Why I Don’t Want a Multi-Doctor Special


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.

  • http://twitter.com/imarielle Arielle

    I love the idea of bringing back past incarnations of the Doctor for the special. It’s a throwback to Classic!Who and I always thought it was a nice way to celebrate the 50th. However, when I first heard of Moffat’s plan to bring back all 11 incarnations, I started to worry! I loved Moffat’s stand alone episodes back in the RTD era of Who, but ever since he took over as head writer, I’ve lost faith in his ability to carry out arcs. Like you said, we’ve gotten almost no resolution to any of his arcs, which was something that just didn’t happen with RTD! I think Moffat is trying to bite off more than he can chew and it is going to end up killing this special! I was excited for the possibility of David Tennant, Peter Davison, and maybe even Chris Eccelson returning for a cameo in the special. I love the mini-episode Time Crash were we got to see Ten interact with Five. I found it clever and well written. Now with Moffat’s plans, I just feel like we’re going to be disappointed. I hope I’m wrong, but over the past few years, Moffat hasn’t really done anything but disappoint me!

  • allieoop95

    What if the Special is this crazy whimsical event of mayhem and fun and all of that, never explaining it, and it ends with 11 waking up (does the Doctor sleep?) and it was all a dream/nightmare.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatllShowEm Emily

    What if instead of having all Doctor incarnations in the same space at the same time, we got a revolving door of sorts, where one person runs into the Doctor throughout the day, each time seeing the same “blue police box,” but with “a different person” walking out?

    • http://twitter.com/RavenclawHallow Tricia

      Yes, I would love instead of having all the incarnations meet each other, if they all appeared in the episode but never crossed paths.

      • http://twitter.com/ThatllShowEm Emily

        I have to admit that I did not come up with this idea on my own. I found it in fanfic. One of the best threads in the story was where Doctor 10 would recall meeting said person and spoil something that happens later. Then an earlier Doctor, say #4, would meet the same person just a bit later, and the event that #10 recalled would then happen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.etcovitch Daniel Etcovitch

      That is brilliant. That would solve problems and be awesome! -author

  • QED42

    I hope we get a few of the previous doctors showing up, obviously all of them is out of the question as three of them are dead. It is some what of a tradition to have multiple doctors so it would be nice to carry that on, it would also be nice to see a pre-reboot doctor included although I think realistically only a couple of those are practical given how much some have changed in appearance with age.

  • justasweird

    i know what you mean, im worrying the series might be losing its wow factor as a whole, and no it’s not because i’m getting older, i mean the fish in the fog idea, brilliant! but yeah like you said, the integrity of the doctors character i think is getting a bit compromised lately

  • Doug

    Maybe somehow the Doctor runs into the 10th Doctor and Rose in their alternate universe? That’s how they could explain him and Rose showing up, and then the 10th Doctor could comment on how the new Doctor isn’t a ginger, and lol’s will be had. idk.

  • M. Alana Starling

    We have had multiple Doctors before in previous specials-so that does not cause the universe to collapse. What I worry about is Moffat’s penchant for timey-wimey plots. I mean, get serious, he has a problem with that to start with. I cringe to think about the mess he could come up with having multiple Doctors and multiple TARDIS’s to play with. Think all the prop switching and bouncing around of The Big Bang to the nth power, with n=# of Doctors he’s allowed to use. That does not leave room for an actual story.

    The second worry I have may not bother some people but I see Moffat using any of the earlier characters he’s given as nothing but foils for his own. I just finished rewatching SITL and it struck me how contemptuous Moffat seemed towards the Doctor and companion. River describes her Doctor (11) as being so much greater and more impressive than the current Doctor, She describes herself as the person he will trust more than anyone ever. Donna gets dumped into a computer program. I just don’t think Moffat likes anyone’s characters but his own and is not professional enough to hide it. Any of the previous actors who come back for this special will have to deal with their characters being written as total losers to show how great Moffat’s Doctor is by comparison. At best they will not be written in character. For someone like me who respects dramatic integrity it looks to be a dreadful mess.

  • http://twitter.com/CodenameJD JD Farrell

    You know they’ve done it before, right? Multiple times. It’s even happened once in the new series, in Time Crash, so saying you don’t know anything about Old Who doesn’t explain that…