“Nah, this is transport. I keep amazing out here” – Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol [Christmas Special, 2010] review

So guess who just watched the Dr. Who Christmas special again?

Yes that’s right, you lovely lot, aaaand now you get a review.

“No chance. Completely impossible. Except at Christmas.”

Giant fish, re-working a tired (but never done) Dickens format, pleasing all ages, bringing tears to the eyes of everyone and all in 60 minutes?

“Yeah, alright. Shouldn’t be too hard…” says The Moffat. ūüėČ

He continues to prove himself a cut above and beyond the average tv writer – I can definitely say this now as I watched A LOT of tv over Christmas and feel justified in saying it for the rest of the year. Oh but how the years pass…

“Tonight I’m the ghost of Christmas past…”

In true wibbly-wobbobobbly [sic] fashion, the good Dr crosses his own – as well as Kazran Sardick’s – timestream several times in the space of an hour.

TANGENT: it’s funny how I say ‘space of an hour’ when that’s one of the possible ways he thinks of time..that is, as having space (…in which to fit things.) TANGENT OVER.

We got so much in an hour that I’ve had to wait until I could see it again to evaluate whether or not I got everything. I doubt I did but I definitely enjoyed it – it’s much like Kazran said, “But that never happened…but it did.”

The whole episode felt too full to be what we now expect from Dr. Who Christmas specials – it was a small scale disaster, only 4003 people as opposed to, oh I dunno, The End of Time – but it was, as its new, pre-teen target audience is, bigger on the inside. It was also transport – transporting us out of the dull Christmas tv reality that was as well as transporting us from Series Fnarg to Series Snix. We’re halfway out of the dark…

“Fish that can swim in fog…I love new planets”

And I loved this one – goggles, almost always dusk, a Dickensian feel to almost all the lighting, costume and design – it was, dare I say it (yeah, I really want to), steampunk by the BBC!

I almost clapped as soon as I saw what may have well been an organ controlling the sky –¬†touch√©¬†designers, touch√©.

Talking of designers, we know that Moffat didn’t originally plan on using a bow tie until Matt Smith put it on but now it seems that it wouldn’t be this current team without the bow tie – the damn thing is like a achronotopic-symbol transcending time with its fun and frolics, working its way into Kazran’s cold heart. Brilliant – costume as time-altering artifact.

“How did boredom ever get invented?”

Frolics: being chased by a shark; a sled pulled by said shark; every Christmas eve being a new adventure with Kathryn Jenkins (who wasn’t great but wasn’t awful so well played, cymraes) and Matt Smith (madder than ever, I swear – how does he get his eyes to move so fast and yet retain a good sense of character?); “Keep the faith. Stay off the naughtiness.” – utterly bombastically, brilliant – it had me stifling the laughing we were all doing so I could hear the next good bit; why did the Dr. think the fish were¬†biting him when there were no fish there? Could this be another big leader into some other Moffat plan? Were they fish from an alternate timeline that were unseen but felt? Who knows, fun to see Smith slap himself though; young Kazran in a Tom Baker scarf; “Come along Pond”; a good deal of running; ¬†and I could list even more.

“…you’re scared of being like him and good for you, you’re not like him – do you know why?”
“Because you didn’t hit the boy.”

Once again, Moffat gives us an excellent emotional core through the inner child in us all. I’m tempted to say here how Moffat isn’t like Russell T ¬†Davies because he spares the obvious-whip but that’s only my uber-fan-boy reading of it. What definitely occurs is a sense of Michael Gambon‘s transformation – beautifully written, directed and executed.

Direction must have been an unwieldy beast on this one – “So…cram everything into 60 minutes, please. Oh and make sure that the tone of the thing is Chrismassy, yeah?” Somehow the director did it with aplomb and, for once, the music was overused but in stead kept the whole thing together by using itself as much needed emotional pointers in a crammed episode, sweeping us along for the continuous ups and downs of the ride.

“Kazran, we don’t have much time…”

And neither does this review because, here, it comes to an end.

We don’t have much time until the new series so expect more then.


3 thoughts on ““Nah, this is transport. I keep amazing out here” – Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol [Christmas Special, 2010] review

  1. I need to watch it again. And I don’t disagree with anything you wrote here, which is a shame, because I can’t really add anything. Except for the fact that I texted you during to closing credits to confirm that it did indeed make me cry, make my christmas and WAS ALL KINDS OF AMAZING!

    As for steampunk on the bbc, if you didn’t catch this at the time, you damn well should’ve. Been a good year for Moffat, been an excellent year for Gatiss (save that awful Who episode) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2U-OplBePU

  2. Hah! Nope, I didn’t catch The First Men in the Moon, though I wish I had.

    * Scuttles to iPlayer *

    Huzzah! Watchings for free time.

    Cheers ma dear.

  3. Just the right level of cheese. I wish now I had seen this episode on Christmas day, instead of doggidly playing a 3 hour game of Trivial Pursuit. Oh well, at least this way I don’t have to pretend I’m not welling up.

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