Throughout 2013, we’ve been haunted by one idea: the 11th Doctor, now known to be the result of the Time Lord’s 12th regeneration, will be facing his death and impossible regeneration at Christmas in “Time of the Doctor”. Now, the moment has come…was it worth it?
This episode bothered me from when I first watched it, and thinking farther on it has only bothered me more. The reason for this is because I’ve come to the conclusion that with some editing, this could have been made into a very good episode. It’s become very apparent that Russell T. Davies strength was as an editor, while Moffat’s is as a writer. They were a very good team from 2005 to 2008, and it’s unfortunate that they’re not working together now.
As it is, the following changes could probably have increased this episode from a 2/5 to at least a 3.5/5: make the fan service elements of the episode even (probably the thing I have the least argument for, other than that fan service should almost always be symmetrical), make the comedy elements of the episode even (all of the jokes in the current version are at Clara’s expense), tie the nudity (nakedness) to the truth field in a meaningful way, remove the Weeping Angel that forces the (still-nude) Doctor to grope (the still-nude) Clara in order to save her, and get rid of the sexual undertones between the Doctor and Tasha.
The first time an episode of Doctor Who aired on Christmas day, it was assumed that either viewers would not be watching Doctor Who or would not be interested in watching a continuation of a dark story. This assumption was right, insofar as “The Feast of Steven” was the first episode in Season 3 (and the first episode featuring Daleks since their premiere) to have below eight thousand viewers. Forty years later, half of this idea would be followed, and half ignored: for six out of seven years, Doctor Who would go out of its way to show an episode on Christmas, though this was either a celebratory episode or an episode that had little to do with anything other that the Christmas season. One of those seven years, however, was a story about the death of the most popular Doctor in decades, and his age-old enemy. Apparently the idea caught on with the BBC, because the eighth Christmas special was a dark story about a depressed Doctor and a perpetually dying companion, and the ninth was yet another regeneration episode. That last one, “The Time of the Doctor”, is what we’re going to be looking at today. Read the review here.
The Trio returns with a bit of input from our missing member, and we talk about the event of today. The Doctor Who Christmas Special: “The Time of the Doctor”. Listen to the podcast here.