A few years ago, I did a series of 47 daily posts which all looked at different questions related to the revival series of Doctor Who, focusing on stuff I like about the show. I worked out a series of questions in advance and then picked one randomly for each day. I’ve decided to revisit the series to see how my opinions may or may not have changed, and to bring two of my daughters into the discussion, since they are both big fans and have recently finished watching the revival series.
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 are we looking back at this now? Because we’re on a 47 day countdown to November 23, the birthday of the show.
Check out Day #9 here.
When I first did this, it was September 2016, which means we were in between the Christmas episodes The Husbands of River Song and The Return of Dr. Mysterio, and were yet to debut Peter Capaldi’s last season on the show. Jodie Whittaker was even further away. How has the passage of time, evolution of opinions, and three further seasons of the program impacted my opinions?
Today is Day #10, and our theme is…
Most Fan-Pleasing Moment
Obviously, Doctor Who is made intentionally for people to enjoy. But there are specific times and moments in the show that are not just intended to engage the audience in a normal way, but to specifically please the fans–people who have been watching for a long time and are familiar with the its history. Now, is the internet proves anything, it’s that fans of Doctor Who are a wide and varied bunch, and what pleases one does not necessarily please all. But that does not change the intention.
These moments include pretty much any time any former characters return to the show, or any time there are flashbacks to previous Doctors or companions. The last time, I picked the Doctor sending the Atraxi running in The Eleventh Hour, with the inspirational montage of all the Doctor’s faces.
But this time around I’m going to go with something else…
The Return of the Eighth Doctor in Night of the Doctor
It was only a mini-episode, but The Night of the Doctor was such an unexpected treat to have in the days leading up to the 50th anniversary of the series. With very little warning, there was a new prologue episode being released online, with almost no advanced press. And then suddenly, at the end of the episode’s teaser, the rich tones of Paul McGann breaks in and there we have the Doctor…”but probably not the one you were expecting.”
McGann of course was the Eight Doctor, who had previously only appeared on TV in a TV movie in the 1990’s. He was in fine form for this brief reappearance, with lots of witty dialogue and intense characterization. Indeed, Night of the Doctor only disappoints by being so short–it left us all with an appetite for more of the Eighth Doctor, which is I suppose as it should be. Oh well, there’s always Big Finish.
But all that aside, it’s a rare moment that competes with the pure fanboy-ish glee of having McGann pop on screen like that. As much as I enjoyed The Eleventh Hour and The Day of the Doctor and other episodes with such moments, I don’t have any difficulty making this pick this time around.
What do my daughters say?
Johanna (16) picked the entire scene of all the Doctors working together to save Gallifrey in The Day of the Doctor. I have to admit, it’s pretty epic.
Laurelle (14) likes that scene too, particularly the surprise appearance of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and the line, “No sir, all thirteen!” But for her actual pick she went in a different direction, and chose a bit from the beginning of the Twelfth Doctor story, World Enough and Time. Specifically, it’s the bit near the start when Missy–at the time basically attempting to reform and act like the Doctor–introduces herself as “Doctor Who.” She then claims it’s the Doctor’s real name, but he shortened it when he realized it was too on the nose. It’s a funny meta-reference to the show’s title (and ongoing confusion about the main character’s name) which was brought to life via the inspired lunacy of Michelle Gomez’ performance.