Okay, I finally watched Day of the Doctor. I DO have some gripes...
SPOILER: Highlight text to read: 1. The fleshing out of the Ten/Elizabeth I story. What made that idea so great was the lack of detail. It was offhand and largely up to the imagination, and that made it kind of awesome and funny. Moffat just took all of the charming subtlety that made moments like that great, and flushed it down the toilet. It's like someone making a joke, and then someone else in the room then explaining to everybody WHY the joke is so funny. It completely ruins the joke, and having Tennant's doctor marry Elizabeth I on camera was just... lame. And it made the Doctor seem like a total jerk, marrying her and then just... leaving. It explains why she's so ticked at him, but it really made him look awful. Plus the actress was chewing the scenery left and right. She was not great. Leading to my next criticism...
2. I felt like almost everybody was chewing the scenery, actually. Maybe I expected too much, but I felt like Smith and Tennant pulled off two of their WORST performances as the Doctor. There were some serious moments but the gravitas this story required was completely overshadowed by the over-the-top goofiness. It's like they were so focused on, "OMG we've got Smith and Tennant in the same room, THE POSSIBILITIES!" that they let it detract from what could have been an excellent story. This is what bothers me so much about Moffat's writing: EVERY personality has to be SO BIG and SO BOMBASTIC that it overshadows the story. John Hurt's performance was the only one with any semblance of nuance and subtlety.
I mean, I'm watching "The End of Time" now because I want to see how badly "Day of the Doctor" conflicts with what they said in it. And watching it, I'm struck by how well-written and subtle Wilfred Mott is. So many quiet, contemplative moments, so much subtlety, that Moffat's writing completely lacks. Which leads me to...
3. THINK OF THE CHILDREN, DOCTOR! I BET YOU NEVER EVEN COUNTED THE CHILLLLLDREEENNNNN!!!
SUBTLETY, MOFFAT. HAVE YOU HEARD OF IT?! I mean, OF COURSE the Doctor has thought of the children. Is that the best you can do to try to induce some pathos? "How many children are there?" and then show shots of them playing? Showing the Daaleks endangering families and stuff? So campy and heavy-handed. I mean, all up until now we felt the weight of what the Doctor had done without a single mention of "the children! dear gawd the CHILDREN!" And John Hurt's performance would have been enough without it. In fact, the clunky heavy-handedness detracted from what could have and SHOULD HAVE been a fantastic performance.
4. No strong antagonist. I mean, come on, monster-of-the-week level antagonists for something this big? Big red suction-cupper things? So lame. I mean, we've had some STRONG antagonists in the new series (most of which are from the old series). Weeping Angels, Silence, Daaleks, the Master, Cybermen... Heck, Time Lords themselves have been some of the best antagonists in Doctor Who's history. So why would you waste opportunities like that on another STUPID monster-of-the-week? HUGE disappointment.
5. Didn't we already do A Christmas Carol on Doctor Who?
6. The End of Time. Go watch it, then tell me The Day of the Doctor doesn't completely conflict with everything the Doctor says about the Time Lords. How the war changed them. How they are worse than all of his enemies. Saving Gallifrey at the end of The Day of the Doctor doesn't do anything to resolve the fact that the whole point of destroying Gallifrey was to prevent any further atrocities. What about the Ascendency that they were planning, that the Doctor says he had to prevent? Why couldn't they at least address it off-hand, say something like, "Well, if there is no war we don't need to Ascend" or something like that? It's dissatisfyingly inconsistent.
I did like some things about it. I thought John Hurt's performance was understated and pretty good, and I wished they'd given him more time to interact with the other doctors without seeming like a tired babysitter.