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The PA Report - Doctor Who’s 50th anniversay special was a reboot, a retcon, and an amazing piece of

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin

imageThe PA Report - Doctor Who’s 50th anniversay special was a reboot, a retcon, and an amazing piece of writing

The premise of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special was pure gold: What if you could, with all the insight and wisdom gained from years of time and miles of distance, go back in time to comfort yourself during the worst day of your life?

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  • jedi359jedi359 Registered User new member
    My biggest problem with the retconning is how it changes the nature of Gallifrey in order to change what happened. A long running theme with the Tenth Doctor which culminated in the End of Time special was that the Time War had made the Time Lords just as bad as the Daleks, and that the Doctor had to destroy both because either side winning would have been a terrible outcome. The End of Time reinforces this, with the Time Lords trying to escape and in the process destroying earth. This new way of presenting the war makes it seem like Gallifrey was an innocent victim and was destroyed only because the Daleks happened to all be there. There was a bit of a hand wave there where the Doctors interacted with a General instead of with the Time Lord Council, but it still sticks out to me.

    I think most of the post-war continuity fits, but if Gallifrey isn't really time locked at the end of the war, then how does the End of Time fit into everything now? I'd be interested to see what happens.

  • GunganGungan Registered User regular
    I loved this episode. It had all the time bendy stuff I love about the series. I only wish I didn't have to wait to watch it 7 hours after it aired:P I completely missed the Paul McGann mini episode, which was also awesome.

    I've never seen Peter Capaldi in anything so I really have no idea what to expect from him. The same could be said for Matt Smith though and he was my second favourite after Tennant, so I'm open minded.

    I don't know if I can deal with the big end game Walt Williams theorizes. I've only been watching since the Paul McGann movie, so I don't have the other 45 years to make me tired of the status quo.

  • MegaSmackMegaSmack Registered User new member
    edited November 2013
    "He is invincible. All that power, and no guilt."

    He still has the "Lonely God" aspect. He has a need for companions even though he puts them in terrible danger and often watches die or just outlives them.

    MegaSmack on
  • Huttj509Huttj509 Registered User regular
    @Jedi359 I think that was covered in Night of the Doctor and Day itself. In "Night," remember, the person he's trying to save would rather crash and burn.

    The focus on the would be dead in "Day" isn't the leaders, it's not the decision-makers, it's the normal folks trapped in the crossfire. I fully expect that if/when Gallifrey is rescued, the Doctor then needs to basically overthrow the Gallifreyan leaders.

    Heck, why were they interacting with the war council? Because the Council had withdrawn to their own plans (mentioned by a soldier when we first see the war room). I'm pretty sure those plans were the ones revealed in "The End of Time" with 10 and the Master and all that shebang.

    The Gallifreyan leaders still aren't nice folks. Heck, they had already used all the forbidden weapons besides The Moment.

  • OuterHaven37OuterHaven37 Registered User regular
    Jedi beat me to it but it's a very valid point. Last we saw of the last days of the Time War the Timelords had become violent, angry, and not-so-nice and Gallifrey coming back was a thing to be feared. It just seems to disconnect greatly from what Davies had written about the Timelords at that time.

  • BrinkmanBrinkman Registered User regular
    Never watched the show except randomly turning it to PBS back in the 80s and seeing a weird Victorian era Dr Who show that looks like it was shot in the 70s BBC era. That's the extent of my Dr Who knowledge lol.

    It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. -Thomas Jefferson
  • mrthewhitemrthewhite Registered User regular
    @HUTTJ509 Completely agree with you. I mean we're talking an entire planet of people, they can't all be evil warlords and I think that's what Day was all about; The Doctor coming to the realization that he's condemned an entire planet for the actions of those who control it.

    It doesn't make those who were trying to come back in The End of Time any less evil as they were a small subset of the evil people who ruled the planet and were obviously prepared to hurt and kill a lot of people to get what they want.

    I loved this movie and I can't wait to see where it goes next. Also excited for the end of Matt Smith as he's probably the Doctor I liked the least. Every time I watched him all I saw was an actor pretending to be the Doctor where many others I was able to accept as actually being the Doctor.

  • Player42Player42 Registered User regular
    I'm pretty sure the "shushing" between Osgood and the Zygon Osgood was because the Zygon wouldn't have had an asthma attack, which meant they both knew which species they were and agreed to keep it quiet.

  • OuterHaven37OuterHaven37 Registered User regular
    @HUTTJ509 @MRTHEWHITE yeah I admit that I may have made a blanket statement as regards their being evil when you put it that way. Hard to believe the couple billion kids he mentions were all evil and twisted. It will still be interesting going forward to see how he deals with the less than pleasant elements when he finds Gallifrey.

  • mrthewhitemrthewhite Registered User regular
    "The shushing motion between the two versions of the “sciencey” young woman with the Tom Baker scarf leaves some room for future shenanigans."

    that's not a clue to future shenanigans, it's a reveal that the girls know which one is the fake and which is real because the fake girl took the inhaler from the real girl when she first changed. Giving it back reveals that the one holding the inhaler was the fake but she wanted the other to not say anything so the conflict could be resolved by those who still didn't know who they were.

  • Ben KucheraBen Kuchera Registered User staff
    Your take on the "shush" makes way more sense than mine.

  • KaranovKaranov Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    Actually the real "scarf girl" picked up her respirator again after she tripped her doppelganger. So the one holding the inhaler was the real "scarf girl".

    Yes, I've watched the episode multiple times already. Because it was awesome!

    Karanov on
  • CarionisCarionis Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    So, is nobody going to comment on the fact that the Day of the Doctor means that the Master is still out there? As is the female Timelord that saved Ten(nant) in the End of Time?

    That's actually what I'm looking forward to: A big old showdown with Rassilon and the Master.

    Carionis on
  • Capn809Capn809 Registered User new member
    Personally I thought it was reasonably clear that the War Doctor was regenerating into Eccleston. You can see elements of Eccleston's face creeping on, especially if you watch it slowed down.

  • redstriperedstripe Registered User regular
    @jedi359 The Time Lock may still be in place on Galifrey. It was The Moment and Badwolf that allowed the Doctors to penetrate the Time Lock.

    There is a lot of hand-waving and time-rewriting in Dr. Who, but it has been well established that time is not a straight line. The events of The End of Time still happened, Matt Smith still remembers the pain of pressing that button. Even though he's fixed his mistake, he's still the man who destroyed Galifrey. He still made that decision. The time line loops around on itself in a tangled mess, but those events are not invalidated. The events in this episode do not preclude Rassilon's attempts to break free of the Time Locked Galifrey from the Galifrey Falls portion of the Doctor's time(y wimey) line.

    Evil shall be my good.
  • EpicHailEpicHail Registered User regular
    Oh yeah, it was great except it kind of took a major element of the Doctor and kind of said "Yeah? Well screw you guys, we're going casual."

  • mrthewhitemrthewhite Registered User regular
    @KARANOV Good catch, I missed that. I think the explanation still stands though.

  • DirephoenixDirephoenix Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    I thought the "real" scarf girl was always a Zygon from the beginning, since during their confrontation where the obvious Zygon said that she wished she had copied her prettier sister, the "real" one said, "so do I." So, the (new) Zygon copied a Zygon that had already copied that girl.

    Direphoenix on
  • Ian559Ian559 Registered User new member
    @DIREPHOENIX:
    No, what real Osgood meant when she said "So do I." was that she also wished that the Zygon had copied her prettier sister, not that she was also a Zygon and also wished that she had copied her sister.

  • lostedenlosteden Registered User regular
    @Direphoenix I'm pretty sure the real girl meant that she too wished that the Zygon has copied her sister [because she really doesn't like her sister and obviously wants to live].

  • podaypoday Registered User regular
    I like the choice of "Sacrificing millions to save billions" as several doctors have been faced with the same question.
    John Hurt's Doctor was willing to sacrifice gallifry in order to destroy the daleks and end the time war.
    Eccleston's Doctor couldn't sacrifice the earth in order to destroy the dalek fleet in "Parting of the Ways".
    Tennant's Doctor re-affirmed the decision to sacrifice gallifry instead of allowing that decision to be undone in "The End of Time".
    Matt Smith's Doctor and Tennant's Doctor were willing to remake the decision to sacrifice gallifry until Clara spoke up.

    The only doctor that wouldn't sacrifice millions to save billions was Eccleston's and to me that speaks volumes.

  • n4w4kn4w4k Registered User regular
    Ben,
    I take the occasion of a PAR article about a show I don't watch to ask about a thing that regularly bugs me:
    Is there a way to completely filter-out the "Play" category when viewing PAR?
    It's just that the titles of the articles are often spoilers by themselves, and I often lag several episodes or even several seasons behind the US showing dates...

  • Sgt.Big_BubbaloolaSgt.Big_Bubbaloola Registered User regular
    Just FYI - If you haven't caught it yet, go watch 'The Five(ish) Doctors' to seriously top off what was a fantastic weekend for Whovians.



    Well gosh, I suppose I might as well settle in for a nice cuppa ...... this is gonna be good!
  • PLNPLN Registered User new member
    Regarding the shushing girls, if you want to think of shenanigans, the one without the inhaler doesn't check her pockets for it, and the one who does have it simply takes it out. How did they know they did/didn't have it? Probably just a minor oversight though.

  • CrookedKnightCrookedKnight Registered User regular
    I saw it in a theater, which I was really looking forward to but turned out to be a 75-minute battle to keep my dinner down in the face of some truly appalling 3D. Looking forward to seeing it again without the nausea, though. The writing and acting and etc. where pretty great as long as you try not to think about "The End of Time."

  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    The more interesting bit about the shushing moment is it clearly and cleverly does away with the obvious methods of checking as well.
    Just before the asthma attack, the science girls are wondering what would happen if the Zygon tried to remove some article from the disguise, like a shoe, considering it was all part of the one creature. None of the other characters thought of this, and so that question gets left conveniently unanswered when the hard tell is produced instead, and the science girls decide not to reveal their allegiances at all.
    It also goes some way to explain why Queen Elizabeth is the real queen, as the knife she produces from under her skirts would not have been duplicated by the Zygon queen.

  • Therac-25Therac-25 Registered User regular
    "Of course, we never see the War Doctor actually regenerate into Eccleston so…"

    Eccleston refused to come back for this, or you would have. The clips of him are old footage. Notice that Hurt's outfit (especially the leather jacket) is intentionally foreshadowing the style that Eccleston's doctor wears.

    I do like that Hurt's "desktop" is almost perfectly midway between McCoy's ( http://beyondthemarquee.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Sylvester-McCoy.jpg ) and the Eccleston/Tennat TARDIS.

    (This is completely skipping the baroque TARDIS design from the 1996 movie, which we can call fair, I guess).

  • Dark JaguarDark Jaguar Registered User regular
    Anyone else picturing Ren and Stimpy episode "Space Madness" when talking about this "red button"? The jolly, candy-like button?

  • dbrowdydbrowdy Registered User regular
    @DARK JAGUAR: The Doctor must have had the SPACE... MADNESS!!!

    As someone who only started watching Doctor Who with Eccleston (my favorite of the three, BTW), I feel a bit left out with all the fan service. I caught the scarf thing as any nerd should. And I think the Curator at the end was the scarf Doctor. But was The War Doctor a completely new guy? Seems like it from the comments here.

    And the guy in the Night of the Doctor, who was he? I'm guessing he was the last Doctor before Eccleston? Can anyone give a rundown of some this kind of thing that "new Doctor" fans may have missed out on?

    Regarding the fate of Gallifrey, I'm a bit confused by the Timey Wimey stuff. I thought it was because I didn't have the background on it, but perhaps not. Let me ask: This weapon was supposed to destroy the galaxy. The Doctor repeatedly talked about watching Gallifrey burn. Yet in earlier episodes, they always talked about Gallifrey being "time locked". Those two ideas don't jive. However, the ending of this episode showed them locking Gallifrey in time. So I guess I don't get how Eccleston and Tennant didn't know that they saved everyone.

    And maybe that's all the hand-waving shit people are talking about. I don't know. I enjoyed it anyways.

  • CrookedKnightCrookedKnight Registered User regular
    In no particular order:
    "Time locked" refers to an event that you can't get to with a time machine, making it impossible to even go back and take a look, much less change anything - not, as you might think from the wording, a time that's actually *frozen*. It's a weird bit of terminology that they should have explained in the special, but that's what they were talking about.

    Paul McGann, the star of Night of the Doctor, was the Eighth Doctor. He was the star of the made-for-TV movie from the 90s and had a line of audio adventures, but never returned to the screen until that short. Until John Hurt showed up, the assumption - never actually clarified - was that he fought in the Time War, regenerated into Eccleston at some point, and one of those two was the Doctor who actually pulled the trigger on Gallifrey. John Hurt's "War Doctor" had never been mentioned, or even implied, before this.

    There are a few theories about the Curator. My favorite is that he's a future version of the Doctor who chose to regenerate into an elderly version of Four (the "scarf doctor") because he liked that face and personality, and enjoy retirement for a while.

  • raykremerraykremer Registered User regular
    It helps that BBC America aired "The End of Time" on Saturday in between the two "Day of the Doctor" Airings. Rassilon knew the Doctor has taken the Moment and what that would mean, and he had figured out that the war was time locked, so he hatched the plan to use the Master to escape the time lock, and then use the Ultimate Sanction to destroy the universe while the Time Lords ascended into beings of pure energy. The tenth doctor, in his final victory, stopped them. The Gallifreyan generals in "Day of the Doctor" mentioned that the Council's plan had already failed. So that's referring Rassilon and his group, who were just as bad as the Daleks. These guys we see now, the last guys in the Time Lord chain of command, they are okay dudes. Besides, with the Dalek fleet split between blasting each other out of the sky when Gallifrey vanishes and the ones that Dalek Caan saved getting destroyed anyway by the meta-crisis and Doctor Donna, the surviving Time Lords won't have any reason to fight once Capaldi's Doctor pulls the planet out of whatever pocket universe they got stuck in.

    As for the retconning of three Doctor's worst of angst, it's genuine since they certainly remember destroying both sides, and the time lock is real, and Gallifrey isn't where it used to be, and the Daleks were... well okay they managed pretty well and seem to rebuild quickly, but they did get knocked off their perch of thinking a universe- and time- wide war was a good idea and went back to weird 1980's Cobra Commander/Megatron schemes that are pretty horrible and yet easily thwarted. The whole notion of using the Moment was that to save the universe the Time Lords and the Daleks had to be removed from the equation. Moffat was brilliant in realizing an alternate way to achieve that, maintain what's already happened, and create a way for Gallifrey to return.

  • Therac-25Therac-25 Registered User regular
    > The Gallifreyan generals in "Day of the Doctor" mentioned that the Council's plan had already failed. So that's referring Rassilon and his group, who were just as bad as the Daleks.

    Pedant mode activated: The council attempts their plan after they know the Doctor has the Moment, but the Generals watch the Doctor take the moment on the security grid after they say the council's plan has failed.

  • dbrowdydbrowdy Registered User regular
    One more thing I don't get... when is this supposed to take place? Last I checked, Clara and the Doctor entered his timeliney-winey thing at his grave and were destroyed... or something. Did I miss an episode or something?

  • JustCallMeRyanJustCallMeRyan Registered User new member
    @DBROWDY *SPOILER ALERT* Uh... you may have missed the end of the episode. Basically, the Doctor was dying and Clara jumped in the time stream to save him, succeeded, and made it out alive. This special takes place after that episode, and is the most recent point in the timeline.

  • krizoitzkrizoitz Registered User new member
    I cannot disagree strongly enough with the idea that this was good writing and that Moffats continued need to toss out past events and their consequences is some how a good thing. The biggest problem with Doctor Who right now is that its being run BY a fanboy.

    Its why we get ridiculous premises like whole Doctor Marrying the daughter of his companions who happens to be able to kinda sorta regenerate in order to serve as a convenient plot device. River Song was an amazingly intriguing character when she was first introduced and Moffat fan-ficed her into boringsville.

    Then there are any number of instances where Moffat completely ignores continuity with absolutely zero explanation just so he can. Like Skarro somehow NOT being destroyed in Asylum of the Daleks (not to mention the Daleks existing in such large numbers, WITH an entire Parliament, etc. Its as if the Time War and the Time Lock NEVER HAPPENED, except it did and Moffat never explains it.

    Moffat is an interesting writer when he is constrained by having someone above him who won't pull that kind of crap. Yes Doctor who isn't the most consistent show over the long run, but the retcons, ignores, and out right changes with no explanation of Moffat are so far beyond what could normally be expected for even DW.

    The 50th had some absolutely brilliant moments and intriguing ideas but the absolute worst part is the resolution, undercutting one of the most significant aspects of NewWho, the Doctor having to have made a heartbreaking sacrifice that has left him scarred ever since and his recovery from that. In one fell swoop Moffat waved his magic wand and made it all GO AWAY. The guilt? Gone, the Doctor is free of responsibility. Which is probably the worst part of Moffat's writing, worse than the illogical unexplained retcons. Moffat doesn't have characters ACTUALLY face consequences. Where 9 and 10 had tough choices to make and losses to suffer, 11 nearly never does! Its why when 9 declares "Just this once, everybody lives" its such an amazing moment, because its unique and special! Its why Rose being left behind in a second universe (even if its semi-happy with the meta-crisis human doctor) is poignant, its why Donna having to lose ALL HER MEMORIES of the Doctor and the adventures she had is so heartbreaking. Because it MATTERED. There were consequences.

    And don't even get me started on how ridiculous the State of Liberty (a metal man made structure) being aWeeping Angel was. I mean seriously? No one in the ENTIRE CITY OF NEW YORK happened to look at it while it apparently ran of its perch across the water and into the city?!?

    UGH.

  • commonpersoncommonperson Registered User regular
    I don't see how the shushing motion was leaving room for anything, it was pretty clear what that meant. The human snatched the inhaler away from the Zygon, therefor she knew she was human. They decided to keep quiet because they wanted to let things end well. It was a symbol that even with the knowledge they could reach beyond for a good resolution. That being said I did like the episode I'm not a Moffat hater like some. :-P

  • commonpersoncommonperson Registered User regular
    BTW, the difference between "Time Locked" and "Pocket universe" is fairly minimal. Time Locked means that the Time Lords are locked on their planet unable to leave and stuck in time (as were the Daleks surrounding Gallifrey). Trapped in a pocket universe is like Romana in E-Space but even worse, where E-Space is pretty much a smaller bubble universe the pocket universe that Gallifrey is locked in is basically no different than a Time Lock the difference is it's not permanent and could be returned. The Daleks on the other hand were genuinely decimated. This also creates more continuity with the former stories as the Time Lock pretty much rendered the presence of Daleks an plot hole. By the very heart of the new mythology they should not be possible and certainly not Davros' return.

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