Doctor Who series have become fewer in numbers as the years have gone since its return in 2005, and we now generally have to wait a couple of years for a new series to come along and dazzle us with its stories across time and space. Thankfully, the wait is getting shorter now, as Series 12 is set to arrive in 2020 to fulfill our Doctor Who needs.
Before that fresh season premieres, it’s only fair we check out all the previous ones in the “Nuwho” era to remind us where the franchise went right and where we were less than thrilled. In this list, we're not considering the 2008-10 and 2013 specials as these were too short to be considered a full series. With that in mind, here are all the series we’ve seen so far ranked from worst to best.
11 Series 8 (2014)
The process of finding out the characterization of the Twelfth Doctor went in shambles as the eighth series instead focused more on Clara than the Doctor. Their dynamic was nothing to write home about either, as the Doctor and Clara were always fighting at this time.
Stories were generally a drag, with the Twelfth Doctor made to look like a social outcast more than someone who could solve problems, although the Doctor himself was the sole character who was interesting in this series.
10 Series 11 (2018)
Similarly, it was only the Thirteenth Doctor who was a plus point in the most recent series, where the latest showrunner seemed to have totally missed the point of Doctor Who and turned it primarily into an educational program.
There were no tension-filled moments, no latent dark side of the Doctor that would make the series interesting, and even no overall arc for us to follow. Hopefully, Series 12 fixes these problems and brings in a storyline worthy of the Thirteenth Doctor.
9 Series 6 (2011)
The whole “Doctor is going to die” story was played out in the Tenth Doctor’s time itself, so there wasn’t much intrigue when it came to the Eleventh Doctor. However, what we did love was the inclusion of River Song as a major character in this series.
Along with River’s appearances, Rory also came into his own and became a companion in his own right, while the Doctor and Amy were in fine form as always. A significant amount of replay value was taken away because of the overall plot, though.
8 Series 7 (2012-13)
It was a half-and-half series with the first focusing on Amy and Rory, while the second had Clara, but it did have great singular episodes that hit the feelings in the right areas. Even though this was the last series to feature the Eleventh Doctor and his original companions, the stories were still entertaining enough to be memorable.
Doctor Who regained some of the goodwill from earlier series by bringing us imaginative enemies and emotional episodes where needed, despite lacking an identity this time around due to its split nature.
7 Series 2 (2006)
The only drawback was the Romeo & Juliet overkill of the Tenth Doctor and Rose by the end of the series, but there’s no denying the arc that unfolded, and the individual episodes were killer material. Of course, we also have to remember how great the Tenth Doctor was as well.
By the end of the series, we knew for sure this incarnation was something special, as he had superb chemistry with companions new and old, and it definitely helped that the supporting storylines bolstered this value.
6 Series 3 (2007)
While Martha’s constant pining the Doctor was annoying at times (you can catch more in the comics if you want), the strength of the episodes was greater in the Tenth Doctor’s second series. The winning point here would be the introduction of the Master, who’s easily the top villain of the franchise.
Before that, we had the Doctor understand through his numerous encounters how he worked without the constant presence of Rose Tyler, which gave the new series a certain spin as we saw him head in one new adventure after another.
5 Series 10 (2017)
It was a real shame this turned out to be the last series for the Twelfth Doctor, as bad as the fact that Bill Potts only got one series as a companion. Both were masterful in helping the angle of Missy’s reformation come across both intense and comedic.
With adventures that went far and wide from futuristic killer robots to the Monks taking over the world without anyone realizing it, the Doctor earned his place as an action icon by kicking all kinds of butt along with his companion, ending in a heart-wrenching finale. More was needed, but, sadly, this was the most we got.
4 Series 5 (2010)
After a specific style in storytelling that went on for five years, the Eleventh Doctor’s debut series injected a new form of wonder and delight as we saw a different twist to the enemies we were once familiar with. Amy Pond’s inclusion as the newest companion made this a series that can be viewed first if you want to skip the previous two Doctors.
With the presence of an overall arc that genuinely makes the mind wonder, and the evergreen episode featuring Vincent Van Gogh, Series 5 was a definite win, with only the highest-quality series eclipsing it.
3 Series 1 (2005)
The Ninth Doctor could’ve stayed for years on end, and we wouldn’t have complained, but his sole series is one of the very best Doctor Who has ever come up with. Featuring a kind of subtlety to its episode style that can bridge the gap between the classic series and the new ones, Series 1 couldn’t have been better placed as a revival.
Other than our complaint of the Ninth Doctor’s short stint, there was nothing else lacking here as Doctor Who took us where we wanted - up in the stars and all across time and space.
2 Series 4 (2008)
Never underestimate the power of chemistry, because it can overcome any kind of problems and make even something so-so into the greatest thing you’ll see. This was how the Tenth Doctor and Donna managed to make Series 4 of epic quality.
Their dynamic as dysfunctional best friends is still something the show hasn’t bested, and the presence of incredibly well-put layers on their character development made every adventure carry an extra amount of weight and entertainment. Then, there was the matter of how this series tied everything from the past three series into a nice little bow with an explosive finale that ticked all the boxes.
1 Series 9 (2015)
Bouncing back in ways we couldn’t have imagined from the awful prior series, the ninth one had everything you’d want: the Doctor and Clara’s underlying love story, a storyline that brought you both shock and awe, and the return of Gallifrey to conclude an angle year in the making.
Emotions, drama, and everything in between was available here, along with the wondrous turn of Clara into a companion we came to love and hated to say goodbye. A lot of tears were shed after incredible episodes that were “Heaven Sent” and the fitting finale of “Hell Bent,” but there was a celebration of Doctor Who hitting a new high in quality.