The Who Before the What – My Prequel to the Doctor Who Special

Doctor Who fans have had a really good week – I speculate many nerd-gasms necessitated new pants in the internet community. Over the last weekend fans who couldn’t attend Comic Con finally got to see footage for “The Day of the Doctor” (the 50th anniversary special premiering on 11/23), and it was glorious. Today, BBC released a “Day of the Doctor” prequel titled “The Night of the Doctor,” which necessitates its own breakdown and analysis of sorts. Combined, the two equal a moderately long article here in the commons. As much as I’d love to write the order of my thoughts in a wibbly-wobbly ball, I should really keep things linear so that you can follow along (which isn’t fun at all). None the less, let’s begin at the beginning with the extended Doctor Who “The Day of The Doctor” trailer impression.

I had theories regarding how certain people and Doctors became entangled in the plot of “The Day of the Doctor:” I believed that the Tenth Doctor and Rose would get pulled from their parallel universe to help the Eleventh and Clara deal with the resurgence of, who is now referred to as, The War Doctor. However, I believe my theory doesn’t work anymore; clearly in the trailer for “The Day of the Doctor” the Tenth has his own Tardis and a few other things from his timeline (seasons 2 – 5). As for the War Doctor, I thought that he was either going to pop in from his timeline to cause trouble for the Eleventh through some means or the Time War was going to bleed into the Eleventh’s timeline. All of the trailers for “The Day of the Doctor” now indicate how the Tenth and Eleventh will get pulled into the War Doctor’s timeline as he tries to end the Time War once and for all.

I know my theory was wrong, and I’m not dissapointed at all: disappointment could only come from the idea that production costs got cut way low and Steven Moffat got booted from writing the story. Anything that Moffat writes for “The Day of the Doctor” should be fantastic, and all I can do is eagerly wait for the special to air. From what I see in “The Day of the Doctor” trailer, the special should deliver a well written drama that touches upon all the pillars of Doctor Who: dramatic, funny, insightful, sad, philosophical, and ultimately epic. Doctor Who has always served as a reminder that something greater exists outside of our lives, and how confronting your fears serves as the ultimate adventure. The Doctor will confront his biggest fear, thus granting him his greatest adventure to date. It’s hard to imagine what will happen after “The Day of the Doctor” simply because the show surrounds the question “who is the Doctor?” If “The Day of the Doctor” answers the question, then the greatest mystery will no longer be relevant.

But, I digress. I don’t want to look too far in the future of Doctor Who because I lack the imagination to know what the writers will do with the show. I don’t try to speculate too far ahead because the possibilities remain infinite. Doctor Who shows us the universe in a constant state of expansion and contraction, thus allowing the show the possibility to go anywhere while diving in to the question of what being a human means. The Doctor has always known what humans are capable of, which is why he ultimately became the War Doctor in “The Night of the Doctor.”

I saw that the mini-sode “The Night of the Doctor” existed and thought that it was great how Doctor Who was going to give us a nice Eleventh/Clara moment before the big special. Once Paul McGann entered with his line “I’m a Doctor, but probably not the one you were expecting,” I squealed with glee. Although I never had a chance to say it in The Commons, I theorized how Matt Smith was technically the Twelfth Doctor in the line of Doctors: I didn’t dig too deep at the time, but it was my understanding that fans assumed the Ninth Doctor was responsible for ending the time war – Doctor Who jumped from McGann to Eccleston. I believed that there had to have been a Doctor between McGann and Eccleston that ended the time war, thus making Eccleston the Tenth Doctor and so on. I really hate myself for not posting my theory a hell of a lot earlier so I could yell “I told you so” at people when John Hurt was revealed as the Doctor who ended the Time War – damn it past Brian!

Alas, I think “The Night of the Doctor” is fantastic because of the insight it gives us on the War Doctor and simply bringing McGann back into the light for a bit. I didn’t know McGann as the Doctor, but was a little sad that I would never have the chance – we can visit all of the other Doctors on Netflix, except McGann. “The Night of the Doctor” is an awesome mini-sode for the second reason of solely showing the fans how the Eighth was in a tight situation. McGann does a good job at being the Doctor too – he’s witty, brilliant, emotional, and reasonable. I think if the series could have picked up right after the Doctor Who made for TV movie, the transition from McGann to Eccleston would have been smooth and generally accepted. If given more time in the role, McGann could have provided a solid middle ground between old and new Who. Regardless of what McGann could have done with the role, he provides a solid performance to usher us into “The Day of the Doctor.”

Now, I don’t want to be that Doctor Who fan that raves about how great the show is because of how unique it is. Doctor Who isn’t a great show because there is nothing like it on television, it’s a great show because of the imagination behind the writing. I expect “The Day of the Doctor” to provide fans the opportunity to reflect inwards on how the choices we make affect our lives and our consequences that we live with. Good storytelling makes us grapple with our tough choices and emotions – based off the trailer and mini-sode for “The Day of the Doctor,” fans will have a good opportunity to ask good questions.

I know I’m not the only one with an opinion on the trailer and mini-sode, so please continue the discussion in the comments! If you feel like it, you can follow me on Twitter here.


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