Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm Hurt(ing)...: The Day of the Doctor Review

I know what you're thinking... Something's wrong with this picture. Looks fine to me!

I never thought I'd see the day I'd rate a Moffat penned episode as my very least favorite, but the day officially came... 

Before you all go screaming "if I could unread your post, I would!" or "Haterz gonna hate", let me be perfectly blunt and clear. I've been a Whovian for the last seven years since I was 17. I've watched every episode classic and new (and the many comics, novels and those magnificent audios from Big Finish that followed) and experience fandom's good side and its bad side (i.e. bashing Adric, some still viewing the TV Movie as "the American Abomination",and fans bashing others for not liking the current showrunner and the one before him). Not one time has any of Who make me second guess myself as a viewer (or do I really want to continue being apart of this fandom) the way the Day of the Doctor did yesterday evening.

In the many months since the announcement that none of the Classic Doctors nor Christopher Eccleston were returning (for the latter, we'll lay the blame on Marvel/Disney's doorstep) my excitement for the 50th TV Special went from a "Hell yes!" to a certified "Hell NO!". For the many complaints about Day of the Doctor being more of a tribute to the last eight years than pre-2005. Well, after what I've sat through, those criticisms were and are well justified and severly accurate many ways than one. Adding insult to injury that Day turned out to be the lastest of times Steven Moffat's been feeling himself too much in his writing; the worst case since 2011's Let's Kill Hitler. Plus his agenda to resolve the regeneration limit but shoehorning a unnecessary forgotten incarnation as the one who ended the Time War instead of what the majority of fandom assumed (and backed up by Big Finish and IDW's The Forgotten) to be the 8th Doctor. Bare in mind regarding 8th, while such an act would go against his Big Finish characterization, the 8th Doctor of the EDA novels would given the first time he blew up Gallifrey (and the violatile actions done during the Caught on Earth arc). It's a tragedy that Moffat used the 50th to muck with the limit so he can be the only one to deal with it and no one after him would ever get the chance.

I'll just come right out with the bad:

  • I just can't accept John Hurt's War Doctor at all. I'm, I'm not sorry! I believe the idea of a hidden incarnation between the two Doctors I love (Christopher Eccleston's my first Doctor and Paul McGann's MY Doctor) is a terrible one; my least favorite idea from Moffat after the existance of River Song. Don't get me wrong, I think Hurt's a lovely dude and I don't question his acting abilities, but I feel his presence designated him in my eyes as the New Who generation's equivalent of Richard Hurndall in terms of his role being made bigger to accommodate Eccleston's non-participation (and frankly, I won't hold it against Eccleston unlike some in this fandom). Plus he agreed to take part in a honored role he didn't deserve nor did he earn. Had he'd been cast as, say, 5 or 6 years ago, then it'd be fine but not so much as an hidden incarnation. I feel the wrong man was there. If it were Richard E. Grant, I'd most likely would've been cool with it seeing as I liked Scream of the Shalka and he was, until that faithful TV announcement, the real 9th Doctor (well the 2nd of the now 4 9's). Regardless of the ending scene and the closing titles, the numbering as far as marketing and merchandise are concerned, will remain the same. Eccleston's still 9, Tennant 10, Smith 11, and Capaldi 12. No point in stomping your feet demanding Hurt be included in future products anymore than Handy (Meta-Crisis 10) nor am I changing my Matrix Databanks and Timelines for a mere one-off. Further, he didn't come off as the bad man Moffat attempted to sell us with in The Name of the Doctor; he was no different from the other before Eccleston through Smith. An idea that went up in smoke and a true waste of a regeneration.
  • The Queen Elizabeth thing. I wasn't keen on the whole thing when it started out as a poorly thought out joke from RTD and still not keen on fulfilling it here. It was embarassing along side the Zygon-UNIT plot which was too random for its own good.
  • Spoiler: The Time War.... For a once renegade Time Lord who once store all of Gallifrey via Matrix into his mind just as he blew it up the first time around (via the novels), he really didn't making the effort to figure out a way to save his home and have the War Council and Spits-a-lon overthrown to send it to a pocket universe instead of waiting three regenerations later to finally come up with the plan. Makes the Doctor look slack and a bit of a defeatist.
  • The Moment - Didn't see the point in the Moment taking the form of Rose when the War Doctor had no companions. It's only proves that the War Doctor role could've easily be either Paul McGann or Christopher Ecceston. Had the Moment took the form or Susan or Romana, there'd be more impact and more familar in terms of the program's mythology that's not limited to only 2005 to now.

Now for the good:

  • GALLIFREY FALLS NO MORE!!! After eight gruelling years of watch the Doctor being molded into a Superman-esque character, the aftertaste of the RTD era has finally cleansed the show back to its roots. The first 50 years was about him running away from it, now the next 50 will be him running towards it. I know some folks are against this but like the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians of Oa, the Time Lords aren't exempted from being brought back (save for Rassilon who can stay in his tomb for all I care)
  • The performances from all involved were fine. I was rather glad Billie Piper was only the Moment's manifestation of Rose and not the real deal. While a relief for her, a disappointment to fans of the Russell T. Davies era who wanted to see her and 10th interact instead of 
  • Spoiler: The Capaldi cameo and the special appearance of Tom Baker was lovely

But that even the good bits can't save it from being the turkey it was destined to be: a souless 8th anniversary that thumbed its nose to viewers (casual or long-time) and insulted their intelligence outright with not a single (Rhymes with Buck) given. Fans deserve better. Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann deserve better. Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman deserve better than this giant contunuty albatross that Moffat foisted upon the general public. Day of the Doctor is one anniversary gift he and the BBC should've kept to themselves.

Don't take it as a anti-Moffat post as I enjoyed most of his tenure up until this month and this past June's finale; I'm not amused by the radical changes like renumbering the Doctors. Especially to confuse those who'll might get on board in future once Peter Capaldi gets the key to the TARDIS in the next 8 months. Time will tell...

The Day of the Doctor has taken the No. 1 spot after Terrence Dicks' The Eight Doctors and John Peels Dalek novels (as you can see I refuse to include those two in my 8th timeline) as Doctor Who stories I pretend never happened. Criticize/insult me all you like, but that's the way it is.. Nice to know some folks enjoyed it, but don't expect me to change my posts and timelines to accommodate Hurt. 

Roll on Christmas and August 2014.

You know this above makes more sense.

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