The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Day of the Doctor caters to the fans

Day of the Doctor caters to the fans
Google dedicated a special Google Doodle to "Doctor Who" on Nov. 23, marking the 50th anniversary of the English TV show. Source: Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 9.27.57 AM
Google dedicated a special Google Doodle to “Doctor Who” on Nov. 23, marking the 50th anniversary of the English TV show. Source: Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 9.27.57 a.m.

For 50 years, the infamous “Doctor,” an alien from the planet of Gallifrey, has journeyed through time and space, saving as many people as he possibly can in various mediums from books to movies, and even in the Google doodle for the 50th anniversary yesterday.

However, his most popular medium remains in television.

Yesterday, the 50th anniversary special episode of “Doctor Who” premiered on BBC America in live simulcast from Britain, the show’s country of origin. To be honest, “episode” is a bit of an understatement. “The Day of the Doctor” lasted all of an hour and fifteen minutes, give or take, but filled every moment with enough wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey stuff to keep the fans engaged for the entirety of the broadcast.

The only way to refer to the episode, and this will not be the only source to describe it as such, is as a love letter to the fans, new and old. To bring someone into the “Doctor Who” fandom by showing him or her this episode would be scaring the viewer away, as this episode was built for fans with prior knowledge.

It’s loaded with Easter eggs referring mainly to the original series, which float right over the heads of those only familiar with Doctors number nine through eleven.  However, the fans of Russel T. Davies’ and Stephen Moffat’s characters are more than appeased by the appearance of fan favorite Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, alongside current Doctor No. 11, Matt Smith.

To start with the Easter eggs, there are a great many referring to the original series fan favorite Doctor No. 4, Tom Baker, the most obvious being a surprise cameo by the mop-top himself at the very end. Not to mention, an important subplot ran through the first half of the special featuring a villain from the Fourth Doctor’s era, the shape shifting Zygons.

The Tenth Doctor finds the Zygons in Victorian England, where he has a fling with Queen Elizabeth I of England, a relationship which was previously mentioned in season four. This is the part of the special fans have been waiting on for months; the return of David Tennant in his suit and converse, stepping back into his beloved character’s shoes as if he never regenerated.

This is a nice segue to the chemistry that David Tennant and Matt Smith have together on screen. It’s as though they really are different incarnations of the same person. There are moments when the two speak at the same time, or finish each others’ sentences, directly before a moment when one questions the other’s logic.  The most highly anticipated, and the most entertaining moments of the special were those in which Smith and Tennant shared the screen.

John Hurt’s war-torn version of the Doctor even played off the two well, constantly questioning the Eleventh Doctor’s mannerisms, and remarking how young Ten and Eleven seemed.  However, the inclusion of Billie Piper, who is known on the show as Rose Tyler, the Tenth Doctor’s former companion and love interest and the conscience of a Gallifreyan weapon of mass destruction which John Hurt’s Doctor plans to use to end the Time War is wholly unnecessary.

It is not that the character of the the weapon’s conscience was unnecessary, it is that having the character manifest as Rose and serve as a pseudo “Ghost of Christmas Future” is distracting. A more heartfelt way to put Rose in the special would have been to simply utilize an earlier version of the Tenth Doctor, soon after his regeneration, when she was still his companion. The fact that the two do not interact at all is disappointing.

While the Doctor’s love life may be disappointingly represented, *cough* Queen Elizabeth instead of Rose *cough*, special effects run rampant through “The Day of the Doctor.” It’s almost as though the makers of the newer episodes are trying to send a message back in time to the makers of the older episodes to tell them “Look what I can do!  I can blow up a Dalek, and make a picture look 3-D, and transform a human to a Zygon on screen!”  In most cases, this would seem like a cry for help from the writers, but on Doctor Who, which started out in the sixties with special effects so simple a caveman would have noticed, it serves as a nod to how far the series has come in 50 years.

But the biggest nod to the journey the series has made since its beginning is the inclusion of all of the doctors in two separate segments.  During a scene on Gallifrey, all of the Doctors are shown operating their TARDIS to save the planet, and “all of the Doctors” does not simply refer to one through 11. There is a shot of Doctor No. 12, who has been announced but didn’t appear as the Doctor on television until this episode.  It is only a shot of his eyes, but the glance of Peter Capaldi ties together the time-traveling show by interlacing the new with the old.

Overall, “The Day of the Doctor” was a perfect nod to the history of the series while still following the timeline of the newer episodes.  Fans of the new and old series will appreciate it, and the flaws are minor, though it is necessary to have a basic knowledge of the latter half of season seven to understand the very beginning.

Fans of Doctor Who should rejoice; it’s made 50 years, and judging by this episode, there are a few more adventures left in our favorite time lord.
By Madi Mertz
Did you watch the 50th anniversary special episode of Doctor Who? What did you think of it?

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Bearing News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *