I'm sorry....I don't actually have the dvd set here....I agree with one reviewer that to release a set of specials is cashing in a little when you can wait a bit and get the entire season release, but on the other hand they earned every penny they can make on this year's fare.
The reviews I have read here are mixed to say the least, but I have found even in the most difficult and convoluted plots that to watch it more than once is always well worth while. Stephen Moffat has a gift for complex, clever storylines whereas his predecessor was more into characters running down corridors and up and down ladders. We all have our preferences. I wonder how Matt's Doctor would have been received if he had had Russell T Davies' sentimentality and running up and down ladders type of stories as David Tennant did? I think both types of storytelling have their place, but I thought this particular story, (THE TIME OF THE DOCTOR), certainly delivered.
Yes it was convoluted, and I was not convinced by Tasha Lem, her existence, her presence or her ability to fly the TARDIS, but I did not watch the show for the sake of Tasha Lem. I watched it to find out how that massive monument to the Doctor's death that we saw previously would be changed into a brand new regeneration that shouldn't exist. If the Doctor knows he's going to die anyway, then make it in a good cause, and this story delivered bucketloads in the areas where it mattered. I could complain about the lack of battle sequences that should have been there under the circumstances, the way that the enemies were grossly underused, but that was surely not the main thrust of the episode?
We were all there to find out how Matt Smith gets to turn into Peter Capaldi! The Doctor in all his past problems has always been a hero, step in, save everyone and on occasion forfeited a life for his trouble, but this was a lot more heroic, as he knows he will once again die for his cause, but this time there would be no final escape for him, no regeneration. We see him rather as an aged Gallifreyan rather than a Time Lord. Once a Time Lord can no longer regenerate, he is no longer effectively a Time Lord (reference Mawdryn Undead, classic series), so he becomes much more vulnerable than he has ever been before. This is where the story in my opinion rises far above anything else, as we see the Doctor being even more the Doctor than he has ever been, showing how far he is always willing to go in order to live up to his chosen name, DOCTOR.
The Time of the Doctor charts the Doctor's final few centuries as he ages into a very old man whilst protecting the people of the town, knowing that when he dies, this time it will be final. It was beautifully acted and very touching to watch, and if we were going to see Clara again in the future then naturally the Doctor had to send her off home in the TARDIS, regardless of past similarities. As the Doctor himself tells her "If I hadn't sent you home, I would have buried you centuries ago!"
What all this woffling amounts to really is this...to me this was a story as emotional as any of Russell T. Davies' efforts, and in its own way as sentimental as Tennant's departure, but refreshingly less self-pitying. A magnificent way to show us all how loyal and heroic the 11th Doctor was. Every time I see it I notice something I missed before and it makes me enjoy it all the more.
Non fans will always expect less emotion and more action, whilst fans will each have their own expectations to try and fulfil. Forget all of that and sit back and watch this one again without any preconceived ideas or opinions as to what should be there or what may or may not be wrong with it. Just enjoy it for what it is. Give it a chance!
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