The Last Great Time War is possibly one of the biggest parts of mythology in Doctor Who. It’s what got a new generation of fans gripped to the show after the 16-year hiatus (excluding the TV Movie); including making it new and fresh for this new era of the show. The Doctor was now a new man after these events that will be scarred on his hearts forever. But is the Time War as epic as it used to be?
We first got introduced to the Time War in the first episode of the new series Rose as the Doctor tries to justify himself to the Nestene Consciousness. The series opener felt like it was introducing the Doctor all over again just like An Unearthly Child. Instead of showing this strange, wandering scientist; it showed us this mysterious wounded soldier who was the last of his kind. New fans were immersed in this new mysterious figure; older fans were intrigued into what happened to this much loved character after all this time.
The Time War gave something new to the show. The show achieved a darker and more mature element and expanded its mythology further; giving more mystery back into the show which it continuously strives to achieve. The Time War is one of the main reasons I fell in love with the show. The mystery behind it made my imagination run wild growing up and always made me imagine what it was like. As the morbid person I am, I always imagined the Time War being too brutal to comprehend and always got excited when parts were revealed throughout various episodes. Personally what intrigued me most about it was what extremes the Doctor would go. I was always curious how this heroic figure would become his opposite and go as to far to even kill his entire species. This was the key to bring Doctor Who to the 21st century.
During Russell T Davies reign only small hints were given about the Time War instead of giving us anything visual (except parts of The End of Time). The Jaws of the Nightmare Child, The Skaro Degradations, The Horde of Travesties, the Could’ve Been King and his army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres are few examples of the horrors of the Time War. Although we don’t know exactly these things are, it has so much more impact to imagine it. The War was so bad it even caused the Master himself to flee and turn himself human and even drove Time Lords to insanity. The Time War was at its best when left to our imagination.
Now here’s the problem with the Time War: we know too much. After the years have gone on its mystery has slowly been chiselled away leaving us increasingly disappointed. One of the main reasons the Time War lost its spark is expanding it into Big Finish. Seeing as Big Finish is practically canon now (or at least the 8th Doctor stories are) I really felt Big Finish didn’t do the Time War justice. Recently Big Finish have released a new series of Time War audios with its first being Only the Monstrous released December 2015. I don’t mean this series is terrible, by no means at all. The writing is brilliant as you would expect from Big Finish even making it superior to the televised show. What really doesn’t do the Time War series justice is the Time War itself…
No matter if you see it on screen, comics, books, audios; no form of media will do this brutal event in Time lord history justice. When we heard the Doctor talk emotionally about the Time War you believed him and really felt his tormented after the war. When listening to audio, I really wasn’t convinced that this is what made the Time Lords power thirsty Gods or for the Doctor to be emotionally destroyed by this war. We can’t deny we’ve craved to learn a lot more about the Time War and to see it in the show or on audio; yet anything we receive will make us disappointed. Personally I think we should draw a line with the Time War as it is so much better in our heads.
Another problem with the Time War is Paul McGann wasn’t featured. We’ve only seen the 8th Doctor in the TV Movie and The Night of the Doctor so fans are deprived from seeing this Doctor on screens and can only enjoy him on audio thanks to Big Finish. As Christopher Eccleston declined the 50th Anniversary we got the War Doctor in the form of John Hurt. Without a doubt John Hurt is dream casting as he is a film and television icon. However, we had the chance to increase McGann’s screen time on TV and see an already loved Doctor interact with the 10th and 11th Doctors. You could argue that a much grumpier Doctor would create a great contrast for the two excitable young doctors yet it feels like a missed opportunity. Additionally, the 8th Doctor’s development would suit perfectly for the Time War as his increasing darker development of his Doctor in Big Finish would be great to finalise his Doctor at the end of the Time War.
To conclude, I guess we know too much about the Time War. When more is revealed about the show the more I feel my perception of the Time War is getting less genuine. In the expanded universe anything is canon if you choose it to be. Yet again, there are still more Time War box sets to come to Big Finish which may prove me wrong. Do you think the Time War should be explored further or should it be left to the imagination? Leave your comments below or tweet us at @GallifreyRchive.