Lair of the Geek

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A Look back at Doctor Who Christmas special

docbannerReview By: Martin Popov

It’s December 25th 2012 and it’s Doctor Who time. This is the 9th Time Doctor Who has been shown on Christmas Day, the 8th Doctor who Christmas special and the 11th Doctors 3rd festive outing. After the last 2 years of disappointment I’m not expecting much but as always it’s Doctor Who so I have to watch it. And this year’s Special is wonderful. This episode is technically half way through series 7 but it is an episode of firsts like the start of a new run. Firstly the new theme tune and opening credits is very reminiscent of classic Doctor Who. The appearance of Matt Smiths face in the credits, however fleeting and ghostly, made me whoop with excitement! I also love the new TARDIS. Once again it is closer to the classic series and the classic TARDIS and also seems a more natural follow on from the 9th and 10th Doctors interior. I never liked the series 5 to series 7 part 1 console room and I’m more than happy to forget it happened.
The story itself was well put together. It flowed very well and plot devices were introduced carefully then brought back. The memory worm, the death of the previous governess, the fact the governess was frozen in the pond and the snowman’s first words all came back to be important plot points. I loved how the great intelligence was reintroduced too. I do wonder how many viewers would have remembered this ‘character’ as it appeared in two episodes of the 2nd Doctor back in the 60s! Another nice touch for fans of classic Doctor Who and the way it is a sort of prequel episode to the later episodes. Ian McKellen was great as the voice too.

Doctor Who, especially the revived series, is good at making non scary things scary. Gas Masks (The Empty Child and the Doctor Dances), ticking Clocks (The Girl In The Fireplace), Televisions (The Idiots Lantern), statues (any episode with the Weeping Angels) are just some examples. The Christmas Specials have also included the threat of Christmas Trees, People Dressed as Santa, Brass Bands, Baubles, Angels and last year even introduced the idea of big presents being a potential source of danger. This episode I’m sure will have any young or impressionable child terrified of any potential snow and will see any snowman as a source of dread. The Snowmen were great even though I’m glad they weren’t the main enemy as I feel they didn’t have much punch. The snowmen were Well realised and scary. The Ice Human Women thing was well presented but I think actually a little too frightening for younger viewers. Especially the introduction of her through the door when the Doctor was expected and then later on unexpectedly grabbing Clara from behind.
The acting was top notch. Matt Smith is a fab Doctor. I’m just grateful that he occasionally gets good material to work with. It was lovely to have Madame Vastra and Jenny flint back especially as they do have great chemistry together. Strax was just brilliant and totally hilarious. I just hope Moffatt isn’t turning the Sontarans into a joke in a similar way the Ferengi went in Star Trek. The memory worm sequence was just silly enough to be hilariously funny yet not ruin the story. Personally I’m a little concerned about casual viewers of Doctor Who not knowing exactly what was going on with the trio. I don’t remember anyone mentioning, for example, that Strax was a nurse nor would non regular viewers been aware of what A Silurian is so the Dawn of time joke may have been slightly lost on some people. I always love Richard E Grant and he was generally creepy as the ‘Bad Guy’ as he seemed rounded and real, wish he had more screen time.
Finally the new companion. The actress is brilliant. I can see why Moffatt wanted her and however much I liked Amy and Rory I already think she is a significantly better actor, character and match for Matt. I was shocked when she died though and the idea of her being in different time periods (at least 3 but I’m assuming there are more) is a fascinating idea. I am slightly concerned that Moffatt may end up repeating himself as she seems to be a combination of River, Rory and Amy. She is like River in that the one character has an upper hand on the other and knows more than the other knows. She is like Amy as she is brave and feisty and obviously loves the Doctor (lucky lucky Doctor). She is lastly, and probably most obviously, like Rory as she has died at least twice and yet ‘comes back’. I found Rory’s constant deaths annoying and hope this doesn’t happen with Clara. I’m intrigued that the companion themselves appear to be a story arc and with her Date of Birth, 23rd November, being The TV Series birthday, wonder if she is going to build up to the 50th anniversary.
All in all I loved this episode! I am looking forward to Series 7 Part 2 and more importantly the 50th Anniversary!

Run you clever boy, and remember!

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