Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (2013)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun, classy 50th anniversary ode to a great series

Only for Whovians


Three of us? This is going to get confusing…

The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) have been called in on a mystery.  At the National Gallery, a painting exists that shouldn’t exist and a message from Queen Victoria (Joanna Page)…the death of Gallifrey has been preserved.  When the Doctor finds a link to his past when a time vortex opens to his previous self (David Tennant), both Doctors are in for a shock when they are faced with their unspoken past in the form of the War Doctor (John Hurt).  As the Doctors try to reconcile their pasts and the death of the Time Lords, the threat of the Zygons resurfaces with Earth as their target and the Doctors must join together to stop them!


I’m back with my giant teeth!

Doctor Who:  The Day of the Doctor is an extended special falling after Doctor Who—Season 7 and airing on November 23, 2013.  The episode marked the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who which premiered on November 23, 1963 with Doctor Who:  An Unearthly Child.  Linking Doctor Who—Season 7 and Doctor Who:  The Day of the Doctor are two online mini-episodes.  The first mini-episode was titled Doctor Who:  The Night of the Doctor (released November 14, 2013) which featured the until then unseen regeneration of the Eighth Doctor played by Paul McGann into the War Doctor played by John Hurt (McGann has previously only been seen in Doctor Who:  The Movie).  The second mini episode was Doctor Who:  The Last Day (released November 21, 2013) and featured the attack on Gallifrey by Daleks.


Anyone want seafood?

This is the Doctor Who that you’ve been waiting for if you are a fan of the original series.  The episode digs deep into the Doctor’s history and also ties in events of the current series.  I’ve not always been a fan of Matt Smith’s run which I feel has been really hit-or-miss, but this is one of his better outings.  *****Spoiler Alert*****  Due to the plotting of the episode there will be spoilers throughout.

It doesn’t hurt that this episode manages to bring back two of the best Doctors.  I love Tennant and seeing him next to Matt Smith shows how the Doctor has kind of fallen since he left.  Tennant just nails his version of the Doctor and I wish he could have stayed.  In addition to Tennant, Tom Baker appears as a museum curator that tells the Doctor what has been implied through the episode:  Gallifrey is still alive!


Trust me…falling to your death is pretty lame.

The episode is also loaded with cameos and homages to other earlier series.  The episode features images of all the Doctors (using stock footage) and gives a glimpse preview of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.  Billie Piper also returns to help the War Doctor find direction (and it is revealed it is the Bad Wolf version of Rose).  Jemma Redgrave returns as the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and the Zygons who only appeared in the Fourth Doctor adventure Doctor Who:  Terror of the Zygons (Story #80) play the enemy (with cameos by the Daleks).

The decision to bring back Gallifrey not only allows a return to some classic Doctor Who stories, but it also gives the show a direction that it really has needed the last few seasons.  The Doctor is always best where there is a goal to his adventures and now a goal has been set.  I would like this to usher in a new age of Doctor Who and Matt Smith being replaced by an older and wiser Doctor might be the first step.


Doctors Unite!

Doctor Who:  The Day of the Doctor is a great addition to the Doctor Who lexicon.  It was an enjoyable and fun entry to a series which lately has felt a bit tedious.  Now, if we could get some more Paul McGann episodes (an underrated and underused Doctor) and return some of the classic characters who never got a proper send off, it would even be better (plus, wrap up The Sarah Jane Adventures).  Doctor Who:  The Day of the Doctor was followed by a second Christmas Day special Doctor Who:  The Time of the Doctor.

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Preceded By:

Doctor Who—Season 7 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Time of the Doctor (2013)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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