Over at tor.com, there's a blog post and subsequent discussion about where to start with Doctor Who, if you've never watched an episode. Their blogger suggests Human Nature/Family of Blood from season 3. Those are two of my favorite episodes, but I wouldn't suggest them as the place to start for a Doctor Who virgin. My enjoyment of that two-parter comes from watching the Doctor act in a very un-Doctor-like manner.
So where would I say a new viewer should start with the New Who? Three suggestions:
This is the first episode of the New Who, which makes it essentially the pilot episode. And what better place to start than at the beginning? The production values aren't at their best, and as much as I respect Christopher Eccleston as an actor, he's not my favorite Doctor. Still, a new viewer follows along with Rose and gets introduced to the Doctor's strange world as she does.
2) "The Eleventh Hour"
Want a starting-point that's more recent? The season 5 premiere, "The Eleventh Hour," has a new Doctor, a new companion and a new show-runner. The previous four seasons of characters and plot entanglements are wiped away into a clean slate. This was my first episode, and I had no problem understanding what was going on. Plus, Matt Smith rocks.
This David Tennant episode comes toward the end of season 3. It has two major points going for it as a First Episode. First, it's the best episode of the New Who. Weeping Angels: brilliant. Second, it's hardly about the Doctor at all. Taking center stage is Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow, an ordinary girl who must defeat the Angels and save the Doctor in the process. Creepy and captivating.
So what do you think? (All five of my readers out there ...) What's the best episode to use to introduce a viewer to Doctor Who?