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

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 (recently turned 15) 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 Doctor's Daughter

Read all about that process here.

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

The Lambert Conference

Doctor Who Blink b

1. Blink

vs.

16. 42

Ben:  It’s the battle of the future Doctor Who showrunners!  But it’s an easy one, because  in a contest between Steven Moffat’s Blink and Chris Chibnall’s 42, there really is no contest.  42 is serviceable at best, and not nearly long enough to tell the kind of story that it wants to tell (a “base under siege” structure where presumably, you are meant to actually care about the various characters as they get killed off).  Blink, on the other hand, is like the TARDIS–bigger on the inside than the out, conveying an incredible amount of narrative information in its modest run-time, without ever feeling rushed.  Plus, it’s clever and creepy, and features a winning performance from Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow.  An easy win.

My Vote:  Blink

Laurelle:  I liked Blink because it was creepy, and I liked the idea of the people being sent back in time and then living until they could talk to the people again.  I can’t think of anything I really liked about 42.  I didn’t find the monster very interesting.

My Vote:  Blink

Johanna:  Hmm, this is a hard decision–that was a joke.  Going into Blink, I presumed I was going to be terrified, but even though pretty much everything in Doctor Who scares me, it wasn’t that bad (it was tense when I was watching, but not scary later like I find a lot of episodes).  I mean, I thought it was a pretty good episode, a really fun episode, a well-put together, solid episode, and I enjoyed it–even though I didn’t really think it was brilliant.  It was pretty good.  42 was not.  It wasn’t a very good episode.  It was kind of boring, with the weird twist that the bad guy is the sun.

My Vote: Blink

The Winner:  Blink

Doctor Who Ood

8.The Christmas Invasion

vs.

9. Planet of the Ood

Ben:  I’ve never been a big fan of the Ood, so the idea of a whole planet of them doesn’t hold a huge amount of appeal, although there is some interesting stuff in there about the nature of resistance to oppression.  The Christmas Invasion has the disadvantage of featuring Christmas trees with spinning branches of death and Santas who fire machine guns out of their brass instruments, but that’s all easily forgiven once we hit the final act and David Tennant’s 10th Doctor really takes the stage properly.

My Vote:  The Christmas Invasion

Laurelle:  I liked the Christmas Invasion more.  I think the Doctor is really awesome in The Christmas Invasion.  I don’t like the idea of the gigantic brain-thing in Planet of the Ood…I don’t find it very interesting.  It’s a little bit of a sad episode–I don’t remember why but I found it kind of sad.

My Vote:  The Christmas Invasion

Johanna:  Planet of the Ood.  I don’t know why.  I just really like the Ood.

My Vote:  Planet of the Ood

The Winner:  The Christmas Invasion

Doctor Who Turn Left

5. Turn Left

vs.

12. The Shakespeare Code

Ben:  I get a little annoyed at Turn Left, because in spite of how interestingly the alternate history is constructed, there’s no satisfactory explanation for anything Rose actually does through the story, or for the random “Bad Wolf” cliffhanger at the end.  But Catherine Tate is good and I still I prefer it over The Shakespeare Code–the series has got the odd tradition of doing these episodes which re-purpose mythological monsters as science fiction and marrying that in with an extreme celebration of the British.  It’s a strange, self-aware mix that I think rarely works well.

My Vote:  Turn Left

Laurelle:  Turn Left was interesting.  I liked the idea of it–how she had something on her back but she didn’t know it, and how people kept saying something about it, that was creepy.  I liked something about The Shakespeare Code but I can’t really remember it.  At the end there was a bit where all these lights came out–I found that kind of creepy but not in a good way.

My Vote:  Turn Left

Johanna:  The Shakespeare Code was really weird.  Entertaining, but really weird.  The bad guys were alien witches from another dimension–that’s weird.  Turn Left was a pretty good episode that was fun and tense, and a good episode, but I thought the ending was a bit disappointing since I thought it was going to directly link to the season finale, but it didn’t.  But really, Turn Left is a much better episode.  (Note:  I used to think that the title of this story and the next one were one phrase that went together–“Turn Left At the Stolen Earth” like it was a series of directions).

My Vote: Turn Left

The Winner:  Turn Left

Doctor Who Doctor's Daughter Georgia Moffett

4. Midnight

vs.

13. The Doctor’s Daughter

Ben:  I quite like The Doctor’s Daughter in spite of some of the illogic it contains.  Jenny is a fun character and Georgia Moffett brings her to life well.  But Midnight is something special.  Easily Russell T. Davies’ best script for the program, it’s a great piece of claustrophobic horror which manages to subvert all our expectations of how the Doctor is able to handle a crisis, to amazing effect.

My Vote:  Midnight

Laurelle:  Midnight wins.  The Doctor’s Daughter wasn’t as intereseting as I thought it would be.  Midnight was a really good episode–I really liked it.  I liked some of the stuff in The Doctor’s Daughter, but I didn’t like the character, the girl, that much.

My Vote:  Midnight

Johanna: The Doctor’s Daughter was an okaaay episode, but not that good.  And I was very disappointed since I thought an episode about the daughter of the Doctor must be brilliant, but it wasn’t.  And considering that Midnight had like ten characters and took place in a metal box the entire time, it was really tense and fun, and a really good episode.  The moment when Skye spoke just a moment ahead of the Doctor, that was brilliant.

My Vote:  Midnight

The Winner:  Midnight

Tenth Doctor Tournament Brackets - Lambert Conference - Round 1 Part 1.jpg

 

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