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The Day of The Doctor

A week after the 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who was aired I finally managed to complete my thoughts and this post about it.
I even have a couple of things to blame for that, here, let me show you the list:
#1 I am currently writing my Bacherlor’s thesis, so most of my spare time is used for doing anything but writing – or thinking in general.
#2 Face it: I do not post that regularly anyway, so two posts close to each other would just be weird for my standards. (Though I have done it in the past and I do plan to get some kind of schedule after this whole studying stuff is over).
#3 Everyone posted thoughts and reviews right away, so why should I be doing the same?
#4 The flipping special was so breathtakingly stunning that I simply did not know how to properly articulate my thoughts about it.
Does that justify waiting a week before writing this? I like to think it does. 🙂
And as it was nearly as long as a proper movie, I will use the same categories I use for those.
And I will use Spoilers, you have been warned.

What’s the special about?

The Day of the Doctor official poster

In The Day of the Doctor we finally learn a bit more about the Time War that had haunted the Doctor since his return to the television screens in 2005.
In The Night of the Doctor we saw the Eighth Doctor regenerate into the War Doctor to fight in the Time War. When all seems lost he decides to use an old and powerful weapon to destroy Daleks and Timelords alike. But little does he know the weapon, the Moment, has developed a consciousness. In the form of his future companion Rose Tyler as the Bad Wolf it shows the War Doctor what he will become if he chooses to use the weapon. For this she opens windows in time that reach both the Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh.
Ten is seen with Queen Elizabeth I., a sub-plot that has been hinted at since (New-Who) season three in „The Shakespeare Code„, and accidentally gets engaged to her thinking she is a shape shifting alien, a Zygon, which she isn’t and ends up with two Queens when the window opens.
In more or less current day London Eleven had just invited his companion Clara to a new trip, but before they could start a UNIT (Unified Intelligence Taskforce) helicopter picked up the TARDIS and brings both of them to National Gallery to show him credentials of Queen Elizabeth I., which is a 3D painting of the fall of Acadia, the second city of Gallifrey, during the Time War, which we learn has two titles „No More“ and „Gallifrey Falls“. But he was summoned to actually look at paintings in the Under-Gallery that had been destroyed from the inside out. While looking at them his window opens and after some fez-throwing all three Doctors end up in Ten’s time line to figure out the plot with the Zygons and help the War Doctor end the Time War. With quite an unexpected conclusion in both cases.

The watching experience

Oh, I would have liked to see it in the cinema in 3D – even though I do not like 3D, as I have mentioned before – but the time and space factor wasn’t in my favour.
The nearest cinema that broadcasted the special is a 2 hours ride away from where I live, plus they did not allow tickets to be reserved, only purchased. Furthermore, I would have to drive there (and especially back) in the middle of the night on my own. No, sorry, as much as I was anticipating the special, that was not worth the trouble.
So, where did I watch it instead?
Well…through a BBC One Stream I fortunately found and with which I was quite satisfied as it only struggled for a few moments throughout the whole thing.
In conclusion I made myself comfortable behind my laptop and grinned like a bloody idiot at certain scenes.
As I mentioned before do I not know that much about the classic Doctor Who years, but even I could appreciate and enjoy the nods towards it. It must have been brilliant to experience all those funny and thrilling scenes, the plot twists and pretty much the whole thing together with everyone in the cinema. Even though I only saw it on my own I still had a great time.

The characters

The ones that impressed me the most were Billy Piper and John Hurt, as the Moment and the War Doctor respectively. The Rose-Tyler-Bad-Wolf-Moment was so much more than Rose on her own, so much more brilliant.  The War Doctor was unexpectedly funny and playful, dare I say adorable? Yes I dare: He was adorable.
My fear of not being able to see him as a Doctor version instead of the Dragon from Merlin was completely unneeded. He just so great was. (Please order the words according to grammatical correctness).
Ten was different to what we all were used to, sadder and even a bit tired, but seeing as his time line was closing in on „The End of Time“ it was reasonable. But David Tennant also looked a bit overworked in the interviews, so maybe he just didn’t have as much energy as he used to have. Which was quite contrary to the always quirky Eleven. I know I said, I never really connected to Matt Smith’s Doctor, but I still greatly enjoy his version of the Timelord.
But the most interesting thing was seeing those three Doctors interact, calling each other’s names („Sandshoes“, „Chinny“ and „Grandad“, just to name a few) and trying to figure out the two plots. And of course the brilliant revelation that they did not use the Moment, but instead used a technique usually used for paintings (as seen with the Zygons) to freeze Gallifrey. And for this all THIRTEEN Doctors (including the future incarnation played by Peter Capaldi, of whom me managed to see a hand and his eyes) teamed up to save the day. What a brilliant moment that was…all 13 TARDISes circling Gallifrey , all 13 being projected into the War Council room, all of them working together to save their home…
Still, they do not know if they actually managed to save the planet when they bid their farewells and returned to their respective time lines (in the process forgetting about it and still remembering it as having used the Moment to burn them).
When Eleven learns from a mysterious Curator (portrayed by the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker) that the title of the painting is actually „Gallifrey Falls No More“ and that their plan had succeeded he decides on a new journey, a journey to find Gallifrey, to go home „the long way round“ and we get to see all Doctors again, looking at Gallifrey. Really brilliant and proper conclusion for a 50th anniversary special.
As the Doctor was the main focus of the special other characters were pushed to the side a bit, but they nevertheless did a great job. The Queen and UNITs head of Scientific Research Kate Steward (the daughter of former companion Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Steward) did well in their roles as leader and impressed the Doctor(s) with what they were capable of. (The Tenth Doctor mistook the Queen twice for the Zygon and she even managed to kill the creature.) A little spotlight shone on Kate’s assistant Osgood, which was a pretty cool character. Some even say, she represented the Fandom, with her long scarf (akin to the one the Fourth Doctor wore) and the kind of hero-worshipping she had for the Doctor, even praying to him when a Zygon attacked her. But she wasn’t just a fangirl. She was a scientist, clever and the first to draw the conclusion that whatever came out of the paintings hid underneath blankets that had previously covered statues.
And of course you can’t forget Clara. She again pointed out the obvious to the Doctor(s). She saved them from being imprisoned in the Tower of London (through opening an unlocked door) and reminded them of what they swore when they became the Doctor. I really enjoy her, she is not as great as Donna, but she gives the Doctor a hard time as well. 🙂

General opinion

I don’t know where I should start…this special was, as I had imagined, spectacular.
All those references to the old and new series were simply great. The opening screen, the  junkyard and the school from the very first episode (Even one of the Doctors first companions Ian Chesterton was mentioned on  a plate as Chairman of the Governors). Catchphrases of former Doctors and of course the appearance of all of them. It was a little sad that even though they showed how the War Doctor started to regenerate we couldn’t see the full regeneration into „my“ Doctor, the one that made me want to watch more of the show: Christopher Eccleston. But I respect his reasons for not wanting to be involved in the special. I also do understand why they only included Tom Baker – the longest serving Doctor – as the Curator and didn’t include the other three still living former Doctors (Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy). If you still want to see them I recommend to have a look at Davison’s: „The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot„, it’s hilarious…and it gives you a different look at a certain scene in the Under-Gallery. 😀
All in all a brilliant way to celebrate 50 years of this great show and I am clearly looking forward to finally seeing all those other great Doctors in their own stories…
Stuff I’d like to add
Apparently I was wrong in my earlier post about the Anniversary: The Special was broadcasted in 94 countries, not ~80. 🙂
And as you can see from my writing, I am still grinning like an idiot about all those great scenes and dialogues and stuff and will probably watch the special a couple more times. 😀
I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did.
P.S. This was my 42. post that more appropriately should have been about „The Hitchhiker’s Guide through the Galaxy„, but at least it was about a Sci-Fi show. 😉
© Rights for the poster belong to the BBC.

Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary

As you might have noticed from previous posts: I am a Whovian – a fan of the British (Sci-Fi) series Doctor Who.
A series about a time-traveling alien, a Timelord, (credited as Dr. Who, Doctor Who or The Doctor) that picks up (mostly) human companions to show them all of time and space in his spaceship the T.A.R.D.I.S (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), that also has the „convenient“ ability of completely changing his body (regenerating) when he is about to die.
Today (23.11.2013) it has been 50 years since the very first episode „An Unearthy Child“ aired (in 1963, with William Hartnell as Dr. Who) in British television.

Happy 50th anniversary Doctor Who!

And a big „Thank you!“ to all the people involved in the creation of this brilliant show, for all your hard work and efforts to make this show into this special something that it is!

Within the Who(ni)verse

I have to admit that I haven’t been in the Who(ni)verse for that long, but I blame that on the weird scheduling and synchronization of the German version of the episodes. It was either too early or too late for me to watch it. But I do not regret ever setting foot into this strange world. A world with brilliant characters, incredible stories and quite a strange fanbase…
The first ever episode that, I think, I watched was „Tooth and Claws“ with David Tennant as The Doctor. I decided to watch this episode because it had Werwolves in it and as I am actually not that much into Sci-Fi and more into Fantasy stuff I just wanted to see how they did that. Needless to say I was pretty confused by it and didn’t watch more of it for quite a while.
But as I still also had enjoyed watching it and some other snippets from flipping through the TV channels and I later wanted to know what all these quotes and pictures on Tumblr pages were about, I gave it another try.
And what can I say? I’ve been hooked ever since.
Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor with his grinning in the face of danger just made me keep watching. It’s a pity he’d only been with the show for one season, but it was a fantastic season.
He was succeeded by David Tennant, who smiled differently, but still had three seasons of great stories and companions, including my favourite: The utterly brilliant Catherine Tate as Donna Noble.
When Matt Smith took on the role as The Doctor it was strange, as there was a longer time to get accustomed to his predecessor as before. He was so different to both Nine and Ten, yet he put as much heart into the role as both of them. I enjoy his childishness and the way he can switch from goofy to serious in the blink of an eye. He had some really brilliant speeches throughout his run, but I think I still never completely warmed up to him. Especially with all this family-stuff going around him, but he still is a great Doctor.
As you can see, my experiences are more with New-Who than the classic series, which was never really broadcasted in Germany. Nevertheless I have seen a couple of episodes from the very first Doctor and the movie of the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, and of course scenes and stuff surrounding the other Doctors. When I have a little more time at hand I am going to watch the old stuff. (Some more thoughts on the classic Doctors here)

Specials everywhere

Anyway, this year – this day – marks the 50th anniversary of a show that managed to capture an audience all across the globe with its uniqueness. The special that will air later today is simultancast in about 80 countries, in cinemas and on television, and has many other specials accompanying it. But as I am not sure if I’ll be able to watch the The Day of the Doctor right away, I’ll only cover the other specials I have seen so far.
Many fans have created stuff to celebrate the anniversary throughout the year and this month especially. Among them Diana Dekajlo and Michael Nixon from Geek Crash Course, who made short clips about one of the Doctors each month and this month they made special videos, with additional information. For someone who hasn’t seen much of Classic-Who the monthly specials helped me to get a better overview about it. If you want to catch up before the big thing tonight, I highly recommend it.
The BBC itself obviously made many things for the celebration and I am pretty sure I don’t know every last bit of it.
The most intriguing thing they created were two prequels to the special:

The Night of the Doctor and The Last Day

As it is tradition for anniversaries in this one there will also be more than one Doctor: The Tenth, the Eleventh and an unknown incarnation that has been introduced in The Name of the Doctor – the last episode of the seventh season.
The Night of the Doctor adds a piece to the unknowns puzzle: It shows how the Eighth Doctor chooses to regenerate into the War Doctor, played by John Hurt.
After 17 years Paul McGann was given a chance at reprising his role from the TV movie and he did so brilliantly. I clearly wouldn’t mind seeing more of his adventures.
The Last Day shows Gallifrayan soldiers – I suppose – who discover that their worst enemy a Dalek, a being without consciousness and full of hate, had indeed managed to break through the impregnable barrier surrounding the city. With weird transmission signals interfering this one is quite bizarre and a bit creepy.
Judging from the trailers The Day of the Doctor includes the long foreshadowed, well rather after-shadowed, Time War. The war between Timelords and Daleks that effected all of creation until The Doctor ended it. By the time of The Night of the Doctor people seem to fear the Timelords as much as Daleks, which subsequently let to the choice the Eighth Doctor had to make. Incarnations Nine and Ten still suffered greatly from it and Eleven is at least capable of hiding it better than them.
Something that covered the beginnings of the show was the making-of-drama

An Adventure in Space and Time

written by the brilliant Mark Gatiss. It shows how Doctor Who was created in 1963, what struggles they had to go through until William Hartnell (portrayed by David Bradley) left the show. It was really interesting to watch, quite emotional at points and with a glorious finale, where (SPOILER if you still haven’t seen or read about it) the first Doctor takes a look across the TARDIS console and sees a glimpse into the future of what he was a part of creating, in the form of Matt Smith, fondly smiling back at him, before proceeding to turn switches on the console. (SPOILER END)
You just can see how much Gatiss is a fan of the show himself with all the effort he put into its writing. I clearly enjoyed it.
There are several more things that accompanies this landmark: An audio play from Big Finish Productions with the Doctors 4 to 8 called, The Light at the End for one and a lot of other stuff that I feel too lazy to add, just have a look at this compilation from BBC America: *click*.
I really look forward to watching The Day of Doctor, it will be spectacular and funny and weird and wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey and so much more.
It will be especially weird to SEE John Hurt, as I only know his voice from Merlin – I know he was in Harry Potter too, but I haven’t seen his scenes in English yet – as gigantic dragon… I’m curious what that will be like. (Judging from trailers and stuff: It will probably take me a while to get used to it…)
If I find the time, I will write my thoughts on the special afterwards.
I hope you all have fun on this day, The Day of the Doctor! 🙂