If my adjectives in the previous sentence aren't enough of a clue, here's my three word review:
I loved it!
Here's a breakdown:
The Three Doctors
Matt Smith and David Tennant together was perfection, as I expected it would be. Their Doctors are similar in many ways yet different too. You see the darker differences in one of my favorite quotes: "The man who regrets. The man who forgets." I like that there wasn't a whole lot of bickering. A little competition, but they obviously got on very well.
I particularly loved Ten's speech to the rabbit. And always love Eleven and a fez.
John Hurt was also wonderful. He had a lighter performance than I expected since he was set up as this horrific person that Ten and Eleven feared/hated. Instead, you got a war-weary man who hadn't yet committed the genocide for which Ten and Eleven remember him. He had a sense of humor but didn't wear it on his sleeve like Ten and Eleven.
My favorite scenes of the three Doctors together:
1. Working together to unlock the prison door that...isn't actually locked.
2. Ten and Eleven joining the War Doctor to push the big red button (or intending to)
3. The three slogans: "Geronimo! Allons-y! Oh for God's sake!"
I loved the impression that Ten and Eleven's immaturity and youthful appearances compared to prior Doctors was a result of their subconscious desire to repress the horrors of the Time War and their role in it.
I don't have much to say about Clara. She was pleasant. I like Clara, although she hasn't become memorable to met yet.
I liked having Kate Stewart there as a throwback to the Brigadier, although Osgood - the quasi-Fourth Doctor scarf wearing, asthmatic girl stole the show. I'd love to see more of her.
Moving on to my beloved Rose... I am a faithful Ten/Rose shipper. However, I thought Moffat's use of Rose as the Bad Wolf conscience was perfect. While part of me would love to see more of Rose and Ten together, having two Doctors and two companions would have overwhelmed the plot. Plus, Billie Piper struggled to get Rose's character right when she came back in Series 4. This provided a better option. I do wish we'd gotten more of a reaction from Ten when he heard Bad Wolf at the end though. Or if they could have said just one thing to each other.
*Source Anglophenia for the GIFs
I think Moffat made the right choice in re-writing the end of the Time War, in saving Gallifrey. Part of me wishes it had stayed the same, because - for whatever reason - I like the fact that the wonderful, peace-loving Doctor was also the destroyer of his own species. It's an interesting contrast. But this gives the show somewhere to go now. The Time War has been done to death over eight Series. Now the Doctor has a new mission. Also, I guessed that Moffat might do something like this.
The Zygons were a fun addition. It felt like they were added in especially for Classic Who fans, many of whom - David Tennant included - have said that they wanted to see the Zygons come back. Their costumes were remarkably similar to the 1970s monster, but I was happy that there voices weren't all whispery and hard to understand as in the Terror of the Zygons. In the end, the Zygon story line was dropped without a resolution. Arguably this is a flaw of the episode, but there was so much going on that I didn't miss it.
There were a few other plot holes. Principally about how Ten and Eleven could go back and interfere with the Time War when it's been stated multiple times that it's Time Locked. But that's what you expect with Moffat and it's pretty easy to justify it in your head.
I was lucky not to be spoiled for the two main gasp moments in the episode (As opposed to Night of the Doctor when some stupid blog announced Paul McGann's appearance in the RSS Feed Title. Irritating).
I gasped and squealed with delight when the top of Peter Capaldi's head showed up just for a second. What a treat to see the 12th Doctor (or is he the 13th?) a month early.
If you're not familiar with Peter Capaldi yet, you must watch The Thick Of It. It is probably the most profane and one of the funniest things I have ever watched. Here's my favorite Malcolm Tucker line (definitely NSFW):
And what a treat to have Tom Baker back at the very end. I have not seen a huge amount of Classic Who, but I've seen enough to recognize Tom Baker. He looks very old, but he still has that otherworldy sparkle to him. "Who knows!" A great nod to the most beloved Classic Doctor. And good of Baker to do it, since he has long been reluctant to return to Doctor Who.
I wouldn't say that I have any disappointments per se. I would have loved to see a few other people in the show: Christopher Eccleston, Jon Barrowman, Catherine Tate, Alex Kingston, the other class Doctors.
It was made pretty clear that Eccleston refused to come back. Perhaps he had a good reason; perhaps he's just a bad sport. I've heard rumors that Moffat originally wrote John Hurt's role intending Eccleston to be the War Doctor. That would've been great, although would be a little odd since it was implied that Nine had just regenerated when he met Rose.
People like Captain Jack, Donna, Wilf, and the others would have been great but they easily would have overwhelmed the show. I loved the Moffat made this a plot driven show not merely a fan tribute.
Other Doctor Who Programs
I mentioned Night of the Doctor briefly. If you haven't seen it, you must. I thought Paul McGann was so much better looking as a 50ish year old Doctor than he was as a 30 something Doctor in 1996. At least he wasn't wearing that awful wig. The plot of the show was great too. It covered an impressive amount in 7 minutes. The Last Day was decent second mini-episode, but unnecessary.
An Adventure in Space and Time
The Mark Gatiss penned movie about the creation of Doctor Who also aired this week. It is beautiful in a different way than the Fiftieth Anniversary special. It tells not only the story of Doctor Who's beginnings, but also hearkens back to a time when it was near impossible for a woman or racial minority to gain respect or position within the BBC. It also is the story of William Hartnell who starts off as a crotchety old man and blossoms into the First Doctor only to begin crumbling as his health failed. Plus, there's a little bit at the end that brought on the waterworks and has done so for almost everyone who's seen it.
Classic Doctors revolt! Since none of the Doctors save Tom Baker and Paul McGann (sort of) were in the Fiftieth Anniversary, Peter Davison wrote and directed a hilarious documentary spoof on their attempts to join the special. It stars Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy principally with a little bit of Paul McGann and quasi Tom Baker. Plus there are loads of cameos. You have Matt Smith, David Tennant, a very pregnant Georgia Tennant (she stopped going by Moffett), Steven Moffat, Russell T. Davies (hilarious), Jon Barrowman (at least he was in something), and many more. I think I laughed harder than I did during the 30 minute special than I did during the Fiftieth Anniversary episode.