In preparing for this challenge, I binged the entire series to date. Ten seasons, including specials, rapid fire, keeping my eyes open for the categories found in this challenge. Thus, I have managed to pick nine favorite things, thus far, with relative ease.
And it was great fun! 🙂
But, when matched up against the entire series like that, singular episodes might have had some difficulty standing out.
So, I had to think a bit, and I thought to myself, “What episode have I re-watched most often over the years?”
A little recollection, looking back, back, back over the past decade or so, observing the behavior of my past self, aaaaand…
“Planet of the Dead.”
As one of the specials between the fourth and fifth seasons, it stands pretty well apart and independent of anything else in the series. You don’t need to know that much about what came before, and it’s not tied too much to what comes after. It’s simply a fun little Doctor adventure, complete with lots of humor, some inspiring words, a bit of action, danger, and death, a horrible threat, and a sizzling female lead. 😉
There’s the Doctor, of course, in his element as a London bus happens to fall through hole in space-time, into a hostile environment. He has some ordinary people to inspire and protect in an abnormal circumstance, and a terrible danger to the entire planet to fend off. He is, as always, a fantastic centerpiece to the episode.
I’ve already talked about Christina, but I just have to say again, I love her part in this episode. She’s just so confident, capable, and clever. She stands side-by-side with the Doctor as an equal. She’s no saint, and no “good girl,” but she’s charitable enough to give up her prized loot to save the people with them. She’s an excellent balance of elegant and strong. (and hot!)
UNIT plays a significant part as well. Really, the Doctor is able to save the people on the bus, but he needed UNIT to save the world. The scientist, Malcolm Taylor, was a fantastic and hilarious addition to the story, this brainiac who could impress even the Doctor, with hidden depths of nerve and courage. It’s always cool to see the normal humans holding their own alongside the star of the show.
The aliens, the ones based on flies, were a nice addition too, making for a little more humor and providing the Doctor with what he needed, even if they and the bus driver were the red shirts of the episode.
Basically, “Planet of the Dead” is arguably one of the funnest episodes in the series, and a personal favorite of mine. 🙂