Graph TV is an excellent website that lets you put in the name of any TV show to generate a chart plotting the average IMDb rating of each episode. It’s a cool look at which seasons of a show were its strongest and how the overall quality changed over the course of a show’s run — as well as when might be a good time to stop watching, if it’s a show you’re still catching up on. There’s a grain of salt here, since average IMDb rating doesn’t guarantee actual quality or your own preference, but it’s still a neat visualization.
I’d like to think that one near ten on doctor who is blink.
It is! I probably should have mentioned this in the original post, but if you go to the website, you can mouse over each episode dot for its title and average rating. (The lowest ones are Fear Her and Love & Monsters.)
Ugh! Thanks! One of my friends has a heuristic which says, “if your best argument can be refuted, I shouldn’t have to listen to the rest of them, either.” It’s good to know that Blink is statistically the most well-liked Doctor Who episode…it’s the only one I’ve seen and I often feel guilty for not liking the show because I feel like I haven’t given it a fair shot. But if that’s really the best episode, maybe I don’t need to bother with the rest?
My general feeling is that you should basically watch what you want to and don’t watch what you don’t want to, without any need to justify your decisions. But if you are looking for reasons to watch or not watch a TV show, I think your opinion of the show’s best-rated episode, watched in isolation, is a pretty poor one. There are two reasons I say that:
- Most series build over time, so jumping into the middle robs you of often-crucial context for enjoying the present episode. Consider the How I Met Your Mother episode “How Your Mother Met Me,” or the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Once More, with Feeling.” Those are currently the highest-rated episodes of their respective series on IMDb, but I’d argue that each is a lot less enjoyable for someone who isn’t familiar with the characters and the plot that has come beforehand. They’re so highly-rated in part due to the situated context that a first-time viewer simply wouldn’t have.
- "Best episodes" are often outliers in more than just a ratings sense. Very often, as with the HIMYM and Buffy episodes, they also represent a significant stylistic departure from the norm for their series. They stand out not for being the best example of what their shows do regularly, but for diverging from that model to at least a certain extent. Buffy is actually a great example of this: the next-most-highly rated episodes after OMWF are "Hush" and "The Body" — likewise great episodes, but also likewise significant structural deviations away from the kind of story that the show generally tells.
To bring this back to Doctor Who, if you just watch “Blink” you lack a context for who the Doctor and his current companion are, as well as the stakes that regularly threaten their universe. You’re also seeing a stylistic experiment in the form of an episode that was specifically written to barely feature the main cast members at all. The ratings show that people really enjoyed that experimental departure, but it’s not at all representative of a typical Doctor Who episode.
Anyway… I’m not trying to convince you to watch Doctor Who (although it is one of my very favorite programs), nor am I surprised that there have been many people who watched “Blink” first and were entertained enough to start watching the show regularly. But I think making the decision not to watch a show based on a negative reaction to an episode that’s a fan favorite ignores the very elements that make that episode so well-regarded in the first place. Your friend’s heuristic simply doesn’t apply to this sort of situation, where the “best argument” can’t be properly judged in isolation.
fair enough, though to play devils advocate, the second highest himym episode was, I believe, “slap bet” which was very stylistically similar to many other episodes… …probably more convincing is the fact that I dislike “once more with feeling” rather tremendously so that’s probably a good reason to give up on the heuristic. Do you believe that “blink” is a departure from the normal course of DW?