Doctor Who Finales

Instead of ranking the Doctor Who finales based on personal preference I am choosing to share what purpose I think they served for the series as a whole.

1 It reintroduced the daleks as a thriving species. It featured several defining speeches for the Doctor and Rose explains what she gets from being with him. Rose proves herself as a companion and the Doctor shows his love for her. This two part story reintroduces regeneration and marks the first appearance of David Tennant in the role.

2 Through this season David Tennant's Doctor developed always displaying an intense affection for his one constant companion. This is when everything David Tennant's Doctor and the darker side of his story arch truly begins.

3 This three parter reintroduces a classic villain and his the Doctor facing an intellectual equal. It foreshadows David Tennant's final story and brings an end to the Doctor's regular travels with Martha Jones.

4 This two part story sees the return of the daleks and the first appearance of their creator in the revived series. It is also well known in the fan community for a truly golden cliffhanger. This features all the companions which the Doctor had so far encountered in the revived series and contains a scene in which the TARDIS is actually flown properly.

5 This two party story showcases the core characteristics of the Doctor as played by Matt Smith. This finale was foreshadowed by the crack in time story arch as well as earlier references to the Pandorica and Vincent Van Gogh's greater understanding of the universe. Despite a  few very somber event which could have changed things in some very big ways  forever this finale was considerably less dark than the four it followed and left the TARDIS crew for the most part intact.

6 This single episode finale was the complex conclusion to an epic storyline which kicked into action when River, Amy and Rory saw the Doctor shot dead on a beach in Utah and finding him unable to regenerate burnt the remains. To avoid major spoilers I refuse to provide major spoilers. This finale featured material which became very important to the storyline especially the end of season 7.

7 The finale of series 7 part one saw the end of the Ponds in the Doctor's life and featured the weeping angels as villains. It is notable that this story primarily features things happening to the Doctor not around the Doctor. This is an emotional and well thought out story. 

8 The finale of series 7 part two is a resolution to the mystery of Clara storyline. It has beautiful callbacks to the past and adds to the legend of the Doctor. This story adds significantly to the overall story of Matt Smith's Doctor and the surprise at the end is revisited in the 50th.