47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #40: Best Multi-Part Story

Welcome to Day 40 of my 47-day series about the revival version of Doctor Who (2005-present). I’ve come up with 47 topics / questions to answer, all of them basically positive and upbeat about the program. Each day (or as often as I can actually write these–so far so good!) I’ll pick one of them at random (using this convenient random number generator) and then write up an answer.

Why 47? It’s my favorite number.
Why Doctor Who? It’s my favorite show.
Why the modern day Doctor Who only? Simply because I remember it better.
Why only positive stuff? Because really, I write enough snark.

So, today, we spin the Random Number Generator, and it lands on 2, which means today’s topic is

“Best Multi-Part Story”

I was excited back in 2005 when Aliens of London ended in a cliff hanger, and I realized we were back to getting some longer stories, just like we used to back in the days of the classic series.  Little did I know just how good some of those stories would end up being, as certainly Aliens of London was no indication.

Picking a best multipart story is extremely difficult, as there a handful of really outstanding ones.  If I was writing a countdown, certainly I’d include:

• The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances
• Silence in the Libary / Forest of the Dead
• The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone
• The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang
• The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon

Season 9 had some good ones as well, but I can’t quite bring myself to list any of them in the same company as these.  (Remembering, of course, that I consider Heaven Sent and its surrounds to be individual, one-part stories that are linked to each other)

Well, I can’t stay up all night, so I’m going to have make a pick.  And here it is

Human Nature / The Family of Blood

In this story, writer Paul Cornell delivers one of the most layered scripts that the show has ever had.  We have the intriguing science fiction premise of the Doctor subsuming his identity into a human consciousness.  This is of course contrasted with the evil Family of Blood who seize human forms, crushing the hosts out of existence.

We have the emotional story of John Smith’s romance with Joan Redfern, which again has a contrast in Martha and her unrequited love for the Doctor.  Indeed, this is one of the best Martha stories that we’ve ever had, as in the face of the Doctor’s helplessness, she’s forced to be the hero, even as she endures the prejudice of the time period she’s in.

We have the thematic story as the show is set in boarding school of young boys preparing for a war that they simply have no way of truly preparing for.  That is symbolized by the horror of the violence the Family brings upon the community.  The show fully embraces the Doctor’s aversion to war without ever falling into the trap of simply dismissing soldiers as a bad thing.

It’s a great story with a first-rate performance by David Tennant (perhaps the most powerful he delivered on the show), and is always worth a rewatch.

Click here for a master list for this series.

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