The global sensation television series “Doctor Who” celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on Saturday morning, with a simultaneous television and theater premiere in over 75 countries. First aired on Nov. 23, 1963, “Doctor Who” is a British sci-fi show about an alien called “The Doctor” who travels through time and space inside his deceptively small looking vessel called the TARDIS.
The show ran from 1963 to 1989, after which it went on hiatus until 2005, when it rebooted and since then has amassed a huge fan following all around the world.
The Doctor travels around with his human companions saving worlds from alien threats with the help of the TARDIS, his trusty multi-use sonic screwdriver, and his wisdom accumulated from 1200 years of experience.
Through the 50 years on the air, the Doctor has lived and died 12 times under 12 different actors. The Timelords, the Doctors species, have a special ability that when they are about to die, they can “regenerate” their body on the cellular level. This results in a new face but the same man. It’s a handy trick that has helped keep the Doctor going for all these years.
The episode “The Day of the Doctor,” utilized regeneration and the aspect of time travel to bring together three familiar faces. Matt Smith continued his role as the Eleventh Doctor, David Tennant came back as the Tenth Doctor, and John Hurt played the mysterious “War Doctor.”
Hurt’s character is facing the hardest decision of the Doctor’s life, which involves his role in the “Time War,” between the Timelords and their long-standing enemies the Daleks. We find him in the midst of his darkest day when he runs into his aforementioned future selves.
The rest of the episode is a great adventure as these three versions of the same man face the difficulty of interacting with himself. The three actors have a great chemistry together and, as difficult as the task of playing different versions of the same man is, they pull it off extremely well.
The storyline of this episode can only be described as busy, but this is nothing new for the show. The writers try to tackle so much in the allotted time, but for the most part, they handle it very well. There is a part where the episode seems to abandon its side story just a moment before resolution, however, you barely notice it though since the main story is so much more dominant.
The anniversary features all the due fan service you’d expect from any show that made it to the fiftieth anniversary. As a fan of the show, I found myself cracking up at times, and at the suspenseful parts I was equally thrilled.
For those of you that have never seen “Doctor Who” before, this episode probably shouldn’t be the one to start with. The show isn’t one that requires watching in a specific order, but this one features so many references that you would feel overwhelmed.
That being said, if you are a long-time Whovian, I highly recommend it. If you are looking for a good introduction into the show, I would suggest either the episode “Blink” or “The Girl in the Fireplace.” Once you’re hooked, go back to the start of the 2005 reboot and enjoy the ride.
RECOMMENDED: “Day of the Doctor” is a must-watch for any die-hard Whovian.