Log in

No account? Create an account
21 March 2016 @ 07:40 pm
NuWho Rewatch: The Day of the Doctor  
I didn't really write about Day of the Doctor when it first aired since it all got tangled up in my birthday Who-watching marathon session. I really enjoyed it at the time, but we had already watched a lot of good Doctor Who by that point and were not necessarily entirely sober. I was anxious to see whether it was still as good on a second viewing.

It's probably important to point out that one shouldn't expect something like Blink or Heaven Sent from a multi-Doctor anniversary special. At least 50% of the point of these things is to have different incarnations of the Doctor arguing with each other and the other 50% is probably to be a bit mad and a bit silly and contain a lot of fun references for long time fans. Obviously if you can actually manage to have a clever storyline and a decent theme like Remembrance of the Daleks (which wasn't the 25th anniversary story and didn't have multiple Doctors) then all the better, but it probably isn't required.

Day of the Doctor pitches the inter-Doctor interactions really well. It manages to send up both the 10th and 11th Doctors in an affectionate fashion while, at the same time, underlining their similarity, particularly in contrast to the War Doctor. John Hurt is excellent as the War Doctor. It's not an easy task to come in as a previous Doctor that the audience has never seen and convince, especially in competition with two well-established Doctors. Billie Piper was good too though, to be honest, she didn't get a lot to do.

The Zygon plot has the right level of a bit mad and a bit silly and is stronger now we know the resolution. The Child, interestingly, has started agitating strongly for a Zygon companion. I fear she is going to be disappointed.

The themes, about the terrible decisions people make and their personal repercussions are, arguably, the themes that have infused not only the whole of NuWho but also the later Seventh Doctor stories, so they are hardly new. However the use of multiple Doctors to explore that theme did at least give more impetus to the use of multiple Doctors. It was good to see the Doctor both reaffirm the choice he made when he used the Moment and then introduce the get-out clause. One feels, vaguely, that rescuing Gallifrey ought to undermine much of what happened under Russell T. Davies but, to be honest, I mostly felt it was about time. The fact of the destruction of Gallifrey had lain heavily over the series even despite Moffat's attempts to move away from it.

The only bit I didn't really like, originally, was Tom Baker's appearance at the end and I'm still not fond of it. Frankly, it outstays its welcome. It is full of repetition and random chuckling and feels more like Tom was told to improvise for a couple of minutes than that he was given a proper script. The fourth Doctor was good at the sly wink and meaningful chuckle, but he used to deliver them and move swiftly on, this just carried on and on and the moment, frankly, lost its power. The fourth Doctor was also good at the cutting and incisive remark and it would have been nice if one of those had worked its way in somewhere.

The multi-Doctor story is a difficult beast and I think Day of the Doctor is better than all its predecessors. I don't think it's better than Remembrance of the Daleks (but then, as noted above, despite all appearances to the contrary that was not an anniversary story). Where Doctor Who had been succeeding in series 7 it was with tightly focused, fairly serious, stories such as Hide and A Town Called Mercy, so it was good to see it make a success of something much more light-hearted and rambling. It is immensely enjoyable.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/187774.html.
cynthia2015cynthia2015 on March 25th, 2016 09:53 am (UTC)
Billie wasn't playing Rose but "The Moment/Bad Wolf". At least she had some chemistry with John Hurt. Even though it did feel strange without the Ninth Doctor being in it.