Day of the Doctor (50th Anniversary Special, 2013):
And at last, we've come to what may well be the crowning achievement of the Smith era of Doctor Who, an adventure uniting three Doctors (and eventually, 13 Doctors) as they travel from Elizabethan England to modern London to the Last Day of the Time War, and back again. So much about this special is thrilling just because it's there: John Hurt's TARDIS crashing through Daleks and knocking them over like bowling pins, the three Doctors walking, united, into a confrontation between humans and Zygons, David Tennant, back and pitch-perfect as the Tenth Doctor as though he never left, and how funny this story is after so much darkness in Smith's final episodes. But Day of the Doctor is about more than just moments. Doctor Who has always been, inescapably, a show with the theme of legacy running through it. Even when it's not addressed, we know as fans that completely different stories told through a completely different man came before what we're seeing now, and we know (we hope) more will come after. Much like comic books continue their stories for decades on end, so too does The Doctor endure. This is a show in which the lead actor (or, someday, actress) cannot help but think about the men who came before, and as we watch Hurt, Tennant and Smith talk together about the Time War, about regrets and forgetting and burying the past, we come to realize that The Doctor's past is actually his salvation. The Doctor is able to save Gallifrey, to hide it in a pocket universe, because he's able to ask his younger selves for help. He's able to tap into the legacy, to tap into the storied past, and as viewers so are we. That's a powerful message to send to fans, especially the ones who had to endure the long dark in which Doctor Who wasn't on the air. By the end, Matt Smith's Doctor realizes that he's always been going "home...the long way round," from the day he stole a TARDIS and went off on his first adventures. The Doctor's journey is constant, and because his journey is constant, he can call on his past for help. Thus, Gallifrey Falls No More. That's fun to think about.