Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Tournament – Newman Conference – Round One, Part Two

We are ranking Tenth Doctor Doctor Who stories starring David Tennant, pitting them against each other in an elimination tournament, with 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).  The stories have been seeded according ratings on IMDb, and randomly broken up into two conferences–the Newman Conference and the Lambert Conference.

Doctor Who David Tennant Unicorn and the Wasp.jpg

Read all about that process here.

Right now, we’re going to continue things with just the second half of the Newman Conference, Round One.

The Newman Conference

Doctor Who - School Reunion.jpg

6. School Reunion


11. The Unicorn and the Wasp

Ben:  Sarah Jane Smith vs. Agatha Christie.  I recently rewatched The Unicorn and the Wasp.  I’d be laboring under some misapprehension that it was a good story, I think mainly because I was remembering the funny scene where the Doctor is trying to get Donna and Agatha Christie to give him some tea so he can expel some poison out of his body.  Other than that, there wasn’t much to it–just some of the outer forms of Agatha Christie-style storytelling without much of the heart.  School Reunion is not a favorite but it does feature K9 agreeing he’s a bad dog just before he blows up the bad guys.

My Vote:  School Reunion

Johanna: School Reunion was an okay story with some not terrible monster.  I’m sure I’d love it much more if I knew Sarah-Jane and K9 from the old Doctor Who, but I don’t, so I don’t much emotional attachment to those characters.  Unicorn and the Wasp, on the other hand…I just thought it was brilliant.  The plot, the mystery…even though the villain was a giant wasp, the wasp itself didn’t appear very. much, so I liked it anyway.  I loved it.

My Vote: The Unicorn and the Wasp

Laurelle:  The Unicorn and the Wasp was really fun, you didn’t know who it was.  I liked the mystery.  School Reunion–I liked K9, but I’d never heard of Sarah Jane Smith so that wasn’t very exciting for me.  The bat-like creatures weren’t super-interesting.

My Vote:  The Unicorn and the Wasp

The Winner:  The Unicorn and the Wasp

Doctor Who - Doomsday

3. Army of Ghosts / Doomsday


14. The Next Doctor

Ben:  Well, I’m pretty sure this goes against popular wisdom but my vote is for the Christmas special, The Next Doctor.  The Doomsday two-parter has some stuff going for it–an emotional goodbye with Rose, and the surprise of the Dalek’s appearance, but the long-awaited face-off between Dalek and Cybermen ended up being amusing but silly.  The Next Doctor has far less spectacle than some other similar stories, but I like the character of Jackson Lake and the whole dilemma related to his loss of identity.  It was also cool to see flashbacks of all the previous Doctors, which was the first time the revived series had done that.

My Vote:  The Next Doctor

Johanna:  Oooh, I can’t decide which one to choose.  Savage Daleks.  I think they’re both fairly good episodes, and the only reason I’m choosing the episode I am is because of the savage Daleks.

My Vote:  Army of Ghosts / Doomsday

Laurelle:  Definitely the one with the Daleks and the Cybermen.  I did find it interesting with the guy who thought he was the Doctor–I wasn’t sure if he was the Doctor or not.  But I really liked Doomsday because of how snarky the Daleks were to the Cybermen, I thought that was funny.  It was sad when Rose was brought to other dimension and trapped there–that was sad.

My Vote:  Army of Ghosts / Doomsday

The Winner:  Army of Ghosts / Doomsday

Doctor Who - Partners in Crime

7. Smith and Jones


10. Partners in Crime

Ben:  Battle of the Series Premiers!  For me, this is an easy one.  Partners in Crime has a number of moments I really like, but overall I’m not a fan of the story and it’s animated fat babies.  Partners in Crime is slight sort of story, but it does a very good job introducing Martha and features a number of memorable images along the way–including the Judoon and the image of the hospital on the moon.

My Vote:  Smith and Jones

Johanna:  Partners in Crime.  I just remember Smith and Jones being about rhinos and a vampire lady, and it was okay but it wasn’t great.  Partners in Crime wasn’t great either, but I really like Donna, and I’m not that fond of Martha, and it was funny.

My Vote: Partners in Crime

Laurelle:  I like both those episodes.  I didn’t find the rhinos particularly interesting, but I did like how the whole hospital went to the moon.  And I like Partners in Crime–it was so funny when the Doctor and Donna finally saw each other.  Neither of the bad guys in either story were particularly interesting, but I choose Partners in Crime.

My Vote:  Partners in Crime

The Winner:  Partners in Crime

Doctor Who - The Girl in the Fireplace

2. The Girl in the Fireplace


15. Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks

Ben:  I have always hated Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks.  I recently saw it again and though I felt myself warming to it on some levels, I still think it’s ill-conceived and badly done.  The Girl in the Fireplace is a classic.  It took me a while to warm to it, as I found the Doctor’s excuse for not being able to visit Reinette before she died to be annoying.  But once I get past that, I can recognize it for the quality story that it is, and the way it introduced us to a lot of Steven Moffat’s best techniques in constructing an episode.

My Vote:  The Girl in the Fireplace

Johanna: Daleks in Manhattan–that’s my vote!  No, I’m just joking.

The Daleks in Manhattan story started out okay, but it got weirder and weirder and darker and weirder.  The Girl in the Fireplace was actually really sad, but had an interesting plot and a villain that was surprisingly terrifying, considering that it was “clock people”.

My Vote:  The Girl in the Fireplace

Laurelle:  I didn’t like the one where the Daleks were evolving.  I choose The Girl in the Fireplace–it was really creepy and I like the ticking monsters.  I liked how you jumped forward in the girl’s life to all those different times.

My Vote:  The Girl in the Fireplace

The Winner:  The Girl in the Fireplace

Tenth Doctor Tournament Brackets - Newman Round 1b.jpg


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