This is my first Tier List for the blog and it was fun to make. The list originally included the War Doctor, Jo Martin Doctor and the Valeyard but I just want to count the numbered Doctors since they are the Doctors whose episodes I review. It also keeps things less complicated as including the Valeyard opens up including the Dream Lord. The numbered Doctors who have series and films are more likely to be known by people and the numbered Doctors are the Doctors who have complete arcs for the most part that we see. I’ll get into the reasons for why I did the ratings below and also share the Tier maker.
Here is the Tier Maker:
Here are the Doctors and the reason I have them on the list as I do. Also Jodi Whittaker’s 13th Doctor isn’t done yet and there is still more of Classic Doctor Who I will be watching that could change this rating. This has been pretty solid so far though and I’ll include my “Top 5 Favorite Doctors in “Doctor Who”” below. I also don’t hate any of the Doctors, some I just like more than others.
Sixth Doctor / 6th Doctor – Colin Baker’s 6th Doctor made a bad first impression. He was easily the cruelest of the Doctors and that caused me to initially dislike him. He did grow on me over time though as it was shown that regenerating had caused him to be unstable. I still dislike his mismatched outfit and he is my least favorite of the Doctors. Colin Baker’s later episode do give him the complexity of the Doctor though and I wish he’d gotten better stories.
Fifth Doctor / 5th Doctor – Where Colin Baker’s 6th Doctor could be cruel and active Peter Davison’s Doctor was kind and passive. He also suffered from an issue another Doctor on this list has. He has too many companions so it was hard to get to know what drove him or for the companions themselves to be fully developed. He was easily the most human of the Doctors and still captures the Doctor as always running away as at one point he is once again made President of Gallifrey and promptly runs away. His passivity and companion cluttering made it difficult to know or appreciate this Doctor fully.
Eleventh Doctor / 11th Doctor – Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor could be the kindest and the cruelest of the Doctors and was always very attached to humanity. My problem on why he isn’t higher is his treatment of Clara where he fetishizes her as “The Impossible Girl” and hits on her and his refusal to open up fully with his companions given how much he asked of them. Smith was good but he was all of Moffat’s worst tropes in how he treated Clara and some companions and his need to be portrayed as untouchable superhero, even when he was wrong. If you can win a fight just by saying who you are multiple times, it takes away the flaws and relatability of the character and keeps him from being rated higher.
Thirteenth Doctor / 13th Doctor – Jodi Whittaker’s 13th Doctor has some of the problems of the 5th and 11th Doctor. She’s got too many companions like the 5th Doctor and is super special and wins because of it like the 11th Doctor. She also goes between kind and cruel similar to Matt Smith’s Doctor. For me the reason I rated her higher is she does open up eventually and she never objectifies her companions. I’m curious to see where the rest of her story goes as before the last plot reveal in the last season final it felt like Chibnall had finally found the flow and voice for the character.
First Doctor / 1st Doctor – William Hartnell is the classic and I loved that unlike his later incarnations he had to win through brains and intelligence and couldn’t sonic screwdriver himself out of situations. He was distant from humanity (a trope in Doctors I like) but became attached over time and never stopped being the rebel calling out Gallifrey and people they run into on organizations for their flaws. His biggest flaw is a lot of what came out of the era as he abandons his granddaughter Susan at one point and there is some sexism that comes out in some of the text of some episodes (a fact the 12th Doctor calls out). I rate him higher than 11 and 13 because his flaws are more apparent and the fact that this Doctor couldn’t depend on magical plot devices to solve problems unlike 11 and 13 who can sometimes solve problems just by saying their name. The 1st Doctor never got that luxury.
Eighth Doctor / 8th Doctor – Paul McGann has one of the worst Doctor stories (The Film he was introduced in) and “The Night of the Doctor” a short episode of how he regenerates into the War Doctor. He is the most human of the Doctors, at one point expressing he is half-human. I loved the vulnerability Paul McGann gives the character and his desire to save people. He really deserves a mini-series and I hope one can be made someday as that could probably put him higher on the list.
Seventh Doctor / 7th Doctor – Sylvester McCoy is amazing as the detached Sherlockesque Doctor. Most of the stories I’ve watched weren’t bad but he was the strongest part in them. Like the 1st Doctor he had to think his way out of situations and outsmart his enemies. He is often described as the chess master and it is fitting. He is also more guarded about his identity and keeps who he is from Ace. I hope he is brought back in a special at some point as I’m curious how this Doctor who is the most alien in a lot of ways would interact with the others. He is by far the most mysterious and I like how intelligence is how he solves his problems.
Second Doctor / 2nd Doctor – Patrick Troughton’s 2nd Doctor is probably tied with 9th Doctor at this point if I were to re-do my “Top 5 Favorite Doctors in “Doctor Who.”” Troughton has the cleverness of the 7th Doctor but is still very human as he plays the clown to trick his enemies. He also clashed with the 3rd Doctor and being around himself brought out the grumpy side of his personality. He was also one of the Doctor’s who was very attached to his companions and I loved how his time with them shapes him as they reveal his courage, empathy and rebelliousness. His story also ends in tragedy too as his regeneration into the 3rd Doctor is forced upon him by the Time Lords. The more stories I watch from this Doctor the more I appreciate Troughton and what he brought to this fantastic character.
Ninth Doctor / 9th Doctor – Christopher Eccleston is wonderful as the first Doctor who was “Last of the Time Lords.” He is the Doctor facing his trauma and PTSD and he has an amazing arc as he goes from someone full of rage ready to kill, to a person who will refuse to kill the Dalek Emperor. The Time War and the consequences of that war shaped him and out of it he is trying to find hope again. He lives for the adventure as all Doctors do, but being with Rose forces him to confront himself and his pain and rage and it gives us one of the best arcs in the entire series.
Fourth Doctor / 4th Doctor – Tom Baker is a classic and the reason for it is he captures both the Doctor’s detachment from humanity but also his willingness to confront the big questions. He has the chance to end the Daleks for good and chooses life and we see him constantly forced by the Time Lords to solve the problems they want him to. His protesting of this but also willingness to embrace his role as a leader in Gallifrey sets him apart from other Doctors. I think this comes out of his time in exile as the 3rd Doctor. He is cautious and doesn’t push the Time Lords the way other Doctors do. He is also Sherlockesque as Baker captures his love of a good puzzle to solve and of course his standing for life in the universe against the Cybermen and Daleks.
Third Doctor / 3rd Doctor – I love Jon Pertwee’s 3rd Doctor. He is the Doctor forced to stay on Earth in exile until the Time Lords change things and this time brings out the Doctor’s humanity in his empathy but alienness as he calls out the problems humans cause. I liked how he helped the Brig but that they clashed as he takes his exile in stride and hates authority. Seeing the Doctor forced to be in one place and the limitations that come with that made Pertwee all the more memorable as his brains and intelligence and depending on his human allies showed a vulnerability many of the Doctors were missing. There was a sadness and tragedy I loved about this Doctor from his leaving Jo when she gets married and him not saying a word to him being confined to Earth when all he wants is to travel all of space and time. Pertwee gives this Doctor so much dimension, making him a favorite.
Tenth Doctor / 10th Doctor – David Tennant’s 10th Doctor is the Doctor who got me into “Doctor Who” as a whole. I loved his cleverness, anger, sadness and relationship to the universe and his companions. He had the arrogance of the 1st and 11th Doctor but had consequences for that arrogance as when he tried to shape time and space to his will he would lose people and companions. He was defined by the Time War and his inability to save Gallifrey made him reckless at time as he was very much a Doctor who lived in the moment or got so connected to companions he would form relationships to new companions as a rebound. The 10th Doctor is always running and it is that running from is regret that makes him so vulnerable and interesting. He also isn’t as forgiving as some of the other versions of the Doctor as he will give a warning but will go to death or worse as other options as a reaction to those warnings being ignored. In this way the 10th Doctor is terrifying as his own vulnerability and loneliness made him reactive compared to his past and future selves. The 10th is so attached to being alive regeneration scares him and him finally making peace with that fear once again defined what made him so human, interesting and one of my favorite Doctors.
Twelfth Doctor / 12th Doctor – Peter Capaldi is my favorite of all the Doctors. I loved how he called out his past self for his sexism and his grappling with the mistakes of the Time War, 10th and 11th Doctors. The 12th Doctor strives above all to be good and to save everyone. He is the Doctor who has grappled with what he’s done during the Time War and grown from it, rather than reacting to it like the 10th and 11th Doctor. He is full of regret and the desire to not make the mistakes of the past. We see this in his detachment from Clara and putting down firm boundaries to not make past companion mistakes and just how much he believes in the good in others as he gives both Davros and Missy (his version of the Master) a chance for redemption and to grow and Missy unlike Davros takes that chance and puts in the work of growth, redemption and healing. I loved how this Doctor would risk it all because it is good and right and how his detachment came from a place of learning and not ego, unlike his past versions. Capaldi’s 12th is my favorite Doctor and everything I think the Doctor strives to be. Flawed, an idiot with a Box and doing good because it is right and that people are worth fighting for.
This was a fun Tier List to make and unpack and I’m curious what yours is if you are a “Doctor Who” fan as well.
Here is my “Top 5 Favorite Doctors in “Doctor Who” list as well.
Top 5 Favorite Doctors in “Doctor Who”