Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Tournament – Lambert 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 (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 David Tennant End of Time b

Read all about that process here.

Right now, we’re finishing the first round with the second half of the Lambert Conference, Round One.

The Lambert Conference

Doctor Who David Tennant Waters of Mars a

11. The Waters of Mars


Tooth and Claw

Laurelle:  Waters of Mars was creepy, but I didn’t really really like it.  Tooth and Claw–I liked it when I watched it, but not heaps.  I did like Waters of Mars at the end when whats-her-name, the Captain (Adelaide Brooke) challenged him about changing stuff.

My Vote:  The Waters of Mars

Johanna:  I think I’m going to go with Waters of Mars.  It’s a little bit difficult because unlike some of the other match-ups, one of the episodes isn’t just brilliant, or another isn’t just terrible.  Tooth and Claw was a pretty good episode that I enjoyed but don’t plan on watching again in the near-whenever.  Waters of Mars was fun and tense and exciting, even though the villain was a bit goofy (weird?  out there?). The ending was a good ending, and it was really fun to watch the Doctor in that episode.

My Vote:The Waters of Mars

Ben:  Waters of Mars is a tight, well-produced little horror-thriller, with some big ambition layered within that didn’t quite make sense.  I thought there was real promise with the idea of the Doctor going overboard with his power, but the actual writing of those sequences didn’t live up to it, and the story could have gone a lot further.  I don’t see how Captain Brooke’s suicide would actually solve any of the problems the Doctor’s interference would have caused (surely her dying by her own hand with her corpse showing up mysteriously in her house on earth wouldn’t have had the same effect on people as her original death), and the Doctor’s final “realization” was not earned.  Still, Waters of Mars wins over Tooth and Claw, which I found enjoyable enough but not highly memorable.

My Vote:  The Waters of Mars

The Winner:  Waters of Mars

Doctor Who David Tennant Voyage of the Damned

3. Human Nature / The Family of Blood


14. Voyage of the Damned

Laurelle:  Human Nature wins.  I liked it how he didn’t know he was the Doctor, and then he had to make the decision to become the Doctor again.  I liked the monsters in it–the people who became the “Family”.  In the Voyage of the Damned, I liked that girl (Astrid Peth), it was sad when she died.  I didn’t find the little angel things super-interesting.

My Vote: Human Nature / The Family of Blood

Johanna:  Oh, I was mixing up Voyage of the Damned and Planet of the Dead…that would have been much easier.  I don’t remember either of these episodes with great clarity, but I do remember that I enjoyed Voyage of the Damned more.  Human Nature…the Doctor becomes human and the sniffing people and at the end the Doctor imprisons that one girl in a mirror, and now I’m kind of scared of mirrors.  That’s not very helpful.

My Vote:  Voyage of the Damned

Ben:  I’m shocked–shocked I tell you–that this vote isn’t unanimous.  For me, Human Nature & The Family of Blood are strong contenders for the ultimate victory for this entire tournament.  It’s quite possibly David Tennant’s best performance in the role, and features one of my favorite guest characters in Joan Redfern.  The themes being wrestled with are interesting, and the situation novel.  The premise also allows Martha to shine, giving her one of her best episodes.

My Vote:  Human Nature / The Family of Blood

The Winner:  Human Nature / The Family of Blood

Doctor Who David Tennant End of Time c

7. The End of Time, Parts 1 & 2


10. Gridlock

Ben:  Hmm…the only reason The End of Time even stands a chance here is because of the emotions of the actual regeneration sequence (and all that builds up to it) and the fact that Gridlock is sort of lackluster.  The End of Time is an misfire in most important respects, with the most annoying portrayal of the Master I’ve ever seen and a massively wasted opportunity in the summary way that the whole “return of the Time Lords & Gallifrey” is dealt with.  I liked the way most of the cameos were handled at the end (except for the oddity of Martha marrying Mickey) but it’s not enough to give it a win for me.  Gridlock is a much smaller story with an unbelievable premise, but handled well, and with a genuinely interesting conclusion.

My Vote:  Gridlock

Johanna;  Neither End of Time or Gridlock were really good episodes.  End of Time is the one wehre the Master starts eating people, right?  End of Time’s plot was more entertaining.  Gridlock was just like, wow this whole world sucks…kind of boring.  End of Time wasn’t a very good episode but it was entertaining to watch because you got so curious about what was going to happen.

My Vote:  The End of Time, parts 1 & 2

Laurelle:  I remember enjoying them both, but neither of them were very good episodes.  I liked that at the end of Gridlock, when the Doctor went to the people who were selling those little patches that give you emotions, how he just stopped that whole process.  I liked the part of End of Time when the Doctor is almost regenerating, and then he doesn’t, and then he does at the end.  I liked how they pretend he’s going to regenerate a number of times in that episode, and then he goes to visit everyone.  And it was very exciting seeing the Eleventh Doctor.  The part where the Master made everyone him felt really stupid, with everyone shaking their heads back and forth with the wierd little maraca sound.

My Vote:  The End of Time, parts 1 & 2

The Winner:  The End of Time parts 1 & 2

Doctor Who David Tennant Planet of the Dead

2. The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End


15. Planet of the Dead

JohannaPlanet of the Dead was an okay episode with an annoying guest star.  Stolen Earth was a fun episode where we finally wrapped up the Rose thing.  It was fun and funny and tense and exciting with the saddest companion exit I have seen thus far.  I thought the fake regeneration was annoying, because I was looking forward to getting the 11th Doctor.

My Vote:  The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End

Laurelle:  I didn’t like Planet of the Dead.  I found that girl really annoying, where she was like I don’t steal for money, I just steal for a hobby.  And the weird little manta things were not very interesting, so I didn’t like that episode.  Journey’s End was very interesting.  I don’t remember Davros being that interesting but I liked the story and how it was so big with so many characters.

My Vote:  The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End

Ben:  This one has a clear winner for me…Stolen Earth and it’s second half are far more interesting than Planet of the Dead, which was the most boring of all the specials in the year of the specials.  Stolen Earth is by no means perfect, but it’s impressive how well it juggles its large cast (the Doctor, Donna, Rose, Martha, Jack, Sarah Jane, Davros, a crazy Dalek, normal Daleks, Harriet Jones, Ianto, Gwen, Luke Smith, Mr. Smith, K9, Jackie, Mickey, Wilf, Sylvia, Francine…and another Doctor), and in doing so provides a rip-roaring climax to the whole Russell T. Davies era of the show (even if it’s not the last episode).  And Donna’s fate is very interesting to see.

My Vote:  The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End

The Winner:  The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End

Tenth Doctor Tournament Brackets Round 1.jpg

Phew!  Round 1 is finally finished!  Some surprises for me, including finding out that my one daughter doesn’t actually love either Blink or Human Nature (even if she still likes them both overall).  Round 2 will hopefully get started reasonably soon.

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