Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Day of the Doctor Review and Analysis (Spoiler-ful): Including comments on BBCA ruining it

I thoroughly enjoyed The Day of the Doctor, but I have some complaints, mostly about how BBC America really went out of their way to ruin the viewing experience.

Here's the Amazon link:
Hey, you can watch it in 3D if you have a 3D TV

Warning: This post will contain content that can lead to spoilers and outright spoilers of the show, so please do not continue reading if you want to have a spoiler-free experience. Please read my spoiler-free review if you want to get a gauge of the show before you watch.

I enjoy what I've seen of Veronica Belmont, specifically, Sword and Laser, and I don't blame her necessarily for what happened. She tried to have a spoiler-free pre-show for Doctor Who, but apparently her guests weren't going to cooperate.


I'll go back and re-watch the pre-show tomorrow so I can pinpoint the exact jag-off that ruined the show for me, but saying something along the lines of "now we know there is no canon" or "everything can change" before watching a show ostensibly about the worst day of the Doctor's life...

Well, with those words it was impossible for the ending to be any different. To be fair, it didn't spoil it until I watched more than 5 minutes of the episode. But I still count that as a spoiler. I knew I should have turned off the TV when I saw the countdown to the show.

Maybe if it wasn't for those words, I could have had the emotional response that the creators were going for with the three Doctors about to destroy Gallifrey together with the big-red button. 

As it was, that scene ALMOST got me there, so I think if I didn't know from the EFFING JERKOFFs before the show, that it could have been great. 

Another thing I have to say: the commercials were insane. 

I realize that it was broadcast earlier in the day and that it was only 1 hour and 20 minutes long. Well, when I watched it, it was during a 2 hour block, so that means there were 40 minutes of commercials. That means that for every 2 minutes of show, there was 1 minute of commercial. It was stupid. 

It just disgusts me that BBCA did this in what should have been one of the greatest Doctor Who experiences of all-time. 

The show itself was fantastic, although apparently there is some controversy over whether the War Doctor regenerated into the 10th Doctor or if he regenerated into some other pre-10th or even went backwards to the 8th Doctor again. (by the way, David Tennant's Doctor is now the 11th Doctor and Matt Smith's is the 12th. I get annoyed by people continuing to refer to them as 10 and 11. We're coming up on lucky 13).

I'm pretty sure that we saw the 8th Doctor's final days in the fantastic short "Night of the Doctor", included here:



He's gone now. I would enjoy seeing more of this Doctor, but he won't be coming back (at least not in a strict, natural progression of time manner), although it is notable that the actor did a good job, and that it appears that he regenerated into a young John Hurt, so the War Doctor had been fighting the Time War for quite a while since Matt Smith has lived 400 years and only aged a few years.

Although Time Lord ages are timey-wimey anyway.

The back-and-forth between the different Doctors was fantastic. The War Doctor in particular, whenever he would do something that we've seen the Doctor do a thousand times before, it was almost as though it was novel to him. It was like watching him remember what it was to be the Doctor again after countless years of fighting the most horrible war in the universe.

It was fantastic. Eccleston's non-appearance was notable, but he only ever wanted to do it for a year and I am pretty sure everyone that has ever watched interviews with him knows that he has no further interest in Doctor Who.

Rose was great as usual in her Bad Wolf incarnation, and the zygons were suitable, although clearly not the focus of the episode. It was interesting seeing UNIT in action and all of the nostalgic references were fantastic.

Seeing the 13th Doctor's brief cameo was a nice touch as well as all the rest of the Doctors helping out. The final cut was similarly awesome:


The presence of the Curator was interesting. I assumed they were going to have #13 make a more full appearance, but I suppose they are waiting for his big reveal. I'm not sure if Tom Baker playing the Curator was just fan-service or if it hints at something bigger, although Christmas is set-up nicely for Matt Smith's big exit.

I am surprised that the movie is so short. It could have been 2 hours easily and I don't think we would have lost anything.

There is a lack though, and I mention this in my spoiler-free review, so forgive me for repeating myself here:

If you got the feels watching "Day of the Doctor", then I can assure you that you're doing it to yourself.

You know so much about Doctor Who and are so in the head of the character, that you are substituting what needs to be shown in order to get the emotional reaction that you are getting out of it.

This isn't a bad thing...for you. It is a bad thing for the series as a whole however.

If you watched the first half of series 7 and thought it was amazing, then there is something wrong with you. I assume it's bandwagon syndrome, because those episodes by-and-large sucked, but it could also be that you love Doctor Who so much that it can't do wrong for you. You've got it up on a pillar. I unconditionally love Doctor Who, but that doesn't mean I can't see the flaws, and they especially bother me when they're unnecessary.

If you watched the show last night, it absolutely was AMAZING, but there is a lack. The emotion is spotty. Sometimes it shows and sometimes it doesn't.

Last night's episode and its content should have completely wrecked everyone that watched it, Whovian or not (so long as they were caught up from 2005). Completely wrecked everyone.  Having to experience the possibility of the death of billions and billions and being responsible for that, it should have messed up everybody. But they pulled their punches.

I think the creators are so in the mindset of Doctor Who that they feel they don't need to show it anymore. Maybe they've been reading too much Hemingway and they have Iceberg Syndrome. It's great that stuff is happening beneath the surface of your characters, but you need to give more to the viewer. When the viewer has to assume they know what the characters are thinking in order to get the feels, you're not doing it right. If the viewer needs people like me analyzing it for them or at the least reading memes about what's going on in the character's head or how x history ties to y present, etc, you're not doing it right.

Those are nice as nuggets. Easter eggs are always welcome, but when the major thrust of an entire episode is beneath the surface, you lose something.

This could have been, this should have been, the greatest Doctor Who experience ever. As it was, it was a great episode.

Day of the Doctor should have been the quintessential Doctor Who episode of all-time. It should have been the episode that Whovians hold up to the rest of the world as proof of what is so amazing about this show.

It was great.

What a let-down.