My Top 10 Doctor Who Stories of 2020

It’s time for one of the more unique yearly features on this blog: The Top 10 Doctor Who stories list! Again, taking in stories from the TV show and audio (plus two books this year… neither of them made the top 10, but they were in the running!) there is a surprising amount to shift through. So without further ado: Let’s… ado? (that doesn’t work… whatever.)

Scorched Earth took me by complete surprise back in May. My original thought was “Yet another Doctor Who story set in World War II… great”, but it ended up being a great two hours, playing off of Constance’s own history with the war and weaving in an alien threat to boot. (My review of the story can be found HERE)

Unlike Scorched Earth, I had high hopes for Subterfuge as soon as I heard Rufus Hound’s incarnation of The Monk was going to appear, and sure enough it lived up to the promise. Blending politics with sci-fi can be hit and miss, but this story pulls it off with ease, and even resists the urge to over-glorify Churchill to boot! (My review of the story can be found HERE)

The only entry on this list to come from the “Time Lord Victorious” story strand, Genetics of the Daleks didn’t do anything special (in fact it only scored a 4 instead of a 5 like the two stories before it on this list) but it was so refreshing to hear both a unique and good Dalek story and a story where the Fourth Doctor can be his more humourous self that I think in the long run I enjoyed it more, even if it was less unique. Plus it weaved a separate story about a crime syndicate in without issue, and that’s a lot of different story strands to stick in a title that was already part of an overall story strand! (My review of the story can be found HERE)

Ghosts was the third story in the “Tenth Doctor and River” set, but it was a real hit. Much like Scorched Earth, this was a story I wasn’t all that interested in going into the set, mostly due to its rather dull title, but it ended up not only being entertaining, but also containing a rather neat twist and a satisfying ending. (My review of the story can be found HERE)

The Haunting of Villa Diodati was a minor worry going in as I really enjoy the Big Finish audio story “Mary’s Story”, which is set during the same night but with the Eighth Doctor. Thankfully this story was equally good, if not better, so even if “time has been rewritten” at least the new story is good! Featuring a great central antagonist and lots of atmosphere, it was a real hit with me, and set up an… interesting finale for the season. (My review of the story can be found HERE)

Out of Time could so easily have just gotten away with being “The Tenth and Fourth Doctors meet”, or even “The Tenth Doctor and the Fourth Doctor fight the Daleks!” but instead in manages to shine a light on the latter Doctor’s personality issues and ego through the eyes on an earlier, still full of hope and optimism incarnation. This is along with Daleks and some great dialogue, so it’s an overall far stronger story than in reality it needed to be! (My review of the story can be found HERE)

Oh boy, here we go… “Ascension of the Cybermen / The Timeless Children” was a controversial story as it re-writes The Doctor to be something far more than a regular Time Lord, and adds in a bunch of pre-Hartnell Doctors to boot (including the infamous “faces of Morbius”!) but you know what else it did? It told a rather epic story with a great new incarnation of The Master, and got people to really start talking about the future of the show again, even if it was for worse in a lot of people’s eyes. While I say it’s too early to tell, I can’t deny the buzz I had after the finale had aired, and the fun I had on forums afterwards… (My review of the two-parter can be read HERE)

The second story from the “Tenth Doctor and River” set, Expiry Dating was a legitimately funny story told mostly through letters The Doctor and his future wife exchange with each other. With some great cameos (especially from Doctor number 5!) and great dialogue, it was actually the rather heartfelt ending that tops this story off for me. Well worth the price of admission! (My review of the story can be found HERE)

Chase The Night was one of those stories that even though it came out right at the start of the year, I knew it would end up high on this list. Set on a train that has to continually travel forward on a planet whose rotation is constantly burning the surface away, it already had a lot of unique energy to it, but then it added several other layers on top to form a great overall whole. Well worth a listen! (My review of the story can be found HERE)

Palindrome kicked off the first half of the “final” Eighth Doctor Time War box set, and in classic John Dorney fashion, it took a continuity hole and plugged it in an extremely well-written and satisfying way. “How did Davros go from being a head in a Dalek case to being his full-body self again?” Well, this two hour story tells you, as Davros goes from regular man to genocidal leader via unpleasant and tragic means, with even The Doctor and The Daleks often becoming side-characters to let the man himself develop. It’s a top story, and frankly the last episode in the box only JUST missed being on this list too, so the final Time War box set was a real stand out, but frankly worth the price for these two episodes alone. (My review of the story can be found HERE)

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