By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
If it had been a series finale, it would’ve been darn near the perfect coda to a 50 year long master symphony of science fiction. As I sat and watched the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who episode “The Day of the Doctor,” I don’t think I could’ve asked for more. (Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it!)
The one liners, the surprise cameos, the sewing up of a dangling plot line in the Doctor’s past, and the use of just about every generation of the Doctor to bring it to an end. Thankfully, though, it wasn’t a finale, but the end of a chapter, and the launch of what will be the next adventure for the next Doctor. A long journey home. And in many ways, it wasn’t just the episode that made for a fantastic 50th, but also every prequel, every minisode, every hashtag, as the BBC marketing department set a new standard on getting fans to tune in. The only thing left to do now, is say goodbye to an old friend.
Although it’s been coming for awhile, and we Whovians have been counting the days since Comic-Con, the main push all started with a hashtag. Or, as the Doctor put it “… conversations across the universe all held together by tiny little pins of chattery topics.” In this case, it was a simple “#savetheday.” Implying fans should save the day to sit and enjoy, but also that the Doctor would, of course, save the day.
We were treated to another minsode which has come to be a tradition during the annual Children in Need Appeal in the UK. This time, it was a brief clip from “The Day of the Doctor” itself, which sets up how the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) and the 11th Doctor meet up in England in the 1560s during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Then, came the minisode “Night of the Doctor,” starring Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor. And Steven Moffat taking the time to not only give fans a long lost regeneration of the Doctor who only got one movie of the week back in the 90s, but also to set up “The Day of the Doctor” and John Hurt’s War Doctor place in the long line of Doctors.
Where did he fit? Why did he do what he did? It’s all set up in a short 6 minute youtube video packed with enough action and story to set up not only the 50th Anniversary episode, but of a desire on the part of most Whovians to get a series with McGann’s 8th Doctor. There was even a petition started. But it won’t happen.
Then came a brief short download called “The Last Day,” on iTunes which was from the perspective of a Gallifreyan soldier’s combat camera as the Time Lord’s arch nemesis The Dalek’s attack.
And then, the night before, we were treated to a docudrama of the beginnings of Doctor Who called “An Adventure in Space and Time.” Which chronicled the first actor to play the role, William Hartnell, and how the show progressed through his tenure. It was marvelous. A wonderful tribute to the series’ beginning (which premiered on the same day that President Kennedy was assassinated).
We were all ready. It was time for the Day of the Doctor on Saturday. And YouTube even got into the game with a live streaming broadcast of a pre-show and after-show. Showing all the clips, all the trailers, and doing conversations with YouTube stars Veronica Belmont, Mythbuster Grant Immahara, and Phil Defranco. And it was so popular, BBCAmerica called an audible and broadcast it as well.
The main event was upon us, and I knew it was going to be epic when the opening credits rolled and they were the original credits … in black and white, and it opened on the sign of where the 1st Doctor lived. From there we went on a journey that redeemed the Doctor, ended the Time War, and saved the Time Lord’s home planet of Galifrey. And it was all done with snappy one liners that were dead on without being sappy. And finally, the epic conclusion which featured all13 Doctors from the last 50 years come to the aid – and upcoming 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi lending a brief hand, to save the planet of Galifrey and end the Time War. It was epic. Call me a fan boy, I don’t care.
But the real tear jerker was seeing all 13 Doctors assembled together at the end (in a nifty and well crafted bit of CGI), and David Tennant saying “I don’t want to go,” at the knowledge that Trenzalore was beckoning.
And as if that wasn’t enough though, we got a cameo from Tom Baker at the end, as the “Curator,” book-ending a conversation with Smith and Smith ‘s 11th Doctor realizing he’s got one last journey home.
But there was one last treat. Premiering along side, online, was a 30 minute comedic special written and directed by 5th Doctor (and David Tennant’s father in law) Peter Davison. Called “The Five(ish) Doctor’s Reboot, it featured Davison, 6th Doctor Colin Baker and 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy as they try to get into the 50th Anniversary Episode and being turned away at every turn. It was hysterical. The perfect Coda to a perfect 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Now there’s only one thing left to do, and that’s to say Goodbye to the 11th Doctor, as he reveals to pivotal plotpoint about the Doctor and a new direction for the series as Peter Capaldi takes hold of the Tardis. It’s likely to be equally as epic. I guess you’ve noticed that I didn’t really talk much about the episode. Well, as River Song would coyly say … “Spoilers!”