Christopher Bahn – Best of ‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary Ballot

Christopher Bahn
I’m a pop-culture writer in Minnesota, and I cover Doctor Who for the A.V. Club. I’ve been a fan of the show most of my life, and one of my earliest memories is watching the Krynoid get destroyed at the end of “The Seeds Of Doom.”

Favorite monster, villain or creature
1. The Daleks
They’re quite simply the most iconic villain that “Doctor Who” ever produced, a vital part of the show all the way back to the beginning. It wouldn’t be the same show without them showing up to menace the universe every now and then. They’re a masterpiece of visual design (by Ray Cusick) and a perfect foil for the Doctor.
2. The Master
3. The Sontarans
4. The Krynoid (“The Seeds Of Doom”)
5. The Cybermen

Favorite episodes
1. The Brain of Morbius
“The Brain Of Morbius” is the quintessential serial from my favorite period of the series, the early Fourth Doctor seasons made by Robert Holmes and Philip Hinchcliffe that infused the science fiction of “Doctor Who” with a strong flavor of gothic horror. “Morbius” is a great riff on Frankenstein and the classic Universal and Hammer horror films, with an unforgettable monster design and a fantastic performance by guest star Philip Madoc as the obsessive mad scientist Solon.
2. City of Death
3. The Seeds Of Doom
4. Blink
5. The Deadly Assassin

Favorite companions
1. Leela (Louise Jameson)
Leela is fierce, smart, sexy, bracingly honest and direct, and just simply cool. Her origin as a master huntress from a primitive alien jungle planet makes her utterly unlike any other companion, and a great contrast to the Doctor. Louise Jameson’s performance never lets you forget Leela’s dignity or intelligence despite the skintight leather outfit, and she knew how to let her character be funny or naive without sacrificing Leela’s dignity or dangerousness.
2. Sarah Jane Smith
3. Barbara Wright
4. Jo Grant
5. Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart

Favorite Doctors
1. Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)
Patrick Troughton is magnificent, and I’ve liked all 11 of the Doctors, both their characters and actors (even Colin Baker’s much-maligned Sixth), but nobody has the sheer unpredictable, manic and otherworldly presence of Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. To me, he’ll always be the quintessential Time Lord.
2. Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)
3. Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)
4. Ninth Doctor (Christopher Ecclestone)
5. Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)

Favorite TARDIS set
Although it comes from one of the worst episodes in series history, the console room in the 1996 TV movie featuring Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor is a beautiful piece of set design.

Saddest moment in Doctor Who history
In “The Eleventh Hour,” when little Amy Pond brings her suitcase outside to sit and wait for the Doctor to return… and wait, and wait, and wait…

Greatest Doctor Who opening sequence ever
The time-tunnel opening sequence of Tom Baker’s early years is a classic – eerie and evocative. The similar one from Jon Pertwee’s final season is also excellent. But the very first one, from the William Hartnell days, can’t be discounted – between the shifting kaleidoscopic visuals and Delia Derbyshire’s brilliant creation of the theme song, it helped set the tone for everything that’s followed in the 50 years afterward.

Greatest Doctor Who writer ever
Robert Holmes.
Nobody comes close to him for sheer number of magnificent stories, whether written on his own or worked on during his time as script editor.

Why Doctor Who endures
“Doctor Who” is, like the Doctor himself, endlessly adaptable and capable of regenerating into new forms to move with the changing times, while staying true to its core concept: science-fiction/adventure that celebrates curiosity, humanism and the questing spirit while giving its audience some good, solid thrills and scares.

Greatest Doctor’s costume
The Fourth Doctor’s eccentric bohemian look, long scarf and all, captures that version of the Doctor perfectly.