I was really enjoying the Tournament-style competitions we did earlier this year for the biggest blockbuster movies from the last 32 years (see here and here), and so I was casting about for other ideas, and came up with this: a 10th Doctor Doctor Who story tournament!
We will be pitting stories against each other, along the lines of seeded rankings (#1 vs. #16, and so on), and whichever story gets at least two out of three votes from our judges will move on to the next round.
The judges will be myself and two of my daughters–Johanna (14) and Laurelle (13). We recently finished watching the David Tennant / 10th Doctor era of the show, which is both why I had this idea and also why we aren’t starting until now–they hadn’t seen all the episodes until just recently.
By my count, there are 36 stories from the David Tennant / 10th Doctor era of the Doctor Who. For the purposes of this Tournament, we are not counting his brief cameo at the end of Parting of the Ways or his return in Day of the Doctor. We also aren’t counting mini-episodes. Utopia is part of a three-part story along with The Sound of the Drums and The Last of the Time-Lords. But Turn Left is a separate (though related) story from The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End.
Now, the ideal number of entries for an elimination tournament is 32–so the first thing my kids and I did was get rid of four stories. We did this by randomly dividing the 36 stories into four groups of 9 each. Then we took each of those 9 and randomly divided them into groups of 3. For each group of 3, we nominated which one we most wanted to get rid of. Then for the 3 “losers” out of each group of 9, we chose 1 story to actually remove from each group of nominees. It wasn’t that hard to find consensus on this, and in going about this process we ended up getting rid of New Earth, Love and Monsters, The Idiot Lantern, and Fear Her—all of which are episodes from Tennant’s first season, the one with Billie Piper as Rose Tyler. Although, there’s a good chance we would have gotten rid of The Lazarus Syndrome if it hadn’t ended up against Love and Monsters.
Then, the remaining 32 stories were randomly divided into two conferences, which I’m going to call the Newman Conference and the Lambert Conference, after Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert, two of the franchise’s early pioneers. These stories were seeded based on user ratings available on IMDb.com.
Thus, we arrive at the following listings:
The Newman Conference
- Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead
- The Girl in the Fireplace
- Army of Ghosts / Doomsday
- The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit
- Utopia / Sound of the Drums / Last of the Time Lords
- School Reunion
- Smith and Jones
- Fires of Pompeii
- Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel
- Partners in Crime
- The Unicorn and the Wasp
- The Runaway Bride
- The Sontaran Strategem / The Poison Sky
- The Next Doctor
- Daleks of Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks
- The Lazarus Experiment
The Lambert Conference
- The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End
- Human Nature / The Family of Blood
- Turn Left
- The Waters of Mars
- The End of Time Part 1 / Part 2
- The Christmas Invasion
- Planet of the Ood
- Tooth and Claw
- The Shakespeare Code
- The Doctor’s Daughter
- Voyage of the Damned
- Planet of the Dead
We will be starting the Tourney soon–join us for it!