The 30 Day Doctor Who Challenge

Now that I've completed the challenge, I thought I'd post it in its entirety here on the front page for folks to view. Day 1 is presented before the break to whet your appetite; click on the page title or the "continued..." link to see my choices and comments for all 30 days.

I've decided to play along with The 30 Day Doctor Who Challenge, as set up by one of the Time Vault podcasters on his personal blog.  Starting 21 Jun 2011, I will answer one question a day in the right sidebar and update the information on this page, too.  Post your own answers, if you like!

Day 1: Favourite / Least Favourite Doctor

The favorite is a tough call, but I'm going to have to go with "my" Doctor: Ten

The least favorite is easier, though I dislike him less than I once did: Six

To elaborate, I think anyone who does this challenge is likely to pick "their" Doctor for the favorite slot. The Doctor who really reels you in, the one who was there at your beginning, the one who made you love this crazy show - that's "your" Doctor, and he will forever be foremost in your heart. Others may tug your heart in their own way, but "your" Doctor will never be superceded.

Conversely, one's least favorite might change as you see more of various Doctors. For me, I've never been over-the-moon about Six. However, as mentioned above (see the linked Confession #7 for more details), I no longer hate him. I've come to appreciate him for what he does bring to the table. So there's no one I truly dislike as the Doctor; Six just happens to be at the bottom of my list.

Day 2: Favourite / Least Favourite Companion

There are lots of Companions I've loved, but right now there's one at the top of my list (and check out this animated gif, if you haven't seen it yet): Rory Williams (Eleven)
Conversely, it took me about 3.8 nanoseconds to decide who's at the nadir in my personal best-of Companions list; she's annoying as all get-out: Perpugilligam "Peri" Brown (Six)
Choosing a favorite Companion is tough. There have been so many who are truly wonderful (other top-10 entries for me would probably include Barbara, Ian, Jamie, the Brigadier, Sgt. Benton, Sarah Jane, Tegan, Ace, and Donna). Recent events have really brought Rory to the top for me, though. We'll see how that feeling changes over time - once he's no longer "current" - but as I mentioned before, I love Rory the Badass Roman!
Somehow characters we love to hate come to mind more readily. I'm not sure why that is, but it always feels easier to choose a "worst" than a "best." Given her completely grating, helpless personality (and the fact that I'm not a big fan of gratuitous breast-shots), Peri leaps to the front of my the Companions I Love to Hate list. Others include Victoria, Adric, Mel, and Adam (remember that awful prat who had the door installed in his forehead?). Something about all of these individuals really grated on me.

Day 3: Favourite / Least Favourite Villain

It's a dead heat for favorite, but winning out by dint of being on-screen more is: The Rani
The other end is also a dead heat, but I'm going to have to go with: the Absorbaloff
I've got several favorites amongst the Baddies, and the Celestial Toymaker almost made the cut. I also love the Black Guardian and Omega. However, for pure delicious, brilliant, amoral action, it has to be the Rani.
Although the Slitheen are just about as annoying as any adversary could be, I dislike the Absorbaloff even more, probably because there were so few redeeming qualities in Love & Monsters (in my opinion). Chalk up the regrettable Max Capriorn (from Voyage of the Damned) as another "also ran" in this category.

Day 4: Favourite / Least Favourite Monster / Alien

There have been some cool monsters and aliens in the last nearly 50 years, so this was not easy. However, I'm going to have to go with: the Vashta Nerada
Similarly, there have been some real stinkers. I was recently impressed with the sheer lameness of these guys, though: the Monoids
Now some folks are going to adore the Daleks or Cybermen or even the Weeping Angels, but to me, the Vashta Nerada are wonderfully over-the-top creepy because (a) we have no idea what they really look like, and (b) they could be anywhere - "not every shadow, but any shadow..." Their insidious nature - even more so than the could-be-any-statue Angels - makes them the winner in my book.
As for the bottom of the barrel, either the Absorbaloff (who I chose to name as a "villain" yesterday) or the Slitheen (again - do they count as villain or monster/alien? hard to tell) might suit here, as would such embarrassments as the Adipose of Partners in Crime, the pig slaves of Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks, or even the Zarbi from The Web Planet. However, any race that poses no real threat other than to look awful (wig down over actor's nose, with a ping-pong-ball eye in the mouth) is going to come out top for me.

Day 5: Favourite / Least Favourite Master

In case you missed my most recent Confession, my favorite Master of all time is: Roger Delgado (v. Three)
I didn't take the opportunity to rant about the other end of the scale, though. The one who stands at the opposite side is: Eric Roberts (v. Eight)
Since I spent the whole of Confession #12 on the virtues of Roger Delgado as the Master, I won't belabor the point here. Go read the Confession (linked above) if you want to know more. I will, however, say that Derek Jacobi comes a close second.
As for my least favorite, I want to point out that I'm only including the five actors listed in the reader poll (Roger Delgado, Anthony Ainley, Eric Roberst, Derek Jacobi, and John Simm) as candidates. Those who played the Master in extreme circumstances (e.g., for a few frames at the beginning of The Movie or as a burnt-up husk) don't count in my mind. So among these five, Roberts is clearly bottom of the barrel. I'm sure he's a fine, serious actor in other films, but in The Movie, his Master is so ridiculously over-the-top campy, it really makes me cringe.

Day 6: Favourite / Least Favourite Series

I'm going to restrict these answers to the post-Hiatus series, in which case my favorite, with some reservations, would be: Series Five (2010; Eleven and Amy)
Conversely, my least favorite is easily: Series Three (2007; Ten and Martha)
Because I don't feel like I've seen enough of the first 26 series to make an educated choice among them. Therefore, I've decided just to look at the modern ones. My favorite is hard to pin down. I loved Nine, though there were some real stinkers with the Slitheen in that series. Also, though I really like Ten and Rose, I think the drama has improved since. Ten and Donna were among my favorites right up until the end, when I felt Journey's End had too many flaws for my taste. Series Six is incomplete, so I'm not considering it. Thus, I'm left with Series Five, which had a pretty nice arc and featured more Moffat stories than ever before.
The only series I didn't really care for was Series Three. I'm sure that's primarily because I never really warmed to Martha. I found her grating and overly moony. Who needs those cow-eyes? Also, Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks was a real dud in my book, and I didn't get much out of the not-quite-three-part series finale. There's really only one episode I still enjoy watching again (Blink), but overall I'm happy to let this one disappear into the mists of time.

Day 7: Favourite / Least Favourite Writer

This is tough for me, because I don't usually think in terms of who wrote various episodes. After perusing a list of episodes since 1963 and their writers, here's what I've come up with.

Favorite: Steven Moffat (current Head Writer)
Least favorite is: Philip Martin (Vengeance on Varos; Mindwarp)
Having never seen many of the earliest episodes (or hearing the lost ones), it's hard for me to make an educated decision on writers (or directors, script editors, etc. - I'm in trouble in the coming days!). However, based on the ones I have seen, I still find Moffat's work to be among my favorites. When you include such gems as The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, Blink and the mid-Hiatus classic comedy piece The Curse of Fatal Death among your writing credits, you're a powerhouse.
There may be some even bigger stinkers out there than the Vengeance on Varos - Mindwarp combo (e.g., Fear Her by Matthew Graham or the horrendous episodes of Torchwood written by Chris Chibnall that supplement his "meh" Who episodes 42 and The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood), but the sheer awfulness of these two really stands out for me amongst the pre-Hiatus episodes I've seen. I think Vengeance is the main reason I took such an early dislike to Six. Not a resounding endorsement for the writer.

Day 8: Favourite / Least Favourite Director

I'm even less qualified to make a decision on directors than on writers; I just don't really pay conscious attention to what it is directors add to an episode. Further, not having seen all the pre-Hiatus stories - and those I have seen, usually only once - I may have to restrict myself to the more modern series again.

I'm really not sure how to call this. I suppose I'm going to have to go with: Graeme Harper (for episodes such as 42 and Turn Left)
For the other side of things, I'm at a bit of a loss. I suppose I'll have to choose: Andrew Gunn (for his work on The Beast Below and Victory of the Daleks)
I've chosen Harper in part because he also worked on some pre-Hiatus shows, including directing The Caves of Androzani, which - though not one of my personal favorites - often ranks high among the all-time best. Also, I like the sense of urgency he created in 42 (again, not my favorite episode - as mentioned yesterday - but I'm trying hard to separate direction from story/performance, which is hard for me) and The Waters of Mars, for example. I would like to give special mention to Euros Lyn, though, as I really liked how he chose to shoot that opening sequence in Tooth and Claw as well as some of the work on Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead.
With much difficulty, I've chosen Gunn for least favorite, again probably less for direction than for other aspects of the episodes involved, because I haven't practiced looking at episodes in that way. However, neither of his episodes really grabbed me as particularly engaging, which I'm putting down - in part - to lackluster direction.

Day 9: Favourite / Least Favourite Producer

They're killin' me here... What do I know from producers? Also, what's the distinction between "producer" and "executive producer"? Has that changed over time? Would RTD and Moffat today (executive producers both) be the equivalent of JNT and Lambert back in the day (credited as producers)?

Going with my gut, for favorite I'm choosing: Steven Moffat (current Executive Producer)

Though there was lots of good stuff during his tenure, too, I'm going to have to go with: John Nathan-Turner (Four's final season until the Hiatus)

I've chosen to consider the modern executive producers to be equivalent to the pre-Hiatus producers. As such, I chose Moffat because I really love the stuff that's happening now. Maybe I'm just caught up in the moment, but I do enjoy being a neowhovian. Other notable favorite producers include Verity Lambert (the very first producer, and a woman in a day when women didn't get many of the big jobs), Barry Letts (who held the reins during Three's tenure), and Philip Hinchcliffe (known for his Hammer Horror-style episodes during Four's early years).

Least favorite is not as easy to pin down. While there were things I didn't like about what Russell T. Davies did with the early post-Hiatus series (notably the overuse of the Daleks), there were also plenty of things to like. I might also have chosen John Wiles (responsible for One's third series) just because there are so few notable (to me, anyway) episodes during that time. However, though many things about JNT's long run in charge were great (among other things, he cast Five, Six, and Seven), there were also several things that really irritated me. Certain DVD extras have clued me in to the fact that they were largely JNT's call, and so there you go.

Day 10: Favourite / Least Favourite Script Editor

I have a slightly better chance at coherence today. At least script editors have something to do with the stories.

I actually have a couple that I really like, but in the end, it had to be: Terrance Dicks

Similarly, there are a couple of stinkers (based on the scripts that made it to the screen), but the prize this time goes to: Simon Winstone

Dicks was responsible for some of Two's later adventures (including The Invasion and The War Games) as well as Three's entire run. Given my fondness for those two Doctors over Four (who is still good, but not necessarily my favorite), Dicks thus just edges out Robert Holmes, another brilliant script editor (Four's first three and a half series were his watch). I also wanted to mention the amazing Douglas Adams, though his own work (including City of Death, which he co-wrote and script edited) is usually better than the scripts that made it to screen during his tenure.

On the flip side, Winstone is one of two script editors responsible for some of the travesties that made up the modern Series Three (aka Series 29; see Day 6, above). Although Lindsey Alford also had a hand in that horror (editing, e.g., the Dalek two-parter), her work was more on the following series, including such uninspired plots as The Doctor's Daughter and Planet of the Dead. Winstone, sadly, can count both Love & Monsters and Fear Her from Series 2 (or 28) amongst his scripts. That's before even getting to Gridlock or The Lazarus Experiment. Sorry, Mr. Winstone. That's a fail.

Day 11: Favourite / Least Favourite Theme Tune Arrangement

No. Contest. It's: Delia Derbyshire's original

I actually like them all pretty well, but I think it has to be: Series 23 (Trial of a Timelord) version

Absolutely nothing can compare to the haunting original Doctor Who theme. Sure, others are good (I even quite like The Movie version as well as the modern Murray Gold efforts, with his first version being my favorite of those), but there's no way anyone could ever surpass Derbyshire. Best. Theme. Ever.

The later versions for the pre-Hiatus series feel to me like they're trying too hard. To my ear the Series 23 and Series 24 versions are pretty similar (don't even get me started on the visuals of the opening credits during Seven's time), but Series 24 stays out of the bottom spot - just barely - by dint of reintroducing the middle eight. I loves me a middle eight.

Day 12: Favourite / Least Favourite Composer

I don't generally pay attention to the incidental music (you're not really supposed to, right? I've always thought it's meant to enhance the action rather than call attention to itself), but I have noticed: Paddy Kingsland
Without much of a leg to stand on, for least favorite I'm choosing: Dominic Glynn
You might have expected me to go with Murray Gold, given that he's scored every last episode since the 2005 return of the show. In fact, he does rank high up there for me (I love This Is Gallifrey and I Am the Doctor, for example), but I'm going with someone whose work smacks a place in my brainstem that says, "that's Five music!" My first exposure to Five was Castrovalva, and ever since then, whenever I hear Kingsland's electronic-woodwind-heavy music, I can't help but think of that story (and how much I enjoyed it).
Having paid so little attention in general to incidental music, my choice of least favorite is a bit arbitrary. To make matters worse, most of the pre-Hiatus stories I've seen I've only watched once, which means I'm unlikely to remember any specific composer's work. However, Glynn wins out because he's the one responsible for the Season 23 theme tune arrangement (see yesterday's entry). He also wrote the incidental music for TOATL: The Mysterious Planet, TOATL: The Ultimate Foe, Dragonfire, The Happiness Patrol, and Survival. Two of those I haven't seen, but music in the others strike me as "very '80s," which is not necessarily good.

Day 13: Favourite / Least Favourite Black & White Story

So many choices! I have to go with: An Unearthly Child (first episode only)
Of the ones I've seen, this was the easy winner: The Web Planet
There are few stories that have the impact of that very first pilot episode, for my money. Others are great, too, but An Unearthly Child holds a very special place in my heart - for the sheer history of it, if nothing else. I'm also quite fond of The Aztecs and The Time Meddler, and if they had not been reduced to a single surviving episode each, The Enemy of the World or The Celestial Toymaker might very well have bumped An Unearthly Child out of first place.
Inversely, I find few of the black & white stories as painful to watch (once one gets used to the 1960s television style, which is more like watching theater than like watching modern tv) as The Web Planet. This one is partly a stinker on storyline, but mostly on execution - the Menoptera are just awful. In fact, they remind me of Michael Palin's character (dressed as a massive bumble bee) attacking/distracting the bad guy near the end of Fierce Creatures. The weird butterfly-like natives are the only thing that really stick in my mind about this story (despite its high ratings at the time), and so it wins today's booby prize.

Day 14: Best and Worst Cliffhanger Endings

I feel utterly unqualified to answer this one. There are a lot I haven't seen, and most of those I don't particularly remember in terms of cliffhangers.

Based on shock value, my choice of best: Arc of Infinity, Ep. 2

For worst, though, I have to go with: Snakedance, Ep. 3

I've chosen Arc of Infinity because Episode 2 ends with the Doctor being terminated by the Time Lords. You know he can't really be dead, but you can't for the life of you figure out how he's going to get out of this one. It's lovely. Honorable mentions in this category go to The Empty Child, Turn Left, and The Stolen Earth from the post-Hiatus series. Actually, The Stolen Earth is both a "best" and a "worst" for me. It's good because everything is starting to fall apart at once: the Doctor's regenerating, Martha's presumed dead, Gwen and Ianto are pinned down by Daleks inside the Torchwood Hub, and Sarah Jane is about to be exterminated inside her car.

It's awful because the "regeneration" is a (really, really, super) cheap trick. I hate that fake regeneration. (Maybe I'll rant about that another time...) However, for the official Worst, I chose that non-entity cliffhanger at the end of Ep. 3 of Snakedance - in which Nyssa and the Doctor are "cornered" in a hallway and Nyssa screams at the approach of their pursuers. It's ridiculous. There's absolutely no reason for it other than to provide the requisite cliffhanger - otherwise, it doesn't fit the story at all. That's one of the cons of the old serial format.

Day 15: Favourite Non-Regular Character

This one's tough. Not a lot of them have necessarily stuck in my head, especially in the pre-Hiatus stories with which I'm less familiar. One of them came within a hair's breadth of making the cut, but today I have to go with: Sally Sparrow (from Blink)
I almost chose Richard Mace from The Visitation, because he's just so wonderfully over-the-top in his theatricality and cowardice. He makes me smile every time I watch that story. Idris/TARDIS from The Doctor's Wife is also right up there. A few other post-Hiatus characters are worthy of honorable mentions: Charles Dickens (The Unquiet Dead), Sir Robert (Tooth and Claw), and Agatha Christie (The Unicorn and the Wasp). Dickens and Christie got bumped farther down the list because they were real people, and it's hard to draw the line between fact and fiction.
As for Sally, she's often referred to as "the best Companion the Doctor never had." I'm totally down with that description. She exhibits plenty of that "pluck" or "spunk" that Companions have so often had, is clearly clever, and takes the initiative both in doing things she wants to do (e.g., breaking into a boarded up building to take photos) and in solving problems. She makes a brilliant addition to the canon. Love her.

Day 16: Top 3 Classic Series Stories

In order of transmission: Inferno, City of Death, Castrovalva
I think a lot of people would put City of Death in their list. It's widely considered a classic. Similarly, you'd expect lots of nods to titles like The Brain of Morbius or Destiny of the Daleks (also Four stories). Neither of those (which I've seen once, to be fair) leapt out at me as wonderful.
Inferno (starring Three, and actually the first one in which the Ladies saw him, though I wasn't blogging yet), on the other hand, might be a bit more esoteric. I love it, though, because it shows all the best of Three. He gets to be an action hero; he gets to be snarky; he gets to work with the Brigadier and Benton. Another viewer (also relatively new to the show) once commented that Inferno feels the most like a modern Who story of any he'd yet seen (though, granted, that was only some of the first three Doctors at that point).
Finally, I chose Castrovalva because somehow it is quintessentially Five to me. Also, who doesn't love a good bit of the regeneration crazies? Further, I like that Adric isn't such a twit as usual, and all three Companions actually seem to get along fairly well. Sure, there are probably lots of other stories that I'd like better if I watched them more (or at all - as it's not out on DVD, I've not yet had a chance to see Terror of the Zygons, for example), and Remembrance of the Daleks was on the short list (no, Rose was not the first episode in which the Daleks figured out how to deal with stairs!), but these are the three I've chosen. Feel free to post your own choices in the comments.

Day 17: Top 3 New Series Stories

In order of transmission: School Reunion, Blink, The Doctor's Wife
There are plenty of enjoyable episodes from which to choose in the "new series" (or post-Hiatus, as I've come to call them). Several of Moffat's works were on my short list: The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead, and The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone all were under consideration. I also thought about RTD's Midnight, which was beautifully creepy, and a fine study of the darker side of human nature.
However, these three have extra special qualities. School Reunion was my first exposure to Sarah Jane Smith. It was really my first look back - as it was Rose's - at what else the Doctor had been up to in the years before Rose met him. Now that I'm more familiar with those pre-Hiatus stories myself, and Sarah Jane in particular (I was crushed when Liz Sladen passed in April), it holds extra special meaning for me. I love how Sarah Jane finally got her "good-bye" and finally felt ready truly to move on with strength and joy.
As for Blink, it's the best of a bad series (see Day 6, above). Aside from that, it introduces a brillliant, spine-chilling, yet weirdly "nice" monster - they kill you by letting you live to death. The "timey-wimey"-ness of it all was deliciously refreshing at the time, and I can still think of it that way. I think the Weeping Angels have become inconsistent and thus less awesome since then, but Blink still stands up as a great story.
Finally, I've chosen The Doctor's Wife because I was just so pleased at how an episode with that title panned out. Not only that, but I adored the way Idris/TARDIS was characterized. It really does all come down to that mad man and his box.

Day 18: Favourite / Least Favourite Big Finish Audio Doctor Who Adventure

I have a very small pool from which to choose, so it will have to be: Omega

There aren't any I haven't enjoyed, but I think I'd have to say: Max Warp

Since the only Big Finish audio plays I've had the fortune to hear (and I mean that in the monetary sense of the term) are BBC Radio 7 reruns of some of the New Eighth Doctor Adventures (including Series 1&2, and about half of Series 3), Storm Warning and Omega, there's not much to go on. However, I really enjoyed the rather convoluted plot of Omega and would gladly listen to it again.

Although I adore Eight, especially after getting to know him better through the audio adventures, the fact that the majority of stories I've heard are his make it all but inevitable that one of his would end up in the bottom. I've only listened to any of these once, so I don't necessarily remember them all clearly, but an episode about racing vehicles is less likely to keep my attention than most (no, I don't watch Top Gear).

Day 19: Favourite / Least Favourite Target Novelization

I ~ahem~ haven't ever read one...

One I wish most I'd read: Terror of the Zygons

One I'd not touch with a 10-foot pole: Timelash

I think this is another victim of my Who-less youth. Having come so recently to the Whoniverse, I'd never even heard of a Target novelization until some 15 years after the last one was published. So I've never made the effort to track one down and try it out. I may have to do that soon. Without any data points, I sadly had to make my decisions based on pure conjecture.

I've heard so many awesome things about Terror of the Zygons - which is due out on DVD some time in 2012 - that I chose that as the one I wish I'd read. Conversely, Timelash was so awful, that there's no way I want to subject myself to it in print.

Day 20: Favourite / Least Favourite Non-Fiction Doctor Who Book

Again with the lack of data.

One I have considered reading: The Writer's Tale

One I really would rather not deal with: The Science of Doctor Who

Although I have a total love/hate relationship with RTD as a writer, I am vaguely interested in reading about what the heck was going through his mind as he was writing some of this stuff. Now, it's entirely possible that if I ever actually read his book, I'd hate certain episodes (and his attitude) even more, but I admit to a certain curiosity that hasn't quite been squashed yet.

In contrast, I don't want to read anything about "the science of." I know the science is utter rubbish. With a master's in astrophysics, I'm frequently quite painfully aware of that fact. I really don't want to see anyone else try to handwave away the atrocious science; I've spent enough times with my mental fingers in my similarly internal ears going ~la la la! I'm not listening!~ to read another person's attempts at making it all make sense.

Day 21: First Doctor Who Story I Watched

In case you haven't read all the archives, that'd be: Rose
After all, I am a Neowhovian...

Day 22: Most Recent Doctor Who Story I've Watched

As Torchwood: Miracle Day clearly doesn't count, I haven't had time for anything since: The Visitation
However, I've had The Dominators and Meglos sitting there mocking me - daring me to find time out of this "real life" thing to watch them - for weeks. They were the first DVDs released in Region 1 (North America) this year, and as the blog was getting up and running, I never got reviews written. They're still waiting.
Also, July's DVD releases come out today. If I'd started the Challenge just one day later I could've said The Gunfighters or The Awakening.

Day 23: Story I Watch Most as Comfort Viewing

I'm going to cheat and split this into two portions.

Post-Hiatus:  Rose

Pre-Hiatus:  City of Death

Being the Neowhovian that I am, I do like to come back to my introduction (and the world's re-introduction) to the Doctor. Of course, this often begins a slipperly slope and I have to rewatch everything, but I can do a sort of one-off and just really enjoy that brief escape.

If I'm looking at "Classic" stories, I'd have to say I usually go with City of Death because it's such a romp. Sure, perhaps it's overrated, but it really is fun, and I love watching Romana be quietly competent in the background. Inferno (another of my "Top 3" - see Day 16, above) would be further up the rewatching list except for the fact that it consists of seven episodes instead of just four. That makes it a little tougher just to knock out in one sitting. Another one high on my personal list is Remembrance of the Daleks - the first Seven story I ever saw. Some people may not like the implications for the Doctor's character at the end, but I only had eyes for Ace. She kicks ass. Love her.

Day 24: Story That Is a Guilty Pleasure

It's hard to know what I'm not "supposed to" like, so I'll go with:  The Movie
I really do love Eight in his one and only on-screen appearance. Sure there were parts that sucked (I refuse to believe the "half-human" twaddle), but overall I thought it was a lovely bout of post-regeneration madness. I even like the theme tune arrangement (though it drives some others nuts; see Day 11, above).
Here are a few others I enjoy but have garnered a lot of trash talk:  The Time Monster (I just love the Master, so...), The Mark of the Rani (actually one of the least objectionable Six stories out there, in my view), Time and the Rani (sure, Seven was over-the-top, but he was loopy from regneration (that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it)!), and Remembrance of the Daleks (I know, I mentioned it yesterday, too).  Of course, that's the beauty of Who - to each his or her own.

Day 25: Favourite Doctor Who Spinoff

There aren't many. It'll have to be:  The Sarah Jane Adventures
As far as televised spinoffs go (and as I've done very little listening and no reading of Who stories, that's what I'm sticking with), there are really only three: The Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood, and K-9 & Company. I've recently posted my thoughts on Torchwood, and K-9 & Company, though a decent concept and even not-too-bad story, just never grabbed me.
SJA, on the other hand, holds a great deal of charm for me, primarily in the person of Lis Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. Sure, it's aimed at a (much, much) younger demographic than  mine, but it fits very snugly within the Whoniverse and has a lot of good life lessons for kids. I also love the way it portrays both kids and women (personified by Sarah Jane) as strong, competent, problem-solving individuals who can step up despite their fear. Sarah Jane herself said it best, playing the Doctor's mentor role in her own way by telling one of her Companions to settle down and get to business: "Maria, there are two types of people in the world. Those who panic, and then there's us."
She is already sorely missed.

Day 26: Favourite Doctor Who Animation

Ooh! That would have to be:  Shada (Eighth Doctor version)
Now, admittedly, I (again) haven't seen very many animations. I can only think of one or two others, and I didn't particularly care for Dreamland - maybe because I've never given a rat's ass about Roswell and the whole idea that "real" aliens have visited Earth pisses me off as a scientist, so any reference to it tends to irritate me. Putting that aside, though, it didn't feel "Doctor-y."
Shada, on the other hand, is very Doctor-y. For those of you neowhovians unfamiliar with the history behind that particular story, here's a brief overview. Back during Four's run with Romana II, there was a work stoppage at the BBC due to a labor dispute. Filming on this episode, written by Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker's Guide fame, was never completed, and so the story was never broadcast. A clip from Shada was later used in The Five Doctors as a way of working Four into that story (and writing him right back out of it, as T. Baker decided not to participate).
Years later, the story was revived as a "webcast" (the animation) and a Big Finish Audio adventure starring Eight instead of Four. Now I can't really say the animation itself is all that great (it's not), but I really liked the story. Eight and Romana actually work as a pairing very well. Having finally seen The Movie, I was really eager to get a broader feel for Eight, and this was my first foray into his other media. I was not disappointed. In fact, I need to go rewatch this...

Day 27: Favourite Doctor Who Special

I'm firmly in the pre-Hiatus camp here:  The Five Doctors
Even assuming you include not only Ten's recent slew of specials (The Next Doctor, Planet of the Dead, The Waters of Mars, and The End of Time) but also all the post-Hiatus Christmas specials (The Christmas Invasion, Runaway Bride, Voyage of the Damned, and A Christmas Carol), there really aren't any post-Hiatus specials that can hold a candle to the pre-Hiatus ones (at least not yet ~crosses fingers for 2013~).
Both of the pre-Hiatus stories - The Three Doctors (a 10th anniversary special) and The Five Doctors (a 20th anniversary special) - are far superior, and more "special" than any but perhaps Christmas Invasion (which was unique as the first Christmas special, and the introductory story for Ten - an element none of the later specials had).
Maybe it says something about the kind of fangeek I am, but I just love a good multi-Doctor story. That made it really hard for me to choose between Three and Five. I think that perhaps the story in Three was slightly better, and it holds a special place in my heart as Hartnell (One)'s final appearance in Who. However, the more the merrier for me, and though T. Baker (Four) didn't bother to participate and Hartnell had to be replaced by Richard Hurndall as One, there were still three fully participating actors who had been the Doctor in turn (Troughton as Two, Pertwee as Three, and Davison as Five). That alone was enough to make my little fangirl heart swell, but when you add in some of my favorite Companions (the Brigadier, Sarah Jane, and Tegan), that tips the scale firmly in favor of this glorious little bit of fanservice.

Day 28: Who I Think Would Have Been a Good Doctor (in the past)

Good lord. What do I know from British actors?

Totally pulling this out of a dark hole, I'd say:  Matt Frewer (yes, I know he's not British...)

So yeah, I'm totally cheating. Give me a break - I'm an American who grew up without Who! I don't watch (and haven't watched) British tv in general to have any clue who the possibilities might be/have been. I am, therefore, at a serious disadvantage on this question.

Given all that, I started brainstorming about actors from the '70s and especially the '80s (my era for soaking in pop culture most heavily) who might be able to pull off a role that requires both seriousness and goofy, quirky, silliness at different times. I felt that Frewer - probably most familiar for his role as Max Headroom (and the human from which he was patterned, Edison Carter) in the eponymous tv show (not to mention the ubiquitous Coca-Cola commercials that came before) - would be perfect. As Carter, he showed he had the chops for seriousness amid goofy sci-fi happenings, and as Max, he showed just plain goofiness. I can see him as the Doctor.

Day 29: Who I Think Would Be a Good Doctor (in the future)

OK. Today, at least I will go with a Brit:  Hugh Laurie
Never losing track of yesterday's admission that I know very few (non-Who-related) British actors off the top of my head, contemporary or otherwise, I still think Laurie would be awesome. Maybe he's too entrenched in American tv now for Brits ever to think of him (and that's how I came to know him), but there is no doubt in my mind he's got the chops to be the Doctor.
Look at all the points in his favor. He's not super-young, which is something Moffat wanted to avoid (until he saw how utterly bonkers Matt Smith was, and had to cast him). He's got a "quirky" face - American audiences may have been spoiled lately by the actors cast as the Doctor, and think he's supposed to be an attractive leading man (as Hollywood almost always does things) rather than a great character, regardless of appearance. He can do dark and serious (as evidenced by his character on the American show House). He's well proven in comedic roles (if you're someone who has ever only seen Laurie as House, you need to go watch some of his early British sketch comedy, e.g., the show he did with Stephen Fry, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, which is available through Netflix).
Put all those together, and the only thing missing to make Hugh Laurie an awesome Doctor (as well as an awesome doctor ~rimshot~) is the desire to play the role. I have no idea whether or not it appeals to him, but if he was interested, I think he would be absolutely brilliant.

Day 30: Missing Story I Would Most Like to See Returned to the BBC Archive

It may be an unorthodox choice, but for me, it's:  The Enemy of the World
Having recently heard such good things about The Power of the Daleks, I considered choosing it. I also had The Celestial Toymaker high on my list, because I love the premise of that one, and aside from Dodo, I quite enjoy the final episode (the only one extant). However, the fact that 25% of Toymaker can still be seen while Enemy is only 17% complete (episode 3 is the only one of its six that still exists) helped tip the scale in its favor.
More importantly, though, it's a crying shame that we were deprived of the opportunity to see more of what a brilliant actor Patrick Troughton was. Much like Human Nature / The Family of Blood allowed us to see another aspect of Tennant's craft (though the story itself was not as good as it might have been), Enemy was the first time I really understood how good Troughton is. Watching the tiny snippet of the story that survives, it suddenly dawned on me how much acting was going into Troughton's portrayal of the Doctor, because he was a completely different man as Salamander. He was commanding, confident, and utterly evil - almost the polar opposite of Two, who always seems to come across as relatively self-effacing, a bit hesitant, and utterly the Doctor. Given the opportunity to see more of that duality on screen, I'd jump at the chance. I'd give a lot for this one to be rediscovered.
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