Countdown To Doctor Who: Netflix Review: The End Of Time

Doctor Who: The End Of Time
Netflix Streaming
DVD | Blu-ray
Directed by Euros Lyn
Produced and Written by Russell T. Davies
Starring David Tennant, Matt Smith, Bernard Cribbins, John Simm, Timothy Dalton, Billie Piper, John Barrowman, Elisabeth Sladen, Lawry Lewin, Sinead Keenan
BBC Worldwide
Originally Broadcast: December 25, 2009

It’s not long too go now for the Doctor Who fans that have been waiting very patiently for the beginning of Series 7, featuring Matt Smith reprising his role as the Doctor. So, with the impending premiere about to explode with Daleks and timey-wimey stuffs, I thought it would be an appropriate selection for our Netflix Review this week to take a glance at one of the streaming features containing our favorite Time Lord: The End Of Time.

The End Of Time, fundamentally, is the bookend closing point for the Russell T. Davies and David Tennant era of the series. Matt Smith makes his first appearance at the end, with an iconic and memorable regeneration scene, but the key rationale for this adventure – an episode in two parts – is to bring many of the Davies storyline threads to a close, just before handing over to then-new producer Steven Moffat.

At the start of the adventure, the Doctor is somewhat cocky and arrogant, and even darker than usual. He has been informed of his “impending death” in a prophecy stating that “He Will Knock Four Times.” Not knowing what that means, the Doctor has been doing exactly what he has almost entire life: he has been running away from it.

However, now he can no longer ignore it. Summoned by the Ood to their planet, the Doctor is informed that his nemesis The Master (the Moriarty to his Sherlock) has been (or will be) resurrected, and that in relation to this the end of time itself is approaching. Confronting his enemy with the help and assistance of temporary elderly companion Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins), the group soon learns that it is not the Master that is threatening the end of time”¦ it is the returning Time Lords that are threatening it.

Previously kept contained by the time lock during the Last Great Time War, Lord Rassillon (Timothy Dalton) endeavors to break through using numerous means connected to the two remaining Time Lords (the Doctor and the Master) putting reality itself at risk. The Time Lords have become a bitter, almost dark evil, race, determined to do anything not only to be judged victors of the Time War, but to be elevated to a deity-like status.

The End Of Time is a fastidious highlight for David Tennant’s time on the series. His closing adventure features some of his most spirited acting; truly encompassing many facets of the Doctor’s complicated personality. From heroism to the internal dark turmoil he faces, and even to more emotional territory, it’s not hard to see why Tennant is so highly loved and appreciated by Whovians from his performance in The End Of Time. His regeneration scene is an instantaneous iconic moment, and has quickly become one of the most memorable scenes in the history of Doctor Who.

John Simm reprises his role as The Master in this concluding adventure for David Tennant. While Simm puts in an inspired effort as the villain both in this and his previous appearances, he lacks a certain element previously held by Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley during the Classic Doctor Who days. Davies understandably has attempted to bring the character forward to fit into the seams of the rejuvenated series, but it feels misplaced in many areas. Simm does well portraying the insanity of The Master, and in affording much reason for the character’s actions in Classic Doctor Who. While it’s entertaining, it does lack the heart and soul provided by the original actors.

Bernard Cribbins puts in a magnificent performance as Wilfred Mott, also bringing to a close the role of him and his family in the Doctor Who series. He is extremely spirited throughout the adventure, playing some pivotal moments that will prove to be jaw-dropping and unforgettable moments for new viewers. He also provides many humorous moments during the show, providing some fodder for the comedic relief in the form of the aliens played by Sinead Keenan and Lawry Lewin.

The special effects are top notch for Doctor Who in the closing chapter of the Tennant era. The BBC clearly put some considerable work and funding into this finale, and it still pays off to this day. Just as important is the camerawork and lighting direction, with some very crucial moments coming through strongly because of the lighting work alone.

Generally, the story writing by Russell T. Davies in The End Of Time is fairly solid, though some fans might feel a little lost on the Time War back story if they haven’t experienced the previous episodes. Despite this, I trust that new fans will still enjoy the episode, because it puts the Doctor in a position in which he does what he does best: making impossible decisions to save the universe.

The final moments before the regeneration sequence are also a nice touch, with the Doctor paying a visit to all his old friends and companions from the Davies epoch. In essence, it’s really Davies taking his chance to say cheerio to his characters, but also most importantly the fans of the series too.

The End Of Time is must-see Doctor Who material, particularly for new fans. Within, you get a taste of the Master, the Time Lords, a regeneration scene, and a nice farewell sequence showing some of the characters and monsters from the revived series. While some of the Time War backstory might be a little lost on some new fans, but it will serve as inspiration to go back and check out some of Russell T. Davies’ and David Tennant’s other episodes as well.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5


[Poster artwork by gazzatrek]

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