The Eruditorum Press Doctor Who Poll
So it snuck up on us, but Eruditorum Press celebrated its first anniversary yesterday. Consider this the standard and deeply sincere post where I thank everybody – our original crew of Jack, Jane, Kevin, and James, the newer gang of Josh, Daniel, and Shana, and our Web Doll Anna. I couldn’t ask for a better team of weirdos to help me forensically diagnose the state of late capitalism via idiosyncratic pop culture thinkpieces. And thanks to the readers and commenters who make this such a fantastic community. It’s been an absolute pleasure running this site for the past year. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone, and I hope my stupid natterings don’t unduly lower the class of the joint.
I’ve got revelries, but first I want to do the obligatory cup-shake. The Eruditorum Press Patreon runneth low. I understand this – A Brief Treatise on the Rules of Thrones was unpopular to say the least. I’ve been bad at some Patron obligations like bonus posts. So I’ve restructured the Patreon a bit. Bonus posts are a thing of the past because apparently I suck at them. So here’s the new reward structure. At $1, you get a preview of Monday’s posts as close to a week early as I can manage. At $2 I’ll send you occasional short reviews of movies, books, and albums I listen to and like. Think 2-3 paragraphs a couple times a month on things that catch my fancy. And at $5 you get writers notes behind the scenes commentaries on major pieces. September’s were on “The Blind All-Seeing Eye of Gamergate.” There’ll be ones on Last War in Albion Volume 1, and “Theses on Trump” in October, as well as on new Last War in Albion chapters. (Which I have one of ready to go along with Volume 1 when it launches, which will be any week now – I just need to find a 2-3 day stretch to work on it basically.)
I’ve also added a goal at $300 per week whereby I’ll review Class episode by episode.
Right. So now for the fun. We did a big Last War in Albion Twitter Tournament back in March (From Hell won), so as we near election season in America it’s clearly time for a Doctor Who one. So we’re proud to announce the Eruditorum Press Doctor Who Poll – our bid to codify the taste of whatever faction of Doctor Who fandom we represent. (The alt-frocks?) Anyway, here’s how we’re doing it. You’re going to name your personal top twenty Doctor Who stories. One of them you’ll designate your all-time favorite. That one will get five points. Your other nineteen will get one point. I’ll create a ranked list, with ties broken according to my personal preference because it’s my site. You do not have to offer a full list – as many stories as you like, up to twenty. But you do have to pick a favorite.
“Doctor Who Story” is defined however you like. For the sake of settling likely-to-arise issues when counting votes, there are a couple of Official Clarifications at the end of the post. But in order to give the esoterica a bit more of a fighting chance, you get five additional slots that can only be used for non-televised stories. And in order to give fandom’s darker impulses an outlet, you also get five hate votes. Four can be used to deduct one point from a story’s total. You also get to name one all-time most hated story to award -3 points to. Yes, stories can finish with negative points, and if certain notorious tales end up wtih negative points I will absolutely be including that in the rankings. Finally, at the end of the ballot there are some fun other questions like “who’s your favorite Doctor.”
And so without further ado, The Eruditorum Press Doctor Who Poll Ballot
In order to minimize ballot stuffing, voting will require a Google account. I don’t know if that will give me your e-mail addresses; if so I will delete that data as early in the process as possible, although I may e-mail you if I have a question about your vote. Voting will close at the end of September, and we’ll do a nice fun roll-out of results over the course of October.
Right. Official clarifications.
- The first Doctor Who story is four episodes long and called An Unearthly Child. If you want to vote for it on the basis of the first episode alone, nobody will hold that against you.
- The Daleks debuted in a story called The Daleks, which immediately preceded The Edge of Destruction.
- Shada does not count as untelevised Doctor Who. If you vote for it there, I’m awarding the vote to the Gareth Roberts novelization.
- Season Twenty-Three consists of four stories: The Mysterious Planet, Mindwarp, Terror of the Vervoids, and The Ultimate Foe. If this annoys you and you’d like to vote for all fourteen parts, vote for The Ultimate Foe and we’ll all know what you really mean.
- It’s just called The TV Movie
- Utopia is not part of the story The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords. A Good Man Goes to War and Let’s Kill Hitler are different stories. Series 9 has three two-parters: The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, Under the Lake/Before the Flood, and The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion.
- Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures can be voted for as untelevised stories, but please select individual stories, not the series as a whole. Children of Earth and Miracle Day are each individual stories.
September 16, 2016 @ 9:59 am
“Doctor Who Story” is defined however you like.”
I’m hoping you meant this as broad as I read it because I used up all my “non-televised story” slots on fan fiction.
And gave a -1 to Lust in Space.
September 16, 2016 @ 10:13 am
Oh, and happy birthday. Naturally.
September 16, 2016 @ 10:30 am
“The first Doctor Who story is four episodes long and called An Unearthly Child. If you want to vote for it on the basis of the first episode alone, nobody will hold that against you.”
I never would’ve thought of that if it weren’t for you anyway.
September 16, 2016 @ 10:40 am
I had the unlimited audacity to vote for one of my own fics under ‘Best Non-Televised Story’, and I strongly suggest other people should do this too (vote for mine, I mean, not their own).
September 16, 2016 @ 11:34 am
Pfft. I didn’t even wait for the “non-televised” bit. Up yo’ ego game!
September 16, 2016 @ 4:19 pm
I put my fic under “Bad Doctor Who” stories. Not the worst, but it’s pretty bad. Also I can’t convince myself to put the Christmas one in the place of any of the other ones, even the Jem and the Holograms one. Sorry Jack.
September 16, 2016 @ 4:40 pm
September 16, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
Well, maybe I would’ve voted for it if it had a name beyond “That Christmas thing Jack did with the Doctor and Felix”.
September 16, 2016 @ 7:01 pm
I actually went back to the Christmas podcast to try to find the title. When it turned out I didn’t have one, I simply put the first line in quotation marks and then added “by Jack Graham” to the end.
September 16, 2016 @ 10:00 pm
You’re too kind, and mad, if you’re serious.
I called the story ‘Walls’. The text is up at old Shabgraff.
September 17, 2016 @ 1:44 am
I’m quite serious. And thank you, though honestly your reading of it was so good I suspect it’ll lose a little something in text.
September 17, 2016 @ 7:52 pm
I voted for Walls as the best!
September 19, 2016 @ 7:12 am
You voted? Because I put some Faction stuff in my best list entirely on the assumption that you wouldn’t be able to, not wanting to register a Google account.
September 18, 2016 @ 4:23 pm
I hadn’t seen that story — didn’t realize there was still an occasional need to check your old website. It’s excellent! I’m sticking with the full-length novels I voted for (seriously, the Eighth Doctor Adventures are turning out to be fantastic as long as you stick to the ones that are well-regarded and never buy all the others) … but then again, I’d also enjoy seeing Jack’s recent First Chapter turn into a novel of its own.
September 18, 2016 @ 6:01 pm
Be careful what you wish for.
September 18, 2016 @ 12:02 am
Any chance of a link to the story Jack? Not that it will help you at all as I’ve already voted. I’m just interested in a read. I did try a google search but that led me to https://soundcloud.com/cowp_music/cowp-jack-graham-walls which isn’t it I’m sure.
September 18, 2016 @ 11:26 am
September 20, 2016 @ 11:06 am
Thanks, Jack! I enjoyed it a lot!
September 16, 2016 @ 11:11 am
Distressed by the fact that you can edit your answers. Enough time consumed already in weighing my responses, and now I’m going to keep going back to change my “Best Doctor” answer again.
September 16, 2016 @ 11:34 am
Also, er, slightly disappointed that there are only four hate-vote slots for things that aren’t the TV movie. But I didn’t say that.
September 16, 2016 @ 3:11 pm
Ha. I just turned that off because I realized it meant I couldn’t do any early work vote counting.
September 16, 2016 @ 7:02 pm
I mean, look, if you didn’t answer “Clara Oswald”, you are objectively wrong.
September 16, 2016 @ 11:30 am
One cannot simply pass up the opportunity to give Attack of the Cybes -3 points
September 16, 2016 @ 7:03 pm
I did, though it is in my -1 list.
I was considering asking Tumblr if anyone could guess what I gave -3, but it seemed needlessly self-indulgent.
September 16, 2016 @ 2:06 pm
Curse of the Fatal Death counts as a TV story and I won’t have you say anything about it.
The Flan in the High Castle
September 16, 2016 @ 4:13 pm
Damn it, I KNEW I forgot something important.
September 16, 2016 @ 4:16 pm
Well, you can always go back and edit it.
The Flan in the High Castle
September 16, 2016 @ 4:12 pm
Only one slot each for best Doctor and companion? I had no trouble whittling my list of favourite Doctors down to The Other and Grandfather Paradox, but that final selection was made with a heavy heart.
September 17, 2016 @ 5:28 pm
I was debating between one of the photos from Brian of Morbius and the Valeyard…
September 16, 2016 @ 4:48 pm
Jamie Mathieson is missing from best writers candidates
He has 100% hit rating for me, nobody else does.
September 16, 2016 @ 7:05 pm
It did seem weird to me that there was no write-in candidate option for that, though granted there’s only so many folks with enough stories to justify the win. (The fact that all the Cartmel-era writers got lumped together cracked me up.)
September 17, 2016 @ 3:11 am
Yeah, it was really the only way to make there be a clear choice for fans of that era’s writing. The lack of write-in is to keep that category focused – the point of the bonus questions is really not radical self-expression. The one “Other” option on the page is carefully chosen.
Although in hindsight making “Classic Series vs New Series” a binary choice and then also making it the only required question in the whole ballot would have been hilarious.
September 16, 2016 @ 5:01 pm
Calling the glorious “Horns of Nimon” first-place upset now.
September 16, 2016 @ 9:15 pm
The vote should have been split into ’10 best stories’ & ’10 favourite stories’
September 17, 2016 @ 3:35 am
How many Horns of Nimon votes were there?
September 16, 2016 @ 5:20 pm
Gosh, that was hard. It just so happened that almost every Doctor got a story in my Top 20 – only 6 and 8 miss out, but then they managed to sneak in with very high scores on the Non-Televised section (stand up, Rob Shearman!).
Picking fave Doctor, fave companion and fave writer is almost impossible, mind.
Eventually placed “Heaven Sent” as my Number 1, not just because it is (obviously) a personal favourite that excites, moves and intellectually satisfies me, but also because I think on an accomplishment/technical level it is easily the best slice of Doctor Who ever made and one of the most remarkable slices of television. It’s Doctor Who as directed by Herzog or Bergman, with a central performance so rich it seems to add layers upon each rewatch. And a quite, quite dazzling script.
John G. Wood
September 16, 2016 @ 5:55 pm
Similar – for the TV stories 6th and 8th miss out but both are represented on audio, though in my case only half of those are by Rob Shearman. I also decided to put aside some slots for the best of other media since I could easily fill the non-TV sections with audios. Only one fan work made it in – The Stalker of Norfolk.
I wonder how many others will give the top slot to a William Hartnell story? I’m already regretting some of my (other) choices, but that would always be the case so I’ll let my vote stand.
Happy Birthday Eruditorumites!
September 16, 2016 @ 6:07 pm
I put Outrage of the Zygons on mine.
September 16, 2016 @ 8:52 pm
Hartnell scored highly in most of my categories.
September 17, 2016 @ 12:26 pm
He scored highly in ones you love and ones you hate? Impressive range!
September 18, 2016 @ 1:47 am
Yes and I didn’t even put Celestial Toymaker in any category.
September 17, 2016 @ 4:23 pm
Oh, shoot! I already did my poll, and I wasn’t thinking–I forgot to put The Ten Doctors on there! That was an awesome bit of fanwork in my opinion. And I really wish I could have nominated Search For The Truth on DeviantArt, but well, it never finished. There’s a webcomic on DeviantArt called ‘Doctor Who: Fade Away’ about the Brigadier that was pretty sweet, too. And some of my favorite Doctor Who fanfic stories are by Crystal Rose of Pollux, about Two and Jamie, especially Those Who Help Us Most To Grow.
September 18, 2016 @ 2:56 am
I considered putting Search for Truth on there as it was one of my major DW influences when I was starting with the show. It’s one of the few that I actually still like (along with Rich Morris’ stuff, though slightly less so in that case).
John G. Wood
September 19, 2016 @ 1:45 pm
The Ten Doctors is loads of fun, but for my money The Stalker of Norfolk is the better story – and short enough to print out! I did that one year and gave it to my daughter in instalments for advent, since she was the ideal reader (Pertwee was her favourite classic Doctor and she was already interested in the mystery addressed).
I’d forgotten about Fade Away – I love that one. A perfect tribute to the Brig. I’ll have to investigate some of the others you folks have mentioned.
September 16, 2016 @ 5:39 pm
Happy Anniversary, folks!! This website is possibly the best thing I’ve found when searching for annotations on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
(Yes, it was a long and strange path of hyperlinks and recommendations till I got here)
Now, on the poll. Since I haven’t watched the Classical Series (just the first 3 arcs), my fave doctor choice is kinda limited, but there’s no doubt Midnight is the absolute best story. And good to see Torchwood and SJA getting some love :P.
September 16, 2016 @ 6:08 pm
To be fair, I found Moorcock that way.
September 16, 2016 @ 6:00 pm
I’ve discovered that there’s a big difference between ‘best’ and ‘favourite’. And with Dr. Who having gone on for 40+ years (as far as I’m concerned), it matters a lot when you first hit upon a story, and in what form it was …
So, basically, ranking Dr. Who stories is a very very silly thing to do. 🙂
September 16, 2016 @ 7:06 pm
Unlike, of course, everything else that happens here, which is never anything less than entirely and 100% serious.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I noticed there’s an article on Starship Troopers out..
September 16, 2016 @ 7:20 pm
I’m glad I could vote for my least Favorite Doctor Who related thing of all time with -3. Feels good :P. Not stating it to avoid any ironic plus votes.
Very curious how this whole thing will turn out.
September 16, 2016 @ 8:51 pm
I need some lists to jog my memory. It’s easy enough to find lists of “all televised Doctor Who stories”, “all Big Finish Doctor Who stories”, and all “Virgin/BBC Doctor Who novels”, but is there a list of Doctor Who esoterica somewhere? The Faction Paradox stuff, obviously, and the comics. What am I missing?
September 17, 2016 @ 12:23 am
I had made my long-list of favourite Doctor Who stories and was whittling them down to twenty when I realised I had only considered classic stories. At which point I basically thought “fuck it” and decided to go with it, as the task was difficult enough as it was.
I find I relate quite differently to the classic and new series. One is an old friend, comfortable, my first fandom before I knew what fandom was, mediated and understood through Target novelisations, Doctor Who Weekly and an array of critical voices in conversation with each other. The new series is current, developing, not yet assimilated, a fine new friend but without the easy familiarity of the old.
Perhaps relatedly, perhaps not, I find it very difficult to meaningfully compare classic and new episodes. he styles, the production values, the entire cultural framework is so different. How could I even begin to decide if Flatline is better or worse than The Time Meddler? I just can’t do it, so I confined myself to the classic series.
What I do find curious, though, is that I have no such difficulty with actors. I can quite happily compare Matt Smith to Tom Baker, Jenna Coleman to Elisabeth Sladen. Is this because acting has changed much less that the rest of TV production? Or is it just me being idiosyncratic?
September 17, 2016 @ 2:57 am
Television acting has changed a great deal- but perhaps doctor who acting less so? There’s still a level of theatre and camp to Doctor Who acting that seems largely removed from the naturalism that predominates in this century’s television.
September 18, 2016 @ 6:35 pm
In prestige drama like The Wire or Breaking Bad there is certainly a more naturalistic style, but I don’t think the acting in modern Doctor Who is particularly less naturalistic than in your typical procedural.
September 17, 2016 @ 12:25 am
“…so as we near election season in America it’s clearly time for a Doctor Who one”
I think I may see a connection.
September 25, 2016 @ 1:02 am
Anyone else hear drumming in the background? (Is it just me?)
September 17, 2016 @ 12:31 am
This is a fun project!
I strongly doubt I would’ve picked David Fisher for best writer anyway, but he did roughly 4.5 stories; the four he finished I all really like; and the one he didn’t finish turned into “City of Death”. Would’ve been cool to be able to vote for him or write him in, at least. Pity he didn’t hang around past the start of the Nathan-Turner era, although I imagine he didn’t like having his jokes edited out of “the Leisure Hive”. I wouldn’t have either.
I cast several positive votes for the Russell Davies era, but absolutely all of my hate points went to Davies-era episodes. I didn’t know that would happen. I think it’s about how the old series made it easy to skip over awfulness. The new series makes sitting through it feel obligatory.
September 17, 2016 @ 1:27 am
Just realized I forgot “The Kingmaker.”
September 17, 2016 @ 3:00 am
Don’t worry. For reasons beyond me, it popped into my head. Unless you wanted to vote it down…
September 18, 2016 @ 8:10 pm
That’s nothing. I honestly forgot Twin Dilemma existed when I filled this out.
September 17, 2016 @ 2:59 am
My -3 is so nasty and strategic.
September 17, 2016 @ 3:07 am
Assuming it’s the most recent oddball choice for that category, it’s doing all that you could hope for at the moment.
September 21, 2016 @ 1:26 pm
My -3 I really loathe but the rest of my unfavourites are just over-rated. I think.
September 17, 2016 @ 5:11 am
So glad that Moffat turned up in the Producer category, as well as writer, ’cause then I could get a vote in for Holmes and Moffat….
That writer one was the hardest.
September 17, 2016 @ 10:07 pm
I don’t like giving Moffat a producer credit. It’s not his skill, at least not with the Matt Smith era. The Capaldi stuff has felt a lot better held together for me.
For me that slot was a toss-up between Verity Lambert and Russel T. Davies, but Verity Lambert really had to win.
September 18, 2016 @ 3:09 am
Yeah… but, no for me. I prefer the whole of Moffat’s run to that of RTD. And Verity was a very nostalgic favourite… but Moffat has entertained me more consistently from day one (as a writer as well as a show-runner).
Also one quibble; hubby and I share a computer, and I voted first, so the poll won’t let him vote at all, saying we’ve already voted. Which is a bit of a pity as he has lived Doctor Who since childhood and I’m only a newbie, thanks to him.
September 18, 2016 @ 3:46 am
Oops. Sorted. My bad!
September 17, 2016 @ 10:15 am
I realised at an early stage that I could either be frozen with indecision forever, or I could just go with instinct and not think about it too much.
With the result that it’s less than 24 hours later, and I don’t even remember what half my choices were. Which at least means I’m not second-guessing them.
September 17, 2016 @ 3:13 pm
I’m a fairweather Eruditorum reader, I don’t mind admitting.
I tuned out of Treatise on The Rules of Thrones early on, and I intend to attempt chugging down all of Last War once it’s complete (if there is such a thing as it ever being ‘complete’). I have also found the pleasures of Pex Lives and Shabogan through TE, so thank you for all that.
But TARDIS Eruditorum is still the greatest thing I have ever found on the Internet (apart from this, obviously: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw5oJoUYTb8), so it with immesurable pleasure, and after immesurable insight from TE itself, that I’ll be gleefully completing my ballot this weekend and frantically rallying others to do so.
Happy Birthday Eruditorum. Long may you flourish.
September 17, 2016 @ 3:15 pm
Oh shit yes, if any one ever wanted to consider the stories from the Time Shadows non-official Who collection for their non-televised entries (in particular my onw tale, “Close To Home”), I totally would not have a problem with that. That would be fine.
September 17, 2016 @ 5:06 pm
Well, I just committed a giant solecism and mistook Deadline for Flatline, or possibly Flatline for Deadline. It’s either an error on my part or I badly want Robert Shearman back writing for TV.
September 17, 2016 @ 10:45 pm
You are not alone.
About that wish, I mean, not getting the stories mixed up! 😉
September 19, 2016 @ 12:58 pm
I was surprised by how few actual episodes I put down, and how many Big Finish I put down. Didn’t feel right putting anything down for writer or producer as I’ve seen almost none of the classic series.
September 24, 2016 @ 9:19 am
I was torn as to whether Target books counted as ‘untelevised’ or not. The best bits did. But played it safe with bonus five until I’d voted and thought, ‘Bum! Forgot The Book of the War!’ which is what comes of going through mental categories and not stretching them enough when sleepy. At least I remembered Flight of the Darned.
Next year, can we have five choices for best writer, too? That was the hardest bit.
I’m with Brian Block above on David Fisher, who wouldn’t have been my number 1 but would be in my five. Well, probably. I’ve just worked it out, and I would have eight in my five top authors. So, as I was saying, if next year we can have eight choices for best writer…
September 24, 2016 @ 9:21 am
PS Personally I’d vote ‘most hated’ as my ‘most hated category’, and give my -3 to that. I did do the anti-votes as they were there, but I felt a bit soiled for voting to put down someone else’s fun. Even that one.