Alidar Jarok wrote:
I was going to complain about both the 9th and the 10th Doctor having a finale as their choice, but it's actually hard to pick a two-parter for Tennant. Maybe Family of Blood would be better, but that's awkward since the Doctor isn't the Doctor for most of it. Eccleston could have had The Empty Child instead, I suppose, but I do think the finale sums up his reign better. The Impossible Astronaut is a very good choice for Matt Smith, though (better episode than The Time of Angels, although both have the necessary companions). If The Angels Take Manhattan were a two-parter, I could have seen that one chosen instead. But it's the best choice for a single-parter.
I think my favorite Matt Smith 2-parter is "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang." I think it holds together slightly better than "The Impossible Astronaut"/"Day of the Moon." But then the Doctor's death at Lake Silencio has been such a dominant part of Matt Smith's tenure that I suppose it makes sense to pick that one. And didn't "The Impossible Astronaut" have the highest ratings in the history of BBC America?
"The Time of Angels" doesn't quite have all the necessary companions. Rory isn't in it.
Picking a David Tennant 2-parter is very hard. I'm quite fond of "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" but I think I'm in the minority there. "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" is great but you're right that the Doctor isn't really the Doctor for most of it. I really like "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" but that's more of a prelude to the Matt Smith years than a really archetypal Tennant story.
I suppose, for better & for worse, "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" is the best example of the excesses of the RTD era. It's big. It's loud. It miraculously resurrects the Daleks only to destroy them all again at the end. It brings back positively everyone, even some of the spin-off characters from Torchwood
& The Sarah Jane Adventures.
It's only real draw-back is that the beginning doesn't totally make sense if you haven't seen the lead up to it in "Turn Left."
For Christopher Eccleston, we all love "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" but I think "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways" is the best example of the Eccleston era. It includes Jackie & Mickey. It brings in the Daleks and deals with the aftermath of the Time War, which was still very fresh in the 9th Doctor's mind. Rose gets a bit more to do in this story. And I think the regeneration scene is one of Eccleston's finest hours. It's not quite the over-the-top epic finish that Tennant got in "The End of Time" but "The Parting of the Ways" is brief while still putting a really nice cap on the Eccleston era.