The whole of the fandom, and really the entire Internet, is abuzz with rumors of multiple regenerations of the Doctor uniting to save the universe, destroy it, go shopping for hats and scarves, visit museums or whatever it is Doctors do. Eccleston is apparently reconsidering his previous refusal to reappear while Moffat is apparently close to finished writing a script with all the regenerations. While all the fanboys and fangirls flail about, it all makes me very nervous. That’s apparently the fan dream for the milestone 50th anniversary.
I’m a Doctor Who fanboy. I freak out, geek out and even flail once in a while. But I also worry. The more convoluted the plot of an episode or the arc of a season gets, the more I worry. We’ve seen how hard it can be to tie loose ends. Remember how the Silence story arc ended? No you don’t, and not because you looked away from the Silence, but because the arc was never resolved. How about the exploding TARDIS? Why did that happen? Good question, maybe we’ll find out one day.
Throwing multiple iterations of the Doctor into one episode is asking for a timey wimey version of a Jackson Pollock piece. Rose just trying to meet her father caused gargoyle monsters to create a hellish alternate universe, and we want 11 versions of the same madman to hang out and have a jolly old time?
I know what you’re thinking. It can be an episode all about how them meeting up makes time go all wibbly wobbly. We can explore the complexities of time travel! Regardless of that having already been done multiple times on the show, that’s just an insult to the Doctor’s intelligence. If meeting his predecessors would throw the universe into a temporal wok to be thrown around and cooked, he wouldn’t get himself into that situation in the first place. And there’s no “he couldn’t avoid it” argument here, because it would have happened to a previous version of him and he would see it coming.
The point really is that to justify bringing multiple Doctors together, the plot of the episode would have to be overly complicated and temporally convoluted. The writers would either have to take half the episode to explain the premise, or just avoid explaining it altogether and ask us to feign ignorance or suspend our disbelief. We’re fans of one of the most thought-provoking shows on television, I don’t know how well I can do ignorance.
I see the sex appeal. David Tennant is a handsome man. I see the geek appeal. It’s a fanboy’s dream. But, even with all that, it’s still missing integrity, consistency and merit.
If the Doctor Who writers can do it convincingly, I’ll be impressed. Until that day, I’ll remain skeptical.