I don’t see a point in writing a detailed review because it would just be me babbling on and on about how much I enjoyed the special. Instead, I’m going to babble on and on about my random thoughts on it.
First off, I want to congratulate Moffat for making the 50th anniversary fantastic. As one of my friends so eloquently put it: “It had all the feels.” She’s right. Moffat’s always been good at playing off the audience’s emotions and this is no exception. He wrapped up a bunch of mysteries and plot points that he had been hinting at for years, and unlike some of his other big episodes, I didn’t leave feeling disappointed. The Wedding of River Song I’m looking at you. Hell, nearly all of season 6, I’m looking at you.
I feel like the show had been faltering for a bit, with only the guest writers really keeping the energy going. In fact, in season 6 every single guest writer episode was better than a Moffat episode. River song became an incredible annoyance and I began to dread even the mention of her name. When Amy and Rory were written off it felt like emotional exploitation used to make up for a lack of good plot planning. But when Clara came on things started to change. The chemistry was more genuine, and the stories were more enjoyable and entertaining. It was fun again.
The only problem was there was nowhere to go. I get that Doctor Who has always been a lot of running and chasing, but at the end of the day you need some kind of story to hold it all together. Davies was a genius at this. The overarching stories from his seasons were spectacular. From the beginning of Moffat’s reign however, it was apparent that he could tell a good story in an individual episode but had trouble tying a whole season together. The last half of season 7 was the best story arc that Moffat has done yet and The Day of the Doctor gave him a whole new direction to take the show in. Now that he’s basically found a way to reinvent the entire show, I have high hopes for the coming seasons.
Some random thoughts:
I loved the Easter eggs that were scattered about the special. The 4th Doctor’s scarf, the Coal Hill school, “Reverse the polarity.” It was a lot of fun just trying to find them all.
John Hurt is amazing.
I am way more excited for Capaldi to take over than I was before. After seeing Hurt and how he played the role of an older Doctor I am very interested to see how Capaldi does it. I was worried that the show would lose something by going back to an older actor, and I am seeing that those fears are totally unfounded.
I am curious to see how Clara’s chemistry with the Doctor changes when Smith turns into Capaldi. That alone is going to shift the entire feel of the show, especially with all the romantic sub-text that has been present since The Snowmen.
We better see the Master come back. Now that Gallifrey has returned it stands to reason that the Master can as well. After all, the last time we saw the Master he was throwing himself back into the Time Lock to prevent the other Time Lords from escaping. If they all got locked back up, then it stood to reason that they were all destroyed when the Doctor burned Gallifrey. But now that we know he didn’t it means not only the Master, but also Rassilon can come back. On top of that we can have episodes that take place on Gallifrey and show us Time lord society and have multiple Time Lords and Ladies. We can learn more about the Doctor, the regeneration process, the TARDIS, etc. It’s a great way to open the show back up to the types of stories from the previous generation of Who.
It was so nice seeing the 10th Doctor again. I miss him. And even if it wasn’t quite Rose, it made me very happy to see Billie Piper back as well.
I wish Eccleston had come back to play 9. I’ve read a bit about why he didn’t want to and I respect his decision, but he was so much fun and for a lot of us who got into the show during these new seasons, he was our first Doctor.
I’m glad that a good portion of the previous actors got involved. Colin Baker got to do the voice over for the behind the scenes feature, even after he bitched about how he got shafted by the current producers every single chance he got. Which actually may be the reason why he got to do it. McGann got his minisode that finally wrapped up the end of the 8th Doctor. Tom Baker completely blew my mind with the hints his character dropped as the Curator. And of course Moffat made sure to have every single Doctor present in some way, shape or form. Even Capaldi.
The only downside is that in four weeks, Matt Smith will be gone as the Doctor. He will be missed. All I can do is hope that the show keeps going and stays as fun as it has been.
Here’s to another 50 years!