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All 12 ‘Doctor Who’ (’23-’24) Episodes – Ranked

Season 1(4) of Doctor Who has been a blast! Starring Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor and Millie Gibson as the companion Ruby Sunday, the dynamic they’ve brought has been a fantastic delight! Russell T. Davies returns as showrunner for this season, bringing his whimsicality to the forefront of the show once again. 

This series has had its highs and lows, but I feel that’s always been true of Doctor Who in general. As an avid fan of the new seasons of the show, first premiering back in 2005, I’ve had a lot of expectations for these new episodes since their announcement. Join me in my ranking of the new episodes!

All 12 'Doctor Who' ('23-'24) Episodes - Ranked
Doctor Who / Image Courtesy of Disney+

12. “The Devil’s Chord”

A visit to 1963 means exactly what you think it means, Whovians. Exactly, The Beatles. Well, at least a few scenes of them, anyway. “The Devil’s Chord” focuses on the villainous Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon), the child of The Toymaker from the third 14th Doctor special, as The Doctor and Ruby try and figure out how Maestro sucked the music out of life. The gist of the episode is a fun concept, but I feel it could have been a little more engaging throughout. Monsoon’s playful acting was pretty distracting, and I feel the theatrical energy they were trying to exude could’ve benefited from a little more risk for their villainous flair. In the end, a lot of this episode felt jarring. These episodes were marketed as standalone plots (like all seasons of Doctor Who), but this instead focused on hints contributing to the overarching season arc. 

11. “Empire of Death”

Unfortunately, “Empire of Death” may single-handedly be the least captivating finale in all of new Doctor Who. Bringing back an extraordinarily villainous creature who unveiled that he had been hiding in the Tardis since forever, only to use a bunch of cliches to build this finale up, feels like a misappropriated way of rounding out this season. The stakes don’t have to be at the end-of-the-world level every single time, but if you were going to have a malicious villain like Sutekh, the least you could do is have some consequences and develop this event richly. 

I also don’t understand why Ruby had to be dismissed, as Millie Gibson already confirmed to have at least a supporting character role next season. Russell T Davies had been anticipating and writing around the general discussion of the show up till last episode, so I don’t know why he decided it would be a good idea to say goodbye to Ruby this dramatically.

All 12 'Doctor Who' ('23-'24) Episodes - Ranked
Doctor Who / Image Courtesy of Disney+

10. “Space Babies”

The premiere for this new era of Doctor Who was lackluster, to say the least. “Space Babies” primarily served as an introduction for new viewers of the series, compromising getting into any of the character-building. Additionally, the episode rehashed a concept from Series 1’s second episode of Doctor Who, where Rose and the doctor visit Space well into the future, even including a scene where Ruby’s phone dials back to the present. Though not a terrible episode, I felt this didn’t deliver on what the rest of the season promises. 

9. “Boom” 

Steven Moffat returns as a writer for “Boom,” which centers around The Doctor stuck on a landmine that blows if he moves. Conflict arises when soldier Mundy Flynn (Varada Sethu) sees The Doctor, triggering an AI ambulance to identify him, to no avail. The episode ends with The Doctor realizing the AI is evil, nurturing the war as a means to sustain profits.

“Boom” is where we finally got to see Ncuti Gatwa shine, but unfortunately, not as The 15th Doctor (yet). For an episode that takes place in one location the whole time, I felt that the writing had to have been engaging throughout, and I unfortunately don’t think this was the case. The plot felt like it wanted to focus on building the world, but this made the episode feel very typical and structural. The worst part, in my opinion, is that the introduction to Sethu’s character didn’t feel satisfying at all, and she’s expected to be a companion in the next season. Gatwa distracts any of the simple writing with his dramatic acting, but it ultimately could not save the episode.

All 12 'Doctor Who' ('23-'24) Episodes - Ranked
Doctor Who / Image Courtesy of Disney+

8. “The Church On Ruby Road”

For what was supposed to captivate the largest audience that they could, “The Church on Ruby Road” absolutely failed as a Christmas special, in my opinion. Ruby is circumstantially thrust into The Doctor’s life with no explanation or team-building, and their dynamic the entire episode felt a little too unnatural. They then are forced to perform a song on the Goblin’s ship, which would have been a lot more fun if they didn’t rely on pre-recording the song and pretending to improvise the lyrics on the spot. The end of the episode leaves the audience with more questions than any satisfaction, which I feel has been handled in the past as more of a hint towards the future rather than gaping holes. 

7. “73 Yards”

“73 Yards” was finally the episode that made me take this season a little more seriously. A character study on Ruby Sunday, Millie Gibson shines enormously throughout the episode, and it is even more impressive that this was the first episode she shot for the season. However, it is not without faults. The end of the episode had absolutely no explanation for the plot of the whole episode, seemingly jumping back just to finish it up. The worst part is that this didn’t even pay off by the end of the season.

6. “Rogue”

Even if The Doctor and Lady Ruby Sunday travel back to a ball in 1800’s England, they can’t escape trouble. There, they find shape-shifting Chuldurs, a villainous race of aliens that “cosplay” events throughout history to take over the world. The episode introduces us to Jonathan Groff’s character, the titular Rogue, portrayed as a riff on Doctor Who veteran, Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).

Perhaps that comparison is intentional for the audience to be reminded of Harkness’s bisexuality, a hallmark of Who’s progressiveness, since the episode builds up a compelling romance between The Doctor and Rogue. For such a fun episode and Russel T. Davies’ tendency to spell out things a little too literally, I felt the balance between the dual plots was very well handled and reminiscent of earlier episodes of the show. 

All 12 'Doctor Who' ('23-'24) Episodes - Ranked
Doctor Who / Image Courtesy of Disney+

5. “The Giggle”

The 14th Doctor’s third special, “The Giggle,” is a great episode, as nothing about the acting or writing felt subpar. Neil Patrick Harris was phenomenal as The Toymaker, delivering an diverse performance showcasing his range. From magic tricks to puppet shows, the creativity was out of the ballpark! The only complaint I had about this episode was that the ending felt a little less satisfying than intended. I’m uncertain if it was due to the questions left after the bi-regeneration, but I certainly felt that a disastrous villain like The Toymaker getting out-gamed wasn’t as clever as an ending that they could have done. 

4. “The Star Beast”

Reprising their roles as Donna Noble and The Doctor, Catherine Tate and David Tennant have a blast in this return to form. “The Star Beast” was a spectacular premiere, filled to the brim with fun and action, complete with a refreshing cinematic look. The episode follows The Doctor as he tries to prevent Donna from remembering her past, a hard feat to accomplish when an alien race attacks London. The episode ends with a thrilling plot twist and has a genuinely clever solution to the end-of-the-world level crisis. 

3. “Wild Blue Yonder”

A thrilling “Doctor-Lite” episode, it feels great to have Donna and The Doctor in a horrific situation once again. The episode follows the duo traveling to the edge of space where anything is possible, even superstitions, where they deal with shapeshifting monsters that can mimic people exactly. Though already clearly an expensive episode, there’s only so much you can do on a TV budget. “Wild Blue Yonder” leans into the Doctor Who camp with poor CGI elements throughout, contributing to the nightmarish body horror feeling they wanted. 

All 12 'Doctor Who' ('23-'24) Episodes - Ranked
Doctor Who / Image Courtesy of Disney+

2. “Dot And Bubble”

After a run of relatively dry episodes, “Dot and Bubble” was the biggest surprise this season. We meet Lindy, an upper-class, mid 20’s woman in the future where life is now completely digital. You pop on your Dot, which has replaced your phone, and it keeps you in a digital bubble that guides your every choice. Monsters soon attack the entire city, but this is oblivious to anyone in their bubble, which citizens can’t turn off without losing all of their support, even though they have all the self-control to. Distracting you with a point about people’s consumption of technology, the episode actually ends with a shocking commentary on race and class, which surprised me! In my opinion, this was the most fun episode of the entire season, and all the characters developed were captivating! 

1. “The Legend of Ruby Sunday” 

If there’s one thing Russel T. Davies’ got correct, it’s how to build a penultimate episode. “The Legend of Ruby Sunday” begins with The Doctor breaking down all the clues and theories of the season. From directly addressing Susan, as well as S. Triad being an anagram of TARDIS, it was a definite wild card when the villain at the end of the episode was revealed to be Sutekh.

The episode also felt very layered yet satisfying. We’re introduced to the new team at UNIT, which is rumored to be on its way to its own spinoff show. Additionally, the episode was full of suspense and thrill, making the Sutekh reveal feel terrifying (which makes it even worse that this tension didn’t pay off the following episode). 

All 12 'Doctor Who' ('23-'24) Episodes - Ranked
Doctor Who / Image Courtesy of Disney+

Doctor Who stars Ncuti Gatwa, Millie Gibson, Susan Twist, Angela Wynter, Michelle Greenidge, and Jonathan Groff. The season was written and showrun by Russell T. Davies and is now streaming on Disney+

Thanks for reading. 

Based in Chicago, Illinois. An aspiring singer and director, Bhargav is currently pursuing his undergrad in Marketing, Information & Decision Sciences, and Film in Chicago. Since co-founding Feature First, Bhargav focuses on industry analyses, box office reports, quality movie reviews, and helping maintain consumer engagement across all social platforms.