If you’ve been paying attention to geek news (or went on Google last weekend), you may have noticed just a bit of Doctor Who buzz… Saturday marked the 50th anniversary, with a thoroughly hyped special that’s been promised for months. Happily, I thought it lived entirely up to all the anticipation!
I went with some friends to see the special at a showing at a local pub. The place was packed with Who shirts and costumes, and there was a photo opp with a life-size TARDIS. Near as I can tell, this is the closest thing to the geek Superbowl. 🙂
The special, The Day of the Doctor, proved to be epic, hilarious, heartrending and, my very favorite thing in geek franchises, from beginning to end a love letter to the fans. It’s all well and good to create something for “the general audience”…but we all know the fans really want something with in-jokes and past references galore!
The story centers around a meeting of Three Doctors (ish–maybe). We’ve known since the beginning of New Who that there had been a huge Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks, which ended when the Doctor destroyed both races. This special features the War Doctor, a previously-unknown Regeneration (John Hurt), who made the fatal decision. The War Doctor goes through time and space to meet the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) and the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) to fight alien shape-shifters and make a truly universe-changing decision.
The plot is far more epic (and surprisingly coherent) than I’m making it sound! It was epic and immense both on the level of threats to billions, and on the personal level of what effect one enormous decision has on the man who makes it, and then carries it through multiple centuries and lives.
But in between all the epicness and the heart-rending and the guilt, there is so much that is so fun! I loved the Doctors bouncing off of each other, making snarky observations about one another that fans have been making for years. And so many in-jokes, from the 4th Doctor’s scarf to the 11th Doctor’s fez to the 10th’s Doctor’s mysterious history with Elizabeth I (and his propensity for kissing). And there was possibly my single favorite line, about reversing the reversing of the polarity–“we’re confusing the polarity!”
If you’re thinking you might like to jump into Doctor Who, this is not the place to jump, full as it is of earlier references. But if that paragraph above all made perfect sense to you, do not miss this special. It’s going on my list of top 5 favorite episodes–and that is saying quite a lot!