But enough about the Gavin and Stacey series finale, let's talk about the Doctor Who series ender...
I'm just going to talk about things I loved and did not like in a wandering sort of way.
I was working today, until about 7.30, which is half an hour past deadline but, eh, sameoldsameold. I did weaken for one moment and click on BBC1 on the TV system we have on our macs, but fortunately I only saw Rassilon having a spit, which was in the trailer.
Then there was the long wait until the DVD recorder had finished recording the Confidential and Gavin & Stacey – which was oddly gorgeous after an uneven but funny series -- and I sat down *dreading* what was to come.
Really there was nothing to dread. It was so much better than the canon wrecking ball I was expecting, though it was far less than the sum of its parts, as nothing was quite explained and nothing *quite* fit together properly.
It was peculiar that the return of Gallifrey was basically 15 minutes of Rassilon and the Master shouting, significant eyedarts and mysterious glances before they all buggered off back to wherever.
I liked that the Doctor locked up his own people at the end of the Time War because Rassilon was leading them into genocide, because they turned bad themselves. It makes sense of Ten's frequent excursions into megalomania and wibbling and lifts some of the guilt from Eleven. The notion that Rassilon has made the Master who he is I am okay with, as long as it's not the entire explanation. I don't want it to be that simplistic, as though any child picked by Rassilon could have ended up being the Master.
I even liked that it turned out to be Rassilon. The backstory in my head for that is fantastic and I hope we never get any canon confirmation of how it happened. As for the woman who appeared to Wilf, I think it's tremendous that they never said who it was. So far, in my head!canon, it has been Romana, Donna a long time in her future or Ace, become part of Gallifrey as part of her education.
I loved that "he will knock four times" turned out to be such a small, knifing thing, though when Ten started yelling about Wilf being "not remotely important" and him being so fabulous and having so much to do, I did actually yell at the TV "OH STOP WHINING!" and then felt better. And I wish, so much, that Ten's last words had been "Now I'm ready", so that after all that railing he could go into a new phase at peace with himself.
RTD wrapped up the storylines of his characters in such a way that any one of them can be drawn back into the series except perhaps Rose. Her story is done anyway. I didn't particularly like that they paired up Mickey and Martha, though the pair of them looked *awesome* and were doing great things and I am so glad they were there. But pairing up people just because they are spare, with the potential subtext that it's happened because they are the two characters of colour? Oh, and also, dear.
I didn't particularly like that RTD suggested that Donna's problems would be solved by "settling" for Shaun even though he seemed like a nice fellow, what little we saw of him. I didn't like that he suggested that money makes you happy. It doesn't, though lack of money certainly makes you miserable.
I also think it's a crying shame that when Tennant and Tate have such chemistry they didn't have any scenes together, which is RTD writing himself into a corner again, I assume. For as wonderful as Cribbins was, I wish that they'd had more scenes with the three of them.
I loved Sarah's goodbye. The look they exchanged was gorgeous, as was the small moment with Verity Newman. A lovely grace note. And aside from the bloody Star Wars cantina aspect, I actually loved that they didn't deny Jack's mourning, just suggested that Alonso was a step on the way to him hauling himself out of the pit of grief again. (or perhaps I am projecting)
And David, oh David, I am going to miss you, you big old fanboy. You couldn't have done better by your childhood love. And I know you will have noted that in three years it's the fiftieth anniversary, and the production team have been known to do splendid things on fiftieth anniversaries. Go be magnificent, but come back if you can.
The less tl;dr version, bullet points:
• I wasn't particularly impressed but I quite liked it; perhaps because I had such low expectations. I thought it missed its opportunities but at least it didn't dynamite any of the canon I care about.
• I didn't cry. Except maybe there was something in my eye when they did the montage to Never Forget in the Confidential
• I still love Tennant as an actor, and I often loved the way he played the Tenth Doctor (the odd moment of scenery-chewing aside) but not always the things he was asked to play.
• I still think RTD is the writerly equivalent of a great actor miscast, and with a bit of luck I might one day write a coherent post explaining why. But I thank him for resurrecting a series I have loved since I was just a little over seven years old (I just checked the first episode I remember watching, and yes, I was just a bit past my seventh birthday) I wish him luck in his future endeavours. Arrivederci.
• It did not necessarily further joss any of the things I have in various states of non-completion on my HD, 100,300 words. eeep. unlike Torchwood: Children of Earth. In fact it BEGS for the audience to fill in stories around the edges, explain WTF that was, or slide off into slightly AU-land.
• I like Eleven already, which I did not think was possible with so little screentime. He's promisingly weird, and I liked the new trailer. Moff is on notice over the startlingly short skirts of the companion and there had better be little obvious leching but otherwise -- new series this Spring, and I cannot wait.
What with the fantastic ending to Death in Blackpool, it's been a good old, sad old month.