1. The Empty Child/Doctor Dances Arc
Writer: Steven Moffat
Doctor: Nine (Christopher Eccleston)
I’d sincerely like to know who didn’t see this coming. Really. Here we have it folks. My favorite episode of the reboot comes in the form of an episode of the Walking Dead as written by Steven Moffat.
And its still among the scariest episodes, if its not already the scariest. Yep, I’d rank it farther than the terror that the Weeping Angels caused, or the suspense that the Silence caused, or the flat out thrills that the Werewolf caused, because nothing is scarier, it seems, than a zombie child that can turn you into one of them at the slightest touch.
Steven Moffat’s first episode concerns the Ninth Doctor and Rose traveling back to the London blitz in the beginning stages of World War II. They’re chasing a piece of shrapnel that may or may not hold important information or some other sort of MacGuffin, but it leads them to encounter an entire league of gas mask wearing children asking for their Mummies. They have the ability to turn up everywhere you are, call phones that aren’t real, and cause genuine chaos whenever they’re in the vicinity.
And they meet Captain Jack Harkness, perhaps Moffat’s best creation in terms of characters, perhaps better than the clumsy Rory, the somewhat inconsistent Amy, the without-a-plan Eleventh Doctor, the I-don’t-know-what-the-hell-is-happening-with-your-timeline River Song, and even rivaling his newest creation and what may be my second favorite companion in Oswin (despite my knocks, I still love the Ponds).
The chemistry between the Doctor and Captain Jack is also incredible, like when the entire “Who has a screwdriver?” exchange.
Re-watching this episode, it seems to me to be the purest form of Doctor Who. For one, its extremely low budget, which makes it so much fun. There’s a great deal of humor that even goes through the chemistry between the Doctor and Jack, from the witty one liners to the unfortunate situations.
This is what Moffat’s writing should be like: more straightforward than his constant back and forth timeline zipping with different tenses of people meeting each other in the same place. This is the purest form of his writing too, as it was scary AND straightforward, and quite focused too.
I miss the series as a whole when it was like this, this low budgety but extremely well written feeling with great characters and relationships. The series is still good, don’t get me wrong, but it just isn’t this good.