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YMMV / Doctor Who TVM "The TV Movie"

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  • Awesome Music: John Debney's orchestral score; a sumptuous blend of danger, fear and tenderness, all in a whimsical ambience of awed wonder.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: A cop on a motorcycle drives into the TARDIS and comes out moments later to go god-knows-where while the Doctor and Grace look on.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: One of the problems with the film is that it included enough from the old series without properly explaining it that it wasn't going to make nearly as much sense to anyone unfamiliar with Doctor Who. Given that this was long prior to YouTube and BBC America, most Americans knew little to nothing about it, and while it tossed in all kinds of plot-points from the series it failed to give them nearly enough context. This is mentioned specifically on the movie's DVD Commentary. Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann in particular thought that the first act of the movie should have opened up with the TARDIS landing in San Francisco (sans interior shots), thus saving the whole Bigger on the Inside thing as a big surprise for the audience during the later scene where Chang Lee steps into the TARDIS. Instead, we see the large TARDIS interior right off the bat, with no context.
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  • Critical Dissonance: The movie received good reviews from critics, but was and still is very contentious among fans, given the quality of its writing and especially the "I'm half human on my mother's side" line.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Whether the movie is considered canon or not depends on which particular fan you talk to. However, almost everyone agrees that at the very least, the Doctor never said he was half-human (or if he did, then he was lying). However with the New Series clearly acknowledging the Eighth Doctor as canon, basically everyone will now say the Movie is as canon as any Doctor Who story, though the "half-human" bit is still a matter of debate (for what it's worth, Russell T. Davies intended to handwave it during the coffee shop scene in "The End of Time" as the Doctor having been a bit delirious from post-regenerative trauma, though he had to cut the reference out to avoid the possibility of Continuity Lockout).
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  • Fridge Brilliance: While the Daleks' decision to prefix an extermination with a trial is often considered uncharacteristic, Big Finish play We Are the Daleks has the Daleks put the Doctor on trial - because they want the galaxy to know they're about to off a legendary foe.
  • Ham and Cheese: Eric Roberts seemed to be doing this as the Master.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Watching Eight trying on shoes and snogging Grace in the hours prior to the climax loses some of its charm value if you've seen "Fragments" from Torchwood, because you realize that it's all happening at the same time as Alex is treacherously murdering his comrades on the Cardiff team.
    • Just watch this after seeing "The Night of the Doctor" and knowing this cheerful, sweet All-Loving Hero incarnation of The Doctor is the one who ends up enduring such an epic Trauma Conga Line that he wanted to die permanently, and has to be forced into regenerating into War.
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  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: The Doctor tells Grace that she'll do great things. In the novelization for "Death of the Doctor", Sarah Jane reveals that she's looking into new breakthroughs in surgery.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • For one moment, the Eighth Doctor looks at a mask of Nixon intently... and then the Eleventh Doctor meets him in person in "The Impossible Astronaut".
    • The Master's device he plans to use to steal the Doctor's body looks suspiciously like a Chameleon Arch.
    • Paul McGann wore a wig in the film because he had short cropped hair at the time that was deemed inappropriate for the Doctor. His successor Christopher Eccleston had the same hairstyle and didn't have to wear a wig.
    • The Master's campiness, cat eyes, and love of big leather coats and sunglasses make him an odd precursor to a certain Albert Wesker.note 
      • The reason that they are so similar is that they are both an Expy of the same character who predated both of them by at least a decade: the Terminatornote . Giving them both gold-colored cat eyes as opposed to the Terminator's red eyes is pure coincidence and hilarious in hindsight, however.
    • Sylvester McCoy felt that the film should have opened with Paul McGann as the Doctor and then have the series explain the Seventh Doctor's fate. Flash forward to 2013...
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Even fans who aren't really fond of the film watch it anyway if only for Paul McGann's performance as the Eighth Doctor.
  • Narm:
    • The Eighth Doctor realizing what the Master has in mind for him:
      The Doctor: The Master wants to take all my remaining lives... SO THAT HE WILL LIVE AND I WILL DIE! NOOOOOO!!
    • The Master frequently declared that he 'wanted the Doctor's body' or something along those lines. The bondage-gear thing he put the Doctor in doesn't help. He just had that lying around, did he?
    • The Seventh Doctor's death on the operating table. A fairly well-done, intense scene (set to Puccini, no less!) falls apart when the Doctor gives one last ridiculous squawk agonized cry. Yes, that's what we'll call it...
    • The regeneration scene. CGI-aided gurning! And the bit where the Master possesses Eric Roberts and then drools all over himself. But, seriously, that movie is fun.
    • Though that last at least also gives us a nice Shirtless Scene, which might have been the point.
    • And then we have Eric Roberts as the Master. The campy, campy Master.
    The Master: [Swanning in wearing a Time Lord robe and striking a pose] I always dreeeeeess for the occasion.
    Paul McGann: [On the DVD commentary] Oh look. Are those stairs going to light up as he steps on them?
  • So Bad, It's Good: The general consensus among the fandom, on account of its contradicting dual intentions (being both a soft reboot of the series for newcomers and a continuation meant to appeal to fans), its somewhat bizarre scriptwriting, the absolute cheesiness of the Master's performance, and glaring continuity errors.
  • Special Effects Failure: The offscreen Daleks manage to be this despite being completely unseen due to some truly awful sound design. Due to the fact that the illusion of many Daleks was created by taking a voice clip recorded at normal speed and then just speeding it up a lot to fit multiple repetitions of it into the very short scene, and the fact that they aren't even ring-modulated, they all have comically squeaky voices that sounds neither cool nor anything like Daleks.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Sylvester McCoy returns to hand over the reigns to Paul McGann, yet he barely has any lines, doesn't do anything of note, has none of his previous characteristics and dies possibly the second most undignified death of any Doctor.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: One of the more common opinions about the movie in the fandom is that, while the movie is generally cheesy and nonsensical, Paul McGann gives a charming and believable performance as the Eighth Doctor which is about the only thing worth watching in it. Sylvester McCoy also delivers a likeable and moving performance despite being in a film that, according to him, shouldn't even have had him in it. His last scene before he regenerates, as he is on the operating table trying to tell the medics he's an alien and they're killing him, shows some of his best acting, from an actor who before this was largely known for vaudeville.
  • Uncertain Audience: The creators seem to have never decided whether they were producing a jumping-on point for the general trans-Atlantic SF/"cult TV" audience, or a revival of the show for hard-core fanboys. As a result, the latter were repelled by such things as the Doctor kissing someone and being half-human and the Master being able to spit corrosive slime for no apparent reason, while the former were bemused about what this "Eye of Harmony" thing was and why the central character turned into a completely different person thirty minutes in.
  • What an Idiot!: The TARDIS arrives in San Francisco amidst a gang war.
    You'd Expect: The Doctor to check the scanners to see what it's like outside.
    Instead: He leaves the TARDIS without checking the scanners and is promptly shot. This leads to him getting hospitalised where he dies on the operating table and eventually regenerates.
    For added stupidity: This is the Seventh Doctor, the most cunning and calculating of the Doctors, who once talked down a man pointing a gun at him.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The regeneration-transfer-machine the Master straps the Doctor into looks an awful lot like a crucifix and crown of thorns. His companion is called "Grace" and the Master takes the form of a snake. The Doctor comes back from the dead barefoot, wrapped in a white robe with long hair flowing over his shoulders. His TARDIS looks like a cathedral. None of it is subtle. Word of God says the crown was not designed to be a symbol, nor was the Doctor's regeneration intended to be symbolic.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Eric Roberts as the Master (though this has to do with Executive Meddling, see the "Trivia" page).


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