I’m sorry - but I absolutely loved it.
I don’t really see why it retcons either Chris’ or David’s character arcs. They still carry around the guilt of surviving a Time War they *believe* they ended through mutually assured destruction. In fact, I find the fact they carry that burden lends them so much more tragic irony. I feel desperately sorry for them - they cannot know that they always did the right thing after all.
The difficulty for me - and this may be because I’m such an old fogey classic series fan! - is I never quite understood how the Doctor, the character I loved from childhood, and who *always* found a better way to triumph - could have put himself into the position where he murdered his own people. I wrote the scene in Dalek, and I made myself believe it through Chris’ rage and guilt. But I believed it mostly because we never *saw* it. In my mind’s eye I could never quite accept the moment when the Doctor becomes a warrior cold enough to destroy. And as the series went on over the last decade, as we moved away from the ‘story background’ that we created for that first revival season, as I found the Doctor ever more recognisable, I found it an even harder fit.
I think the Time War was an act of brilliance on Russell’s part, and I think it actively spurred on the show. But the series has outgrown the need for it, and if anything, it now rather holds the series back. (Need some angst in an episode? Open the Magic Box called Time War Guilt, and indulge!) Does that mean I need to see the Time Lords again, or go on little jaunts to Gallifrey? No, it doesn’t. But I’m happy that the central MacGuffin of the Time War has at last been dealt with, and in a way that (for me at least) gives extra sad nuance to the journeys of the ninth and tenth Doctors.
And it was about time some writer dared to ask a character to count the children. Because if you’re going to feed off Planetary Destruction for seven whole seasons, for the sake of decent humanity, *someone* needs to ask it.
I loved the special. I found it funny, and clever, and extraordinarily moving. And it seemed to me like a proper celebration of the Doctor, and of his character, and of the way he’ll sacrifice hundreds of years of his own happiness to do the right thing.
Utterly understand why others might not agree. Sorry. Just my opinion. :)