Review: Doctor Who: The Name of the Doctor

TNOTD_Poster2The Name of the Doctor was written by Steven Moffat, directed by Saul Metzstein and stars Matt Smith as the Doctor, Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara, Alex Kingston as River Song, Richard E. Grant as Dr. Simeon, Neve McIntosh as Madame Vastra, Catrin Stewart as Jenny, and Dan Starkey as Strax.

From the BBC Website:

The Doctor has a secret he will take to his grave. And it is discovered…

I know this review has taken me a while to get out, but I have been trying to wrap my head around the mess that is The Name of the Doctor.

I didn’t know what to think when I heard the title of this episode.  I had feared that Moffat was going to do the worst thing he could possibly do and tell us the Doctor’s actual name.  Fortunately Moffat gave us the best thing he has written since The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon two parter.  Unfortunately for us that doesn’t say much.


I really enjoyed the opening bit on Gallifrey, and the video splicing of all the previous Doctors.

Unfortunately the episode quickly devolves after that into a jumble of senselessness.

One moment the Doctor and Clara have entered into the TARDIS through the secret entrance in River’s tomb stone, and the next they are standing outside the TARDIS with Dr. Simeon?  Is that bad writing, directing, or editing?  Also if the doctor died and was buried at Trenzalore, who created the false River Song tombstone and created the backdoor into TARDIS?


When you get down to it this episode doesn’t achieve much of anything other than explaining who, or what Clara is.  I understand this is essentially the first part of a two parter, and I hate to judge it on its own, but they had better come up with something really good for the 50th Anniversary to pull this off.


The Doctor was saved by his companions all the time in the classic series, and then the Doctor would in turn save the day, but since the new series started up in 2005 almost every season/series ends with the companion saving the Doctor’s life, and several of those seasons have revolved around how special the companion is and they were there specifically to save the Doctor.  I know I harp on this point quite often.


I have identified three things in current Doctor Who that have started to irritate me more and more.

  1. For some reason the Companion can no longer be a normal person, they have to be the most important person in the entire universe.  I’m sorry I thought the show was called Doctor Who, not The Time Traveler’s Companion.
  2. The Sonic Screwdriver can do anything the Doctor needs it to.  No the Sonic Screwdriver should only be able to do things you could do with sound waves.
  3. Doctor Who used to be Science Fiction, since 2005 it has been Science Fantasy.  Things in Doctor Who should make some sort of sense and not be Wibbly Wobbly, and have Magic Potions ( I’m looking at you The End of Time).

And another thing, what was with the Introducing John Hurt as the Doctor thing?  On screen and everything, after the Doctor had just said that it was him, but not the Doctor.  That has to have been the worst ending to any Doctor Who episode there has ever been.


So after the 50th Anniversary Special, could we maybe get back to real Doctor Who stories?  You know where the Doctor and his Companion/s show up, something bad is happening, the Doctor sorts it out, saves people’s lives, then moves on to the next adventure without it having anything to do with some massive story arc, or some super special companion being the center of everything?

I fully expect the 50th Anniversary Special to be full of all kinds of crazy and loaded with fan wank, I would expect nothing less of a major anniversary special.  It would be really nice if they managed to squeeze a good story into it somewhere though.


Check out our “The Name of the Doctor” photo album.

For those of you like me missing Doctor Who Confidential, here is a short behind the scenes clip from the BBC.

As a Doctor Who fan I am looking forward to the 50th Anniversary special, and I hope that Steven Moffat can do something to salvage The Name of the Doctor, but I doubt it.