I think I stopped being excited by new Dr Who episodes a couple of years ago. 2010 was the last season that really grabbed me, with 2011 being too much set-up with a rubbish pay-off, and 2012/13 just being a mess.
I still wanted to see the 50th anniversary episode in the cinema though, for pretty-much the same reason I do Valentine's day every year - I don't want to be the person _not_ doing it, and feeling left out*.
So it was with no little trepidation that I booked tickets for both myself and Julie, although by the time we'd queued behind a lot of excited people at the cinema, I was rather bouncing up and down...
And, overall, it was _much_ better than I feared. By no means the most amazing piece of TV ever in the history of mankind, but thoroughly entertaining, and much better than a lot of the stuff that Moffat's written.
For once there wasn't a massive Deus Ex Machina that came out of nowhere. I'd been wondering which way it was going to go with The Big Decision, but the way they solved it seemed fitting, and fitted in nicely with the various other uses of technology in the episode. They even set it up nicely with the sonic-screwdriver calculation earlier, and then distracted us by turning that into a joke. And using it as an excuse to bring in mini-cameos from all of the other Doctors was a master-stroke.
Great use of Billy Piper - I was worried she was going to be there as Rose, and I wasn't sure I could face that, but she carried out her role as the face of the WMD fantastically.
I recognised Tom Baker's voice instantly. I don't know what the first episode of Dr Who I ever saw was, but The Stones Of Blood is the first one I have any memory of, and his voice instantly transports me back to being age six. I grabbed Julie's leg, and was then very amused by the sharp intakes of breath when he came on screen. Great use of him, and some nice digs at the number of regenerations - making it clear that he's going to have _lots_ more.
I had wondered about the painting - I'd been assuming that it _was_ Gallifrey, and that was going to be a reveal at the end. But that can be picked up in a later episode, if anyone wants to.
And I love that they essentially took the "Sometimes there is no choice" line that's permeated Dr Who ever since we first heard of The Time War and what The Doctor did in it, and reversed it. He's The Doctor - he _always_ finds a way, even if sometimes it takes him 400 years to work it out.
Oh, and I think it's great that this happened at the same time as The End Of Time - the dismissive tone from the military wing of Gallifrey when talking about the plans of the Council was perfect.
Overall, a great, fun, romp that tied up some of the stuff we've seen very nicely. More like this please.
*Which isn't to say that I don't enjoy doing Valentine's with Julie each year, but it's not really any more special than the other occasions that we go out and have a nice meal with just the two of us.
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