Doctor Who – Top Nineteen Incarnations of the Doctor

People who know me know that after travel and my family my overwhelming passion is for the television program Doctor Who. It is always fun to list favorites and so here is mine. I want to stress this should not be taken as any criticism of the actors involved but is my personal preference for the characterization of each Doctor. I consider all expanded media canon including novels, audios, short stories and comics and am including any future incarnations mentioned in those mediums. I am only including incarnations or intermediate aspects of the Doctor and not alternate universe or offshoots. In as such the Meta-crisis Doctor, The Shalka Doctor, The Cushing Doctor,The Stageplay Doctors, The Big Finish Unbound Doctors, the Comic Relief Doctors or The Dreamlord are not included. Here is my list from least favorite to favorite. I have not included Jodie Whittaker since we do not have anything to base an evaluation on at the time of this writing.

#19) The future incarnation of the Doctor from the Telos Novella The Cabinet of Light.

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The characterization of the Doctor in this novella does not seem consistent with past incarnations. Since it is the only example of this incarnation it is difficult to get a clear picture of what he is like. This novella is the basis of the Time Hunter series of spin off novellas.

#18) The Watcher – An intermediate between the fourth and Fifth incarnations of the Doctor. Although featured in the TV story “Logopolis” and referenced as flying the Tardis and speaking to various characters it was not witnessed on the episode. Because of this it is difficult to form a good opinion on his character.

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#17) The Second Doctor – A favorite of a great many people who all emphasize Troughton’s acting skills. The overt silliness of his characterization is not to my taste. I do not buy the “cowardness and clownishness being a cover” explanation for his behaviour.

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#16) The Valeyard – The idea of the Doctor having an evil side to his personality makes sense to me. Going back to the infamous rock incident in “The Tribe of Gum” and the braining of the bully in the audio “The Master” there is ample evidence of this. Having said that it is not an aspect that I enjoy watching. I would like to see him encounter another Doctor besides the Sixth which he met in “The Trial of a Time Lord” and some sixth Doctor audios.

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#15) The First Incarnation of the Tenth Doctor – I quite like David Tennant and many of his episodes are my favorites, why then is he so far down the list? The reason is the totally unbelievable dynamic between the Tenth Doctor and Rose.

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#14) The Muldwych/Merlin Doctor – The red haired Doctor regenerated from the Merlin version of the Doctor (see Battlefield) or possibly the same incarnation as Merlin. For the purposes of this blog I will count them as the same Doctor.

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An interesting incarnation mentioned in the televised episode “Battlefield” and appearing in several prose novels and short stories. This is the incarnation inspiring each Doctor immediately after regeneration to wish for ginger hair. Could be much higher on the list with more appearances.

#13) The Curator – Who doesn’t love Tom Baker. I would love to see more of this incarnation of the Doctor outside of “The Day of the Doctor.”

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#12) The Second Incarnation of the Tenth Doctor – The Doctor post the regeneration seen in “The Stolen Earth.” This version of the Tenth Doctor is still too EMO for my taste but at least there is no Rose to pine over and he dumps her pretty quickly on the alternate Earth.

#11) The Seventh Doctor – I enjoy the manipulative “Time’s Champion” aspect of this Doctor. The New Adventures novels are a benchmark in what Doctor Who could be and brought the story telling to a new level.

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#10) The Fifth Doctor – I enjoyed Davison’s televised stories as they went out, it could be that I was craving something new after seven years of Tom baker. However, I find his expanded media adventures less enticing. Check out “Spare Parts” for an exception, one of the best Big Finish audio adventures.

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#9) The War Doctor – John Hurt’s appearance in “The Day of the Doctor”, and four audio box sets from Big Finish leave us wanting more. Sadly his death has limited his inventory of stories.

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#8) The Eleventh Doctor – Although Matt Smith was the youngest actor to portray the Doctor he was able to convey the ancient being hiding behind the facade of youth. Some of the best stories and story arcs helped cement his Doctor as one of the best.

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#7) The Eighth Doctor – Limited TV experiences (The TV Movie & “Night of the Doctor”) are greatly expanded on with a comprehensive novel series and a great ongoing Big Finish run of stories. This is one Doctor I would love to see come back for a televised mini-series or guest appearance.

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#6) The Ninth Doctor – Often overlooked due to his short run on television, it can not be underestimated the impact he had on the series contimued survival. At first I was apprehensive about his cropped hair and leather jacket but after a few minutes on screen he was The Doctor. Another incarnation I would love to see back for a guest appearance.

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#5) The Twelfth Doctor – An old school Doctor for the modern era. Capaldi brought together characterization of modern and classic doctor Who to his incarnation of the Doctor.

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#4 The Fourth Doctor – Seven years in the role and the most famous classic Doctor well worth the reputation. Tom Baker’s first four seasons are some of the best Doctor Who ever produced. If counting just the televised program he may very well be the best but his expanded media adventures are not as fulfilling as some others.

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#3) The Third Doctor – My high school chemistry teacher told our class about a British science fiction show called Doctor Who which was showing on our local PBS station in the Boston area. The first episodes I saw were those of the Third doctor. You never forget your first Doctor and 42 years later I am still enthralled with this show.

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#2) The First Doctor – The original you might say. The televised stories are good, but I most enjoy the novels. Some of my favorites are; The Witch Hunters, City at World’s End, Venusian Lullaby, Campaign and Byzantium. In addition to the novels the early comic strips with his “grandchildren” John and Gillian are a hoot.

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#1) The Sixth Doctor – Big Finish has given Colin Baker well written scripts to work with and he has made the most of it. Stories such as The Marian Conspiracy, Jubilee and The Holy Terror to name just a few are some of the greatest Doctor Who stories in any medium. Throw in comic stories like Voyager and companions like Evelyn and Frobisher and you cannot get any better. Even the televised stories if Colin was allowed to wear the balck leather jacket he wanted for his costume would be held in much higher regard.

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If Colin was given a more decent costume I have little doubt that he would be much higher on everyone’s list.

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