The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary was this past Saturday. Finally. November 23, 1963 to November 23, 2013. 50 years of an amazing British television show that I have grown to love. You can read all about Doctor Who in my spoiler free The 5 W’s of Doctor Who post, but for this post…
“Day of the Doctor”, the 50th Anniversary special episode, was simulcast globally. This feat earned it a Guinness World Record for largest global television event. I tuned in here on the East Coast of the US at 2:50 PM EST and proceeded to scream for an uninterrupted, commercial free hour. Not only was the special mind-blowing, but it rewrote Doctor Who history! The episode starts with the Eleventh Doctor (played by the adorable Matt Smith) and his current companion Clara (played by the cute Jenna Coleman) getting summoned by UNIT to the National Gallery. Elizabeth I has left the Doctor a message. A nifty 3D painting of Gallifrey in its final moments is shown and the Doctor discovers that something has escaped from another 3D painting. This turns out to be the shape-shifting, red (and quite ugly) Zygons.
What ensues is a visual love letter to Doctor Who and its fans. The Tenth Doctor (played by the handsome David Tennant) is in Elizabeth I’s timeline, hanging out and having a picnic when his horse turns out to be a Zygon. The War Doctor (played by the amazing John Hurt) is contemplating the destruction of Gallifrey when the deadly weapon, The Moment, gains sentience in the form of Bad Wolf (gorgeous Billie Piper!). A tear in time brings these three Doctors together. What’d I tell you – a love letter to fans! Whenever more than one Doctor is on-screen together, it is a fantastic occasion.
Seeing these three on-screen together was awesome. The matching mannerisms and synchronization of Smith and Tennant was impeccable. Hurt was more of a Hipster Doctor having to deal with his regenerations strange antics and way of thinking. Noticeably missing, however, was Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor. The actor opted out of doing the 50th, but having an incarnation of Bad Wolf was a nice ode to the Ninth Doctor’s season and storylines. There was this moment when we see Hurt’s Doctor regenerate that I thought for just a second that the wool had been pulled over our eyes and Eccleston would appear freshly regenerated! However, it was just a mean tease.
The climatic finale featured all thirteen Doctors coming together to freeze Gallifrey (although I am still very unsure what happened to be honest as I have yet to rewatch and put all the pieces together). Yes – all thirteen. Peter Capaldi, who was announced as the Twelfth Doctor earlier this year, had a very brief cameo that, personally, revealed quite a bit about what type of Doctor he is going be. Eyes are the windows to our soul. Although that is all we got of him – his eyes, I feel that there is a lot that can be said about him and what his Doctor will be. I imagine him to be serious, fearless. Perhaps even a bit angry. It would be a nice, dramatic change from Smith’s comical (and adorable!) run as The Doctor. We did not get a glimpse at his costume, but they have to save something for us salivating fans.
There were some not-so-great things about the 50th Anniversary Special. Fans everywhere are rejoicing and screaming their praises, but I have been unable to watch anything without an analytical eye since I started review writing back in 2006. Oops. The Elizabeth I storyline was quite dull and I found it impossibly to watch the actress without watching her eyebrows move around far too much. Her performance took me out of the awesome things going on around it. I also thought the Zygon storyline (which quite connects to the Elizabeth I in a way), was not strong enough for this particular special. I wanted something bigger.
The most interesting storyline was going to be about Gallifrey and the Time War, obviously. I can not be blamed for wanting more of that, but I can also understand why we did not get more. They can not give us everything, can they? I am perfectly happy with what we did get to see of the Time War. The Time Lords got spiffy new costume designs which I loved and all thirteen Doctors coming together was an epic, unforgettable moment. I just wish the secondary (or first? however you look at it) storyline was as strong.
All in All, I am a pleased Whovian. I can not wait to for 50 more years of Doctor Who.