Salute the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who by marathoning these 11 essential episodes

The Matt Smith era of Doctor Who, from 2010 to the end of 2013, was a tumultous one for many fans, particularly after the triumphs of the David Tennant years. By the time Smith's era was over, we were left with a Doctor most of us liked, a couple of great companions, some brilliant stories and a firm love/hate relationship with the man behind it all: showrunner Steven Moffat. As is typical of any massive, diverse fandom, many believe Moffat ran the show into the ground, and others think he produced its greatest era ever. Whatever the case, being a Who fan in the time of Matt Smith was exciting, and though I, for one, can't wait to see what Peter Capaldi brings to the role, I still miss the madman in the box. 

Fortunately for me, and for all of you, we can revisit plenty of Smith's finest Who hours. All of his episodes are available through download services like iTunes, and they're all streaming right now via Hulu Plus, where you can access them all with a one-week free trial (though you might just want to stick around and watch all of the classic Who stored there as well). But which ones should you watch? Well, everyone's got their own ideas about what makes an essential Eleventh Doctor story. Some are essential because of their plot, some for their tone, and some because they're just so damn entertaining. For my part, I think the 11 stories in the gallery below -- featuring everything from Vincent van Gogh to a three-Doctor team-up -- are a good place to start. Check out my picks, let us know your own in the comments or on Twitter at @blastr, and go bid a fond farewell to our bowtie-wearing raggedy man.

Doctor Who returns Saturday at 8/7C on BBC America.

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