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 #10 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 #11, and our theme is…
Cliffhangers have always been a big part of Doctor Who. They are not quite as ubiquitous in the revival series as they were in the old days, but there are still usually a couple of two-parters each year. Though frequently the cliffhanger has involved some monster lumbering toward the Doctor’s friends chanting a death-threat over and over, there have still been lots of other more novel and surprising ones. And even many that followed the obvious formula were still done well.
(For clarity’s sake, we’re just talking about cliffhangers that took place in the middle of two- or three- part stories, not shocking twists at the end of a story).
As I considered my pick for the best, I thought of a bunch that I think are really good, like the Doctor’s regeneration at the end of The Stolen Earth, the appearance of the Dalek at the end of Army of Ghosts, and the Doctor’s ghost showing up outside a window in Under the Lake.
But for the best, I came to the same one that I picked last time…
The universe coming to an end at the end of The Pandorica Opens
The cliffhanger in the midst of the finale to Steven Moffat’s first season as showrunner was something to behold. Rory returned but was an Auton, and he killed Amy. A mysterious enemy destroyed the TARDIS with River Song inside. The Doctor had been tricked and trapped by all his enemies, and imprisoned forever in the Pandorica. And in consequence to all of this, all the stars of the universe faded from existence at the end.
Sorry, it just doesn’t get any better than that!
One of the my daughter’s agrees…
Laurelle (14) picked the same cliffhanger. For her it was obvious, an easy selection, and did not require much consideration from her.
Johanna (16) on the other hand, amost picked the end of Silence of the Library, with the creepy image of Donna Noble’s face embedded into one of those library kiosks. But in the end she went with the end of World Enough and Time, the cliffhanger in the middle of the last finale to Peter Capaldi’s last season. It featured the revelation that Bll had become a Cybermen (she could see that one coming, but still thought it was devastating) and the revelation that the old guy Bill had been talking to was actually the John Simm-version of the Master. That one did turn out to be a complete shock to her (the benefit of watching the show years after all the spoilery-BBC marketing).
All three of the cliffhangers that we’ve mentioned were written by Steven Moffat. The guy knew how to tell a story.