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Matt Smith’s 5 Best DOCTOR WHO Episodes

Season eight of Doctor Who premieres in just over a week, and it brings a new Doctor along with it. Veteran actor Peter Capaldi has taken the reins, and while I’m looking forward to knowing the Twelfth Doctor and his kidneys, I’ll miss Eleven. Matt Smith wasn’t my first Doctor, but he was my Doctor. He may have been the youngest actor to portray the Time Lord in the TARDIS, but he was able to show the Doctor’s 900+ years in his every action. His eyes carried the weight of one who’d seen joy and pain and thousands of places, and I’ll never forget the way he balanced the Doctor’s goofiness and gravitas.

Before we embrace number Twelve, let’s take a look back at Matt Smiths five best episodes as the Eleventh Doctor.

“The Eleventh Hour”

Matt Smith made one hell of an entrance. He had my attention from the first “Geronimo!” It’s not easy for a Doctor to make a good impression in his initial episode since many fans are still sad about the change, but Smith had such a strong presence you couldn’t help but warm to him. From his endearing interaction with a young Amy Pond to his face off with the Atraxi – he stepped into the role and didn’t look back. He showcased the Doctor’s sweet side and also the part of him that is intimidating. Plus, he got in an impressive speech right off the bat – it still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite Eleventh Doctor quote: “Hello. I’m the Doctor. Basically…run.”

Vincent and the Doctor gif


“Vincent and the Doctor”

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more emotional hour of television than “Vincent and the Doctor.” The episode aired in season five and featured Amy Pond and the Eleventh Doctor visiting Vincent van Gogh because they spotted a monster in one of his paintings. Tony Curran shined as the painter wrestling with depression but so did Smith. He got to be the brash Doctor who went after the Krafayis, the concerned Doctor who tried to care for and encourage van Gogh, and the heartbroken Doctor who realized the value of the Krafayis’ life. The episode had such an effect on me that I admit to weeping whenever I hear composer Murray Gold’s music from it.

Favorite Eleventh Doctor quote: “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things.”

The Doctor's Wife gif


“The Doctor’s Wife”

This Neil Gaiman-penned episode aired in season six and brings the TARDIS to life. Like, humanoid life. Watching the Doctor speak to his ship and friend, who calls herself Idris (or Sexy), for the first time was riveting. Their back and forth banter was almost like reading a Calvin & Hobbes comic. Well, not the flirting part. The TARDIS couldn’t retain her human form so the episode has a bittersweet ending, but the introduction of Idris enriched the Doctor Who world and changed the Eleventh Doctor. Just a little.

Favorite Eleventh Doctor quote: “You’re a bitey mad lady! The TARDIS is up and downy stuff in a big blue box!”

The Impossible Astronaut gif


“The Impossible Astronaut”

The season six opener, “The Impossible Astronaut”, brought the filming of Doctor Who over to the United States for the first time. Part of the story takes place in Utah, and the Doctor dies at the hands of River Song at Lake Silencio. Smith had to play the Doctor at two ages, almost 200 years apart. The differences aren’t obvious, but you can see the younger man who comes to Utah isn’t the same as the older man who goes to his death. It’s something about the way he carries himself. The episode also sets up the arc for the season and, for better or worse, it isn’t resolved until the finale, “The Wedding of River Song.”

Favorite Eleventh Doctor quote: “I’m being extremely clever up here and there’s no one to stand around looking impressed! What’s the point in having you all?”

The Lodger gif


“The Lodger”

Another episode from season five (it’s Smith’s strongest season as far as I’m concerned), “The Lodger” makes my list because it’s a light, humorous break. Laughter is neat, and Smith has a knack for playing awkward and bumbling. The resolution of the alien mystery wasn’t as smart as it could have been, but I could watch Smith act opposite of James Corden (Craig) all day. That must be a popular opinion since Craig returned for season six’s “Closing Time.” Anyway, seeing the Doctor struggle to act like a human is priceless.

Favorite Eleventh Doctor quote: “Well I’ve got one of those faces. People never stop blurting out their plans when I’m around.”

day of the doctor gif


Bonus: “The Day of the Doctor”

I couldn’t leave out Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special, but since it is a special, it doesn’t seem fair to put it in the pile of Smith’s other episodes. How could they compete with a plot that put together Smith, David Tennant, and John Hurt? It’s not possible. Though “The Day of the Doctor” had a couple of hiccups, the episode was powerful and presented a rare opportunity to see different Doctors side by side. It was nothing short of delightful to watch Smith interact with Tennant and Hurt – so much so that I want to see a spinoff featuring the trio having adventures.

Favorite Eleventh Doctor quote: “…I have a new destination. My journey is the same as yours, the same as anyone’s. It’s taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but, at last, I know where I’m going, where I’ve always been going: Home, the long way ’round.”

Tell us about your favorite 11th Doctor episodes in the comments.

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  1. Maybe the whole episode isn’t the greatest, but Nightmare in Silver deserves a shout out because, well – Mr. Clever. By far Matt’s best performance. Ever. 

  2. The Snowmen is my favourite 11th Doctor episode. It shows a human side of the doctor that not even The Lodger manages to show. The anger, frustration and self isolation shown in this episode fits perfectly with the mostly dark Victorian nights setting. It also makes the doctor more realistic as people can relate to him with having to somehow bounce back after losing a loved one.

  3. Marty Boeck says:

    The Doctor’s Wife is far and away my favorite episode of Doctor Who.  The Tardis has always been the one constant for the Doctor.  Companions come and go.  The Tardis is his true companion and wife.

  4. Derek says:

    Amy’s Choice, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang, The Girl Who Waited, The Rings of Akhaten, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, and Closing Time were also really great episodes.

  5. Robin Asia says:

    These are all precisely my favorite episodes, leading with The Lodger.  I’ve been trying to get every pregnant lady I know to name their baby “Stormageddon.”  

  6. Liz says:

    Rings of Akhaten. By far one of the best episodes, period. Matt’s speech at the end was incredible!!

  7. Atte says:

    VIncent and the Doctor. It has great story and phenomenal acting in perfect combination. 

  8. My favorite smith  is the god complex. I just found the concept interesting.

  9. You listed my favorite episode actually. Vincent and the Doctor has been my favorite episode since it aired. Many others are on a huge list but this was the first of a couple of episodes to actually make me cry. The ending of the episode where they bring van Gogh to the museum to see his works being appreciated and the speech delivered by an amazing Bill Nighy literally brought me to tears.  

  10. Darlkom says:

    Really expected to see The Pandorica Opens on this list.

  11. Jason says:

    A Good Man Goes to War is easily my favorite.  Followed by either episode with Stormageddon

  12. These hit me right in the feels! I accepted Matt as the Doctor from the beginning, because regeneration is part of the show, and Tennant couldn’t stay on forever. That being said, the first time I watched 11’s episodes, sometimes I found myself unable to see this goofy chap as a 1000 year old alien. All the moments mentioned in the list did give me glipmses of that character, but Rings of Akaten cemented that for me. The way he delivered that speech was fantastic!

  13. Dubh says:

    The God Complex! 

  14. Michael McDonald says:

    Glad to see nothing from series 7 made it onto the list. Series 7 was just terrible. Although i would make one change and swap out the lodger and the impossible astronaut for Amy’s choice and The Girl who waited. 

    • Geeklectic says:

      The Girl Who Waited was an amazing episode, but it barely featured Matt Smith.  These are “Matt Smith’s Best Episodes” not the best episodes of the 11th Doctor.

    • Alec Ross says:

      I’d swap out any episode with River Song. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed her character during the 2 episodes with Tennant, and I liked the concept, but I never felt any connection or chemistry between Kingston and Smith. So, no Impossible Astronaught or any of that nonesense. Amy’s Choice and The Girl Who Waited are both great episodes, though.

  15. Parsa says:

    first christmas special with matt smith was the best…

    • adjunct says:

      Thank god, someone else who thinks the 1st Christmas ep was the best. The ending had me sobbing, as only the best time travel stories will do.

  16. Christina says:

    The Crimson Horror! Vastra, Jenny and Strax are always FANTASTIC editions to any episode.

  17. Kimber says:

    The Wedding Of River Song

  18. matt says:

    I’d delete Impossible Astronaut off of the list and replace it with “The Pandorica Opens”
    /”The Big Bang.”  The end of Series 5 was one of the best bits of television that I’ve ever seen.

  19. Molly B says:

    Dinosaurs in space! 

    • ChrisB says:

      It’s Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. Thank you for playing.

      • Alec Ross says:

        Now now, no reason to be over snarky or critical. We’re all here for the same reason: our love of the Doctor. We all occasionally get a little more excited than our minds/thoughts can handle 🙂