The Eighth Doctor special was just OK. They were limited to the sole on-screen appearance of the Paul McGann Doctor, which is understandable but it's a bit of a bummer when Moffat says McGann had only the one stint. I felt even a one-liner about McGann's ongoing involvement could spark viewers to see out his other non-canon performances (I felt the same way about Six and his rehabilitation via audio plays).
That brings us to the biggest bummer of the special — McGann does not appear in it. I don't know why he's not there, but his absence is deeply felt. I wonder if next month's special about Eccelston will be similar.
Despite the understandable constraint of only one official adventure and McGann's absence, the producers did a decent job of bringing in other actors from the film, including Sylvester McCoy, Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso. Eric Roberts wasn't there, but they did a decent job of talking up his performance as the Master.
The perspectives from our normal panel of experts (Steven Moffat and Nicholas Briggs) were relatively interesting, but the actors offered the most insight. Moffat's reactions as a Who fan still seem welcome to me — I liked his assessment of McCoy's Doctor, especially in the prior special and here.
They noted the telemovie helped set some of the foundation for the new series (and even discussed the relatively notorious kiss). While I felt the movie got a little bogged down in the show's mythology, they noted that McGann's Doctor re-established the core elements of the character and liked the regeneration as handing the show from old to new.
On to Nine.