These episodes aren’t my top 6 favourite episodes, in fact they’re not even in my top ten. But they are episodes of the series that I enjoyed and was always surprised when I saw that other fans had such a negative reaction to them. Now there are some episodes where I agreed with the low opinions others had of it (Fear Her) and some which I thought were OK but could see why they wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea (The Lodger). But with these episodes, while they weren’t exactly classics, I genuinely liked them. So with that in mind I put my top 6 underrated Doctor Who episodes.(Note. These contain spoilers for all the episodes).
6) Victory Of The Daleks (Series 5)
I know why this one is unpopular actually. The Dalek redesign. For me, while I didn’t think the Dalek redesign was particularly great, I thought the backlash against it was way over the top, and is just the sort of bandwagon jumping that is typical of the British public, yeah I’ll stop on this tangent before it turns into a rant. But while we’re the on the subject of Dalek repaint jobs, I loved the look of the Ironside Daleks. The twist with them being the ones who created the scientist took me by surprise. But even then, I think I could forgive this episode almost anything just for the fact that it gave us DALEKS SERVING TEA and THE DOCTOR ARMED WITH A JAMMIE DODGER. That is the kind of humour I love about Doctor Who.
5) The Unicorn And The Wasp (Series 4)
I confess I haven’t actually read any of Agatha Christie’s books, but like most people I have seen countless adapatations of them on TV. The feel they seemed to be going for in this episode was of a light hearted take on Christie’s style, and I think that was achieved. Some have said they couldn’t take the giant wasp seriously, and I can see where they are coming from, but the idea of a wasp-like creature as a villain was appealing to me. This is probably because when I was a kid I got stung on the throat by one, and so ever since I’ve had a kind of mixed fascination and wariness of wasps. So while it isn’t an all-time great, I thought it wasn’t bad at all.
4) Boom Town (Series 1)
This was the budget saving filler episode of series 1. Set in 21st Century Cardiff, featuring recurring cast members, the return of one of the villains from a previous story and with very little action happening. But it is much better than it could have been. Annette Badland had to carry a lot in this episode, and she was brilliant. I think it’s a shame she has rarely been given a chance to shine. I remember at the time a few fans thinking that Margaret/Blon could have been a good villain to use again had she not been turned into an egg in the end. This is how to make a filler episode that is still a decent one.
3) The Idiot’s Lantern (Series 2)
Maybe I’m just a sucker for a lot of the things used in this episode. I really like Mark Gatiss’ style, shown in The League Of Gentlemen and Crooked House, things with old fashioned technology like the TVs, and reference jokes like the fact the street was called Florizel Street, the original name for Coronation Street. I also enjoy hammy villains, and Maureen Lipman as The Wire certainly delivers that. I also really liked Rory Jennings’ performance as Tommy. I’ve never quite got why it seems to come up as a bad episode so often.
2) The End Of The World (Series 1)
This was one of my favourites from the first series. The solemness of the occasion of the end of the world is contrasted so well with it being presented in a fun way, and it’s illustrated no better than it being soundtracked to ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. Again, it is just this sort of humour that I love about Doctor Who. There is also Cassandra, who in my opinion was one of Russel T. Davies’ best creations for the show, and Zoe Wannamaker did a great job playing her.
1)The Vampires Of Venice (Series 5)
I like this episode a lot! Obviously as this is at number one it’s the episode I am the most baffled about when fans mention it as one of their least favourites. One thing I love about it is that it’s Rory’s first proper adventure with the Doctor, and Rory is my favourite companion. He gets a lot of funny moments in this, and most of them are because he makes quips and is naturally funny, not just as someone to laugh at like he seemed to be shown in The Eleventh Hour. Plus it featured Gilbert the ’80s ghost from Being Human. But I think what stuck with me from this episode was Helen McCrory as Rosanna. She had some great flirty scenes with the Doctor, and while I’m not condoning Rosanna’s actions the fact she was doing it in an attempt to save her species and her final scene jumping into the canal meant I couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for her. I certainly think she was an interesting villain.
So there we have it. Six episodes of Doctor Who which I think are better than they are given credit for.