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Doctor Who suggested viewing order (revised).
TARDIS
iscariotjones
The following represents my suggestion of what order to watch episodes of the new Doctor Who and its spin-offs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, to keep the events of each show roughly synchronized for the sake of their occasional crossovers. This version is current through the 50th anniversary special in November 2013.

Some introductory notes:

1. Doctor Who as a television show ran from 1963 to 1989, with a follow-up feature film released in 1996. Some people like to watch some or all of the earlier material before beginning with the "rebooted" show that began in 2005. This list is focused only on the modern, rebooted version of the show, although if you are interested in my recommendations for which pre-2005 stories to watch first, you can find that list here.

2. Doctor Who is often billed as a show for the whole family, whereas Torchwood is explicitly aimed at more mature audiences and The Sarah Jane Adventures is geared towards children. Though they share a common continuity, and although events and characters occasionally cross over between shows, they are tonally quite distinct.

3. This list includes all full episodes in the New Whoniverse, as well as certain supplementary materials such as mini-episodes that I feel represent a meaningful addition to the canon. Quotation marks appear around the titles of the latter, to distinguish them from full episodes on this list.

4. There are other non-episode features that I do not consider of central importance that have been omitted from this list.

5. When possible, I have grouped episodes of the same show in blocks together, to limit the sometimes jarring transitions that can arise when switching from one program to another. However, I have also tried to space the shows out so that their seasons are still running roughly parallel with one another. Hopefully, a good balance has been struck in that regard, and an effort has been made to not switch between the shows during major story arcs.

6. The show The Sarah Jane Adventures ties in with the main show's continuity less frequently than Torchwood does. As such, those episodes have been placed mostly where they seem to fit thematically, in addition to necessary plot reasons.

7. The Sarah Jane Adventures ended in 2011, after the death of its lead actress, Elisabeth Sladen. Torchwood aired its most recent episode in 2011 as well, but it or some other spin-off may yet air future episodes.

My suggestion of the order to watch episodes of Doctor Who, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures:

Doctor Who 1.1 - Rose
Doctor Who 1.2 - The End of the World
Doctor Who 1.3 - The Unquiet Dead
Doctor Who 1.4 - Aliens of London
Doctor Who 1.5 - World War Three
Doctor Who 1.6 - Dalek
Doctor Who 1.7 - The Long Game
Doctor Who 1.8 - Father's Day
Doctor Who 1.9 - The Empty Child
Doctor Who 1.10 - The Doctor Dances
Doctor Who 1.11 - Boom Town
Doctor Who 1.12 - Bad Wolf
Doctor Who 1.13 - The Parting of the Ways

Doctor Who "Children in Need 2005"

Doctor Who 2.X - The Christmas Invasion

Doctor Who 2.1 - New Earth
Doctor Who 2.2 - Tooth and Claw
Doctor Who 2.3 - School Reunion
Doctor Who 2.4 - The Girl in the Fireplace
Doctor Who 2.5 - Rise of the Cybermen
Doctor Who 2.6 - The Age of Steel
Doctor Who 2.7 - The Idiot's Lantern
Doctor Who 2.8 - The Impossible Planet
Doctor Who 2.9 - The Satan Pit
Doctor Who 2.10 - Love & Monsters
Doctor Who 2.11 - Fear Her
Doctor Who 2.12 - Army of Ghosts
Doctor Who 2.13 - Doomsday

Doctor Who 3.X - The Runaway Bride

Doctor Who 3.1 - Smith and Jones
Doctor Who 3.2 - The Shakespeare Code

Torchwood 1.1 - Everything Changes
Torchwood 1.2 - Day One
Torchwood 1.3 - The Ghost Machine
Torchwood 1.4 - Cyberwoman

Doctor Who 3.3 - Gridlock
Doctor Who 3.4 - Daleks in Manhattan
Doctor Who 3.5 - Evolution of the Daleks

Torchwood 1.5 - Small Worlds
Torchwood 1.6 - Countrycide
Torchwood 1.7 - Greeks Bearing Gifts
Torchwood 1.8 - They Keep Killing Suzie
Torchwood 1.9 - Random Shoes

Doctor Who 3.6 - The Lazarus Experiment
Doctor Who 3.7 - 42
Doctor Who 3.8 - Human Nature
Doctor Who 3.9 - The Family of Blood
Doctor Who 3.10 - Blink

The Sarah Jane Adventures 1.X - Invasion of the Bane

Torchwood 1.10 - Out of Time
Torchwood 1.11 - Combat
Torchwood 1.12 - Captain Jack Harkness
Torchwood 1.13 - End of Days

Doctor Who 3.11 - Utopia
Doctor Who 3.12 - The Sound of Drums
Doctor Who 3.13 - Last of the Time Lords

Doctor Who "Time Crash"

Doctor Who 4.X - Voyage of the Damned

The Sarah Jane Adventures 1.1/1.2 - Revenge of the Slitheen
The Sarah Jane Adventures 1.3/1.4 - Eye of the Gorgon
The Sarah Jane Adventures 1.5/1.6 - Warriors of Kudlak

Torchwood 2.1 - Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Torchwood 2.2 - Sleeper
Torchwood 2.3 - To the Last Man

Doctor Who 4.1 - Partners in Crime
Doctor Who 4.2 - The Fires of Pompeii
Doctor Who 4.3 - Planet of the Ood

Torchwood 2.4 - Meat
Torchwood 2.5 - Adam
Torchwood 2.6 - Reset
Torchwood 2.7 - Dead Man Walking
Torchwood 2.8 - A Day in the Death

Doctor Who 4.4 - The Sontaran Stratagem
Doctor Who 4.5 - The Poison Sky
Doctor Who 4.6 - The Doctor's Daughter

Torchwood 2.9 - Something Borrowed
Torchwood 2.10 - From Out of the Rain
Torchwood 2.11 - Adrift

Doctor Who 4.7 - The Unicorn and the Wasp
Doctor Who 4.8 - Silence in the Library
Doctor Who 4.9 - Forest of the Dead
Doctor Who 4.10 - Midnight

The Sarah Jane Adventures 1.7/1.8 - Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?
The Sarah Jane Adventures 1.9/1.10 - The Lost Boy

Torchwood 2.12 - Fragments
Torchwood 2.13 - Exit Wounds

Doctor Who 4.11 - Turn Left
Doctor Who 4.12 - The Stolen Earth
Doctor Who 4.13 - Journey's End

The Sarah Jane Adventures 2.1/2.2 - The Last Sontaran
The Sarah Jane Adventures 2.3/2.4 - The Day of the Clown
The Sarah Jane Adventures 2.5/2.6 - Secrets of the Stars
The Sarah Jane Adventures 2.7/2.8 - The Mark of the Berserker
The Sarah Jane Adventures 2.9/2.10 - The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith
The Sarah Jane Adventures 2.11/2.12 - Enemy of the Bane

Torchwood: Children of Earth 3.1 - Day 1
Torchwood: Children of Earth 3.2 - Day 2
Torchwood: Children of Earth 3.3 - Day 3
Torchwood: Children of Earth 3.4 - Day 4
Torchwood: Children of Earth 3.5 - Day 5

Doctor Who The Next Doctor

The Sarah Jane Adventures 3.1/3.2 - Prisoner of the Judoon
The Sarah Jane Adventures 3.3/3.4 - The Mad Woman in the Attic

Doctor Who Planet of the Dead

The Sarah Jane Adventures 3.5/3.6 - The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith
The Sarah Jane Adventures 3.7/3.8 - The Eternity Trap

Doctor Who The Waters of Mars
Doctor Who "Dreamland"

The Sarah Jane Adventures 3.9/3.10 - Mona Lisa's Revenge
The Sarah Jane Adventures 3.11/3.12 - The Gift

Doctor Who The End of Time Part I
Doctor Who The End of Time Part II

Doctor Who 5.1 - The Eleventh Hour

Doctor Who "Meanwhile in the TARDIS Part I"

Doctor Who 5.2 - The Beast Below
Doctor Who 5.3 - Victory of the Daleks
Doctor Who 5.4 - The Time of Angels
Doctor Who 5.5 - Flesh and Stone

The Sarah Jane Adventures 4.1/4.2 - The Nightmare Man
The Sarah Jane Adventures 4.3/4.4 - The Vault of Secrets

Doctor Who "Meanwhile in the TARDIS Part II"

Doctor Who 5.6 - The Vampires of Venice
Doctor Who 5.7 - Amy's Choice
Doctor Who 5.8 - The Hungry Earth
Doctor Who 5.9 - Cold Blood
Doctor Who 5.10 - Vincent and the Doctor
Doctor Who 5.11 - The Lodger
Doctor Who 5.12 - The Pandorica Opens
Doctor Who 5.13 - The Big Bang

The Sarah Jane Adventures 4.5/4.6 - Death of the Doctor
The Sarah Jane Adventures 4.7/4.8 - The Empty Planet

Doctor Who 6.X - A Christmas Carol

Doctor Who "Space"
Doctor Who "Time"
Doctor Who "Night and the Doctor - Good Night"

The Sarah Jane Adventures 4.9/4.10 - Lost in Time
The Sarah Jane Adventures 4.11/4.12 - Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith

Doctor Who 6.1 - The Impossible Astronaut
Doctor Who 6.2 - Day of the Moon

Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.1 - The New World
Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.2 - Rendition
Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.3 - Dead of Night

Doctor Who 6.3 - The Curse of the Black Spot
Doctor Who 6.4 - The Doctor's Wife

Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.4 - Escape to L.A.
Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.5 - The Categories of Life
Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.6 - The Middle Men

Doctor Who 6.5 - The Rebel Flesh
Doctor Who 6.6 - The Almost People
Doctor Who 6.7 - A Good Man Goes to War

Doctor Who "The Battle of Demons Run: Two Days Later"

Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.7 - Immortal Sins
Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.8 - End of the Road

Doctor Who "Let's Kill Hitler: Prequel"

Doctor Who 6.8 - Let's Kill Hitler
Doctor Who 6.9 - Night Terrors
Doctor Who 6.10 - The Girl Who Waited
Doctor Who 6.11 - The God Complex

Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.9 - The Gathering
Torchwood: Miracle Day 4.10 - The Blood Line

Doctor Who 6.12 - Closing Time
Doctor Who 6.13 - The Wedding of River Song

The Sarah Jane Adventures 5.1/5.2 - Sky
The Sarah Jane Adventures 5.3/5.4 - The Curse of Clyde Langer
The Sarah Jane Adventures 5.5/5.6 - The Man Who Never Was

Doctor Who "Night and the Doctor - First Night"
Doctor Who "Night and the Doctor - Last Night"

Doctor Who 7.X - The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

Doctor Who "Pond Life Part One - April"
Doctor Who "Pond Life Part Two - May"
Doctor Who "Pond Life Part Three - June"
Doctor Who "Pond Life Part Four - July"
Doctor Who "Pond Life Part Five - August"

Doctor Who 7.1 Asylum of the Daleks
Doctor Who 7.2 Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
Doctor Who 7.3 A Town Called Mercy
Doctor Who 7.4 The Power of Three
Doctor Who 7.5 The Angels Take Manhattan

Doctor Who "The Great Detective"
Doctor Who "Vastra Investigates: A Christmas Prequel"

Doctor Who The Snowmen

Doctor Who 7.6 The Bells of Saint John
Doctor Who 7.7 The Rings of Akhaten
Doctor Who 7.8 Cold War
Doctor Who 7.9 Hide
Doctor Who 7.10 Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
Doctor Who 7.11 The Crimson Horror
Doctor Who 7.12 Nightmare in Silver
Doctor Who 7.13 The Name of the Doctor

Doctor Who "The Night of the Doctor"

Doctor Who The Day of the Doctor

heh, i wish i'd seen this a couple months ago when i started my who/torchwood marathon. haven't watched sarah jane at all, mostly because amazon prime doesn't have it free. do you think it's worth finding elsewise?

I think it's a good show. Some episodes are pretty hokey, but that's fair to say of Torchwood too. At its best, TSJA is a quality program. Continuity-wise, the Doctor shows up in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith" and "Death of the Doctor," and of course Sarah Jane and her son Luke are in DW Series 4 and "The End of Time." So it's a little further removed from the mothership than Torchwood, but still definitely in the same continuity.

Why not put "Smith and Jones" and "The Shakespeare Code" after the first Torchwood block, closer to "Gridlock?"

...I can't believe I'm quibbling over this, but hey, you're the one who came up with the list in the first place. So while I'm at it, I think I'd also put Martha Jones' Torchwood episodes *after* her DW episodes. They'll make sense either way, and from a thematic point of view, she has to go from being happily engaged to Tom Milligan (as she is in DW) to breaking off that engagement and ending up with Mickey. Kissing Jack goodbye in "A Day in the Death" could be seen as a hint that she's no longer happy with Tom. (It bothered me slightly at the time, though I managed to convince myself she didn't mean anything by it. In retrospect, she did.)

And "The Next Doctor" is more of a romp than drama, isn't it? I wouldn't try to squeeze it in between "Children of Earth" and "Waters of Mars;" I think it aired first anyway. ("Children of Earth" was over a summer, right? And "Planet of the Dead" was Easter, meaning "The Next Doctor" must have been earlier than that.) I'd say the same for "Planet of the Dead," but it does have that foreshadowing at the end. I still might say the same for it. I think I might've actually made the same comment the last time you posted one of these lists. Oh, well. "Children of Earth," "Waters of Mars," and "The End of Time" are all seriously intense, though I don't know anything about the SJA episodes you've got in there. Or "Dreamland." Should I watch "Dreamland" sometime? I mean, is it close enough to count as a Doctor Who episode despite being animated?


Argh. I just had a really long response to all these points, and then I hit the wrong button and it all got deleted. Highlights:

-I think seeing Torchwood Three in TW1 shouldn't come right after seeing Torchwood One in DW2. So, Martha's first couple episodes got put there. It establishes why the Doctor isn't paying attention to what Jack's doing; he's busy showing Martha the universe.

-Canonically, Martha's TW2 episodes come before her DW4 ones. She's supposed to be dating Tom in TW, then engaged to him in DW, and then mentioned as being on her honeymoon (but without the husband being named) in CoE. Then it's a surprise in TEoT that she actually married Mickey.

-TND, PotD, and CoE aired in that order. I moved CoE up to be between Journey's End and TND because a big part of CoE is that sometimes bad shit happens on earth and the Doctor either doesn't notice or doesn't care. I think it fits better to not go straight into an adventure with him on modern-day earth like PotD right after that. I also didn't want to go straight from CoE into an episode of Sarah Jane.

-Dreamland has poor visuals but a good story. (It's the opposite of The Infinity Trap, basically.)

Hey! Would you believe I just hunted through your LJ archive in order to reference this list? I have a friend who's about to start DW Season 3, which of course means it's time to start throwing in some Torchwood. (No SJA for us, mostly because I haven't seen most of it and therefore didn't recommend it.) It seems you were right about the Martha Jones episodes--she's dating Tom in TW but engaged in DW, so DW must occur later in her timeline. Bummer. I think I will move Children of Earth down past Waters of Mars, however. ;-) Angstfest, here we come.

Did I mention my friend has no Netflix, so I've been rewatching every episode with her? Tee hee.

Haha, excellent! And I'm actually about to write a new entry... I just finished watching my way through all of Classic Who, so I'm going to recommend a "Season Zero" of serials that I think would make a good prologue to New Who... Obviously non-essential, since so many of us start with the new stuff and discover the classic series either on our own time or not at all (and aren't really missing out by doing so). But I think having seen the Daleks, the Master, etc. at least once in the original series might make it cooler when they show up or get referenced in the new show.

Thank you thank you thank you! I've seen series 3 and onwards of Doctor Who but I finally found 1 and 2 and Torchwood and SJA online and I want to watch them, but I wasn't sure what order I should watch them in. I won't bother re-watching all the Who episodes I've seen but I'll probably read the plot summaries on the Wiki to refresh my memory when I'm supposed to watch them. I'm going to start this as soon as I finish Sherlock!

You're welcome! And I couldn't quite tell from the way you worded that, but if you haven't seen the first two seasons of Doctor Who, definitely check them out sometime! They're just as good as the rest of the show, and you'll also miss a lot of callbacks in later episodes if you haven't seen those ones.

Can you update this, please?!

Sure -- but the list is already current through the most recent episodes of both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, so the only updating that needs to be done is adding in Doctor Who episodes and mini-episodes that have aired since 2011. I'll go ahead and do that now, but for anyone reading this in the future: unless Torchwood has gotten a fifth season or there's been some other spin-off released, you don't need to worry about switching back and forth between Whoniverse shows past the end of this list. Just keep on watching episodes of Doctor Who in the order that they aired.

Indeed, I was talking about Doctor Who !

Thank you, iscariotjones! Can't wait for the rest of the updates !

I just finished binge watching "Doctor Who" and Torchwood" on Netflix, and am about to start watching series 8 of DW (which is currently six episodes in) on my DVR. I can't begin to express how helpful this guide was. As far as i can tell, it was a perfect viewing order guide. I was even able to watch all of the mini-episodes, as they are all currently available online. So thank you very much for putting this together.