So on Saturday the British Television series Doctor Who celebrated its 50th anniversary. A movie aired on the BBC to commemorate the event. It was called The Day of The Doctor. For months now, fanboys and geekgirls have been anticipating what would come of this. We were promised plenty of guest appearances, and Who-niverse changing plot. And, that is exactly what we got, in an incredibly disappointing way.
I am a huge Doctor Who fan. I have seen every episode that has aired since 2005, and I am working my way into the old episodes as well. It is a very well written show, and it balances comedy, sci-fi, and drama very well. However, this major motion picture of an event was more ineffective of drawing emotion, than a sonic screwdriver is on wood. The main reason came down to the writing.
Here you have three men all playing the same character from various time periods. John Hurt, David Tenant, and Matt Smith all give great performances as The Doctor, but all of their conversations seem to follow the same formula; “Doctor 1: well this is a hopeless situation. Doctor 2: did you try this? Doctor 1: yes you idiot. Doctor 2: (some smart-aleck quip). Doctor 3: wait that quip might be the key.”
Honestly how hard is it to take three great actors, two of which have years of experience as these characters, put them in a room, and film magic. Have Steven Moffet in charge that’s how. Moffet is an amazing writer. He wrote some of the most iconic episodes, but over the past couples seasons he’s been the show runner. Ever since he took the position the show has decreased in quality because he has had to pass the writing torch to other writers. This has caused the show to take a far too self-conscious feel, and thus we come to my biggest problem with the movie.
The Day of The Doctor sacrificed far too much plot, and dialogue, just so that every couple mint it was making a forced, winking reference to itself. For example, one of the lead characters wears The Fourth Doctor Tom Baker’s scarf through the entire film. It would be OK if this was a subtle nod, but rather they made it this bright caricature version of his actual scarf, almost to say, “hey look at this scarf, looks familiar right? Do you get it? Huh? Yeah it’s the 4th’s. Look at it LOOK AT IT.” Not to mention many lines were inside jokes to iconic moments in Who history. These lines were always followed by sitcom pauses as if they wanted to give super fans a chance to clean up their splattered brains from the wall. And, don’t even get me started on the extremely forced cameo by an ancient doctor at the end, or the plot twist that was a crazy cop out, even by Doctor Who standards. This whole thing felt like an overzealous fanfic that BBC found in the deep dark recesses of the internet.
With all that said I just want to leave you with this; if this is Doctor Who now, I am glad Capaldi will be the final doctor. Before this movie I was sad that Doctor Who would be ending soon, but now I see it is a very old, sick dog, and needs to be put down, and not allowed to suffer along until ratings kill it.