So what were we all afraid of? That Moffat would get it wrong? That he would ignore the old series completely? That it would somehow go horribly wrong?
Well, frankly, yes. Staging a program that encompasses 50 years of a TV show’s history is quite a challenge. Doing so in a way that fans of the new series and the old can both enjoy is an even bigger one. Did this show manage that task?
It did. It wasn’t perfect, but it came nearer to that than I expected it to.
SPOILERS AHOY! READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT IT SPOILED!
You probably already saw it and therefore know the plot, but for those who don’t, here it is. The War Doctor, as played by John Hurt, is shown on the last day of the Time War, making his preparations to destroy Gallifrey, killing both the Daleks and the Time Lords. It’s a deeply traumatizing event, made all the more so by the fact that the device he’s going to use is sentient and has a conscience; one that manefists in the form of the Bad Wolf version of Rose. The Tenth and Eleventh Doctors get dragged into this as well, as does Clara and Queen Elizbeth, plus UNIT and the Zygons. And from there things get interesting.
Much of the story focuses on the War Doctor, and does so in great fashion. I loved that this Doctor felt instantly like he belonged, like he was part of the team. He really seemed quite credible as a new version of the Doctor. Well, an old version. You know what I mean. I was also very glad that it wasn’t the “real” Rose that we got to see back. Plus, much as I often have mixed feelings about the Tenth Doctor, it was nice to see him again.
And there were so many good and golden references! The appearances by the old series Doctors were handled nicely, and the bit with Twelfth Doctor was just lovely, brief as it was. I didn’t want a full appearance, but this little cameo was lovely.
I also was, indeed, deeply pleased by the extended cameo by Tom Baker. I’m happy they didn’t try to make him look younger or anything like that; he was just the museum currator, and that was great.
I’m quite pleased as well to know that Gallifrey is out there somewhere. I really hope that we get it back soon, as it was an intregal part of the old series.
Overall, I have no real complaints, and that’s a surprise. As one of my friends said last week in regard to “The Night of the Doctor”, Moffat done good.