The Day of the Doctor

(The following blog entry contains only the mildest of spoilers. I know the Venn diagram of Doctor Who immersion has a small overlay between the circles “haven’t seen The Day of the Doctor yet” and “care enough about it to not want to know the merest detail” and “inexplicably on the Internet anyway”. I cater even to this tiny, tiny niche.)

I’ve come to realise there must be a difference between a lover of Doctor Who (like myself) and a fan of Doctor Who.

I was vaguely aware, for example, that there was this guy Moffat who was responsible for writing /creating a lot of the episodes of the new series of the show. I was aware, in much the same way, that there’s this guy Phil Collinson who does some episodes, because every time I see his name in the credits I start to get Genesis songs playing in my head.

I did not, however, realise that there was a running complaint about the show being “Moffat-y”, and his involvement spoiling things. These people seem to think it would have been better if the show had been left on hiatus, perhaps never to return. I don’t know. Maybe if I re-watched the new episodes, I could track which ones have his name attached against which ones I liked more and which ones I liked less. Maybe I could just go on Wikipedia or other episode list and do so.

But I’m not gonna. Because I love the show, I’m not a fan (which comes, after all, from “fanatic” or “fancy”, and according to Wikipedia actually means something even more intense for science fiction, but none of us should be surprised by that).

If I was a fan, and the things I’ve just said caused you to question or dismiss my dedication, credibility, or even my liking of the show, I would destroy you. As it is, I think I’d probably just laugh.

Or maybe I am a fan, and one of such fangasm-blinded fanboyosity that I’m willing to overlook the awful, awful Moffat and his screwing up of everything. I guess I won’t know until someone tells me I’m not really into Doctor Who, and then we’ll see how I react.

So that will be interesting.

I was mildly interested when I heard they were going to make a special for the 50th Anniversary of the show. I have a few friends and family members who I knew would be excited about it, but I live in a bit of a Who-vacuum here in Finland (that’s the cue for Finland-based Whovians to shout at me … sorry, I told you I wasn’t really on board with this whole thing) so it was a while before the viral marketing and global hoo-hah got through to me. Still, as time went by I realised this was going to be a lot of fun, and something I’d really quite like to take part in. Well, “take part in” as a viewer, anyway. I haven’t quite given up on the dream of finding or building a TARDIS yet, but one must be realistic and I think playing a Time Lord on the telly may be all I can really hope for at this point in my life.

As it happened, we were away on the weekend the show was to go out worldwide. Since we don’t have a TV antenna anyway I would have been watching online or crashing a friend’s place to watch, but instead we were off at a second-cousin-in-law’s birthday party. I set up so I could watch online on Sunday night after returning home, but hadn’t given up hope of seeing the show as it happened. I’d brought Twisties and Chicos with me, just in case – Twisties because they’re my old-timey snack of choice, Chicos because they were the closest thing to jelly babies I could rummage up from my stash. Both imported from Australia, both delicious.

After driving out to the countryside and attending the party – which I wouldn’t have missed for the world, good food and excellent company – it became increasingly obvious as eight and then nine o’clock rolled around that I might just be in with a chance to see the show. We were staying over at my Great-Auntie-In-Law’s house and the party was just down the street. Everyone was still there but my three-year-old daughter was getting tired and the birthday boy was upstairs playing on his computer anyway, bless him. And after I suggested to my daughter that we could go back to her Great-Great-Auntie’s place for sleep, and maybe watch some telly and eat snacks beforehand, I had an immediate – and adorable – co-conspirator.

So it was that we made our excuses and strolled out. You must never run in such situations, and we also made no secret of the fact that we were going to watch the show, because we had nothing to gain and everything to lose by attempting to be sneaky. And as I said, I had a collaborator and “adorable blonde toddler” trumps “hobo-bearded nerd trying to be devious” any day of the week. A brisk walk through the freezing darkness between houses, and we were in with ten minutes to spare before the 21:50 showing. Enough time for me to put my daughter in her pyjamas, get our snacks into place and figure out how to get the television onto the right channel.

Oh, and clean up the dog poo, since in our absence Great-Auntie’s dog had gotten lonely and decided to make a little collection of friends to talk to. So that was an adventure. Finally, though, we were ready.

My daughter was right into the spirit of it. She wanted to know which one was the Doctor, and when she said it was scary and I told her she could cover her eyes, she insisted “no, I like it.” The episode itself wasn’t exactly monster- or action-driven, at least not so a three-year-old would be gripped by it, and it was ten at night, so after a while she lost interest and went to bed, but the next day she told me she wanted to watch more Doctor Who. So I call it a win.

Overall, a fun episode and a memorable night. Every bit what I was hoping for – as a lover of the show rather than a fan, of course, my sights were not set high. I shall list here a quick set of notes about the highlights that immediately occurred to me, although there were others. Hopefully these will be vague enough to not quality as spoilers.

The Good:

  • The Queen’s “weak and feeble woman” reference.
  • Sneakers, Granddad and Chinny.
  • The Round Things.
  • The absolute scorn about the timey-wimey way the new Doctor speaks.
  • Regeneration gag about ears.
  • “I don’t want to go.” (“He always says that.”)
  • Lucky Thirteen.
  • The final scene cameo. Misted up a bit (and so did he)

The Other:

  • Okay, not entirely sure how the final scene cameo can be justified or worked into the canon … who was he meant to be?
  • They could have done more with old-footage CGI editing if they didn’t want to use the old guys but still include them in the show – or they could have younged them up digitally or whatever, but it was just fine with me. You can only cram so much fan service into a show before it gets cumbersome, and it’s not like these guys don’t get the occasional appearance in clips in the normal episodes anyway. And besides, they got this.

See you at the 75th!

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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14 Responses to The Day of the Doctor

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    To borrow from White Men Can’t Jump, perhaps you can WATCH Doctor Who, but you can’t SEE Doctor Who! ;D

    Nobbut seriously, great article. Let me do some research for you and see if I concur with the Moffat bashing.

    Holy shit. Uhh, no, I do not. Not only did he do Blink and the conclusion of it, AWESOME…so good even non-Who fans like my wife thought it was amazing, but then the Library ones (kind of a Blink-ripoff feel to it or whatever), the awesome Impossible Astronaut and several other of the ones in that series…perhaps all I can’t be sure but definitely A Good Man Goes to War which…man what is WRONG with these people not liking those episodes? Are you making them up just to piss me off? And going back a bit it looks like he did ALL of the Weeping Angels episodes, so…I mean basically he’s the GOOD writer from the last 3-4 seasons IMO. Some of the other stuff bored me but not his episodes. Basically he was responsible for the Silence, I think. And all the cute references to it beforehand (like Silence in the Library). Such a great new monster, those unforgettable forgettable aliens.

    “Joy. Her name was Joy. Your name is Amelia Pond.” Moffat messed it up? Pull the other one!

    What is wrong with some people?

    Great details of your shenanigans btw, and good job making another Who fan. Ahh, they’re so impressionable at that age….

    Don’t worry too much about the canon, I’m still grumbling about the two versions of ending the Time War and how somehow they screwed up the canon there too. I think we’re just going to have to let go, in love.


    • stchucky says:

      I kid you not, I’m seeing comments on facebook to the tune of “it was really good, not too Moffat-y.” Apparently “Moffat-y” is a Thing. *shakes head*

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        I thought it was, ahh, RATHER Moffat-y. Please inquire of these…persons…if they really didn’t like Blink, and the Impossible Astronaut, and such. If you know any of those…persons.

  2. stchucky says:

    I’ve invited sundry Whovians over to join in a comments battle if they feel like it, let’s see if we get any takers. But yeah, maybe we lowly softcore peons can use “Moffat-y” as a compliment.

    Check it out. I just learned about this word 24 hours ago and I’ve already decided We’re Taking It Back.

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      Hell yes it’s time to reclaim Moffat-y! But, I might suggest we stop with the hyphen and just make it a normal word, Moffaty. Eh?

      Hey you’re the expert on the older Doctor Who: were there Weeping Angels before this reboot? Because if not, what I’m seeing in the wikipedia is that Moffat is responsible for ALL the Weeping Angel awesomeness. So, WTF over?

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  5. dreameling says:

    I should probably start finally watching this show.

    Btw., Adam Whitehead at The Wertzone has been posting a really interesting and, from what I can tell, unbiased series of posts on the history of Doctor Who:

    No complaints about Moffat. And surprisingly light on spoilers. (Unless you count the regenerations, but I guess that’s like being spoiled by Titanic sinking at the end.)

    • stchucky says:

      Nah, wait for them to find all the episodes first, there’s still like 90 missing. My suspicion is, they’re the ones that are going to make the whole thing make sense.

      Thanks for the link! And yeah, once you know the premise of the show is (or includes) that it can replace the main character’s actor by “killing” him and having him change bodies, you know as much as you need to about that.

      • dreameling says:

        My very first glimpse of Doctor Who (as far as I can recall) was the final minute or two of the final scene of the Eccleston run, where he went away (can’t remember the details) and then came back as Tennant. I somehow knew that the guy they were playing was the same main character, and I guess I knew that he was “Doctor Who”, because I was sort of aware of the show, but I nonetheless thought the switch incredibly ballsy. You just don’t do that in TV shows. Little did I know back then that that was business as usual.

        Also, the show seemed goofy as hell. (Sorry.)

      • I felt that way about the Eccleston run, which was the first season of the reboot. But, pretty quickly into Tennant’s run it stops being goofy as hell and instead gets really cool and yet still snarky and fun. Thank you Moffat (not a Moffat hater here). So, just FYI. If you want cool stuff, start with Tennant. When you get to Blink (episode), if you’re not hooked you probably never will be hooked.

  6. stchucky says:

    Oh, that comment was going so well and you were so close to not getting kicked in the balls next time I see you. Oh well.

  7. Pingback: The New Doctor is a Female! | Hatboy's Hatstand

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