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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Wack'd
    October 3, 2016 @ 9:17 am

    Holy shit, Lust in Space made it on to two ballots? Who’s the other bastard with the misfortune to have actually seen it?

    Also, here’s my negative ballot, why not:

    • The Aztecs for worst (didn’t make it on to this list at all, alas)

    • Attack of the Cybermen (755, came fairly close to being bottom of the heap)

    • Stolen Earth / Journey’s End (751)

    • Sound of Drums / Last of Time Lords (629, and apparently the all-time marmitiest Who story ever)

    • Lust in Space (689, probably only because most folks’ve never seen it)


  2. Wack'd
    October 3, 2016 @ 9:22 am

    I’m not sure what to make of the fact that only two unlicensed stories made it into the worst rankings and they’re both MLP crossovers.


    • Sean Dillon
      October 3, 2016 @ 1:57 pm

      As the writer of one of them, I’d like to state that I think mine’s the kind of fan fic written over the course of a month because I bought into the 2012 nonsense and thought “why not write a fan fic about a show that I have little to no care for beyond the fandom”. It’s very “high school white guy who plays God of War” but I justified it by saying “I end it with the goodies winning through angst, that justifies me being cruel to the characters because I can”. Hopefully, I’ve grown as a writer.


      • Elizabeth Sandifer
        October 3, 2016 @ 2:02 pm

        The real question is whether you’re the person who downvoted it.


        • Sean Dillon
          October 3, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

          Well, given that I’m probably the only person who cares about it,I’m going with yes.


    • arcbeatle
      October 3, 2016 @ 11:30 pm

      I regret forever looking at that MLP/DrWho webcomic that was linked to here. Ew. Never again. X_X


  3. Evan Forman
    October 3, 2016 @ 9:49 am

    I never did get the popular hatred of Fear Her. It isn’t good, but is it even among the worst 5 New Series episodes?

    (Also, Aliens of London / World War Three? That low? I almost regret that it didn’t make my upvotes, “Iraq satire via farting pickle monsters” is radiant fucking gold and I’m sorry most of you can’t see that x)


    • mr_mond
      October 3, 2016 @ 10:26 am

      I’m so happy I’m not alone in my opinion re: AoL/WW3.


      • Evan Forman
        October 3, 2016 @ 11:14 am

        That said, it does require making the fine distinction between a Doctor Who episode being brilliant and a Doctor Who episode being good.


        • Max Curtis
          October 3, 2016 @ 12:13 pm

          I put it in my upvotes. The farting aliens was so badly judged for the New Series’ first two-parter and fourth overall episode, but it’s a brave political piece. Someday I hope it’ll be the Kinda of the Eccleston year.


        • mr_mond
          October 3, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

          That’s an absolutely fair distinction to make – am I correct to assume that AoL/WW3 would be the former, but not necessarily the latter? I would be fine with that – I’m at a point in life where I’d take brilliant over good, any day.


    • arcbeatle
      October 3, 2016 @ 10:32 am

      Surprised at that too. It seems a couple eps with “kiddie” elements got thrown in the bottom, regardless of other good qualities, at least to me (I.E: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is here to).


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      October 3, 2016 @ 2:03 pm

      I think Davies might be the most hard-done-by writer in the poll. He’s well-represented at the top end as well, but he had lots of genuinely good stuff get sandbagged.


    • Froborr
      October 3, 2016 @ 2:30 pm

      …I’m now worried that I accidentally voted for it when I meant “The Idiot’s Lantern.” I always get those two confused for some reason, but “Fear Her” is inoffensive while “The Idiot’s Lantern” is pro-child abuse.


  4. Przemek
    October 3, 2016 @ 9:50 am

    I mostly downvoted stories that were not necessarily bad, but crushingly disappointing. Stories like “Let’s Kill Hitler” or “The Time of the Doctor” that promise you so much but deliver so little. Additional negative points for making me cringe so hard I can’t force myself to watch the episode again (I’m looking at you, holographic clothes “joke”).

    I also downvoted “In the Forest of the Night” because it’s been two years since broadcast and I still don’t understand how this story even got made and what was the point of telling it. As the Tumblr folk say, I can’t even.

    (Long time reader, first time commenter – thank you for your amazing blog!)


    • Andrew
      October 3, 2016 @ 11:18 am

      “I mostly downvoted stories that were not necessarily bad, but crushingly disappointing.”
      Me too. Although I admit that for this to work, it does depend on the context you first watched the story in. “Let’s Kill HItler” (I think) is very disappointing if you’re an adult watching it as a season opener in 2011, hoping for it to make emotional sense.
      “Earthshock” isn’t in the least bit disappointing if it’s 1982, and you’re 8 years old.


      • Elizabeth Sandifer
        October 3, 2016 @ 2:07 pm

        It was interesting to see how people used their downvotes. A majority targeted traditionally bad stories like Twin Dilemma and The Dominators, with perhaps a few idiosyncratic anti-faves, generally from the new series.

        A handful of people wielded them as precision tactical weapons to target stories that were unlikely to get much support. The targeting of The Ancestor Cell and The Fall of Yquatine was particularly deft, but I think in this regard the sandbagging of Earthshock, correctly predicted not to be getting that much support from the EP crowd, was a masterstroke.


        • John G. Wood
          October 3, 2016 @ 7:05 pm

          In order to get a downvote from me it wasn’t enough for it to be boring or badly made (so, for instance, The Invasion of Time got off) – it had to also offend me in some way (so The Twn Dilemma didn’t). Other than trying to represent different media, that was the extent of my strategy.


          • Dan
            October 3, 2016 @ 10:01 pm

            The Twin Dilemma offended some of us in other ways simply because of the context – being the last story of the season and a Doctor’s first story. Given the story it came after, it almost feels like some kind of betrayal. The Warriors of the Deep was a sure downvote for similar reasons.

  5. arcbeatle
    October 3, 2016 @ 10:24 am

    If I could have worst-placed “Zygon: When Being you Isn’t Enough” 87 times, I would have. I’m at least happy someone else downvoted it.

    Still, kind of surprised a “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” ended up as low as it did. Ah Marmite, what a funny thing. I figured the TV Movie would be low, but I’m happy it didn’t get in the bottom ten. Some small recompense against its undeservedly bad reputation :P.

    But really, “Fear Her” THAT low? Below “Exile”? Below “Zygon: WBYJIE”? SRSLY FOLKS?


    • Dan
      October 3, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

      There’s a distorting element in operation between the old and new series I think.

      But Zygon – is it really licensed, as TARDIS Wikia says? I really can’t get my head around it. How does this thing exist? Does anyone know?


      • Elizabeth Sandifer
        October 3, 2016 @ 10:14 pm

        The byzantine rules governing the BBC meant that a lot of stuff invented for a particular story could be licensed by the writer who created it separate from the show at large. The Holmes estate was particularly amenable to such deals.


        • Dan
          October 3, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

          It really is amazing. πŸ™‚


  6. Aylwin
    October 3, 2016 @ 10:43 am

    My own befuddlement is that The Invasion of Time ended up with a positive score. [SPOILERS] Only just, but still. It’s Brexit all over again.


  7. Tom Marshall
    October 3, 2016 @ 10:51 am

    I generally don’t get upset about polls, or how other fans rank things….

    but I can’t get over the fact that there are so many (at the very least) half-decent TV stories rated below “Nekromanteia”.

    “NEKROMANTEIA!” The worst Doctor Who story ever made by far.


    • Max Curtis
      October 3, 2016 @ 12:19 pm

      That’s probably because people like me will never pay real money to hear it.

      You should’ve just downvoted Austen Atkinson.


    • Chris C
      October 3, 2016 @ 4:14 pm

      I take it as a blessing. There are some truly awful non-televised duds that have had it easy compared to (comparatively benign) TV stories just through a difference in exposure – in other words, the shit that’s really bad is the shit not many people will ever be unfortunate enough to consume.


      • Tom Marshall
        October 3, 2016 @ 5:12 pm

        I rather like that way of looking at it!


  8. Daibhid C
    October 3, 2016 @ 11:48 am

    Regarding the quite understandable “How did [TV story] end up below [other media story]?” reactions, it occurs to me that most of us have seen most of the TV stories, but you can’t really have an opinion of the badness of some spin-off video you’ve never seen and have mercifully forgotten existed, or an audio drama where all you really know is the blurb on the Big Finish website.

    So any given spin-offery gets fewer votes than an episode of the actual series – it’s not like Nekrowhosit or Zygons After Dark got any upvotes. And we’ll see the same thing in reverse for the higher end of the chart.


  9. Bennett
    October 3, 2016 @ 12:15 pm

    I didn’t consider non-televised stories for my downvotes, though it wouldn’t have dramatically changed my ballot (I might have given Big Finish’s Excelis stories a kick).

    I look forward to the upcoming list of “ones”, where all of us compete to nominate the most esoteric non-televised story.


  10. hitmonkey
    October 3, 2016 @ 12:28 pm

    I don’t have the time to read through all of this at the moment but I realised while skimming that I managed to forget to downvote minuet in hell.


    • Jane
      October 3, 2016 @ 2:06 pm

      I should have downvoted it too — just simply forgot. Wasn’t really thinking much about non-televised content, nor did I put much effort into thinking through my ballot.

      I do wish (hey Phil!) that I’d upvoted Listen instead of Heaven Sent; that’s the one vote I’d really change.


      • Elizabeth Sandifer
        October 3, 2016 @ 2:09 pm

        Change in vote recorded, as it affects the placement of one of those two stories. (Alas not the one I’d prefer were in a different slot, but oh well.)


  11. Ombund
    October 3, 2016 @ 12:45 pm

    Interesting list and thanks for the fun game. I can’t comment on the reams of Big Finishes in there or most of the novels, but out of the televised stuff there isn’t a whole lot I can argue with. All five of my negative choices made the bottom 25, which is pleasing. It’s a travesty that Love and Monsters ended up so low but a predictable one. I’m disappointed/mildly surprised to see Angels Take Manhattan and The Shakespeare Code in the negative numbers, but then I didn’t like either quite enough to give them an upvote myself so I suppose that’s what happens under this voting system. I love Let’s Kill Hitler and The Two Doctors, but I admit those are slightly idiosyncratic loves so not too surprising to find them here.

    Not sure if you’re going to do a breakdown by era at some point but for those still fighting the RTD vs. Moffat flame wars, the RTD era has 22 stories on this list (12 written or co-written by RTD himself) while the Moffat era has 21 stories (7 written or co-written by Moffat), making them quite evenly matched.


  12. Froborr
    October 3, 2016 @ 2:35 pm

    700: Discorded Whooves (-3 Points, 1 Last Place)

    So that’s a thing I was slightly happier before I knew existed.

    You and me both, buddy. It was suggested to me as a possible topic for the fanworks section of MLPoMo 3, I think I spent an entire half hour giving it second chances before I had to go shower the awful away.


  13. Chris Gerrard
    October 3, 2016 @ 3:36 pm

    I’m so glad others agreed with me and downvoted Creed of the Kromon so much. Charley being forcibly mutated just to become a breeding machine is (at least to me) the lowest, most disgusting point that Doctor Who has ever reached. It retroactively ruins any Philip Martin script for me by how much he seems to love these tropes. I’d say I wish more people had heard it so it was a lower place, but fuck that, no-one should hear it.


    • Tom Marshall
      October 3, 2016 @ 3:42 pm

      For me, the brushed-aside attempted-rape in “Nekromanteia” was a lot worse than “Kromon”. Don’t get me wrong, “Kromon” was dreadful too – but if I had to put one lower, it’d be “Nekromanteia”.


      • John G. Wood
        October 3, 2016 @ 6:57 pm

        Well, I can’t remember everything I did, but I’d be flabbergasted if I didn’t downvote both of those. Definitely the bottom of the audio heap.


  14. mr_mond
    October 3, 2016 @ 4:06 pm

    Now I wish I hadn’t told my friends about the poll, as a fair share of them put Love & Monsters at the last place. It seems to be very divisive in the English-speaking fandom, but in the Polish one it’s pretty universally despised.


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      October 3, 2016 @ 4:18 pm

      I almost specifically requested people not spread the word about the survey so as to keep it “in the family,” as it were, but decided against it. Ah well.


      • mr_mond
        October 3, 2016 @ 6:42 pm

        Yeah, a poll just of the readers would have been nice. For what it’s worth, I regret doing that. I really like Love & Monsters.


  15. ScarvesandCelery
    October 3, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

    Some obligatory (probably inaccurate due to human error) statistical analysis, just focused on the TV Stories.

    Percentage of stories on this list by Doctor, lowest to highest:

    1. 2nd Doctor – 3/20 – 15%
    2. 7th Doctor – 2/12 – 17%
    3. 12th Doctor – 5/24 – 21%
    4. 3rd Doctor – 5/24 – 21%
    5. 1st Doctor – 7/29 – 24%
    6. 9th Doctor 3/10 – 30%
    7. 4th Doctor – 13/41 – 31%
    8. 11th Doctor – 16/39 – 41%
    9. 5th Doctor – 9/20 – 45%
    10. 10th Doctor – 18/37 – 49%
    11. 6th Doctor – 8/11 – 72%
    12. 8th Doctor – 1/1 – 100%

    Some notable guest writers (just new series here, I haven’t had time to pick out classic who writers yet)

    Chris Chibnall – 4/4 – 100%
    Mark Gatiss – 5/8 – 62.5%
    Toby Whithouse – 3/5 – 60%

    Stephen Greenhorn – 2/2 – 100%
    Matthew Graham – 2/2 – 100%
    Steven Thompson – 2/3 – 67%

    And the New Who Showrunners (Co writes not included)

    RTD – 11/24 – 46% (That’s more than a bit harsh, IMO)
    Moffat – 4/29 – 14% (based on the comments saying he’s had 7 including co-writes, I feel like I might have missed one – point it out to me if you’ve seen it)


    • ScarvesandCelery
      October 3, 2016 @ 5:26 pm

      Okay, some classic series Writer stats next.

      Terry Nation – 5/11 – 45%
      Robert Holmes – 4/18 – 22%
      Terrance Dicks – 1/6 – 17%
      Eric Saward – 2/3 – 67%

      Also, correction for the 7th Doctor era – 3/12 – 25%, which moves it down to 4th place, and the 12th and 3rd Doctors up to equal 2nd


      • Ombund
        October 3, 2016 @ 6:07 pm

        Moffat credits:

        4 sole credits (Let’s Kill Hitler; The Wedding of River Song; The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe; Angels Take Manhattan)

        2 co-writes (Into the Dalek; The Caretaker)

        1 minisode (Space/Time)


        • ScarvesandCelery
          October 3, 2016 @ 8:13 pm

          Ah, yes, I did notice that – I was just counting full episodes, not minisodes, hence no “Night of the Doctor” for McGann’s TV stories (that said, I can agree entirely with “Space/ Time” being on the list)


      • Nat
        October 7, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

        Interesting. I’d’ve expected the 3rd doctor’s era to end up lower in a ranking like yours. But, otherwise, that seems about right to me. But then, I think very highly of the 11th and 12th doctors, and I was never as enamored of the 10th as it seems fandom in general is.


  16. ScarvesandCelery
    October 3, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

    I think the New Series gets an unfair amount of attention on here, frankly – there are some middling but inoffensive episodes one here that are a heck of a lot better than some middling Classic series episodes that don’t make this list. That’s probably got something to do with fan outrage fading over time, in fairness – four of my bottom five were New Series stories, just because those were the only ones that immediately came to mind as episodes I didn’t like.

    And I’m kind of surprised “Tomb of the Cybermen” didn’t get an “Earthshock” style unfavourable re-evaluation – like Earthshock, it seems to have a reputation for not living up to its hype, and it’s horribly racist on top of that.


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      October 3, 2016 @ 4:52 pm

      Earthshock certainly isn’t the only beloved classic to do worse in this poll than it does in many others, but it was the only one to end up in the negative numbers, yes.


    • Dan
      October 3, 2016 @ 10:12 pm

      I assume that the new series episodes doing this much worse than the bad classic series is due to a large proportion of voters who don’t know the classic series very well. It’s a very marked skew in the vote from the point of view of an old timer like me.

      I suppose it means that the best of the new series will do better than the best of the classic series than I would give them credit for. I only voted up about three or four New.


  17. StephenfromW3
    October 3, 2016 @ 7:18 pm

    As one of the 8% who didn’t take up the opportunity to downvote anything, I have to say I find this whole section of the list both confusing and fascinating in a slightly weird way. Do 11 people really think The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End is the worst Doctor Who story they’ve ever seen?


    • Przemek
      October 3, 2016 @ 8:45 pm

      Maybe they didn’t think it was the worst, but the most disappointing in the context of the whole season. That was my reason for downvoting episodes (although I didn’t downvote The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End).


    • Chris C
      October 3, 2016 @ 9:33 pm

      Remember that the poll came with a tacit invitation to use downvotes strategically. ‘Last Place’ votes may not have actually been people’s least favourite story, but rather the one they most wanted to sabotage, presumably suspecting it might otherwise be overpraised.


    • wanderingarmageddonpeddler
      October 3, 2016 @ 9:43 pm

      There’s a lot of people who really hate Journey’s End, actually. The big one being the way Donna is treated. A lot of people see the Doctor’s saving her as mind-rape, ignoring her wishes because he wants to save her. And the story is unequivocally on the Doctor’s side, which is doubly galling after an episode of very clunky attempts to call the Doctor’s morality into question.


      • StephenfromW3
        October 4, 2016 @ 7:33 am

        That makes sense – for people who see that scene that way (which seems to include Steven Moffat) I suppose it puts TSE/JE into the “stories which deserve a kicking on political grounds” category, which is fair enough.

        That doesn’t explain why anyone thought that “Original Sin”, for example, was the worst thing ever. Or any number of seemingly inoffensive New Series episodes.


    • taiey
      October 3, 2016 @ 10:46 pm

      Pretty much, yeah. I hate it with burning.


    • Lambda
      October 4, 2016 @ 7:53 am

      The Donna mind-wipe thing is horrible, the making a second Doctor who can be with Rose (but gets stranded on one planet without even asking his opinion) thing is awful, the fact that Rose is even here in the first place gives it this “nothing that we’re told is permanent actually is” thing which makes it all pointless to begin with, the inclusion of all sorts of characters from the past four years for no reason at all has nothing to do with any sort of real storytelling. A fake regeneration is the worst sort of cliffhanger. And that’s just the big things.

      Let’s take a more detailed look at the “towing the Earth” idea. First reaction is just “no, that won’t work, you’ll just rip chunks out of it. Unless you do it REALLY slowly.” But OK, this is DW, it isn’t necessarily scientifically accurate, so it’ll be a symbol of something. But of what, why do we want the TARDIS towing the Earth? It can only be a symbol of “Doctor Who is awesome!”

      But you know why Doctor Who is awesome? Because it tells stories which are about things. Not about how brilliant it is. Doomsday did the same thing, but this does it even more than that did. It abandons trying to be a Doctor Who story about things, and just becomes something which exploits the fact that previous Doctor Who stories have been good and have made people like Doctor Who to press their buttons without doing any of these good things itself.

      Compare something like The Twin Dilemma, at least it’s trying to be interesting, it’s just incompetent and makes all sorts of bad decisions, so it fails. You could make stories with the approach of Journey’s End a million times, and each one would be of no value.


      • StephenfromW3
        October 4, 2016 @ 8:02 am

        So the answer to my question is “Yes, they probably do.” πŸ™‚


  18. Sean Dillon
    October 3, 2016 @ 7:41 pm

    Worst Stories of Each Era:

    1-Celestial Toymaker (760)
    2-Dominators (759)
    3-Monster of Peladon (744)
    4-Underworld (731)
    5-Warriors of the Deep (753)
    6-Twin Dilemma (762)
    7-Time and the Rani (756)
    8-TV Movie (748)
    9-Aliens of London/World War III (743)
    10-Fear Her (761)
    11-Victory of the Daleks (754)
    12-Sleep No More (750)


    • Nat
      October 7, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

      Underworld may not have been amazing, but I consider that one a mis-ranking: just off the top of my head I can name a couple 4th-doctor stories that are clearly worse (starting with Destiny of the Daleks). I’d have to look at a list of 12th- and 10th-doctor stories to decide if those are right, but they’re not obviously wrong. And IMHO none of the 9th-doctor stories are “bad”–they’re at worst “less good”, so as long as you don’t pick one of the truly amazing ones, I’ll not quibble with whichever one you pick as the worst (though how Aliens of London/World War III ended up that far down the overall list is beyond me).

      But, otherwise, yeah, that sounds about right.


  19. David Anderson
    October 3, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

    Many Doctor Who episodes are undeservedly neglected; none are undeservedly remembered (as Auden would have said).
    It’s arguable that a story that ten people vote for and five vote against is probably superior to one which five people vote for. In fact, it’s arguable that a story that ten people vote for and ten vote against is probably superior to one which ten people vote for and nobody votes against. (One that everyone hates is probably just offensively awful.)


  20. Nicholas Caluda
    October 3, 2016 @ 8:39 pm

    There are some good novels on here (“Christmas on A Rational Planet” chief among them) that I’m disappointed to see hit such a low bar. The televised stuff makes sense, though. “Nightmare in Silver” can go die in a tire fire for all I care.


    • Darren Kramble
      October 3, 2016 @ 9:42 pm

      No, Christmas on a Rational Planet is terrible and deserves to be punched. I stand by my vote.


      • Daibhid C
        October 3, 2016 @ 9:58 pm

        That’s the one that starts with the Doctor explaining that gender essentialism is built into the very fabric of the universe, right?


    • Dan
      October 3, 2016 @ 10:19 pm

      I don’t see how Nightmare in Silver is that bad? It’s really worse than Silver Nemesis.

      But this is part of the pattern of new series stories doing worse than inferior classic stories, presumably because of the demographics. I thought it might be interesting to see the results of the two epochs (ages? aeons?) presented separately – but Phil’s vision of Doctor Who doesn’t quite allow them to be separated…


      • Dan
        October 3, 2016 @ 10:27 pm

        *than Silver Nemesis?


      • Nicholas Caluda
        October 3, 2016 @ 11:00 pm

        “Silver Nemesis,” for all its faults, is a fascinating presage of the Moffat era at its best. It’s fun and madcap and all over the place, but above all it’s not full of tremendously wasted potential. “Nightmare in Silver” deosn’t manage to be anything but infuriating. It’s the most disappointed I’ve ever been with this show.


        • arcbeatle
          October 3, 2016 @ 11:24 pm

          I quite enjoyed it! (And to be honest, I haven’t seen Silver Nemesis yet.)


          • Dan
            October 3, 2016 @ 11:27 pm

            That wasn’t arcbeatle. That was Dan. I used to have a badger avatar.

            (All of arcbeatles’s details appeared auto-filled in the form for some reason. I didn’t notice for that comment, and just sent it, but changed them to my details for this comment.)

          • arcbeatle
            October 3, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

            …I hope you had a good time being me o_O?

          • Dan
            October 3, 2016 @ 11:57 pm

            It’s something that’s difficult to speak of with any certainty, being rather hazy. But I have no complaints.

          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            October 4, 2016 @ 1:07 am

            That’s odd. I was pretty sure we’d gotten that bug fixed, but it seems to be rearing its head again.

  21. Przemek
    October 3, 2016 @ 8:58 pm

    Reading this list made me realize I coud have voted for mini-episodes like Space/Time and Time Crash – that whole cathegory didn’t even cross my mind, and it should have. I also completely forgot about DW spin-offs. “Children of Earth” should’ve gotten a vote from me.


  22. wanderingarmageddonpeddler
    October 3, 2016 @ 9:53 pm

    Yes, my evil plan to ruin Planet of Evil’s standing in this poll was a success!!!

    Man, though, I would’ve strategically upvoted a bunch of these stories if I had known they would be so hated in this poll. None of my faves are on this list, but a bunch of stories I really like are. I nearly did give The Sensorites an upvote!


  23. Daibhid C
    October 3, 2016 @ 9:55 pm

    I’ve been trying to remember if I downvoted any spinoffs (I recently cleared my shelves of the novels I had absolutely no intention of ever reading again, some of which appear here, so it was on my mind), and while it’s hard to be sure owing to my policy of not thinking too hard about it in order to avoid being paralysed by indecision, I don’t think I did, because I was half-expecting there to be a separate worst non-televised section, and I didn’t go back once I realised there wasn’t one, because reconsidering my vote would interfere with my aforementioned reliance on instinct.

    (I apologise for the above run-on sentence, but it’s late and I can’t see how to make it more coherent.)

    The only thing I remember downvoting is “Kill the Moon”, due to doing so via a cheap gag that I probably would have reconsidered if I hadn’t been intentionally not reconsidering anything. Sorry.


    • Dan
      October 3, 2016 @ 10:21 pm

      It’s a very coherent run-on sentence.


  24. crossaffliction
    October 3, 2016 @ 11:36 pm

    Just like to take a moment to say I really wasn’t trolling when I voted Colin Baker favorite doctor, gave a positive vote to “The Twin Dilemma”, and also gave a downvote to “Kill the Moon” (apparently that’s a thing?). I did kind of go overboard with the upvotes for Colin Baker stories (most were just okay); I think I was consciously counter-voting, and probably should have taken out, for example, all four sub-stories of “The Trial of the Time Lord” for some more Donna Noble/David Tennant episodes (like “The Unicorn and the Wasp” and “Partners in Crime”) that I, with voter’s regret, am realizing I like way better. Oh, well.

    However, I still like “The Twin Dilemma”; in fact, it may be my favorite story of the “old” Doctor Who I’ve seen (admittedly, I’m missing a lot of classics, including “The Twin Dillemma’s” lead-in, “The Caves of Androzani”; however, 6 is the only classic Doctor I’ve seen every episode of). The main defense is basically that I took the Doctor is a very sick man who valiantly fights against his sickness while also fighting an evil sci-fi plot, and Peri realizes that he was not in control of his actions during the most (in)famous scene (which he does apologize for, admitting to Peri that he should have been thrown out the airlock for his actions; and the entire reason he comes across the main plot is because of his admittedly still addled attempt to atone for his act), and that she is not just meekly acquiescing to an abusive man. Also, you have to remember, this story takes place, like, five minutes after the Doctor saved her in “Caves.” She knows the guy isn’t quite himself right now, and that he is ultimately still the same guy. But, anyway, the point is, the twins are boring, the slug monsters are stupid, but I liked it because Baker’s performance really worked for me. I don’t think I’m convincing anyone it’s great, but I’m not trolling.

    And the 6th Doctor may decide to dress up like a clown, but if Matt Smith can turn wearing a stupid tie into an annoying catch phrase and still have the balls to say he doesn’t care that he wears it, well, at least Baker’s Doctor admits his fashion sense has deteriorated and his performance is much better at showing he really doesn’t care that other people think he dresses funny. (Also, the same story features another person going into the same room and coming out with a metallic, shiny disco suit, so it actually could have been worse.) (Also, also, Baker’s Doctor being famed for his comics appearances makes sense, because while he’s in the top ten worst dressed title characters on TV, in comics, he at least gets pushed up to like, only the top 100.) (Also, also, also, cats are cool.)

    In a more general defense of the 6th Doctor, he and Peri are basically a dry run for 12 and Clara. Both Clara and Peri start out with a younger Doctor, who regenerates into a much different Doctor that they end up having a spikier relationship with despite still being friends, before being ambiguously killed due to Time Lord intervention, before being ambiguously restored to life to go on further adventures with a Viking. As for the 6th Doctor himself, he seems more vulnerable because of his apparent egotism; I guess I don’t need flawless, invulnerable Doctors, just heroic ones who get on with it, even if they have to bluster to do the things they do.

    As for “Kill the Moon”, I hate that episode because it’s concept is “the moon is an egg”, which is why we have all these debates about whether it’s about abortion or women’s rights or something, because otherwise we’d all have to admit it’s about “the moon is an egg”, and we don’t want to do that, because “the fucking moon is a fucking egg” is a really, deeply stupid idea.


    • Kiki Basco
      October 4, 2016 @ 12:12 am

      I upvoted “The Unicorn and the Wasp” and downvoted “Kill the Moon.”

      Unfortunately, Phil went and invalidated my ballot just because I upvoted the TV Movie 19 times in a row.


      • Dan
        October 4, 2016 @ 12:45 am

        And I think, in fact, this was the only invalidated ballot?

        Anyway. I am surprised at the placing of The Two Doctors. I can assure you we loved it at the time. If I’d been more tactical in my votes instead of utterly vanilla I might have voted it up.


        • Elizabeth Sandifer
          October 4, 2016 @ 1:07 am

          One of two.


          • Kiki Basco
            October 4, 2016 @ 3:00 am

            Morbidly curious what the second invalidated ballot was.

          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            October 4, 2016 @ 1:56 pm

            All joke titles. I actually failed to clean two of them out until after I’d started posting results, leading to me quietly slipping in a pair of innocuous untelevised stories that hadn’t actually gotten any votes so that I wouldn’t have to renumber everything.

      • arcbeatle
        October 4, 2016 @ 4:16 am

        I respect you the most of anyone on this site, Kiki Basco. You fought the good fight.


    • The Not Quite Handsome Doctor
      October 4, 2016 @ 3:44 am

      Hey, I actually put Kill the Moon last, which was only half-trolling: I don’t think it’s actually much good, for the same basic reason you don’t, but I’m not sure that I hate it more than any other episode I’ve seen. However, in the spirit of negativity that I read Phil as encouraging for that part of the poll, I gave it bottom honors partly for annoyance at the large number of positive votes it’s probably going to get.

      As for the rest of the downvote list, I rounded it out with some standards: Victory of the Daleks, Daleks in Manhattan, Fear Her.

      Finally, Terminus was the only actual negative vote I gave to an older story, for predictable skew reasons: I’m a child of the New Series who’s been very recently digging deep into the Old, but starting with the better-reputed stories and avoiding the infamous ones (I haven’t quite braved any of Trial, yet, though The Mysterious Planet is probably next on my list out of your favorite’s era, having seen Vengeance, Revelation, Mark, and The Two Doctors, none of which I’d say are as bad as I’ve heard). SInce I’ve never had to contend yet with the likes of the Monster of Peladon, or Timelash, they couldn’t get my vote.

      But my positive list is more balanced: 10 Old stories vs. 10 New.


    • Przemek
      October 4, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

      I feel like “the moon is an egg” concept would be an okay idea if the episode took a fairytale approach to it. But since it was presented as a sci-fi concept it just didn’t work at all. That and the whole abortion thing.


      • Kiki Basco
        October 4, 2016 @ 3:15 pm

        After Peter Harness said it never occurred to him that “Kill the Moon” could be interpreted as a metaphor for abortion, I distinctly remember thinking that one of two things was true:

        1. Peter Harness is a really shitty liar.
        2. Peter Harness is a really shitty writer.

        I don’t mean this in a “grrr stupid pro-lifers” way but if “Kill the Moon” is indicative of his level of self-consciousness I’m dreading his take on ISIS.


        • Przemek
          October 4, 2016 @ 6:49 pm

          He really said that? Wow. I really hope he’s a shitty liar then. I couldn’t write a clearer metaphor for abortion if I tried.


          • Elizabeth Sandifer
            October 4, 2016 @ 7:13 pm

            I honestly don’t find it at all hard to believe. Abortion simply isn’t a hot button issue in Great Britain or Sweden. It’s would have been non-obvious thing for him to even consider when looking at the story. He freely admits that the reading is there and supported by the text (although he’s, I think rightly, of the view that the resulting interpretation is essentially pro-choice), but it’s simply not something that he, as someone quite far from the American abortion debate, even thought of one way or another.

            Also, he reads the site and has been nothing but kind and generous to it, so on a personal level, while you can feel free to gripe about the story all you like, kindly take the accusations that he’s acting in bad faith elsewhere.

          • Nat
            October 10, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

            American here. Analytical Doctor Who-watcher (and thus fan of Eruditorum), fan of Overthinking It, and general fan of analyzing pop culture. Avid political participant and debater.

            Never occurred to me that Kill the Moon was an active or deliberate abortion-debate metaphor. I mean, yeah, you can’t talk about killing an embryo without it having /some/ overtones of abortion, but for me this no more resonated with the abortion debate than does the debate between free-range and factory chicken farming.

            I remember thinking when I first watched it “wow, people are going to mistake this for being about abortion” in one of the scenes near the end, but I didn’t think that was what the author was going for–just that pro-life zealots have been working really hard in this country to prop up their abortion stance by tying it to all sorts of other things, so it warps your perceptions and you start seeing abortion-debate metaphors everywhere.

  25. Random Comments
    October 4, 2016 @ 3:19 am

    Who downvoted Max Warp, and why?

    I wish I could remember everything I voted and downvoted for, but then I’d regret all my decisions. Several of my most hateds aren’t here, so I…look forward, I suppose, to seeing where they end up.


  26. David H
    October 5, 2016 @ 3:45 pm

    “The Dominators (-53 Points, 8 Last Place, 29 Downvotes)

    I was slightly surprised to see the intensity of hatred for this one. It’s a famously rubbish story, but I didn’t expect it to beat stuff like Time and the Rani, The TV Movie, and The Lazarus Experiment.”

    It earned a downvote from me less for it being famously rubbish than on ideological grounds.


    • Nat
      October 10, 2016 @ 1:52 pm

      I missed the post announcing the poll, so was racing to complete it at the last hour. That also meant I didn’t know what the structure was, and didn’t know that I could go back to previous sections and change my answers. So when I got to the “least favorite” section, I was kinda caught off guard. Rather than be systematic, I just started thinking of stories that still make me cringe, even after multiple watchings and Phil’s sometimes-generous reinterpretations.

      Just between the 2nd and 3rd doctors, I’d filled up the list, and I was satisfied that they were all bad stories, so i didn’t look further to confirm that they were the /worst/ stories. I have less interest in arguing about the worst stories than I do arguing about the best.


  27. MC
    October 7, 2016 @ 10:14 pm

    While its not “good” by any stretch of the imagination, I feel like most of the hate of “The Dominators” comes down to the fact that it exists and “Power of the Daleks” doesn’t. If all of the Troughton stories were complete in the archives and on DVD, “The Dominators” would just be the era’s biggest turkey, as opposed to one of the worst Doctor Who stories ever.


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