the general tenor of the times?
Five favourite male companions
(Despite the general shortage, I had difficulty narrowing this down. I just like everyone. I am particularly annoyed at not having space for Jamie or Mickey.)
- Fitz (from the EDAs, natch). Eight's Jamie. Simultaneously a total slut and a complete angst monkey. I am convinced that he never ever left because the TARDIS couldn't work out how to remember a him that didn't want to travel with the Doctor, that he thus ended up dying horribly in the Time War, and that Nine was wearing his leather jacket. (Those nearly-tears in Nine's eyes when he's going back to the TARDIS after telling Rose to forget him and go home? Are for Fitz.)
- Ian. For being the other half of the OTP, mainly. But also for cardigans and practicality.
- Turlough. He tries so hard to be evil when he arrives, but only manages snarky. He therefore ends up with a perfect combination of angst, snark and gingerness.
- Jack. Not so much in Torchwood, but in his S1 eps he's fab. Sex on legs.
- Harry. Bumbles around being completely outclassed by everyone around him, but still brave in a very sweet sort of way. Also, Ian Marter wrote good Targets. Can I count that as a reason for liking Harry? 'Cos it's definitely part of it.
Five favourite villains
(I am taking this category to include all monsters and adversaries and what have you.)
- Cybermen. The concept, not the execution (except in Spare Parts). But the idea is absolutely chilling yet has a compelling logic to it. It was always the Cybermen that used to give me nightmares when I was ickle.
- The Meddling Monk. The best of the Time Lord villains, because he actually used the time travel thing as part of his schemes. I am still hoping for a last minute twist and Mr Saxon turns out to be him, dammit, because what Saxon seems to be up to is much more the Monk's style. But that'd never happen because you don't want the public reaction to your big reveal to be <Mark and Lard>"Whhhoooo?????"</MnL>
- Daleks. Yeah, they're the archetypal Who monster but there's a reason for that. All the elements came together on this one: a rare good idea from Terry Nation, a brilliant design from Raymond Cusick, brilliant work on the voices by the Radiophonic Workshop etc.
- The Master. Not as good as the Monk as a villain, because he's far more obsessed with getting one up on the Doctor than actually doing villainous things. But that there is exactly the reason why he's here: the slashiness, generally, but also the sheer richness of the history available with him.
- Sabbath. Because I do love the post-TAC EDAs, I really do. He's rubbish most of the time, but Adventuress alone gets him on the list regardless.
Five favourite Doctors
- Seven. My childhood Doctor. The master manipulator. The cosmic chess player. The dark Doctor. Scottish Doctors who aren't very good at the shouty bits FTW.
- Ten. See above re Scottish Doctors (even if he's not using his own accent). Sometimes you just want to pick him up like a kitten and give him a hug. But other times he really is the Oncoming Storm. When I think about scenes from the 2005 series, I don't normally see Christopher Eccleston in my mind's eye, I see Tennant, that's how much he is the Doctor.
- Eight. All his different versions, but particularly in the EDAs and particularly particularly in the post-TAC ones where he's got that slight vulnerability and damagedness but is still all bouncy and full of life.
- One. Much funnier than his detractors let on. Very good at the mysterious alien thing.
- Five. Has the vulnerability thing again (erm, yes, this is becoming a theme). Has actual acting skillz. Massive amounts of angst with his arguey TARDIS crew. The default Doctor of Doctor/Master in my little world. "So you see, I'm not going to let you stop me now."