Posts Tagged ‘50th Anniversary’

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Doctor Who- Day of the Doctor Review

January 8, 2014

Due to work commitments and scheduling, I won’t have as much time to writing blog entries celebrating the action adventure, science fiction, fantasy, anime, video game, nerdy, geeky stuff that I love. I am going to try and get as much adventure watching as I can and comment on all those fantastic things that we all come to love and enjoy. For now, I hope to write at least every other week on something that I have recently watched or am rewatching for the millionth time.

To start off this year, I watched two “Doctor Who” episodes. I did not want to venture outside as I was also a bit under the weather. So I watched these episodes with great interest and happiness.

“Doctor Who” has reached a milestone as one of the longest running TV shows ever broadcast. Sure there’s a long 16 year gap, where there wasn’t any live action shows, but like “Star Trek,” it remained popular through repeats and other media, like radio and books.

This passing year marked the 50th Anniversary of its debut. A time traveling fantasy showcasing history, science fiction, and drama, it was meant to be an entertaining children’s show. It has exceeded this and has become a world-wide phenomenon.

“Day of the Doctor” marks the time traveling Doctor worst day, and how he manages to change this with the help of the past, present, and future selves. It can be a little confusing, or ‘timey whimey’ to follow, but it is a satisfactory yarn that I wish was a little bit longer, more grand, and epic. Not that it wasn’t, I wanted it to be bigger than it was.

John Hurt plays the “War Doctor” during the time in the Doctor’s life where he fought for Gallifrey against the Daleks in the Time War. It was he who was responsible for the destruction of Gallifrey and all of its people, along with the Daleks. He carried this horrible responsibility and memory for a long time.

For the present incarnation of the Doctor as portrayed by Matt Smith, he reunites with his “Impossible Girl” companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) for another adventure, when they are suddenly taken by UNIT (Unified Intelligence Taskforce) led by Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), daughter of the Doctor’s friend Brigadier Allistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. They are asked to investigate a strange issue at the National Gallery. The Doctor’s ship, the TARDIS, is air lifted by helicopter to Trafalgar Square, with him and Clara in it.

At the National Gallery, they are presented artifacts belonging to Elizabeth I, who put the Doctor in charge of the Undergallery, a stash of relics that she deemed too dangerous for public consumption. This includes a three dimensional painting of Gallifrey’s  city of Arcadia. This depiction is of the last day of the Time War where the planet was destroyed by the Daleks.

Kate brings the Doctor to view other three dimensional paintings, where apparently something escaped from the painting. The Doctor was analyzing the mystery at hand when a time vortex appears in the room. The Doctor becomes frustrated at the sudden appearance of the vortex, recalling the events that lead to it, and tosses a reclaimed fez into the vortex, then following shortly after.

Meanwhile, back in time, the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) romanced Elizabeth I (Joanna Page), believing she was in fact a shapeshifting alien known as a Zygon. Instead it proved to be his horse that was the alien. While trying to elude the Zygon, the Doctor encounters a pair of Elizabeths.

While trying to figure out who the real Elizabeth is, a fez comes through the time vortex that appears before them. Shortly afterwards, the Eleventh Doctor appears. The two Doctors trade pleasantries as they come to realize who they both are. They dismiss the Elizabeths in order to solve the puzzle of why they are together in the same time period. The War Doctor appears, looking for the Doctor.

It turns out that the War Doctor had stolen one of Gallifrey’s most dangerous weapon, “The Moment,” a sentient weapon of mass destruction. The Moment takes on a familiar avatar, the “Bad Wolf Girl” (Billie Piper) who is molded after the Ninth and Tenth’s Doctor’s companion Rose Tyler. She takes the War Doctor on a journey into his future self to see what happens as a result of the decision that he was about to make.

The three Doctors are taken prisoner by the Zygon version of Elizabeth I and imprisoned in the Tower of London. While trying to figure out a way to escape, they bicker amongst themselves on the many issues of their lives. During an idle moment, they figure out a way to do a massive calculation that would deconstruct the prison door.

Meanwhile, Kate and Clara go to the Black Archive, a repository of all the alien technology that has been encountered  and collected that has an association with the Doctor. They hope to use a Vortex Manipulator to send someone back in time to rescue the stranded Doctors.  We also learn that the Zygons are the invading force that had burst out of the paintings through some sort of event. They are massing and are trying to force a takeover of the Black Archive.

Clara manages to escape from the Zygons and rescue the Doctors, noting that the door was unlocked all the time. Elizabeth I turns out to be the real one, manipulating the remaining Zygons to lock themselves away in the stasis cube created three dimensional paintings. After a brief marriage ceremony between Elizabeth I and the Tenth Doctor, the Doctors and Clara return to the future to stop the invading Zygon forces taking over the Black Archive and threatening humanity.

After seeing the results of his actions, the War Doctor travels back in time to The Moment, and plans to set off the device. The Tenth and Eleventh Doctors appear planning to help him shoulder the burden. Clara is disheartened by their planned action, noting that she could not imagine her dear Eleventh could hold the immense responsibility.

This sparks a defiant moment for the Doctors, noting that they still have a chance to change the future. They formulate an audacious plan that has little chance of success, the alternative being no better. The plan is to be carried out by all thirteen versions of the Doctor.

This is by far a fantastic story of redemption for the War Doctor. John Hurt is both fatherly and hilarious, scolding his younger selves as well as still being curious and thoughtful. David Tennant and Matt Smith are a perfect pairing, playing off of each other’s characterization of the Doctor. Smith portrays him as a wily animated sort, while Tennant is both laid back and fierce. They riff off each other’s lines like musicians, both raising each other’s performances.

The story can be a little confusing- it’s a time travel show- but if you pay attention to the story and follow along as the characters explain the events that are occurring, it won’t seem overwhelming. The show does succeed in bringing all thirteen versions of the Doctor into play, although only briefly, and the way it is done is truly exciting. I wish some of the other Doctors could have interacted together in some way, but that would have been very difficult.

Having been a newly anointed Doctor Who fan, I found this hotly anticipated anniversary episode to be everything it set out to do. I only wished there was even more to it. Something to make it more beefier. I wanted it to go on even longer. At the end I hoped it blossomed into even more adventures, and in a way it does. It makes you want to see all the different adventures. With fifty years worth of television, film, radio, and other media, it’ll leave you wanting more.

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