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Ranking The Doctor’s Regenerations

14th) Sixth Doctor – Seventh Doctor: The worst regeneration sequence comes in Time and the Rani, mainly because the video effects and false wig do absolutely nothing to disguise the fact that Colin Baker did not return to shot the scene. The reason why The Sixth Doctor regenerates is also very lazy and makes little to no sense compared to other reasons why The Doctor regenerates. The video effects are also very minimum, compared to other sequences throughout the eighties; the worst one overall.

13th) War Doctor – Ninth Doctor: The built-up is fine, and the War Doctor manages to reach a state of peace, but the whole thing is letdown because Christopher Eccleston wouldn’t come back to film a regeneration sequence. The event takes place unseen and doesn’t really end the short War Doctor saga.

12th) Second Doctor – Third Doctor: There is no regeneration sequence at all, which is right shame, it just ends with The Second Doctor spinning away into a void and regenerating sometime off-screen between The War Games and Spearhead from Space. The built-up is commendable, and the editing of the sequence is unique; if a little bit too 1960s. Sadly the regeneration sequence doesn’t happen and almost disqualifies it from being a regeneration sequence.

11th) Eleventh Doctor – Twelfth Doctor: The Eleventh Doctor was nearing the end of his first regeneration cycle, meaning the end of the road had come, thankfully the Time Lords gave him a whole new cycle to play with; sadly, he doesn’t use his first regeneration (beginning his second cycle) to his advantage. The built has the Eleventh Doctor saying goodbye to Amy (and not Rory), and the regeneration is a blink-and-you’ll miss it affair. It leaves very little to the imagination and is almost forgettable.

10th) Twelfth Doctor – Thirteenth Doctor: The Twelfth Doctor gives a superlong monologue which goes on forever, giving his new incarnation instructions on the kind of Doctor they should be so he’s basically telling himself or herself. It also ends with a fiery explosion and the regeneration process literally blows up the TARDIS, which almost kills The Doctor (after the process is done). As an end to the Twelfth Doctor era it’s a little disappointing, wanting to sound and look grander than it needs to be.

9th) Eighth Doctor – War Doctor: A short sequence shrouded in mystery and suspense and sees the return of the Sisterhood of Karn from The Brain of Morbius. Its basically the same procedure seen in The Partings of the Ways and The End of Time only downplayed and hidden off-screen. The final few moments are a little confusing, with John Hurt’s face obscured, and the reason why the Sisterhood of Karn gives the Eighth Doctor a choice over his destiny a little hazy. It nice to see Paul McGann getting an ending though.

8th) Thirteen Doctor – Fourteenth Doctor: The whole thing is a little clichéd with the Thirteenth Doctor looking at the sunset for one final time before leaving the universe forever. The whole scene is shot from afar and breaks the rules of regeneration by having The Doctor’s clothes change as well. The final moments are spoilt by the repetitious saying of ‘What?’ by the Fourteenth Doctor and leaves the whole event confusing; until the events can be explained later. The whole scene is too cinematic for its own good.

7th) Third Doctor – Fourth Doctor: It’s a bittersweet scene with the Third Doctor seemingly dying before regenerating. It also revisits themes and issues which were explored right throughout the Third Doctor era and are wrapped up nicely and given a satisfying conclusion. The actual regeneration is a simple crossfade effect but the two shots blend nicely with each other and ends a very successful era and begins a whole new era which elevated the show to new levels.

6th) Tenth Doctor – Eleventh Doctor: The Tenth Doctor regenerates in the same style as his two predecessors but its just that - a repeat. The sequence where he says goodbye to his companions is a little drawn out; by the scenes themselves are short, sweet, and have very little words exchanged in them. The regeneration sequence although visually impressive is overkill with The Doctor exclaiming ‘I don’t want to go’ and literally blowing the TARDIS to pieces. It’s a weak end to the Tenth Doctor era but far from being forgettable.

5th) Ninth Doctor – Tenth Doctor: In a way the Ninth Doctor regenerating has the honour of being the first regeneration process many Doctor Who fans witnessed; setting up the process for those who didn’t understand it. It almost comes out of nowhere and literally leaves viewers mesmerised to the godlike rebirth The Doctor is going through. It’s also downplayed, without having the Ninth Doctor getting all emotional and gushy, it does what its need to do, and does it very well.

4th) First Doctor – Second Doctor: The very first regeneration scene is a wonderous piece of television editing and truly affirm what a regeneration is, and why it happens. Although the final moments of The First Doctor were a little hazy until the broadcast of Twice Upon a Time, one can only feel a little bit of joy that the old, frail and tired First Doctor is about to be reborn as a new man with a fresher and fitter body. The First Doctor doesn’t really utter final words and ends with Ben Jackson and Polly Wright finding him on the TARDIS floor. The transformation is particularly well-handled and pushed the boundaries in the science-fiction television programming to all new heights.

3rd) Fourth Doctor – Fifth Doctor: Looking back at Logopolis the Fourth Doctor regenerating is perhaps the first one that was slightly hinted at before it actually happened. The Fourth Doctor falling from a great height is clichéd as one can get, but the send-off is another matter. The Fourth Doctor saves the entire Universe from The Master; it’s a fitting end considering how many times and worlds the Fourth Doctor saved throughout his incarnation. The regeneration sequence is also something else, and is like nothing ever seen before, spooky yet calming. Its nice to see the montage of companions saying goodbye, and the other montage of villains shouting ‘Doctor’ is something else entirely. It’s a great send-off and deserves all the recognition that it gets.

2nd) Fifth Doctor – Sixth Doctor: The Doctor sacrifices himself to save his friend’s life, its something that wouldn’t be repeated until The End of Time, but The Caves of Androzani got there first and took full advantage of the situation. Explosive video effects and another montage of companions, this time urging The Doctor to go on with his regeneration all accumulate to a regeneration sequence that could very well have ended with The Doctor’s death. The soundtrack and backing vocals are gothic in nature and the whole scene is edited almost perfectly; its just a shame the era that came shortly after this.

1st) Seventh Doctor – Eighth Doctor: The regeneration is visually told, almost perfectly, being shown side-by-side with the wakening scene of Frankenstein’s monster in Frankenstein. Cutting back and forth between The Doctor finishing his regeneration process and Frankenstein help illustrate what a regeneration scene is, for fans who tuned into the television special, who may or may not know what a regeneration is. Its also a little comical, almost too slapstick, but truly sums up the power of the Time Lords, and the amazing powers they hold over death.

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