It’s finally almost here, the Doctor Who 50th anniversary, “The Day of the Doctor.”  However, before we get there we get “The Night of the Doctor,” a prequel coming in at just under seven minutes.  Here we see Paul McGann come back as the eighth Doctor.  It’s nice to see him back, even if only for a very short amount of time.

Due to the short amount of time there will be some spoilers, so I advise watching the prequel at the bottom of the page then reading the review.

Though, it’s not all fun and games.  After pretty much being killed in the first four minutes he has to figure out how to come back.  No big deal when the Sisterhood of Karn are there to mix up a drink to allow him to

Hey, look who's back, and now without that ridiculous hair!

Hey, look who’s back, and now without that ridiculous hair!

regenerate.

This is where things get a bit tricky.  The Sisterhood seem to imply they are bringing him back from death.  He can’t regenerate, so whatever they give him may in fact grant him a new regeneration cycle.  I don’t know, that’s not very clear.  I believe it may be the case because the Doctor is told he can be a man or a woman, and while I can’t stand this whole thing about the show being sexist and all that, at least this would imply with each regeneration cycle they could change gender.  Still odd but at least it would kind of make sense, well not really, but whatever, they’ll probably eventually cave in and have a female Doctor.

So, the little episode does a good job of establishing John Hurt’s “War Doctor” (yeah, seriously, that’s the best they could come up with).  But the episode is simply too short to care about.  It’s made clear everyone knows about the Time War, but it’s never clear why they’re so against it.  Yes, as viewers we know the power and corruption that can come from time travel, but when a seemingly unimportant “red shirt” tries to convey the impact of the Time War it just comes off as severely rushed (also, when does the Time War become time locked, wasn’t that a thing at some point?).

I understand the point of this prequel and it makes sense while bringing in a nice throwback to the Sisterhood of Karn.  There’s a surprisingly dark tone, which for some reason unknown gets ruined with an overly happy tune when McGann sadly goes and turns into John Hurt (who, by the way, is shown as being a lot younger here than we’ve previously seen him).  If Hurt is a new regeneration cycle then it actually makes it interesting how the ninth Doctor still calls himself the ninth rather than the second.

This is not a bad prequel, just a rushed one, which has been the disappointingly common theme of Doctor Who since the end of series 6 and made even more prominent in the entirety of series 7.  Should you watch it?  Of course, especially if you’re a McGann fan, and in which case you’ll also want him to have more time as he has a few good lines thrown in.  However, with the ambition of the Time War and how it impacts those all over the universe, it is a shame it has been condensed into an episode shorter than a normal two part episode.  It’s clear they want this to be on a massive scale, which is awesome, but in that case they should have dedicated part two of series 7 as a giant setup for “The Day of the Doctor.”

So many questions and only a few days now until they’re hopefully all answered, I for one am excited the anniversary.

Here’s the prequel episode:

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