The latest series of Doctor Who gave us a fresh take on an iconic show, with the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, along with a new showrunner, Chris Chibnall. With series 11 complete and the New Year’s Day special within reach, here are some of our top moments from the 13th Doctor’s inaugural season!
A standout moment was one that harked back to Matt Smith’s first season as the Doctor in 2010. Unseen on TV since its pivotal appearance in the 50th anniversary special, the fez made its triumphant return in Kerblam. It was a fantastic moment to see Whittaker’s Doctor embrace the iconic headwear with the same enthusiasm as the 11th’s. Dare we say it may even suit Whittaker’s Doctor a little better, too.
FROG ON A CHAIR
Possibly the most surreal moment of New Who (the classic series has waaay too many) was during the climax of It Takes You Away. An episode full of twists, beginning like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village and ending up within a different universe, episode nine really took expectations away when the Doctor started talking to a frog sitting in a chair… Because that’s the form a sentient universe takes when it’s trying to make new friends. It’s not the greatest scene of the season, but it deserves a spot on our list for being the most memorable and bonkers Doctor Who moment in years.
DEMONS OF THE PUNJAB’S ENDING THEME
If you didn’t already realise (it took us a while!), the end credit music for Demons of the Punjab is actually the Doctor Who theme arranged to match the episode’s setting. Yaz and her family may be fictional, but their history reflects the reality for the people there at the time — aside from any alien intervention (as far as we know). Although the Thijarians were a surprisingly emotional part of the episode too!
Episode six’s end credit music is the most beautiful and heartbreaking version the Doctor Who theme we’ve heard, and the perfect way to close one of this season’s standout episodes.
THE TARDIS SAVES THE DAY
A highlight of the finale was when the TARDIS was finally in the spotlight again! Our main criticism of this season was that it was very light on TARDIS scenes, almost exclusively using the iconic police box for mere transport when it’s capable of so much more. But, in the finale, we finally saw its full potential again.
After being remotely summoned by the Doctor, her TARDIS helps to simultaneously transport five entire planets back to their places within the universe. The Doctor even references 2008’s Journey’s End, where Team TARDIS towed the Earth back to our solar system. Plus, we see that the new TARDIS has clap lights! Some people may think it’s tacky, but it got us applauding.
I LOVE YA, GRANDAD
The pivotal relationship in this season was between Graham and Ryan. Since the 10th Doctor was separated from Rose, the impact of losing a friend in Doctor Who usually didn’t last more than a few episodes (Rory doesn’t count because he was basically dying every other episode). But Grace’s passing was a consistent weight on Graham and Ryan, both as individuals and as a family, with her memory being a motivator to help others as well as stay together.
Ryan was always very hesitant to call Graham his grandad, but he eventually managed it in It Takes You Away, and he even followed with “I love ya,” in the season finale. Sure, it was predictable, but it was important for their relationship and helped provide Graham the strength to be the better person over T’zim-Sha (ahem, Tim Shaw). Despite Ryan’s embarrassment, it solidified the bond that he and Graham had built throughout the adventures, the trials they had overcome, and the loss that lingers.
HONOURABLE MENTION: NEW YEAR’S SPECIAL TRAILER
Look, we may only be mentioning the upcoming special, Resolution, because the Doctor is up against ‘the most dangerous creature in the universe’ and we’re utterly convinced that means a Dalek. But we love Daleks. We don’t care if others are tired of them; we need Daleks. It could be a million or just one. So long as it’s a number above zero, it will be a great new year for a lot of people. It’s not Doctor Who without Daleks. PLEASE BE DALEKS.