Time of the Doctor (my review)

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Tanlee
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Even after the 50th anniversary proved Moffat could clearly no longer deliver anything new, I saw Time’s trailers and photos, and was suckered. It looked the epic heavenly fanwank ultimate showdown to end all showdowns.

But I’ve been disappointed before. The Pandorica Opens teased us with the threat of all the gathered foes revving for an almighty ruck. Instead they all got calcified, leading to part two’s slightly disappointing comedown.

But why should that disappoint? Horror of Fang Rock made similar bold insinuations of unseen mighty galactic war-fleets but was resolved in a very low key way, which felt fine. But Moffat really promises the almighty clash of titans here, the ante-upping from last time, in ways that leave me disappointed and feeling cheated.

I’d wanted to like it, but when time came to explain my feelings it just came out of me that this was more like being told a great story by someone, than experiencing it myself. It’s like the story flew completely over any plot development, skipping right to the climax’s end.

I wanted to savour the story’s goods but kept getting sidetracked or bamboozled by irrelevance. No explanation how Smith obtained ‘handles’, making the opener somewhat confusing. The Clara’s family domestics were awful, possibly the worst comedy material Moffat’s written, ever. And frustratingly taking up runtime that’d be better served elsewhere.

Whatever happened to the Moffat who could use limited runtimes to maximum effect and leave not a moment wasted in a way possibly rivalled only by Barbara Clegg’s Enlightenment? Since Series 6 he’s been either going too fast or wasting our time. Sadly the naked Smith moment leaves me thinking he’s succumbed to some inferiority complex about Russell’s vaunted ‘genius’ populism and quirky humour delivered with the subtlety of a teabagging.

I vaguely feel like defending the bum slap. It’s not unprecedented for the Doctor to act in this faux-lascivious way, like in The Gunfighters. But it probably enraged the more cranky anti-Moffat feminists, and I sense that much like Queen Lizzy’s horrid characterisation in Day, Moffat was doing so on purpose. Now I did have issues with the Doctor goosing Jenny in The Crimson Horror, and conversely Nefertiti near-molesting him made me very uncomfortable. I also felt Moffat’s handled Amy’s skirt in Space and Time pretty crassly with an ugly slut-shaming ‘joke’.

I get feminism’s argument about sexual bullies using groping in concert with humour to leave the abused feeling their protests will be perceived as too touchy and humourless as though they should accept their ‘good humour’ and deny their own screaming, brutalised feelings. But it doesn’t apply here as far as I’m concerned. This is simply mutually understood horseplay humour without sinister intention between close, trusting friends with less need for personal boundaries. While feminist critics show typical worrying tendencies to assume the worst offended feelings of any man to woman contact or interaction, promoting a culture where men must always feel guilty for something they don’t understand and can’t do right for being wrong.

But I agree with one feminist complaint. How’s the Doctor ever be so stupid to attend Christmas family lunch stark naked? What’s the point of the hologramatic clothes? Was that important to the ending in an earlier draft that got scrapped?

Moffat also led me to expect that the repeated significance given to the underbaked family lunch turkey was a clue for something important or crucial, but no significance to it transpires, beyond being an unwitting metaphor for the script, which again leaves me wondering why it didn’t end up on the cutting room floor. Likewise the scene where Clara’s being menaced by Silents outside Tasha’s bedroom seemed like it was going somewhere, but instead the Silents might as well not be here at all for all the use they are. These aren’t just red herrings, they’re red plot herrings that serve only to disappoint and irritate.

What was the point of the truth field? Potentially it could’ve been fascinating to have the Doctor and Daleks share dialogue where sneaking around each other or empty hyperbole is no longer optional, or even have them say things to one another they’d never said before. But the story abandons the concept as soon as introduces it.

I’ll be positive about some things. The Weeping Angels climbing out the ice was exceedingly thrilling, whilst being an acceptable enough non sequitor. The revelation the Daleks had off-screen already massacred and converted Tasha and her clergymen also made me hold my breath, and her slapping Eleven before incinerating all three Daleks was fantastic, but this also seemed to disappear from the plot too soon. The story lacked showing a satisfying fight of it. And all it needed was more Silents/Dalek converts on snowy Trenzalore blasting the sh*t out of Dalek ground forces.

By the same token, the story doesn’t even seem to bother exploring the implications that the Doctor might’ve ensured an everlasting peaceful stalemate had he stayed out of the whole conflict.

Now in the past Moffat has introduced a sacrificial female lamb in the Christmas specials, and it’s always felt somewhat ugly how it’s handled each time. There seemed no reason why Abigail had to be thawed out on her doomed last day. We were told her superior focused singing voice’s resonance with the ice crystals was largely down to her existence in ice. So why couldn’t they have thawed out someone else, less doomed, to do the singing? Likewise Clara’s death in The Snowman left a nasty aftertaste largely because of it happening largely down to the Doctor’s prior sulky impotence.

But here, things just feel a bit sanitised. We’re told about the hard and costly fights to defend the town from superior might, but we never really see it. The point where it really lost me was when in the last quarter the Dalek incursions were intensifying but were merely narrated and rushed through. That's not something the story can leave ambiguous when it's depicting a small village of innocent, primitive luddites surviving against the greatest military power in the universe. What happened to the words “Saltlake City, population all dead!” from just one Dalek? I need to believe in that implausible story of against all odds, but I can't if it's just neglected.

This I think is the problem. Taking for example The Dark Knight Rises, there’s the grossly irrelevant question of how, once Bruce escaped from the prison well, he managed to get into Gotham City. The lazy answer is ‘because he’s Batman’ but the truer answer is because, frankly once we’d seen him conquer the most impossible obstacle, anything after can be taken as a small feat by comparison, and therefore unnecessarily cumbersome to show. To bring things closer to home, Family of Blood’s conclusion worked whereby the true dilemma was about John Smith’s courage to finally sacrifice himself to bring back the Doctor. Once that happened we could probably skip the usual victories and come-uppances the re-awoken Doctor was guaranteed to deliver.

Unfortunately Moffat is clearly assuming the lazy answer of ‘because he’s the Doctor’ to wish-wash any and all problematics here. Resultantly we’re presented with the worst terrifying bads of Doctor Who, whilst taking it for granted that they’re all on a hiding to nothing against Smith. The story’s undone by Moffat’s attitude filtering in that the viewer need not even see this story, because they already know it.

It’s like in A Christmas Carol, where young Kazran, Abigail and the Doctor enjoy holidays to glamorous Earth locations, but infuriatingly we viewers only get to see the postcards. This is that stretched out throughout the length of the story.

It’s clear that this story wants to, belatedly, be The Five Doctors of the Matt Smith era. But it almost never takes the time to make something of each incidental threat, or the Doctor’s ingenious solution to them, before cutting away several years on. Asylum of the Daleks did those kind of moments right with an ease suggesting Moffat could write this kind of thing in his sleep, i.e. “I’m not looking for an override dear. I’m looking for reverse” Meanwhile Clara being sent home the once, during the fight, and desperate to return to him, feels far too derivative of Parting of the Ways. Doing it twice is just bad manners.

But before long the Doctor is old. We get him giving false hope to a young lad, in blatant contradiction of the ‘truth field’, which frustratingly suggests Moffat hasn’t read his script through properly. With no plan or way out, he gets a great, furious, nothing to lose speech to deliver to the Daleks, whilst Clara gives a brief but touching cry, and prayer for help. Having been largely left disengaged from the story, this was the kind of re-engagement I wanted. But rather too late and too soon.

The means of him getting a new regeneration cycle was done neatly enough to go unspoken. Though destroying the Dalek fleet with it was, stupid. Perhaps had that been Matt’s final scene I’d have been happy enough with it. Instead we get an extended scene in the Tardis with Matt now de-aged which undermines the sense of all that’s taken place.

And that’s partly why the regeneration failed. The sad goodbye to Clara should work. The bowtie removal and the Doctor’s summation that all people change in terms of who they are through their lives has eloquent poignancy written all over it.

It visually contradicts any instinctive sense of the why the Doctor’s dying at all. I mean just imagine if he was elderly and frail all through. It would’ve given extra poignance to the otherwise somewhat gratuitous wiged cameo of Amy wishing him a sweet “Goodbye”, and made the clearly obscured child actress who obviously isn’t Caitlin Blackwood forgivable, if there was that crushing temporal vertigo sense of an old man’s distant dreams and memories and dying final cathartic hallucinations, and have those bits be the only parts where Smith looks young anew.

Yet for all Matt’s last scene was too long, it was paradoxically too abrupt, to the point of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. The result is that the departure of my favourite New Series Doctor ends up barely even registering or having impact.

The story was mainly about resolving the many dangling threads concerning the cracks, who blew up the Tardis and why the Silents hate him. It does so succinctly enough, though hardly in a way I can bring myself to call neat.

I don’t want to sound like Ben Shoveller’s obnoxious podcast rants about Hurt’s 8.5 Doctor (and this guy calls Rings of Akhaten ‘a waste of everybody’s time’).

But still Hurt’s Doctor’s a lasting problem. I hate myself for saying so because Hurt’s very Doctorish performance was so amazingly good. But it’s produced a situation where no sooner has Eleven undergone serious renumbering, than he’s leaving and we’re suddenly force-fed how this makes him the ‘last’ Doctor, because suddenly Stolen Earth’s almost regeneration counts too. So Smith’s regeneration’s emergency retconned into a bigger deal than usual. But it’s too clear Moffat’s making this up as he goes along. Worse he’s making the *retcon* up as he goes along. We’re sold this idea too late to believe it’s inherent in the character’s make-up, (i.e. how the 13th Doctor should’ve been introduced). Resultantly the story barely decides what kind of final story it is, but does so so blatantly and unsubtly it’s all see-through.

Perhaps New Who regeneration stories are doomed to fail. Given how short Eccleston’s reign was, and his swift replacement, and how from 2007 onwards we’ve practically seen a regeneration per season. Nowadays no-one even doubts Dalek weapons will do anything to the Doctor but change his face. It’s become a carelessly handled trivial thing in ways it never was allowed to in Classic Who, or spin-off material.

This was Moffat’s only possible answer to his own miss-numbered Doctors mess. The scorched Earth approach.
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Allons-y
 
 
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Tanlee wrote: Perhaps New Who regeneration stories are doomed to fail. Given how short Eccleston’s reign was, and his swift replacement, and how from 2007 onwards we’ve practically seen a regeneration per season. Nowadays no-one even doubts Dalek weapons will do anything to the Doctor but change his face. It’s become a carelessly handled trivial thing in ways it never was allowed to in Classic Who, or spin-off material.
Um, Tennant was in for 4 years and so was Smith.
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Truer words, my dear Tanlee. Truer words.
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iank
 
 
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Allons-y wrote:
Tanlee wrote: Perhaps New Who regeneration stories are doomed to fail. Given how short Eccleston’s reign was, and his swift replacement, and how from 2007 onwards we’ve practically seen a regeneration per season. Nowadays no-one even doubts Dalek weapons will do anything to the Doctor but change his face. It’s become a carelessly handled trivial thing in ways it never was allowed to in Classic Who, or spin-off material.
Um, Tennant was in for 4 years and so was Smith.
I imagine he's referring to the Master's regeneration in 2007, the fake-out regeneration in 2008, then Tennant's at the start of 2010, River's in 2011...
(Doctor Who) has been hijacked and redefined as a lucrative modern franchise. They've literally taken a square peg and painfully made it fit a round hole by taking enormous liberties with much of its fundamental essence. There's no turning back now.

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iank wrote:
Allons-y wrote:
Tanlee wrote: Perhaps New Who regeneration stories are doomed to fail. Given how short Eccleston’s reign was, and his swift replacement, and how from 2007 onwards we’ve practically seen a regeneration per season. Nowadays no-one even doubts Dalek weapons will do anything to the Doctor but change his face. It’s become a carelessly handled trivial thing in ways it never was allowed to in Classic Who, or spin-off material.
Um, Tennant was in for 4 years and so was Smith.
I imagine he's referring to the Master's regeneration in 2007, the fake-out regeneration in 2008, then Tennant's at the start of 2010, River's in 2011...
Ah right, thanks for clarifying, considering quite a few weren't the Doctor's it hardly seems excessive, but that makes more sense.
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Tanlee wrote:Even after the 50th anniversary proved Moffat could clearly no longer deliver anything new, I saw Time’s trailers and photos, and was suckered. It looked the epic heavenly fanwank ultimate showdown to end all showdowns.

But I’ve been disappointed before. The Pandorica Opens teased us with the threat of all the gathered foes revving for an almighty ruck. Instead they all got calcified, leading to part two’s slightly disappointing comedown.

But why should that disappoint? Horror of Fang Rock made similar bold insinuations of unseen mighty galactic war-fleets but was resolved in a very low key way, which felt fine. But Moffat really promises the almighty clash of titans here, the ante-upping from last time, in ways that leave me disappointed and feeling cheated.

I’d wanted to like it, but when time came to explain my feelings it just came out of me that this was more like being told a great story by someone, than experiencing it myself. It’s like the story flew completely over any plot development, skipping right to the climax’s end.

I wanted to savour the story’s goods but kept getting sidetracked or bamboozled by irrelevance. No explanation how Smith obtained ‘handles’, making the opener somewhat confusing. The Clara’s family domestics were awful, possibly the worst comedy material Moffat’s written, ever. And frustratingly taking up runtime that’d be better served elsewhere.

Whatever happened to the Moffat who could use limited runtimes to maximum effect and leave not a moment wasted in a way possibly rivalled only by Barbara Clegg’s Enlightenment? Since Series 6 he’s been either going too fast or wasting our time. Sadly the naked Smith moment leaves me thinking he’s succumbed to some inferiority complex about Russell’s vaunted ‘genius’ populism and quirky humour delivered with the subtlety of a teabagging.

I vaguely feel like defending the bum slap. It’s not unprecedented for the Doctor to act in this faux-lascivious way, like in The Gunfighters. But it probably enraged the more cranky anti-Moffat feminists, and I sense that much like Queen Lizzy’s horrid characterisation in Day, Moffat was doing so on purpose. Now I did have issues with the Doctor goosing Jenny in The Crimson Horror, and conversely Nefertiti near-molesting him made me very uncomfortable. I also felt Moffat’s handled Amy’s skirt in Space and Time pretty crassly with an ugly slut-shaming ‘joke’.

I get feminism’s argument about sexual bullies using groping in concert with humour to leave the abused feeling their protests will be perceived as too touchy and humourless as though they should accept their ‘good humour’ and deny their own screaming, brutalised feelings. But it doesn’t apply here as far as I’m concerned. This is simply mutually understood horseplay humour without sinister intention between close, trusting friends with less need for personal boundaries. While feminist critics show typical worrying tendencies to assume the worst offended feelings of any man to woman contact or interaction, promoting a culture where men must always feel guilty for something they don’t understand and can’t do right for being wrong.

But I agree with one feminist complaint. How’s the Doctor ever be so stupid to attend Christmas family lunch stark naked? What’s the point of the hologramatic clothes? Was that important to the ending in an earlier draft that got scrapped?

Moffat also led me to expect that the repeated significance given to the underbaked family lunch turkey was a clue for something important or crucial, but no significance to it transpires, beyond being an unwitting metaphor for the script, which again leaves me wondering why it didn’t end up on the cutting room floor. Likewise the scene where Clara’s being menaced by Silents outside Tasha’s bedroom seemed like it was going somewhere, but instead the Silents might as well not be here at all for all the use they are. These aren’t just red herrings, they’re red plot herrings that serve only to disappoint and irritate.

What was the point of the truth field? Potentially it could’ve been fascinating to have the Doctor and Daleks share dialogue where sneaking around each other or empty hyperbole is no longer optional, or even have them say things to one another they’d never said before. But the story abandons the concept as soon as introduces it.

I’ll be positive about some things. The Weeping Angels climbing out the ice was exceedingly thrilling, whilst being an acceptable enough non sequitor. The revelation the Daleks had off-screen already massacred and converted Tasha and her clergymen also made me hold my breath, and her slapping Eleven before incinerating all three Daleks was fantastic, but this also seemed to disappear from the plot too soon. The story lacked showing a satisfying fight of it. And all it needed was more Silents/Dalek converts on snowy Trenzalore blasting the sh*t out of Dalek ground forces.

By the same token, the story doesn’t even seem to bother exploring the implications that the Doctor might’ve ensured an everlasting peaceful stalemate had he stayed out of the whole conflict.

Now in the past Moffat has introduced a sacrificial female lamb in the Christmas specials, and it’s always felt somewhat ugly how it’s handled each time. There seemed no reason why Abigail had to be thawed out on her doomed last day. We were told her superior focused singing voice’s resonance with the ice crystals was largely down to her existence in ice. So why couldn’t they have thawed out someone else, less doomed, to do the singing? Likewise Clara’s death in The Snowman left a nasty aftertaste largely because of it happening largely down to the Doctor’s prior sulky impotence.

But here, things just feel a bit sanitised. We’re told about the hard and costly fights to defend the town from superior might, but we never really see it. The point where it really lost me was when in the last quarter the Dalek incursions were intensifying but were merely narrated and rushed through. That's not something the story can leave ambiguous when it's depicting a small village of innocent, primitive luddites surviving against the greatest military power in the universe. What happened to the words “Saltlake City, population all dead!” from just one Dalek? I need to believe in that implausible story of against all odds, but I can't if it's just neglected.

This I think is the problem. Taking for example The Dark Knight Rises, there’s the grossly irrelevant question of how, once Bruce escaped from the prison well, he managed to get into Gotham City. The lazy answer is ‘because he’s Batman’ but the truer answer is because, frankly once we’d seen him conquer the most impossible obstacle, anything after can be taken as a small feat by comparison, and therefore unnecessarily cumbersome to show. To bring things closer to home, Family of Blood’s conclusion worked whereby the true dilemma was about John Smith’s courage to finally sacrifice himself to bring back the Doctor. Once that happened we could probably skip the usual victories and come-uppances the re-awoken Doctor was guaranteed to deliver.

Unfortunately Moffat is clearly assuming the lazy answer of ‘because he’s the Doctor’ to wish-wash any and all problematics here. Resultantly we’re presented with the worst terrifying bads of Doctor Who, whilst taking it for granted that they’re all on a hiding to nothing against Smith. The story’s undone by Moffat’s attitude filtering in that the viewer need not even see this story, because they already know it.

It’s like in A Christmas Carol, where young Kazran, Abigail and the Doctor enjoy holidays to glamorous Earth locations, but infuriatingly we viewers only get to see the postcards. This is that stretched out throughout the length of the story.

It’s clear that this story wants to, belatedly, be The Five Doctors of the Matt Smith era. But it almost never takes the time to make something of each incidental threat, or the Doctor’s ingenious solution to them, before cutting away several years on. Asylum of the Daleks did those kind of moments right with an ease suggesting Moffat could write this kind of thing in his sleep, i.e. “I’m not looking for an override dear. I’m looking for reverse” Meanwhile Clara being sent home the once, during the fight, and desperate to return to him, feels far too derivative of Parting of the Ways. Doing it twice is just bad manners.

But before long the Doctor is old. We get him giving false hope to a young lad, in blatant contradiction of the ‘truth field’, which frustratingly suggests Moffat hasn’t read his script through properly. With no plan or way out, he gets a great, furious, nothing to lose speech to deliver to the Daleks, whilst Clara gives a brief but touching cry, and prayer for help. Having been largely left disengaged from the story, this was the kind of re-engagement I wanted. But rather too late and too soon.

The means of him getting a new regeneration cycle was done neatly enough to go unspoken. Though destroying the Dalek fleet with it was, stupid. Perhaps had that been Matt’s final scene I’d have been happy enough with it. Instead we get an extended scene in the Tardis with Matt now de-aged which undermines the sense of all that’s taken place.

And that’s partly why the regeneration failed. The sad goodbye to Clara should work. The bowtie removal and the Doctor’s summation that all people change in terms of who they are through their lives has eloquent poignancy written all over it.

It visually contradicts any instinctive sense of the why the Doctor’s dying at all. I mean just imagine if he was elderly and frail all through. It would’ve given extra poignance to the otherwise somewhat gratuitous wiged cameo of Amy wishing him a sweet “Goodbye”, and made the clearly obscured child actress who obviously isn’t Caitlin Blackwood forgivable, if there was that crushing temporal vertigo sense of an old man’s distant dreams and memories and dying final cathartic hallucinations, and have those bits be the only parts where Smith looks young anew.

Yet for all Matt’s last scene was too long, it was paradoxically too abrupt, to the point of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. The result is that the departure of my favourite New Series Doctor ends up barely even registering or having impact.

The story was mainly about resolving the many dangling threads concerning the cracks, who blew up the Tardis and why the Silents hate him. It does so succinctly enough, though hardly in a way I can bring myself to call neat.

I don’t want to sound like Ben Shoveller’s obnoxious podcast rants about Hurt’s 8.5 Doctor (and this guy calls Rings of Akhaten ‘a waste of everybody’s time’).

But still Hurt’s Doctor’s a lasting problem. I hate myself for saying so because Hurt’s very Doctorish performance was so amazingly good. But it’s produced a situation where no sooner has Eleven undergone serious renumbering, than he’s leaving and we’re suddenly force-fed how this makes him the ‘last’ Doctor, because suddenly Stolen Earth’s almost regeneration counts too. So Smith’s regeneration’s emergency retconned into a bigger deal than usual. But it’s too clear Moffat’s making this up as he goes along. Worse he’s making the *retcon* up as he goes along. We’re sold this idea too late to believe it’s inherent in the character’s make-up, (i.e. how the 13th Doctor should’ve been introduced). Resultantly the story barely decides what kind of final story it is, but does so so blatantly and unsubtly it’s all see-through.

Perhaps New Who regeneration stories are doomed to fail. Given how short Eccleston’s reign was, and his swift replacement, and how from 2007 onwards we’ve practically seen a regeneration per season. Nowadays no-one even doubts Dalek weapons will do anything to the Doctor but change his face. It’s become a carelessly handled trivial thing in ways it never was allowed to in Classic Who, or spin-off material.

This was Moffat’s only possible answer to his own miss-numbered Doctors mess. The scorched Earth approach.
What he said.
#William Hartnell will always be the 1st Doctor. The Doctor is male.
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Tanlee wrote:Even after the 50th anniversary proved Moffat could clearly no longer deliver anything new, I saw Time’s trailers and photos, and was suckered. It looked the epic heavenly fanwank ultimate showdown to end all showdowns.

Hmmmm couldnt disagree more, I and many others found Day to be a fresh take, a brilliant inventive way to close off a poor idea, the Doctor destroying his own people, and move the show forward - a return to the Doctor being the upstanding moral hero he always was - and giving him a new quest a chance to return his people and achieve his self redemption

But I’ve been disappointed before. The Pandorica Opens teased us with the threat of all the gathered foes revving for an almighty ruck. Instead they all got calcified, leading to part two’s slightly disappointing comedown.

But why should that disappoint? Horror of Fang Rock made similar bold insinuations of unseen mighty galactic war-fleets but was resolved in a very low key way, which felt fine. But Moffat really promises the almighty clash of titans here, the ante-upping from last time, in ways that leave me disappointed and feeling cheated.

Why? whay do you need to see all that ? It obviously happens within the context of the story but its not something that needs to be seen. The story is a very personal one, its about the Doctor, what he is prepared to do and give up to protect people not big space battles

I’d wanted to like it, but when time came to explain my feelings it just came out of me that this was more like being told a great story by someone, than experiencing it myself. It’s like the story flew completely over any plot development, skipping right to the climax’s end.

I wanted to savour the story’s goods but kept getting sidetracked or bamboozled by irrelevance. No explanation how Smith obtained ‘handles’, making the opener somewhat confusing. The Clara’s family domestics were awful, possibly the worst comedy material Moffat’s written, ever. And frustratingly taking up runtime that’d be better served elsewhere.

Certainly not the best part of the episode but far from being awful


Whatever happened to the Moffat who could use limited runtimes to maximum effect and leave not a moment wasted in a way possibly rivalled only by Barbara Clegg’s Enlightenment? Since Series 6 he’s been either going too fast or wasting our time. Sadly the naked Smith moment leaves me thinking he’s succumbed to some inferiority complex about Russell’s vaunted ‘genius’ populism and quirky humour delivered with the subtlety of a teabagging.

I vaguely feel like defending the bum slap. It’s not unprecedented for the Doctor to act in this faux-lascivious way, like in The Gunfighters. But it probably enraged the more cranky anti-Moffat feminists, and I sense that much like Queen Lizzy’s horrid characterisation in Day, Moffat was doing so on purpose. Now I did have issues with the Doctor goosing Jenny in The Crimson Horror, and conversely Nefertiti near-molesting him made me very uncomfortable. I also felt Moffat’s handled Amy’s skirt in Space and Time pretty crassly with an ugly slut-shaming ‘joke’.

I get feminism’s argument about sexual bullies using groping in concert with humour to leave the abused feeling their protests will be perceived as too touchy and humourless as though they should accept their ‘good humour’ and deny their own screaming, brutalised feelings. But it doesn’t apply here as far as I’m concerned. This is simply mutually understood horseplay humour without sinister intention between close, trusting friends with less need for personal boundaries. While feminist critics show typical worrying tendencies to assume the worst offended feelings of any man to woman contact or interaction, promoting a culture where men must always feel guilty for something they don’t understand and can’t do right for being wrong.

Never understood the problem with this bit either, just seemed like a play on the Doctors naivety on boyfried behaviour to me

But I agree with one feminist complaint. How’s the Doctor ever be so stupid to attend Christmas family lunch stark naked? What’s the point of the hologramatic clothes? Was that important to the ending in an earlier draft that got scrapped?

I think it was just to show that he was perfectly happy to wander round in the buff- an attempt at humour ?
didnt really bother me one way or another


Moffat also led me to expect that the repeated significance given to the underbaked family lunch turkey was a clue for something important or crucial, but no significance to it transpires, beyond being an unwitting metaphor for the script, which again leaves me wondering why it didn’t end up on the cutting room floor. Likewise the scene where Clara’s being menaced by Silents outside Tasha’s bedroom seemed like it was going somewhere, but instead the Silents might as well not be here at all for all the use they are. These aren’t just red herrings, they’re red plot herrings that serve only to disappoint and irritate.

I think the Silence were there so Smith could explain what they were and we got the explanation of the split of group that wanted to save the universe by killing the Doctor, but other than that they seemed to have little to do with the story

What was the point of the truth field? Potentially it could’ve been fascinating to have the Doctor and Daleks share dialogue where sneaking around each other or empty hyperbole is no longer optional, or even have them say things to one another they’d never said before. But the story abandons the concept as soon as introduces it.

The whole point of the truth field was that the Daleks and other assorted threats know that if the Doctor was to answer the question it would have to be the truth and that Gallifrey would return


I’ll be positive about some things. The Weeping Angels climbing out the ice was exceedingly thrilling, whilst being an acceptable enough non sequitor. The revelation the Daleks had off-screen already massacred and converted Tasha and her clergymen also made me hold my breath, and her slapping Eleven before incinerating all three Daleks was fantastic, but this also seemed to disappear from the plot too soon. The story lacked showing a satisfying fight of it. And all it needed was more Silents/Dalek converts on snowy Trenzalore blasting the sh*t out of Dalek ground forces.

By the same token, the story doesn’t even seem to bother exploring the implications that the Doctor might’ve ensured an everlasting peaceful stalemate had he stayed out of the whole conflict.

If he hadnt have been there the Daleks would have eventually defeated the churches forces and destroyed the planet to prevent Gallifreys return - that was the whole point of him staying there

Now in the past Moffat has introduced a sacrificial female lamb in the Christmas specials, and it’s always felt somewhat ugly how it’s handled each time. There seemed no reason why Abigail had to be thawed out on her doomed last day. We were told her superior focused singing voice’s resonance with the ice crystals was largely down to her existence in ice. So why couldn’t they have thawed out someone else, less doomed, to do the singing? Likewise Clara’s death in The Snowman left a nasty aftertaste largely because of it happening largely down to the Doctor’s prior sulky impotence.

But here, things just feel a bit sanitised. We’re told about the hard and costly fights to defend the town from superior might, but we never really see it. The point where it really lost me was when in the last quarter the Dalek incursions were intensifying but were merely narrated and rushed through. That's not something the story can leave ambiguous when it's depicting a small village of innocent, primitive luddites surviving against the greatest military power in the universe. What happened to the words “Saltlake City, population all dead!” from just one Dalek? I need to believe in that implausible story of against all odds, but I can't if it's just neglected.

The whole point was the battle rarely if ever got to the planet - the church stopped anything getting there
The Doctor stayed as aweapon of last resort - if anything got through he would answer the question and Gallifrey would be back - his enemies couldnt take the chance he would do that as it would restart the Time War so if they couldnt kill the Doctor before he answered then they stayed away - only the Cybermen and Sontarons were foolish enough to attack without taking out the Church first


This I think is the problem. Taking for example The Dark Knight Rises, there’s the grossly irrelevant question of how, once Bruce escaped from the prison well, he managed to get into Gotham City. The lazy answer is ‘because he’s Batman’ but the truer answer is because, frankly once we’d seen him conquer the most impossible obstacle, anything after can be taken as a small feat by comparison, and therefore unnecessarily cumbersome to show. To bring things closer to home, Family of Blood’s conclusion worked whereby the true dilemma was about John Smith’s courage to finally sacrifice himself to bring back the Doctor. Once that happened we could probably skip the usual victories and come-uppances the re-awoken Doctor was guaranteed to deliver.

Unfortunately Moffat is clearly assuming the lazy answer of ‘because he’s the Doctor’ to wish-wash any and all problematics here. Resultantly we’re presented with the worst terrifying bads of Doctor Who, whilst taking it for granted that they’re all on a hiding to nothing against Smith. The story’s undone by Moffat’s attitude filtering in that the viewer need not even see this story, because they already know it.

It’s like in A Christmas Carol, where young Kazran, Abigail and the Doctor enjoy holidays to glamorous Earth locations, but infuriatingly we viewers only get to see the postcards. This is that stretched out throughout the length of the story.

It’s clear that this story wants to, belatedly, be The Five Doctors of the Matt Smith era. But it almost never takes the time to make something of each incidental threat, or the Doctor’s ingenious solution to them, before cutting away several years on. Asylum of the Daleks did those kind of moments right with an ease suggesting Moffat could write this kind of thing in his sleep, i.e. “I’m not looking for an override dear. I’m looking for reverse” Meanwhile Clara being sent home the once, during the fight, and desperate to return to him, feels far too derivative of Parting of the Ways. Doing it twice is just bad manners.

Ive no idea what you are trying to say here

But before long the Doctor is old. We get him giving false hope to a young lad, in blatant contradiction of the ‘truth field’, which frustratingly suggests Moffat hasn’t read his script through properly. With no plan or way out, he gets a great, furious, nothing to lose speech to deliver to the Daleks, whilst Clara gives a brief but touching cry, and prayer for help. Having been largely left disengaged from the story, this was the kind of re-engagement I wanted. But rather too late and too soon.

Too late and too soon ? what the hell does that mean - one or the other surely ?

The means of him getting a new regeneration cycle was done neatly enough to go unspoken. Though destroying the Dalek fleet with it was, stupid. Perhaps had that been Matt’s final scene I’d have been happy enough with it. Instead we get an extended scene in the Tardis with Matt now de-aged which undermines the sense of all that’s taken place.

Yeah I would have rather he stay aged before regenerating

And that’s partly why the regeneration failed. The sad goodbye to Clara should work. The bowtie removal and the Doctor’s summation that all people change in terms of who they are through their lives has eloquent poignancy written all over it.

It visually contradicts any instinctive sense of the why the Doctor’s dying at all. I mean just imagine if he was elderly and frail all through. It would’ve given extra poignance to the otherwise somewhat gratuitous wiged cameo of Amy wishing him a sweet “Goodbye”, and made the clearly obscured child actress who obviously isn’t Caitlin Blackwood forgivable, if there was that crushing temporal vertigo sense of an old man’s distant dreams and memories and dying final cathartic hallucinations, and have those bits be the only parts where Smith looks young anew.

As I said I would have preferred he stay aged but I didnt find it too disturbing that he wasnt - it was stated quite clearly that the regeneration process was already under way - hence the young face - and there was nothing he could do to stop it, and I did find the bowtie and Amy moments exceptionally well done - Im going to miss Matt Smith, when he gave a restrained performance like this he really was an excellent actor

Yet for all Matt’s last scene was too long, it was paradoxically too abrupt, to the point of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. The result is that the departure of my favourite New Series Doctor ends up barely even registering or having impact.

Personally I enjoyrd the fact it was really quick Im a bit fed up of the messianic pose and beauty and the beast change so this was a really pleasant change

The story was mainly about resolving the many dangling threads concerning the cracks, who blew up the Tardis and why the Silents hate him. It does so succinctly enough, though hardly in a way I can bring myself to call neat.

I don’t want to sound like Ben Shoveller’s obnoxious podcast rants about Hurt’s 8.5 Doctor (and this guy calls Rings of Akhaten ‘a waste of everybody’s time’).
But still Hurt’s Doctor’s a lasting problem. I hate myself for saying so because Hurt’s very Doctorish performance was so amazingly good. But it’s produced a situation where no sooner has Eleven undergone serious renumbering, than he’s leaving and we’re suddenly force-fed how this makes him the ‘last’ Doctor, because suddenly Stolen Earth’s almost regeneration counts too. So Smith’s regeneration’s emergency retconned into a bigger deal than usual. But it’s too clear Moffat’s making this up as he goes along. Worse he’s making the *retcon* up as he goes along. We’re sold this idea too late to believe it’s inherent in the character’s make-up, (i.e. how the 13th Doctor should’ve been introduced). Resultantly the story barely decides what kind of final story it is, but does so so blatantly and unsubtly it’s all see-through.

This makes no sense,how can a story blatantly not be any kind of story ? Personally I thought it was intended to show us how the Doctor has changed since the Time War, it seemed to me like he had always known that this was his last incarnation and that now he was free from the guilt of wiping out his own people he was happy to spend what time he had left protecting the people of Trenzalore, it was a very personal story, not about the battles and fights that were going on around the planet just about the Doctor returning to his heroic roots.

Perhaps New Who regeneration stories are doomed to fail. Given how short Eccleston’s reign was, and his swift replacement, and how from 2007 onwards we’ve practically seen a regeneration per season. Nowadays no-one even doubts Dalek weapons will do anything to the Doctor but change his face. It’s become a carelessly handled trivial thing in ways it never was allowed to in Classic Who, or spin-off material.

This was Moffat’s only possible answer to his own miss-numbered Doctors mess. The scorched Earth approach.

Or it was a way of finishing the Doctors 50th anniversary in style and setting up for the future of the show with a new Doctor who has a full set of regenerations and a chance to save his people.
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Martin_Kinsella
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Two word review - it sucked.
J'aime Le Chameau Orteil.
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Brief, but accurate. :D
(Doctor Who) has been hijacked and redefined as a lucrative modern franchise. They've literally taken a square peg and painfully made it fit a round hole by taking enormous liberties with much of its fundamental essence. There's no turning back now.

- ozymandias, The Leisure Hive 2010
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Very accurate
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markhuk wrote:Hmmmm couldnt disagree more, I and many others found Day to be a fresh take, a brilliant inventive way to close off a poor idea, the Doctor destroying his own people, and move the show forward - a return to the Doctor being the upstanding moral hero he always was - and giving him a new quest a chance to return his people and achieve his self redemption
To be fair I wrote this review some considerable time ago and my opinion on Day of the Doctor has changed significantly since to one far more positive. At the time it seemed less a faithful homage to 50 years and more a display of the same old Moffat party tricks whilst shooting itself in the foot in terms of being a chance to tell McGann's last story (or for that matter Susan's and Romana's).

In time I came to appreciate the story's inner beauties and the things I'd missed and came round to accepting its more radical rewriting of the RTD era's history and jettisoning what I realized had become useless baggage. But it was for a time a change too far and a huge dealbreaker for me.
Why? whay do you need to see all that ? It obviously happens within the context of the story but its not something that needs to be seen. The story is a very personal one, its about the Doctor, what he is prepared to do and give up to protect people not big space battles
Well because it was hinted at in the trailers and as such was a bit of an undelivered promise, and as I said you can't just suggest the Doctor and a village of luddites prevailing for centuries against the Daleks- the greatest military power in the universe by *inference*. That's a dramatic cop-out. We need to see to get some idea of how to a degree, otherwise why bother telling the story onscreen at all when a teletext sprawl describing a synopsis of the plot will do?
I wanted to savour the story’s goods but kept getting sidetracked or bamboozled by irrelevance. No explanation how Smith obtained ‘handles’, making the opener somewhat confusing. The Clara’s family domestics were awful, possibly the worst comedy material Moffat’s written, ever. And frustratingly taking up runtime that’d be better served elsewhere.
Certainly not the best part of the episode but far from being awful
By Moffat's standards it was shockingly so, especially the gratuitous and inane nakedness, and in terms of this story it just screamed out 'why are these scenes even here?'
I think it was just to show that he was perfectly happy to wander round in the buff- an attempt at humour ?
didnt really bother me one way or another
The Doctor may be many things but he is not a idiot and he is not without some sense of dignity. If this was humour it was too cheap and too much at the character's expense I'd say.
The whole point of the truth field was that the Daleks and other assorted threats know that if the Doctor was to answer the question it would have to be the truth and that Gallifrey would return
But that never happens in the end so it never really serves its storytelling purpose, infact the Doctor chooses not to answer it, but conversely suggests that should the odds fall in Gallifrey's favour he'd answer the question wilingly.

So if that's not the pay-off or point to the truth field, why not do more with the concept? why not use it to show sides of the Doctor and the enemies surrounding him rarely or never seen before?
If he hadnt have been there the Daleks would have eventually defeated the churches forces and destroyed the planet to prevent Gallifreys return - that was the whole point of him staying there
Why would they need to bother if the Doctor, being the sole key to Gallifrey's return, just removed himself from the equation by leaving? All his presence did was make them more desperate and the final confrontation suggests all the Daleks want in this is to eliminate the Doctor and the key to Gallifrey's salvation for good. Beyond that they don't seem interested in Trenzalore
The whole point was the battle rarely if ever got to the planet - the church stopped anything getting there
This is also something we don't see happening. For most of the story the armada of spectators seem to be orbiting side by side placidly enough, but when the Daleks do attack the church, frankly from the sounds of things they actually *win*, so what are they waiting for over the next few centuries?
It’s clear that this story wants to, belatedly, be The Five Doctors of the Matt Smith era. But it almost never takes the time to make something of each incidental threat, or the Doctor’s ingenious solution to them, before cutting away several years on. Asylum of the Daleks did those kind of moments right with an ease suggesting Moffat could write this kind of thing in his sleep, i.e. “I’m not looking for an override dear. I’m looking for reverse” Meanwhile Clara being sent home the once, during the fight, and desperate to return to him, feels far too derivative of Parting of the Ways. Doing it twice is just bad manners.

Ive no idea what you are trying to say here
What I mean is, the Doctors in The Five Doctors all face incidental threats and dangers. A Yeti, a Dalek, a Raston robot and various divisions of a Cyberfleet. And sometimes they overcome their threat by escaping, sometimes by tricking and destroying them, but each time we see the resolution and the demonstration of the Doctor's ingenuity or luck. Each minor problematic is resolved and the story carries on.

In this scenario where it's a primitive town under siege the Doctor can't afford to be seen to do any less than eliminate each threat so it can do no further harm to the townspeople.... and he's dealing with mass armies of them!

But instead the story keeps skipping ahead hundreds of years with overarching narration and telling us he simply held them back and beat them, and we're lucky to see even three of these problematics resolved and never enough to assure us he could keep that up a thousand times over month by month for centuries. You can't be that lax in this scenario.
But before long the Doctor is old. We get him giving false hope to a young lad, in blatant contradiction of the ‘truth field’, which frustratingly suggests Moffat hasn’t read his script through properly. With no plan or way out, he gets a great, furious, nothing to lose speech to deliver to the Daleks, whilst Clara gives a brief but touching cry, and prayer for help. Having been largely left disengaged from the story, this was the kind of re-engagement I wanted. But rather too late and too soon.

Too late and too soon ? what the hell does that mean - one or the other surely ?
No both. It was at the time too late to re-engage me in the story before it was *over* too soon.
I did find the bowtie and Amy moments exceptionally well done - Im going to miss Matt Smith, when he gave a restrained performance like this he really was an excellent actor
I agree heartily with this
Personally I enjoyrd the fact it was really quick Im a bit fed up of the messianic pose and beauty and the beast change so this was a really pleasant change
It didn't give me enough time to process his being gone before bombarding me with the next incidental. I think the moment needed some kind of quiet moment inbetween for the shock to sink in. It was like instead of the poignant final goodbye scene reaching its conclusion it just got jarringly interrupted and ended up unfinished, to the point I was left scratching my head thinking "i think that was goodbye to him but it didn't feel like it, I just feel strangely unaffected in a way I never thought I could be about Smith going".
This makes no sense,how can a story blatantly not be any kind of story ?
Because it was such a mash-up of crammed stories and approaches that barely have time to breathe among each other that ultimately it doesn't feel like the story has a core identity in its own right. Just like Let's Kill Hitler didn't.
Or it was a way of finishing the Doctors 50th anniversary in style and setting up for the future of the show with a new Doctor who has a full set of regenerations and a chance to save his people.
Granted it did give us a clean new slate, but it was still a blatant retcon that came too soon before Smith's farewell to plausibly buy that he reallly has been 'the last Doctor' all along. We didn't even have half a season left for it to sink in. As such I didn't buy it especially when it did the utterly stupid and tried to retroactively make Journey's End count as one too.
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