Doctor Who 7.x – The Night of the Doctor

As much as I try to avoid spoilers, the BBC does their wretched best to promote certain surprises. The seven-minute mini-episode “The Night of the Doctor” was one of the few times they completely blindsided me. Wherever I got the notification from, it didn’t say a word about Paul McGann being in it. I took a little break at work, found a quiet place, hit play, saw McGann make his incredibly overdue appearance, stopped, went back to my desk, stopped looking at anything online, and saved the rest until I got home.

“The Night of the Doctor” just solidifies everything I’ve believed about McGann for twenty-five years. The man was robbed. It does not make any sense at all to me that the BBC haven’t been giving us annual Eighth Doctor movies – at the very least just one blasted movie to break up these eons between series – helmed by a different production team, who might can handle the demand of a hundred lousy minutes, since 2013. Since 2005. Since 1996. He’s just great, and deserves better.

Joining McGann and carrying about half the lines, it’s Clare Higgins as the new leader of the Sisterhood of Karn, the red-robed mountain witches of the 1970s, about whom I had cause to remind our son about a month ago. I did my usual fun job of hiding the surprise from him, and got an appreciative nod and wide eyes when the Eighth Doctor appears. At the end, McGann’s Doctor regenerates into an old photograph of John Hurt. I did let him know that we’ll learn more about Hurt’s character later this week, but I said no more. Probably need to find a reason to mention the Zygons again between now and then, though…

Bizarrely, this was the second time today that we enjoyed a surprise reappearance of an old character in a show. Earlier, I successfully hid the fact that in this afternoon’s episode of Return of Ultraman, the previous show’s hero, Ultraseven, makes a cameo appearance. It scarcely qualifies as a crossover – despite the title of the installment being “Ultraseven Arrives!” – because he’s onscreen for about thirty seconds, just long enough to give Ultraman Jack a new weapon. This being a gift from Ultraseven, of course it decapitates the enemy space monster. Wouldn’t be Ultraseven without that finishing move.

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