Sunday, January 10, 2016

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Day of The Doctor

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved. I don't mean liked. I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time. It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode. I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things. I mean give a bona-fide negative review. Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express). Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night.

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required. I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut. What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying. I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 29 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Day of The Doctor. My 'translations' are in red.

Review: Top 13 Things in THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

It's not even worth being shocked.  This isn't going to be a review of The Day of The Doctor.  This is going to be a fanboy orgasm.  The title alone says it all: "Top 13 Things in The Day of The Doctor".  He isn't going to state whether something was wrong.  He isn't go to comment about how The Day of The Doctor, if you think short and easy on it, doesn't make sense on just about any level.  He certainly isn't going to talk about how again, established Canon is pretty much thrown out the window, and not just pre-Rose Canon but NuWho Canon too.  Instead, Anderson will regale you with 13 things (one for each Doctor, no doubt imagining himself clever) that were great about it. 

It’s sometimes the most difficult to review a thing you love unconditionally.

Actually, for you it isn't, especially since you've loved every Doctor Who episode since The Power of Three, making now 12 straight episodes that have received positive reviews (and yes, your notice for Cold War, which got a "mild like" from you and which you stated you'd "definitely watch again", counts as a positive review).  I've come across many television episodes and films that I've absolutely loved, and oddly, I found it easier to review those than those I've The Day of The Doctor.

How can you quantify unmitigated adoration in anything approaching coherent speech?

I'm sure you can find a way, Kyle.  You've been doing it for at least two series/seasons now.  Also, your speech in terms of your 'reviews' have never approached coherence. 

I mused on Twitter following the airing of “The Day of the Doctor,” the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who,

the "50th" anniversary special of Doctor Who...

that my review here on would be little more than “AAAAAAAAAAA!!!”

Well, in fairness, I know many Doctor Who fans had the exact same reaction, except that phrase was expressing fury and outrage.  Don't think that was your meaning.

and in the time since I tweeted up to now, I really haven’t found anything more articulate or profound than that.

My theory as to that?  You are neither articulate or profound. 

After going through each and every story in the Companion’s Companion over the last few months, I worried that my love of the show and the wonders it possesses would lessen as I was forced to think about it critically over and over.

Are we back to that "I'm an analytical critic" garbage again?  Seriously Kyle, do you HONESTLY believe you are anywhere near an 'analytical" anything? Lest you forget, from your own words...

On A Good Man Goes to War: ""“A Good Man Goes to War,” the mid-series finale of Doctor Who, was full of action and cool new characters, but there wasn’t, strictly speaking, a “plot.” Yet this isn’t necessarily a bad thing".  You, analytical critic who prides himself on separating his unabashed fandom from his cold eye, just said that the lack of a plot was not necessarily a bad thing.  I can't imagine critics like Roger Ebert or even Richard Roeper saying that a film not having a plot was not necessarily a bad thing.

On Doctor Who's Seventh Series/Season: "It really only had a few missteps for me, but I almost don't care at this point".  Despite your own tacit acknowledgment that it had a few missteps, you state you don't care about them.  Oh, Kyle, what are we going to do with you?    

I also worried that the special would let me down in some way, like I’d built it up too much in my head for it to be anything more than a bit of a disappointment. What a dumb dummy I was.

As I had worked on this off-and-on, it looks like YouTube is being prickly by not letting me put in the original Vincent Price Laugh.  I hope this will work as a substitute. 

So, instead of merely gushing for a few paragraphs, I’ve decided to tell you my 13 (yes, thirteen) favorite things about “The Day of the Doctor,” and also the one (only one) thing I was mildly disappointed by.

What would that one (only one) thing that Anderson was mildly disappointed by be?
A lack of logic?
A lack of plot? (We already know the answer to that one)?
The total destruction of established Canon and what little continuity Doctor Who had up till now? 

1. All three of the main Doctors got ample screentime/quips/moments
With something like this, it’s going to be very difficult to give every character his due, especially when one is the current star, one is the very beloved former star,

The only Doctor most of your target audience are aware of...

and one is a brand new version played by a screen legend.

Broken Clock: John Hurt IS a Legend.

Steven Moffat was able to give them all the proper due and none were left out. It’s the story of THE Doctor, not just the Eleventh, Tenth, or War one.

2. It made sense for Billie Piper to be there


Something that could have been really weird is having the character of Rose Tyler actually in the proceedings. She’s already gotten three quite-good sendoffs from the show, so having her back would have messed that up a bit, and would have meant either a) it would be she and the Tenth Doctor from Series 2, or b) it would have meant she’d somehow been brought back between “Journey’s End” and “The End of Time,” which also wouldn’t have worked. She got to be the Doctor’s conscience, which is what Rose always was, but in a way that didn’t bother with screwing up her storyline. Genius.

Yes, I suppose it made sense in having the character of Rose Tyler be there, even if the Ninth/"War" Doctor would have no idea who she was.  It made sense because she is the First Companion the target audience of this Eight Anniversary Special would know. 

They could have cast this person to be the Doctor's conscience.  Then again, if you have to ask "Who is this old broad?", you simply have no reason to call yourself a Doctor Who fan.   
3. It rewrote and changed games without lessening the past


It’s integral to the Ninth and Tenth Doctor’s tenures that they believe they destroyed their own people to end the war. The battle-scarred nature of their journeys depends on them having done this horrible thing. In this, we’re able to get a hopeful resolution to the Time War without taking away the sacrifices and choices made because he thought he’d done something dreadful.

We really can't fix what Russell T Davies gave us, so we are going to essentially do a reboot within a mere eight years after the series' debut.  Now, they will have convenient memory lapses about Gallifrey while we all keep pretending that everything makes sense.  Never mind that having this twist really does rob us not just of continuity but also of the pathos that the Ninth/Tenth, Tenth/Eleventh, and Eleventh/Twelfth Doctors went through.  So long as we get to reset everything, it's all cool.   
4. Matt Smith, David Tennant, and John Hurt TOGETHER

In all of the multi-Doctor stories (just three of them)

The Three Doctors for the Tenth Anniversary
The Five Doctors for the Twentieth Anniversary
The Two Doctors...for the heck of it.

that came prior to this, the best relationship/banter had been between the Second and Third Doctors. Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee had a great adversarial snap and were always taking the piss out of each other. Here, Tennant and Smith do a bit of that, but are also seen to get along really well at times and are like the best cop-movie duo in history.

No, they don't.  There is no real adversarial snap between Tennant and Smith, more like a pissing contest than anything else.  For the most part, they are quite cooperative of each other, which takes away from the whole point of having two different Doctors facing each other.  It does show that for all intents and purposes, Tennant and Smith were pretty much cut from the same cloth.     

John Hurt is both the younger man and the older man in this instance, and the disapproving glare with a twinkle in his eye as his “mid-life crises” do their dashing thing is especially grin-inducing.

Sorry, misread that.  I thought Anderson said 'groan-inducing', which would have been closer to the truth.

It’s like he is us for a little bit as he makes fun of the way they point their screwdrivers at things (“What are you going to do, assemble a cabinet at them?”) and wear “sandshoes” and “dickey bows.”

In other words, even the Ninth/"War" Doctor cannot take them seriously, and neither can we. 
5. Clara rocked!

Clara is my favorite companion of the new series hands down and it’s for things like what happened in this special.

Clara is the Companion that has given me the most wet dreams hands down (eventually), and it's not for the fact that she isn't all that important to the goings-on.

I figured she wouldn’t have too much to do with the three titans around, but she is in many ways the reason they’re able to be better in the end than burning all the 2.75 billion children of Gallifrey.

Clara cried, and reset a time-locked event by the power of her weeping. 

And really, 2.75 BILLION children on Gallifrey?   
6. The Queen Elizabeth I stuff
This special tied up the loose end of Queen Elizabeth I knowing the Doctor (in “The Shakespeare Code”) and hating him before he knows he’s done anything. You’d be pissed off, too, if your husband ran off for a couple of decades.

Oh, I'm sure the future Mrs. Anderson would find that a pretty sweet deal. 

Joanna Page got a bit of the short shrift as more of a plot character than a thematic one, but she really did a great job as both the real QEI and the Zygon version.

Joanna Page was horrible as the hammy, screeching Virgin Queen, and after seeing her in this, it's clear why she remained a Virgin Queen.
7. Speaking of, the Zygons!

It was so lovely to see these beloved one-off villains (from 1975’s “Terror of the Zygons”) return and not be merely a cameo.

It just isn't the same, is it?

They, not the Daleks, are the bad guys of the special, and they’re just as creepy and effective as they were back then. Fans had wanted their return since they appeared, and here we have them in all their gooey, suction-cuppy glory. Also funny, the Tenth Doctor could never figure out who or what was a Zygon.

In fairness, neither could the writer, but we can't have it all, can we?
8. UNIT!

I love the UNIT years anyway, and I thought having Jemma Redgrave brought in as the Brigadier’s daughter in “The Power of Three” was a wonderful touch.

Yes, so she can remind us over and over whose daughter she is.

I hope UNIT returns many times, seeing as the Doctor now has a desk. The character of Osgood, clearly a Doctor Who fan, was also a welcome addition.

The character of Osgood, clearly a parody of Doctor Who fans, was pure fan service.

Love for her to come back too.

Oh, I'm sure it will. IT will.
9. The throwback opening titles
What better way to celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who than by starting the episode with the original main theme and titles?

Like any of the NuWho fans have ever bothered to watch anything from An Unearthly Child to Survival.

And fading to reveal the policeman walking by Coal Hill School,

which again, would be lost on just about everyone in their bow ties and fezzes...

seeing that Ian Chesterton is the headmaster of the school, and knowing that Clara is now a teacher there, are all frigging wonderful.

Of course, despite the fact that William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton, is still alive, the "50th" Anniversary Special couldn't bother to bring him into it.  Of course, the fact that the First Companion and the Last Companion work together has never entered the Doctor's mind.  He's never bothered to visit or look in on Mr. Chesterton, let alone ask whatever happened to Miss Wright. 
10. It took the piss out of itself
Doctor Who is the best show ever,

Yes, Kyle.  Doctor Who is the BEST SHOW EVER.

Doctor Who is the best show ever,

Yes, Kyle.  Doctor Who is the BEST SHOW EVER.

Doctor Who is the best show ever,

Yes, Kyle.  Doctor Who is the BEST SHOW EVER.

but it also does a LOT of silly things.

Contradict itself?
Tell us, oh analytical critic, what 'silly things' does the 'best show ever' do?

All of Moffat’s sly jabs at the goofier parts of the show, and especially of the new series, were brilliant. The jokes about kissing, the aforementioned sonic screwdriver joke, the whole thing where the Doctors overthink how to break out of the cell in the Tower without actually trying the door first, and “chinny” and “skinny” were all terrific.

11. It somewhat redeemed the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration
As I’ve said a billion times, I really hated the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration because I felt like it made him seem weak and unheroic, and sort of not giving Smith and Moffat a proper welcome with his tearful line of “I don’t want to go.”

Broken Clock: The End of Time was wimpy and weepy, but it did fit into the overall Tennant tenure.

This was, of course, more RTD’s doing than Tennant's,

I will never blame Steven Moffat for anything, because I'm his lapdog.  Kyle Anderson goes beyond plain ass-kissing into straight-up rimming of "The Moff". 

and here, as the Tenth Doctor leaves, we have two wonderful moments that take a bit of it back. One, he says “It’s good to see my future’s in safe hands,”

Odd that Kyle, resident Whovian at The Nerdist, didn't mention that this line either comes or is similar to what the First Doctor said to the others at the end of The Five Doctors. 

and two, when he says “I don’t want to go” again and the Eleventh Doctor says, “He always says that.”

Even Tennant didn't want to go...there.

Just lovely, and finally the passing of the torch (albeit at the end) that should have happened on New Year’s Day 2010.
12. Tom Baker as The Curator!
It seemed a shame that none of the older Doctors could really be in the special because, well, they all look way too old.

Screw you, Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy!  You're all fat, old, lumpy,  and ugly.

Moffat recognized that the history of the show was important,

so including Tom Baker, the oldest living Doctor, and putting forth the idea that he could be a future retired incarnation of the Doctor who’s going through his old faces again is both intriguing and fun.

Of course, we could ask how this 'retired Doctor' plays into overall Canon, but why bother. 

He wasn’t in the hat and scarf, but it was still Tom Baker and it was still the Doctor. He and Smith play off each other really nicely in that scene and it brought an extra level of class.
13. The Thirteen Doctors!
Yes, it was fan service, but when every single incarnation of the Doctor appeared at the end to put Gallifrey into a painting, I got giddy, and when Peter Capaldi’s eyes appeared for that brief moment, signifying the future, I might have clapped loudly.

I bet we'll never have the Thirteenth/Fourteenth Doctor pop up in this by the time his tenure is over, and it skips over that whole "Valeyard" thing, right?  I think.

In fact, I did. Such a gorgeous way to celebrate 50 years, and hopefully 50 more.

Now, the one thing I was a bit disappointed by was that John Hurt regenerated, but we didn’t see him turn into Christopher Eccleston. I understand he didn’t want to do it and that he’d met with Moffat but decided against it, but, after “The Night of the Doctor,” I had a glimmer of hope that maybe they’d have kept that secret incredibly secret. We knew what was happening, but I’d have really loved even a two second shot of the Ninth Doctor post regeneration.
That’s my only nitpick. Steven Moffat, director Nick Hurran, and all the cast and crew delivered on every possible level,

and made me want to watch it 50 more times between now and Christmas. In short, after months of build-up and thinking and wishing and hoping,

I still love Doctor Who, and if possible, more than ever.
WHO WROTE THIS SHIT?  This doesn't sound like a serious review.  It sound like Kyle Anderson just took dictation from Moffat's ass and wrote down Moffat's own views on Moffat.  Kyle will always love Doctor long as they keep paying his bills and he can get Cons out of this.


  1. I always enjoy your bitter and unrestrained humour, but I will defend to the grave and beyond that Doctor Who is the greatest show in the galaxy! Better than the three shows to which you alluded, and better than anything else. (Although I think that Big Finish is doing an even better job at it than Cardiff these days.)

    1. I shall always be a Doctor Who fan (at least from An Unearthly Child to Survival). While DW is (or was) a great show, I think that in terms of actual historic importance and standard-setting, there might be a few slightly better.


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