Just stopping in for a quick thought on a somewhat ignored era of Doctor Who: the Christopher Eccleston era.  I know it’s not really forgotten or anything, but it’s also never really talked about.  I recently re-watched Father’s Day and have to say, this episode absolutely blew me away all over again.  I bring this episode into discussion because the internet loves to say how emotional the show currently is, but Father’s Day does everything that a good episode of Doctor Who in the current era should do, and it does it without forcing anything on the viewer.

SPOILERS (MAINLY FOR FATHER’S DAY)

Take for instance, Rose’s dad, Pete Tyler.  He’s just a normal, though flawed, guy.  Nothing special or otherworldly about him, but at the same time there’s an instant connection, especially when you realize how the episode has to doctor-who-pete-tylerend.  This is real heavy, emotional stuff.  A father has to die for a character we have spent seven prior episodes with, met her mother, and her boyfriend.  At this point Rose is the companion everyone loves and wants to see be happy and have a good time journeying through the universe.  So when we see her save her father we think “cool, look at that, we’ll ignore the issues she’s created with time and all that because we’re going to get some touching moments.”  And so we do, and plenty of them, but it’s not just Rose who has some relatable and ultimately tragic moments.

There’s a short but fantastic scene between the Doctor and the wife and groom while they are in the church.  He gives one of his now abundant (but then new) talks about how important people are, but the thing is how intimate it is and how much it seems to please him to be able to bring comfort to two complete strangers.  It is important to remember this is the Doctor right after the Time War, and even after seemingly everything goes wrong he’s not exactly mad at Rose, almost like he knows he has no right to be mad at her, and there’s almost an unspoken understanding of why she wanted to save her father despite it potentially causing great distress to the rest of the world (also the days when a paradox meant something instead of them simply finding ways to fix themselves, which the 11th Doctor goes on about it Hide).

As I said, there are no tricks or anything forced upon the viewer.  We don’t get three random Victorian detectives (Strax, Vastra, and Jenny) with seemingly zero back story.  This episode reminds me of why Sarah Jane Smith is so well liked.  She came on and developed with the Doctor, becoming his friend and above all, being an incredibly likable person.  It doesn’t take over-the-top stories or a bombastic epic to make Doctor Who good, and often times these grand schemes seem to get in the way of good dialogue and interaction or widen the gap between these moments.  There’s something to be said about the Eccleston era.  Most of the time the episodes really focused on the friendship between the Doctor and Rose (then for some reason series 2 made her kind of dumb in love with him at times).  The arc was subtle, much like the way emotion would slowly build in episodes, and it all lead to a cool revelation.

Above all, Father’s Day and many other episodes are the same length of the episodes now (excluding two-parters, obviously) but yet somehow managed to have a natural flow and I don’t seem to recall the sonic screwdriver being a lazy way to finish nearly every episode.  I think this is an era that many fans should revisit, as it brought a show back from the dead, and brought it back in a fantastic way.  Maybe this is a time of the show we should hope for again, a clean slate, a new Doctor, endless possibilities, let’s make series 8 a great one, shall we?

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