Pick of the Week - September 22-28, 2014

When I first started the Pick of the Week project, my goal was to select things that could actually be consumed within a week.  Movies, games, and books are fine, but I have, on occasion, recommended entire TV series.  Sure, Hannibal could be done in a week if you had a bit of free time, but Mystery Science Theater 3000?  Not likely.

Instead I want to go back to my initial idea and recommend individual episodes of a TV series.  I also discovered, surprisingly enough, that I have never recommended a pick from Doctor Who.  That said, I did an entire POST last year as an introduction to the series.  If you know nothing about Doctor Who, I recommend giving it a read.

Since writing that, I’ve given a bit more thought about what episode to recommend to newcomers.  I mentioned several possibilities in that post, but I’ve finally settled on “Blink” (Season 3, Episode 10).  The Doctor isn’t actually in this episode very much, but that is why at works as a great introduction to the series.  The audience is learning about the Doctor along with the episode’s main character, Sally Sparrow, played Carey Mulligan, who recently costarred with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby.  Aside from being a good primer to the Doctor, the episode, written by Steven Moffat, is considered to be one of the best the series has ever produced.  It’s creepy, twisting, and also marks the first appearance of the Weeping Angels, who the Doctor describes as "the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely."  If you enjoy “Blink,” you’ll likely enjoy the rest of the series.  If not, maybe Doctor Who isn’t for you.

But if you do decide that you like Who, but you aren’t sure if you’re ready to dive completely in, perhaps you’d enjoy something more on the comedic side.  In that care, I recommend “The Lodger” (Season 5, Episode 11), which is about as close to a sitcom as Doctor Who has ever gotten.  After accidentally becoming separated from the TARDIS and his companion, Amy Pond, the Doctor rents a room from (and invades the life of), Craig Owens, a regular bloke dealing with regular things like a job, unrequited love, and strange noises coming from the apartment upstairs.  Craig is played by James Corden, who will soon be taking over the hosting duties of The Late Late Show from Craig Ferguson, and he’s fantastic as an average guy struggling to deal with the chaos that his new roommate brings into his life.  The episode is really very funny and sweet and is also a great showcase for Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor.

- Alan Decker

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