23 November 2013

The Power of Thirteen (Review: 'Doctor Who', "The Day of the Doctor")

Doctor Who's 50th anniversary episode was subject to intense secrecy - with no press screenings or preview tapes, as well as a global simulcast to minimise spoilers. Sometimes hiding your completed work is a sign that it's awful.

Not in this case. After a slightly disjointed start, Steven Moffat's 75-minute long tale proved to be a worthy and brilliant tribute to the world's longest running sci-fi/fantasy show.

This review contains minor spoilers

Thirteen points that stand out for me:
  • The use of the original Derbyshire theme at the beginning was great, along with the starting location at Coal Hill School.
  • Steven Moffat's ability to rewrite the show's history and still leave all the old stuff intact is superb; the climax here is a lovely example.
  • Mind you, we're going to need to alter a good number of Wiki articles on the Doctor.
  • I've visited the National Gallery and most of it doesn't look like that - it's full of religious painting, nudes and the occasional religious nude.
  • The Zygons were great fun - it allows for Moffat to easily wrong foot the audience, although one of those transformation scenes did look a bit overly gruesome for kids (hence the time slot, I would say).
  • Three Doctors in one scene, all arguing with and insulting each other; that was superb in 1972 and it's just as good now. "Sandshoes" and "Grandad" will last long in the fandom's memory.
  • What was the fez doing in the Under Gallery in the first place?
  • We've now got an explanation for that scene at the end of "The Shakespeare Code" and a reference in "The End of Time".
  • I guess that the Could Have Been King was a bit beyond the budget. I don't think we actually saw any Dalek extermination effects here either and some of the CGI in the final shot was a bit obvious, but it had to be with three Doctors no longer with us and four no longer looking like they did.
  • The appearance of [censored] at the end was a great one, which was a lovely bit of the past.
  • I thought we might get an appearance from [spoiler], although it was a very brief one.
  • The lack of an appearance from [spoiler] was got around nicely and we've now managed to get all the [spoiler] on camera.
  • So, we are going to Trenzalore for Christmas... counting the one in "Journey's End", we've used up all twelve regenerations, so that will have to be dealt with then.

A bit disjointed to begin with and I was wondering how Moffat was going to deal with the previous canon near the end, but he managed it admirably. Well done to all involved.


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