I went to see The Day of the Doctor in 3D last night. And it was marvelous. Beautiful, hilarious, and brilliant. Everything I had hoped for and more. Seeing it in a packed theatre full of Whovians of all ages, all laughing and shrieking at the same things, was an incredibly fun experience. Unfortunately, it was a one-night event across the country, so if you missed it yesterday you won’t be able to have quite the same experience. But you can still see the episode!
The Day of the Doctor starts out with the original 1963 theme song and credits – the ones that make it look like your TV is broken – but quickly shifts to full colour and full 3D, just as one example of how far technology has advanced since the show started. The Doctor is called in by U.N.I.T. to investigate a mysterious letter from Queen Elizabeth I, and ends up bumping into his last incarnation (who is busy investigating the monarch herself). Meanwhile, on the last day of the Time War, another Doctor is about to make the most terrible choice of his life, but first he must be sent into the future to see the consequences of his actions.
There’s a lot at stake for the Doctor in this episode, and it is very centered on the Time War, but in spite of that, it’s the funniest Doctor Who story that has come along in quite some time. Watching Ten and Eleven compete and show off for each other is a sheer joy, and John Hurt is a brilliant Doctor as well. There are plenty of things for classic Who fans to geek out about–Zygons and Daleks, one fangirl-like character sporting the Fourth Doctor’s scarf, the old TARDIS interior, and the appearance of ALL the Doctors at the end. There are also lots of treats for us new Whovians–Ten’s marriage to the Queen, the return of Captain Jack’s vortex manipulator, a fascinating Bad Wolf moment, and a closer look at the Time War, just to name a few.
I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say that there was a moment near the end of the episode when nearly everyone in the theatre started yelling and bouncing in their seats. Steven Moffat, of course, did something completely unexpected (at least to me) that will probably change the direction of the story for a long time to come. But The Day of the Doctor is still, more than anything, a celebration of a show that millions of people have loved for the last 50 years, and it pays well-deserved respect to the early beginnings that made Doctor Who what it is today. Not many TV shows make it to their 50th anniversary, but I think Doctor Who stands a pretty good chance of making it to its 100th, as long as it keeps bringing us stories like this one.