I’ve had a bit of time to think about this now – and I figure I’ve worked out how The End Of Time could have been better.
First off, I would have cut out that hugely indulgent scene where The Doctor ‘appeared’ to his companions one last time. Yes, it was emotional, but what would have been the absolute best way to bring a new incarnation of The Doctor into existance?
Bring Back The Time Lords!
But they did bring back the Time Lords, I hear you cry! Yeah, but instead of having them appear as a hackneyed plot device, they should have been the star attraction and cause of the Tenth Doctor’s demise.
Instead of allowing The Master to vanquish the Time Lords with his lightning energy, Davies should have taken the battle away from Earth to and reestablish Gallifrey in another galaxy (Earth in peril? Again? Yawn…). You’d still have some war-crazed Gallifreyans back in the galaxy and numerous intricate storylines that could have come from that. You’d also have the deranged Master to either team up with The Doctor or fight against him.
At the crux of it all, The Doctor could have sustained a fatal injury in battle against one or all of these enemies, forcing a regeneration at the very end of the episode leaving us with a new Doctor in post-regeneration peril and still facing one of his greatest threats ever. I kind of like the idea that The Master would be a temporary ally and protect him just after the regeneration. The TARDIS could have been destroyed in exactly the same way, necessitating some major changes.
I certainly didn’t like the fact that after five years and so much talk about ‘last of the Time Lords’ and the tears every time The Doctor spoke of Gallifrey, that they were reduced in the end to a cheap plot device. You bring back Gallifrey, you make it serious.
Make The Danger Real
One of my biggest criticisms of the new Who series is that we all-too frequently have Earth in peril, then the danger all goes away and it’s back to normal. If there’s no real threat, there’s nothing to be really scared of. If George Lucas could blow Alderaan up for Star Wars, Davies could have blown up a remote alien planet (maybe the Oodsphere?) and have us experience that instead of an Earth-based disaster?
I mean, if you’re spearheading this great show where you can travel literally anywhere in space and time, why have every major disaster on Earth? Surely it’s easier to exterminate an entire alien species than to pretend the human race in on the brink of extinction every 12th and 13th episode?
I don’t know about the early series of Doctor Who, but why should the regeneration happen once The Doctor has defeated the enemy? Why not have a regeneration take place mid-battle? Continue the episode with a new Doctor, but his peril is real as he reels from his regeneration and still has a deadly enemy to face.
That’s just my tuppence worth. As always, I’m available to pick holes in all types of scripts and storylines. Moff, pick up that phone and give me a call, big lad.