Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials

I debated for a while about whether I should write about the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who or if I should combine it with a post about the Fourteenth Doctor’s era (if three anniversary specials can be called an era). I landed on separate posts, but for this 60th Anniversary post I wanted to write about the overall takeaways and loose-ends from the trilogy of specials. We’ll get into each individual episode when I talk about the Fourteenth Doctor next month.

The Meep’s Boss

After the Doctor, Donna, and Rose foiled the Meep’s plans and saved London, the evil little furball was taken into custody. Not before referencing a mysterious “boss” that would be interested in a two-hearted alien. There’s a chance this referred to the Toymaker, who we saw in the third special, but if that were the case, I would think it would be more explicitly stated. More likely, I think the “boss” was subtly referenced by the Toymaker in “The Giggle”... but also that was left a little vague too... we'll get to the Toymaker later.

Donna Noble is descending!

The Tenth Doctor’s best friend had the most tragic ending of any Doctor companion (at least of the modern era). Even Clara and Bill had a happy ending of sorts. But Donna lost not only her memories but her confidence too. As someone who is perpetually insecure, my heart broke during Donna’s character arc with the Tenth Doctor… and then to see it wiped away. Again, heart breaking. So I was glad to see Donna back and to see her live with her confidence again. I just wish it hadn’t been such an “easy” solution just “letting go” of the DoctorDonna. As if the Tenth Doctor hadn’t needed to wipe her memory from the start. Makes it even more tragic.

The Mavity of the Situation 

Okay I just want to know what the point was with the Isaac Newton scene. Just for kicks and giggles? And is “mavity” going to be a thing for the rest of RTD’s new era? Is that the whole reason that scene happened? To start a running joke?

That Time the Giggle Got Sidelined 

In many ways I loved how “The Giggle” played out, especially since I just watched “The Celestial Toymaker” earlier in 2023. The human anger and hate released by the Toymaker, I thought the Doctor was bound to have some epically profound speech and solution to counter the underlying wavelength…. But instead we got a very intense game of catch? A bit of an underwhelming tie breaker between the Doctor and the Toymaker. Also, Kate briefly traveled in the TARDIS with the Thirteenth Doctor, why was she affected? She traveled with the Doctor as much as Wilf did.  At least we got the return of Mel Bush.

Refusing to Retcon

I’ve said my piece before about the Timeless Child and Doctor Who mythology. However, I know that the Timeless Child was certainly one of the things that bothered fans about that era of the show. I’ve seen comments from fans, basically praying for a retcon for what Chris Chibnall had written. Instead of retconning the past few years, which would be a waste and an insult to those of us who watched it, Russell T. Davies elected to call into question instead of rewriting it. Wise solution. We’ve seen the Doctor’s past, but now we’ve called into question how legitimate it is. We know about the Fugitive Doctor but we don’t know where she fits in (I still like the theory that she’s between the Second and Third Doctors). And honestly, I hope we never find out. The mystery of the Doctor is part of what makes him/her alluring. If we had all the answers, it wouldn’t be fun. So hopefully this goes the way of the Doctor’s name. River Song knows it, and I suppose Clara knows it, but I hope we never find out. 

A Doctor Left Behind with a Bonus TARDIS

I can’t say I hate the bi-generation, but I felt like it cheapened the Doctor’s sacrifice. It’s like the fans of David Tennant couldn’t bear to see their Doctor die the first time; so he was brought back and basically saved from dying (while still moving the show along). Don’t get me wrong, I like that the Doctor got a happy ending. But now we have the Fourteenth Doctor retired on Earth (maybe that’s how the Curator comes about?). Russell T Davies has led us to believe the Fourteenth Doctor won’t return any time soon… but all it would take is the right (or wrong) writer to slip him back in. I just think there’s something about being able to say goodbye and grieve (even if he’s just a TV character) that’s healthy in being able to deal with garbage going on in my life too. 

The One Who Waits

In his villain monologue, the Toymaker mentioned one foe he was scared to face. More powerful than the Doctor and the Master. Even someone as powerful as the Toymaker didn’t dare face this entity. I had the inkling that it might be the same “boss” that the Meep referenced. But other than a quick reference, we know nothing of this waiting one. What does RTD have planned?

Overall, I enjoyed the anniversary specials. Now while we wait for more of the Fifteenth Doctor, I’m going to keep working my way through Classic Doctor Who. So look forward to a series of podcast episodes with TJ about the Second Doctor and some more blog posts about classic stories and classic Doctors. Allons-y!

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