The 13 Doctors (Really) Save Gallifrey

I was thrilled when the Doctor called in his past (and future) incarnations to help save Gallifrey in the DOCTOR WHO 50th anniversary story “The Day of the Doctor,” but I was also disappointed that the sequence was so brief. Well, that problem has been solved by enterprising an enterprising YouTuber.

Yes, thanks to some clever splicing and re-editing, we have a meatier sequence of the Doctor helping himself! GALLIFREY FALLS NO MORE!

No Return to Gallifrey for the Doctor?

gallifreyWhile the end of Matt Smith’s tenure as the 11th Doctor restored Gallifrey and set up the mystery of exactly where the planet is now, don’t be too surprised if the 12th Doctor fails to find his home planet in the eighth series of DOCTOR WHO. Or maybe even the one after that.

Frequent WHO scriptwriter Mark Gatiss (“Cold War”) — who will pen two episodes again this season— suggests a visit to Gallifrey might be a bad idea:

“Every time you go back to Gallifrey, it starts to make the Time Lords a bit too domesticated. I know that’s why Russell T Davies came up with the whole idea of the Doctor being the last one because eventually if you see them so often they become a bit like a bunch of MPs, whereas if you talk about them as this amazing, powerful force, they’re much more exciting.

“I don’t know if I would want to [write a Gallifrey episode]. I think the way the Time Lords were represented in “The End of Time” and “The Day of the Doctor” was very exciting because we’re seeing them in a crisis and they’re trying to come up with different ways of saving themselves.

“But I suppose if the Doctor ever does find Gallifrey again, then we might find out more. Who knows…”

I firmly believe it all comes down to the story. If you have a strong idea for a Gallifrey tale, then tell it; if you’re just looking for an excuse to show an alien planet, go somewhere else, please.

The same goes for anything else: The story must come first. If you have an absolutely killer Dalek story idea, then let’s see it. If not — if you could substitute any other monster without changing the tale appreciably then it’s not a Dalek story — don’t shoehorn the pepperpots in just because.

‘The Last Day’ — The Time War Begins!

This DOCTOR WHO minisode is a bit shorter than “The Night of the Doctor,” and, frankly, not nearly as brilliant. It also features new characters instead of old friends. Still, it’s interesting to get a glimpse of a place that’s been mentioned in the annals of The Last Great Time War: Arcadia.

So, what did you think? At first, I was distressed at the idea that a Gallifreyan soldier would think that a single Dalek could destroy all of Arcadia, the “safest place on Gallifrey.” I mean, the Doctor alone has held off battalions of Daleks with a jammy dodger and foiled any number of diabolical pepperpots by hanging his hat on their eyestalks! And even UNIT can effectively battle them. But then I realized that perhaps the other soldier was having a little fun by following in the footsteps of the officer and scaring the rookie. He was exaggerating for effect, just to scare the n00b.

“The Day of the Doctor,” the 50th anniversary story, will be simulcast around the planet tomorrow. Here in the USA, it will air on BBC America at 2:50 p.m. ET. #SaveTheDay

Daleks Invited to 50th Anniversary Party

The Daleks have been officially confirmed by the BBC to appear in the DOCTOR WHO 50th anniversary story — as if anyone would be surprised to see the demonic pepperpots in such a landmark episode — to battle the Doctor, as portrayed by Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt.

What I find worth noting about these pictures, however, is the Gallifreyan writing and circular architecture in the background, which suggests to me these Daleks are actually on the Time Lords’ home planet, meaning we could get a glimpse of the Great Time War at last! That would certainly be worthy of an anniversary story.

My personal wish for the story is that it will restore Gallifrey and pave the way for the return of the Time Lords, so that the Doctor is no longer the last of his kind. Also, having Gallifrey time-locked and the other Time Lords all recalled from throughout time and space makes continuity just so messy that it needs to go away. Now.
Continue reading

“The End of Time”: a Quintessential Davies Story

Rassilon, the Doctor and the Master

“The End of Time” was sure to be the biggest DOCTOR WHO story of the year, and for the occasion show-runner Russell T Davies crafted what might be considered the quintessential “Davies” story, one that showcased his strengths and weaknesses.

Perhaps Davies’ greatest attribute as a storyteller is that he’s an idea man. He comes up with big concepts, interesting concepts, fun concepts, and concepts that are perfectly suited to his cast. But the execution does not always live up to a story’s potential. Which is what I thought happened here: Davies set up a grand threat from two Gallifreyan foes: Rassilon (Timothy Dalton), the founder of Time Lord society, and the Master (John Simm), that society’s greatest villain. However, the story did not quite follow through.
Continue reading

Remembrance of the Doctor

Exactly 46 years ago, on Nov. 23, 1963, DOCTOR WHO first flickered to life on TV screens in the United Kingdom. BBC Head of Drama Sydney Newman and first producer Verity Lambert are generally acknowledged as the “parents” of DOCTOR WHO, but legions of writers, producers, directors and actors have all contributed to make the series what it is today: my favorite TV series of all time.

The Doctors

The Doctors

DOCTOR WHO has the most flexible format imaginable: The lead character can change his appearance, and has his TARDIS, a vehicle that allows him to travel anyplace in the universe, at any time in the past, present or future. And the series has made great use of that creative freedom, crafting stories of adventure, comedy, drama and pathos that fall into categories of science fiction, fantasy, history and even romance. The Doctor is incredibly smart yet quirky, with an insatiable curiosity and a deep sense of right and wrong. All filtered through an alien perspective that makes him appear wildly eccentric and fun. There have been 10 versions of the Doctor to date, with an 11th persona about to debut in 2010. Each of these personalities has been as different as the faces he has worn.

My earliest memories of the series stem from Tom Baker‘s reign as the Fourth Doctor, as syndicated here in the USA in the late 1970s. It was shown on WWOR Channel 9 in New York, and actor Howard DaSilva would provide recaps of the previous episode (always referring to the lead character as “Doctor Who”). I have very vivid memories of the hallowed story “Genesis of the Daleks,” which introduced Davros, as well as “The Deadly Assassin,” featuring the desiccated, corpse-like Master. I remember being fascinated by the weird program with the wobbly sets, rubber-masked monsters, and the guy with the floppy hair and mile-long scarf. This was not STAR TREK, which I had watched religiously in reruns. I quickly realized that what the program lacked in budget, it made up for with heart and good intentions. There was an awful lot of love invested in those wacky stories – and Captain Kirk had never met anyone like Leela! The cliff-hanger format was perfect for hooking younger viewers, and I almost looked forward to the scream of the musical stinger that would sound just as the Doctor or one of his comely companions was in peril.
Continue reading