47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #30: Best Timey-Wimey Nonsense

Welcome to Day 30 of my 47-day series about the revival version of Doctor Who (2005-present). I’ve come up with 47 topics / questions to answer, all of them basically positive and upbeat about the program. Each day (or as often as I can actually write these–so far so good!) I’ll pick one of them at random (using this convenient random number generator) and then write up an answer.

Why 47? It’s my favorite number.
Why Doctor Who? It’s my favorite show.
Why the modern day Doctor Who only? Simply because I remember it better.
Why only positive stuff? Because really, I write enough snark.

So, today, we spin the Random Number Generator, and it lands on 21, which means
today’s topic is

“Best Timey-Wimey Nonsense”

Considering that Doctor Who ran on TV in its original form for 26 years, it’s sort of surprising how few episodes there were that actually used time travel as anything but a device to get the Doctor & his companions to the setting of the adventure.  The Space Museum and Day of the Daleks are two of the only ones, and even they did so only minimally.

This all changed when Steven Moffat wrote The Girl in the Fireplace.  From then on, the more outlandish aspects of time travel became a regular feature in his stories, and occasionally in the stories of others (Under the Lake, for example).  The best instance of this is also one of the most popular…


The narrative of this episode is built entirely around the idea that a young woman named Sally Sparrow is receiving messages from a variety of impossible sources which are miraculously timed to aid her in a confrontation with the Weeping Angels.  The episode is in fact an overlapping spiral of closed time-loops, where events in the future effect events in the past, and events in the past are timed to perfectly anticipate events in the future.

What’s really brilliant about Blink (aside from the fact that it’s got good characters and dialogue, and is really scary too) is that though it’s full of “timey-wimey” (indeed, it’s the episode that coins this term), it’s not actually “nonsense”, as the story works quite hard to make the whole thing hold together at a logical level, and to make that logic easy for anyone watching to grasp.  Excellent work.

If we really want “nonsense”, then probably the best place to look is either the first half of The Big Bang, or the mini-episode two-parter Time / Space.

Click here for a master list for this series.


2 thoughts on “47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #30: Best Timey-Wimey Nonsense

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