Doctor Who Review – “The Time of the Doctor”

Matt Smith’s time as the Doctor is over (until the next multi-Doctor crossover happens.)

Cast and Crew Information

Matt Smith as the Doctor
Peter Capaldi as the Doctor
Jenna Louise Coleman as Clara Oswin Oswald
Orla Brady as the Priestess

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Jamie Payne

Availability Information

  • DVD from Amazon (March 4, 2014 release): US, CAN
  • Blu-Ray from Amazon (March 4, 2014 release): US, CAN
  • Digital from iTunes (immediate availability): US, CAN

Premise

There is a signal coming from a planet, which inspires fear in all who hear it. Every capable race comes to this world to investigate, and the Doctor is right there with them.

High Point

“All these years you’ve been asking a question. It’s about time someone told you you’ve got it wrong.”

Low Point

Did they really need to include the visual cortex of the viewers too?

Seriously, though, while the “visual cortex” joke worked in the TARDIS, it felt mighty forced and out of place at the dinner table.

The Review

This is an original twist on the cause of a regeneration, and there’s always fun with new blood in the role. Unfortunately, knowing that a regeneration is coming eliminates much of the suspense and tension for the story. Including Trenzalore as a part of that story is a nice way to play into that knowledge, but it’s still far less than ideal. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were impressive, both physical and digital. I’m particularly pleased by the way old Matt Smith’s balding pattern was designed to echo William Hartnell’s. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story was enjoyable and bittersweet. The final farewell is something I’m still torn over. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it, given that the level of hallucination, though a nice touch from a fan’s perspective, does draw the Doctor’s sanity into question. It’s a fitting tribute, pulling his entire tenure together for the farewell, but in this case, some of those tributes seem to have overpowered the story of this episode. It feels as though Matt Smith was given the chance to write a checklist of things he wanted here (e.g. drunken giraffe) and the story was altered to suit them. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is excellent from our two leads. Our guest star isn’t too bad, and Capaldi entertains for the limited time required of him. I’m looking forward to his first opportunity to show us what he can really do. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is rock solid. This is one area that rarely falters in recent years of this series. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response had some remarkably powerful moments, such as the entire speech referenced in the high point, as well as what came later. Others fell flat due to lack of suspense because of the press surrounding it. I almost wish I hadn’t been following the series “live,” so I could have seen this in a binge view in Netflix years later with no idea about what was coming. The press and public news just completely undermined what should have been a great sendoff. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a good episode, but doesn’t live up to what I expected coming in. I’d say nothing could, but it immediately follows The Day of the Doctor and even echoes the title of that, but it just isn’t at that level. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor receives 33 out of 42.

16 replies on “Doctor Who Review – “The Time of the Doctor””

  1. Jethro says:

    I liked it.

    I was actually fairly impressed by Old Matt Smith. Not semi-old, that was the usual not totally believable, but the really old, that looked phenomenal.

    The visual cortex joke, well, you had to have seen that one coming a mile away.

    I’m going to miss Matt Smith. We all had our doubts bout him when he was announced for the role, and did a fantastic job for many years.

  2. JD DeLuzio says:

    I thought the ep missed a lot of opportunities. The recent record ratings and publicity for the 50th might have drawn new viewers, but this ep would have been incomprehensible to them (trust me– I saw it with some new potential viewers). Interesting opportunities with the storytelling got handled by narration and montage because so much was squeezed into the time allowed. And the ending was a deus ex asspull.

    However, they did find a way around the regeneration limit.

    • Jethro says:

      I disagree about the missed opportunity. This is the Series 7, it’s Matt Smith’s last show, we’re coming off Day of the Doctor, if they did a simple unrelated episode, that’s when people would complain. Heck, I’d complain.

      • JD DeLuzio says:

        I have no problem with tying it into Day of the Doctor. I just wish it had been more smoothly written and less cluttered with unexplained references. Lots of transition episodes have run comparatively smoothly, and many “event” episodes have held together better.

        • Kiersten says:

          It really did seem like a lot of stuff may (hopefully) have been cut out.
          :(

          Maybe there will be an extended version? More “deleted scenes”?

  3. J_W_W says:

    This episode got so close to what I wanted to happen. They just have to bite the bullet and restore Gallifrey to our universe.

    I do like how they finally put more ties around the crack in the universe and the silence with this episode.


    Also its ironic that the organization that imprisioned River for killing the best man she knew was also the one responsible for using her to do that.

    Now we just need to know what happened after the end of the “Name of the Doctor”. They introduced the War Doctor and faded to black. How the hell did they get out of the time stream?

  4. Kiersten says:

    I LOVED HANDLES!
    Don’t DIE HANDLES!!!
    Like K-9, maybe they can bring him back????

  5. I realized that out of two set of lines from Peter Capaldi, I’ve loved one in both. “No sir, all thirteen!” and “Kidneys! I’ve got new kidneys! I don’t like the color.”

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