Doctor Who #778: Time Crash

"Brave choice, celery. But fair play to you, not a lot of men can carry off a decorative vegetable."
TECHNICAL SPECS: Available as a special feature on the Series 4 DVD set. First aired Nov.16 2007 during the Children in Need telethon.

IN THIS ONE... The Tenth Doctor meets the Fifth in a short 8-minute episode.

A real treat for the fans, Time Crash, brief though it is, manages to elicit both laughs and tears from the reviewer, and I think works as well for new and classic fans alike. For the new fans who don't know anything about Peter Davison's former Doctor, there's Ten's mocking humor and timey-wimey plot convolutions. For classic fans, there's seeing Davison again, of course, and getting all the references, including a musical cue right out of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop when Five takes over, I just now noticed. And what works for both groups is the love letter to one's Doctor. It's definitely a piece of television that KNOWS it's television - something Moffat can be quite good at - so the Doctor as his own fan is metatextual to say the least. Is it the Doctor saying this? Moffat? Tennant himself? (Seeing as Davison would become his father-in-law, there's an added layer to the scene today that didn't exist back then.) Regardless, when the Doctor becomes a fan, he becomes us, and his sentiments, though specific to Doc5, can be applied to whichever Doctor is yours, up to and including Ten himself.

Obviously, which Doctor was willing and available played a role in the final result, but Ten and Five are perfectly matched for maximum comedy. Ten is a motormouth who, of course, gets on Five's nerves, his reputation as the exasperated Doctor well used. And yet they also have similarities, which Ten touches on, a play on how later actors are expected to craft the character from elements of past Doctors. I just can't see this scene working as well with Tom Baker (just sit down, Tennant, and wait it out), can you? According to the Doctor's own opinion of himself, Five is the first "adult" Doctor, more energetic than grumpy, a Doctor out of gloomy adolescence. That's as maybe. Five was really very grumpy, "his" Doctor obviously being Hartnell. By Ten's logic, McCoy was the first adult Doctor, which makes sense both in terms of numbers and performance.

Between the in-character exploration of the show's tropes and the really very sweet ending, what we have here is a companion piece to the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor. Not only do multiple Doctors team up, but they solve problems using timey-wimey memory. Both stories have Doctors comparing cosmetic spectacles as well. They're related to each other. Puzzle maker and puzzle solver, Moffat also uses this interlude to explain why RTD's naughty cliffhanger could happen (though clearly, the fifth Doctor's intervention changed history and the Titanic's design), AND solves the issue of why Doctors look older when met out of sequence - it's that darned time differential shorting out. Lovely stuff, I could watch these two crash into each other several times in a row. And in fact, I did. Amusingly, in the comments section, I refuse to ever do daily Who reviews. Well.

SECOND OPINIONS: My short original review, Your Were My Doctor, had me gushing as well.

REWATCHABILITY: High - A wonderful expression of fandom, both amusing and touching.


Madeley said...

Oh hey, it was me in the comments of the original who asked you whether you'd be doing daily Who!

SEVEN years ago!

A ha ha ha haaaaaarrrrgh

Siskoid said...

We were so young...

Jayunderscorezero said...

I love this minisode.

I'm not the biggest Who fan but I think being a comics fan definitely gives me an appreciation for the 'and here's several huge nods to things this same franchise was doing *several decades* ago, and how they've influenced what we're doing now' that a lot of TV shows don't get to go to. Well, apart from Star Trek.

Siskoid said...

The same feels as Trials and Tribble-ations, you might say.

Jayunderscorezero said...


-Peder said...

I'm trying to figure out which other Doctor would pair well with Tom Baker. I want to say Christopher Eccleston but I'm not sure I can defend that. They'd be wildly frustrated with each other, I'm sure, but I think it would be entertaining.
Of course, as I'm writing this, I remember that I literally teared up during Day of the Doctor, but that little bit wasn't as much of a complete story as Time Crash...

Siskoid said...

If I could only pair each Doctor up once, and 10 and 5 already have...

2 and 11: So similar they'd be stealing each other's when I say run, run and be all resentful.

8 and 9: Probably end up kissing each other.

1 and 3: OPEN WAR!!!

7 and War Doc: SECRET WAR!!!

4 and 6: Pomposity overload.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Great coverage!!

4 and 9 would be the war of the egos.

If you want 5 & 7, read "Cold Fusion"!

The Irredeemable Shag

Anonymous said...

I don't care which afterlife deities I have to transgress, I WILL see 1 vs. 3.

"So now the dandy takes refuge in the physical, the province of the weak of mind."

"Yes, well, there are some problems that can't be solved with a sneer and an insufferable attitude!"

Siskoid said...

Shag, 4 and 9 would be the one where neither actor shows up and we're treated to repurposed clips.

The Irredeemable Shag said...



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine