10. The Rings of Akhaten
It’s true that The Rings of Akhaten isn’t a very good episode. It’s weirdly paced, and the plot is extremely thin. But this is a best Matt Smith list, and he is truly fantastic here. His maic energy is always a plus, but what makes this episode memorable is the speech. If Smith has a defining moment as the Doctor, a moment when no one else could beat him as the Doctor it’s the Rings of Akhaten Speech.
9. Asylum of the Daleks
Asylum of the Daleks has a lot going on, which is typical of a Steven Moffat season opener. Thankfully Matt Smith is quirky presence keeping together a story that involves insane Dalek, Clara’s unexpected introduction, Amy and Rory’s marital problems, and the Dalek’s shooting him at a planet. Smith’s tenure didn’t have many good Dalek episodes, but this was a belter.
8. Nightmare in Silver
Neil Gaiman was made to write for Matt Smith’s Doctor. No other writer, apart from Steven Moffat, understood what set Smith apart from previous generations of the character. Nightmare in Silver is where Gaiman realised that an entire episode in which the main plot would be Smith playing a game of chess against an evil alter-ego controlled by the Cyber king, was just the kind of Saturday tea-time entertainment we didn’t know we needed.
7. The Lodger
One of the best parts of Matt Smith’s Doctor was how alien he was, and this is most apparent in The Lodger. It’s Doctor Who Presents The Odd Couple as the Doctor moves in with Craig (a very game James Corden) and takes to normal life surprisingly well, much to Craig’s annoyance. It’s a hilarious episode in which Smith has ever been funnier, just hear him explain that his alien tech is actually a comment on modern life being rubbish and I dare you not to burst out laughing.
6. The God Complex
Ok, just listen to this premise: The Doctor, Amy, and Rory find themselves trapped in a hotel that feels like the Overlook, in which every room contains each guest’s worst fear. Oh, and they’re all being stalked by a Minotaur. Add to that an entire room filled with mannequins that are way too reminiscent of Goosebumps’s Slappy, and you have an episode that is designed to get under your skin.
5. The Doctor’s Wife
Neil Gaiman’s first, and best, episode of Doctor Who finally lets the Doctor meet the Tardis, as its energy is transported into a girl called Astrid. River was right, things get so weird when the Doctor is baby-faced. Not only is this a great episode that plays with the show’s deeper mythology, it’s also a scary one, as Amy and Rory must survive in a haunted house version of the Tardis. It’s a mad episode, that showed just how mad that mad man in a box, and that box truly is. This last sentence was brought to you by the Tardis.
4. The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang
One of the most defining traits of Smith’s tenure was his responsibility when it came to the consequences of who he was, and how that related to his enemies. This two-parter, flips the script with the Tardis exploding and deleting reality, something which the Doctor’s enemies try to prevent by imprisoning him in the Pandorica. It’s a story that has he Doctor come to terms with who he is, that being a hero can have terrible consequences, and that Fez’s are cool.
3. A Christmas Carol
Smith’s Christmas specials were generally hit and miss. Part of the reason for this is that he never bettered A Christmas Carol, one of the most ambitious=, and heartfelt stories of Smiths tenure. Packed with great joke: The Doctor’s Santa Claus entrance, his apparent marriage to a certain movie star, and grounded it in a fight for one mans soul. Also, there were flying sharks before Sharknado ruined the idea completely.
2. Day of the Doctor
Despite the return of fan favourite David Tennant, Matt Smith ran away with the 50th anniversary. While the embarrassment of Doctors was a great nod to fans of the past and present, Smith never felt like he was less important, with his Doctor providing the endpoint, at that time at least, to one of the most iconic characters of all time. Smith proved that he was worthy of leading the show’s anniversary, because he truly is one of the best incarnations of the Doctor.
1. The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
The Weeping Angels will be the most enduring monster that Steven Moffat has added to the Doctor Who cannon. So, it comes as no surprise that when the new showrunner brought back his best monsters for a riff on Aliens, that it would be the episode in which Matt Smith finally became his own Doctor. As good as The Eleventh hour was as an introduction, this two-parter gives Smith room to introduce much of the traits that would define his Doctor: an aversion to authority, a sense of humour at the worst time, lots of clumsiness, and an inner steel. As this list started with a speech, it ends with one to. The speech that ends the first part is pure Who, a moment that only smith’s Doctor could pull off, and the clearer sign that the character was in the hands of a tremendous actor.