Doctor Who: Looking Back at 47 Days #33 – Single-Part Stories

A few years ago, I did a series of 47 daily posts which all looked at different questions related to the revival series of Doctor Who, focusing on stuff I like about the show. I worked out a series of questions in advance and then picked one randomly for each day. I’ve decided to revisit the series to see how my opinions may or may not have changed, and to bring two of my daughters into the discussion, since they are both big fans and have recently finished watching the revival series.

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 are we looking back at this now? Because we’re on a 47 day countdown to November 23, the birthday of the show.

Check out Day #32 here.

When I first did this, it was September 2016, which means we were in between the Christmas episodes The Husbands of River Song and The Return of Dr. Mysterio, and were yet to debut Peter Capaldi’s last season on the show. Jodie Whittaker was even further away. How has the passage of time, evolution of opinions, and three further seasons of the program impacted my opinions?

Today is Day #33, and our theme is…

Best Single-Part Story

In the old days, there were virtually no single-part Doctor Who stories–nearly everything was serialized adventures. But when Doctor Who returned to TV in 2005, the format was been revised to include a healthy dose of standalone adventures.

However, this has also come with some confusion. Though some stories are unambiguous in their one-partness, and others are clearly a segment of a two-parter, there are other episodes which are less clear. These are episodes which end with usually end with a cliffhanger which leads to the next episode, but not in such a clear “one big story cut in half” sort of way.

This is important, because just like last time, my pick for the best sing part story would have to be…

Heaven Sent

…the near-perfect tour-de-force drama featuring Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor in a nearly one-man about the Doctor finding he’s been trapped in a bizarre prison designed to make him confess his deepest secrets. It’s high point for Capaldi as well as writer / producer Steven Moffat, director Rachel Talalay, and everyone else involved.

However, it is also the middle episode in a run of related stories. I don’t personally consider it to be part of a two- or three-parter, though, since each episode is basically unique in its setting, story focus, supporting cast, and so on. It’s just that in modern TV, we’re all a lot more used to our TV having these ongoing, serialized elements, and Dotor Who is no exception.

But last time, I also include Midnight as a back-up choice, in case we felt like Heaven Sent is not eligible. This time, I’m still happy to pick to do that, although really Midnight is just one of several episodes I’d put up for that spot, with others being Blink, The Eleventh Hour, and Mummy on the Orient Express. (If we also include specials into this than I’d mention Day of the Doctor and Last Christmas as well). Of all of these, all are by Steven Moffat, except for Midnight, by Russell T. Davies, and Mummy, which is by Jamie Mathieson.

What did my daughters say?

Johanna (16) picked exactly the same as me–Heaven Sent with Midnight as a backup. She also gave mention to Blink, Mummy on the Orient Express, and Planet of the Ood (because she’s got a thing for the Ood).

Laurelle (14), on the other hand, just straight-up chose Midnight, though she said she might have gone for Blink if it’d been the only Weeping Angels story.

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