Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

I don’t know who created this animation, but it’s lovely. I keep finding myself focusing on the nose shape morphing.

So: The 50th anniversary special. What did you think?

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24 Responses to Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

  1. 1
    Jake Squid says:

    I found it thoroughly enjoyable and the Old Who cameo was my favorite one that they’ve ever done.

  2. 2
    Ruchama says:

    I liked it in and of itself, but it seems like they’ve just made a whole lot of the drama of the past seven seasons pointless.

  3. 3
    Myca says:

    I really want to see this broken down frame by frame.

    —Myca

  4. 4
    Jake Squid says:

    Ruchama,

    That’s a big part of what I liked about it.

  5. 5
    Myca says:

    I really want to see this broken down frame by frame.

    Oh, I could never refuse you, Myca. You sexy devil you.

    —Myca

  6. 6
    Harlequin says:

    Thanks, Myca!

    Fascinatingly, I didn’t pick up that the first 2 were black and white until I saw them separately like this.

  7. 7
    Hugh says:

    It had some charming moments but the fact that we’re apparently supposed to pretend ‘The End of Time’ never happened leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    I didn’t even like ‘The End of Time’ that much, but that’s not the point. It seems kind of lame for a show to be trying to celebrate its 50 year history while at the same time asking us to forget something they showed four years ago.

  8. 8
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Two points:

    1- Continuity was never something Doctor Who really cared about all that much, from its earliest days.

    2- There are two direct (though quick) references to “The End of Time” in the episode, so I’m not sure they’re asking us to forget it. Also, nothing in this episode contradicts “The End of Time”. Though I agree that the two, taken together, make for some awkward storytelling, I don’t think that’s a problem of the current episode but rather a reflection of the thematic issues with “The End of Time”.

  9. 9
    Hugh says:

    Don’t presume I am making a ‘it was better in the old days’ argument, Eytan. I know there are a lot of Old School Who fans who dislike the way the show is currently, but that doesn’t mean everyone who dislikes it thinks it used to be better.

    I’ve seen lots of people try to mentally juggle the events of the two shows, and there is really no way to make them work. The least unlikely reconciliation is that Gallifrey was transported to Earth’s location and then sent back during the War Doctor’s trek to his little isolated bomb detonation location, but even then it seems shocking that he wouldn’t mention such a massive event during his conversation with the Moment, since it seems it would figure extremely prominently in the moral calculus he’s making.

    Another discontinuity, less factual than thematic, is that in the End of Time the Tenth Doctor views the Time Lords as not worth saving, in fact he actively tries to destroy them. But here, only a few months prior in his personal timeline, he’ll sacrifice everything to save them.

    I have other problems with it, too, both thematically and script-wise, but that remains the clangingly huge one. It’s not so much a nit picking continuity issue as feeling rather used by the writers. They expect us to just forget their last epic adventure, so it’s hard not to assume they’ll expect us to forget this one four years down the road.

  10. 10
    Eytan Zweig says:

    I didn’t think you were making that argument. I just don’t think that the “this doesn’t really fit in with something that happened in an earlier episode” problem is in any way unique to this storyline. The only difference is that these are two major “event” special occasions.

    I don’t think juggling the timelines is all that essential. For one, the only doctor that has to be aware of the events of “End of Time” is Matt Smith; we don’t know that anyone actually on Gallifrey knew anything of what was happening (in the “End of Time”, Gallfrey’s transportation was never completed, and we don’t know what it felt like for the people on the planet. And Matt Smith has clearly been (deliberately?) forgetting events that happened in his previous incarnations.

    It could easily be the case that the events of “The End of Time” happened concurrently with the events of “The Day of the Doctor”; The Doctor was clearly not communicating with the High Council but with a different faction in Gallifrey’s leadership.

    On another note, the events of “The End of Time” were potentially erased as far back as “The Eleventh Hour”, as it was clear that a lot of the past Doctor Who episodes disappeared into the time cracks. This has never been resolved either way.

    As for the thematic discontinuity – I think that is actually a strength, not a weakness. Gallifrey is a planet with billions of people, only some of which are Time Lords (that was established in the original series – Time Lords are the ruling class of Gallifrey, not its entire population). The Time Lords overall became corrupt, and the War Doctor was willing to sacrifice all the population in the planet to stop the war’s evils, even though most of the planet was innocent. This was mirrored by UNIT’s willingness to nuke London in order to stop a handful of Zygons. In “The End of Time”, the Doctor was clearly not willing to allow the corrupt Time Lords to re-insert themselves into the universe, even if it meant the rest of Gallifrey still had to be sacrificed. What differs in “The Day of the Doctor” is two aspects:

    1 – This time, the attempt to save Gallifrey is not being controlled by the same people who he thinks need to be stopped.

    2 – He is still going to remove Gallifrey from the universe; the Time Lords will not be able to keep their war going. He’s just doing it in a way that potentially means he can figure out a way to rescue the innocent of Gallifrey.

    The problem of “The End of Time” is that it forced us to buy into the view that it’s ok to sacrifice many in order to save many others. “The Day of the Doctor” backtracks on that, yes, but it tries to make it clear that that’s because the Doctor had a lot of time to reflect on his actions and change his perspective, not because his previous perspective didn’t exist.

    It this a realistic psychological portrayal? Of course not. Is it all a bit convenient and naive? Probably. There are plenty of entirely valid critiques one can make of “The Day of the Doctor”. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that it expects us to forget the events of “The End of Time”. It expects us to reassess them, and it expects us to add stuff to a continuity that’s already very crowded, but the same can be said of a lot of stuff that the series creators did (they also expect us to believe that the events of the last two Torchwood series happened on Earth between these two occasions, and the fit there is much harder to explain).

  11. 11
    Hugh says:

    I think at some point the Torchwood continuity became detached from the Dr Who continuity. By the time Moffat took over, and clearly had no interest in any of the Torchwood characters, the disconnect had already taken place, but I think it really already happened before End of Time.

    Anyway, unless I’m very much mistaken, during The End of Time Gallifrey actually appeared in the Sol system. I seriously doubt that nobody on the planet would have noticed that happening. (It was shown as close enough to earth to be visible from ground level, so I presume the converse is true, even though Gallifrey was shown as being bigger) So it’s not really possible to write off the events of End of Time as something that just happened secretly and that nobody but an inner circle of Time Lord elites was aware of. Particularly when you consider that either the attacking daleks were transported with Gallifrey (in which case, why weren’t they an issue during End of Time), or they were left behind (in which case, it’s impossible to assume nobody knew about the transportation, since surely everybody would have noticed that for a few hours the Daleks disappeared).

    I agree that Dr Who has had its continuity flaws in the past, but there is a big difference between the different dates given for the Doctor’s age, and this.

  12. 12
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Gallifrey was visible in the sky from Earth during the End of Time, but it was my impression (at the time I saw it, this is not a retcon) that that was some sort of precursor to it being transported, not an actual physical presence. There were several mentions in that episode, IIRC, to the fact that once Gallifrey actually completes its emergence its proximity will destroy the Earth, and given that the Earth not only survived but had no long term effects, I always thought that the thing in the sky was just an image, not the actual planet.

  13. 13
    Chris says:

    The fact that Amy had no idea what Daleks were in Season 5, even though they attacked the planet in “The End of Time,” would indicate that many of the events of that special may have already been wiped from continuity. I don’t really like that–I thought it was cool that Russel T. Davies decided to make the human population aware of alien invasions very early on in his run–but if it’s a problem, it’s one that goes back a few seasons.

  14. 14
    Copyleft says:

    One of the critical comments about Moffat’s run is that he’s overly fond of ‘reset buttons.’ Along with resurrections and “love conquers all.”

    Still, I liked the anniversary special, mainly for its callbacks to the show’s history. The main storyline didn’t offer much by way of surprises, and the conclusion makes an obvious setup for the next year or two’s stories (“The Search for Gallifrey!”), but everyone did their jobs well and the resolution was fairly satisfying for all three main characters without redefining them too jarringly. I particularly enjoyed the absence of a bushy-haired irritant shreiking “spoi–laaaahhhs” every thirty seconds and generally being insufferably smug (a flaw the new series has had to wrestle with basically since Day One).

    Of course, the reset effect on the “non-Doctor” meant they had to cook up some memory-wiping effects to preserve the anguish and regret of the Doctors who followed him–but at least they addressed it. Russell Davies would’ve simply waved his hand and said, “ehh, it’s magic, what are ya gonna do?”

  15. 15
    Harlequin says:

    I’m of two minds about it, I think.

    - It was a good episode, maybe my favorite since the first Matt Smith season. I liked some of the only-Time-Lord-left stuff from the first few seasons: I hadn’t watched old Who, so I didn’t have that same connection to the older versions of the character, and I thought it brought some interesting moral quandaries to the show. And from that perspective, I liked the final solution of this episode, which was the Doctor growing and learning and coming to a different conclusion. (Plus, I love David Tennant as an actor.)

    - But my enjoyment is poisoned by a bunch of the meta stuff. It’s hard for me not to read the episode as Moffat disavowing the changes that Davies made when he brought the series back. Which is his right as the showrunner! It’s just that I really liked almost all of what Davies did (let us not speak of Donna’s ending) and really haven’t liked almost anything that Moffat’s done, especially after s5, so that kind of pushes me away from this episode. And since many of the people who feel like I do have already stopped watching the show, the fandom is tilted against my opinion, as well. (Moffat obviously hit the right note for his current audience–it’s just that I’m a notable outlier, by now. He shouldn’t be catering to me!) I’m interested to see what Peter Capaldi does with the role, so I’ll probably tune in for the beginning of this next season, but I may be done with it at this point.

  16. 16
    Doug S. says:

    Significant parts of the fandom hate Moffat, too, but probably not for the same reasons you do.

    A joke:

    “Joss Whedon, Steven Moffat, and George R. R. Martin walk into a bar. Everyone you ever loved dies.”

  17. 17
    Hugh says:

    Moffat’s thing isn’t “love saves the day”, it’s “marriage saves the day”. Seriously. When was the last time you saw a committed couple in a Moffat show that weren’t married or engaged?

  18. 18
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Hugh – the end of Blink is the only example I can think of, and that’s a pretty new relationship, so he may well have intended marriage to be in their future.

    There are a lot of issues with Moffat’s writing, and his treatment of heterosexual relationships is one of them (his non-portrayal of homosexual relationships another). In general, I prefer him to Russell T. Davis as far as storytelling goes – Davis’s plots all feel like a string of events tied together, with a deus-ex-machina ending that comes out of nowhere. When Moffat’s plots work, they works really well. When they don’t work, they’re a mess (the season 6 arc being the prime example), but they’re rarely insulting to the viewer’s intelligence the way Davis’s messes are (the season 3 resolution, for example). Nonetheless, I think there are a lot of criticisms of Moffat’s writing and showrunning that are entirely correct.

  19. 19
    Hugh says:

    Non-portrayal of homosexual relationships? What about Lady Vastra and Jenny? The thin and fat marines in A Good Man Goes To War? (Both married couples, note – I think his marriage-is-the-be-all-and-end-all thing seems to apply regardless of sexuality, ironically)

  20. 20
    Hugh says:

    Oh and Amy’s friend in ‘The Power of Three’ who invites Amy to be her bridesmaid when she marries her girlfriend.

  21. 21
    Eytan Zweig says:

    You’re absolutely right. This was a criticism I had in season 5 but it was long rectified, and I really don’t know why I brought it up again.

  22. 22
    Ampersand says:

    In the admin area, all the comments are on a single page, rather than being split into the subject threads. That’s how I usually read comments.

    Just read the first line of a comment from the “Chronic Pain” thread, and thought it was going to be a comment for this thread: “What it really is, is that doctors just don’t understand what real life is like.”

  23. 23
    Hugh says:

    You’re right, pretty much all of the LGBTQ characters come in in Seasons 6 or 7.

  24. 24
    kittehserf says:

    I only sporadically followed the new Who series during Tennant’s time, and hardly at all during Smith’s, but I do intend to watch Capaldi (I really want to see Lord Fellamar as Dr Who). So, not knowing the story arcs other than the very broad fact of the Time War and the Doctor having wiped out both the Time Lords and the Daleks, I wasn’t tripping over inconsistencies or flat-out contradictions during the special.

    I enjoyed it a lot; wasn’t wild about the silly Elizabeth I character, though I did like Ten’s “Oh well done” moment when he found he’d proposed to and been accepted by the real queen and not a Zygon copy. But my favourite bit was the little reference to Nicholas Courtney’s joke in The Three Doctors – Kate Lethbridge-Steward telling someone to get the file marked Cromer.

    It was great seeing Tom Baker again, too, though as someone asked elsewhere, why did he not offer Eleven a jelly baby???