Doctor Who: Series 5, Christmas Special – A Christmas Carol

When they announced that this year’s Christmas Doctor Who would be based on the Charles Dickens novel, I thought that sounded quite interesting, particularly as I knew they would be incorporating time travel and that’s my favourite bit. Then they made a big deal of announcing the name, drum roll please, A Christmas Carol. I felt a bit deflated. That’s not very creative at all, is it? Naming the story after the very book you are borrowing from.

Turns out, they saved all the creativity for the episode itself – from seemingly flying fish, to frozen loan guarantees, to a shark with half a screwdriver in it. The whole thing was an intense break from reality for the entire hour. Of course, Doctor Who is not supposed to be reality at all, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it quite so fanciful.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. There is nothing better than to sit back and relax after a nice Christmas dinner, and drift off into a snowy world of time travel and spaceships.

There were plenty of bits that didn’t really make much sense – like why the boy’s father didn’t notice that his son disappeared every Christmas Eve and returned with a tan and a New York accent, or why they chose to return only every Christmas Eve, or why they never discussed letting Abigail out for more than a day at a time. It particularly didn’t make much sense that he wouldn’t share with the Doctor the reason he suddenly decided to leave her in there, as the Doctor was the one that made everything so much fun anyway, but even these little things didn’t really matter.

This certainly wasn’t the strongest episode of the new Doctor Who era, but it was certainly not the worst either. There was nowhere near enough Rory, and only enough Amy for her to be irritating (my guess is she didn’t need a script, as she only shouted “Doctor!” every few seconds). There was lots of Matt Smith and I thought he did a fantastic job, very very funny. The Marilyn Monroe bit was a particular highlight, along with his “two chances” to get the screwdriver from the shark. I still miss David Tennant every time the opening credits roll, but Matt can take this Doctor places that David wouldn’t be able to. And vice versa, I suppose.

I was slightly annoyed that the minute Katherine Jenkins was unfrozen, she was warbling away (to calm down the shark, oddly), but as Lukeh said in our sort of live comments, if you’re hiring someone with a voice like that, you’re going to use it.

After the episode finished, there was a short montage of what is coming up in the new series. It all looks very good, I can’t wait for it to begin. My only concern is that there is a lot of River Song. I hope they aren’t going to over-use her, because I only just came around to liking her at the end of series 5. I don’t want to have to go back to how things were before. I trust in Mr Moffat though, he has not let us down yet.

5 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Series 5, Christmas Special – A Christmas Carol

  1. This was funny and whimsical and magical and Christmassy and intimate, with a tragic love story underpinning rather than overwhelming it.

    Matt Smith grows with every passing episode. He is a supremely gifted all-rounder who does both spoken and physical comedy brilliantly. Several times I found myself laughing out loud – the fella has natural comic timing.

    I know some have been complaining that this was light, fluffy and relatively meaningless – but I think they miss the point. Xmas episodes are supposed to be light, fluffy and meaningless – we can leave the serious stuff for season six proper.

    As for the season six trailer – ooh! Stetsons are cool. The Doctor asks for Jammie Dodgers (what is he going to do – bluff the Daleks again?) And in the shot of him as a bearded prisoner we get a brief glimpse of the lettering spelling out ‘Area 51’ on a wall behind him. Alien conspiracy theory! I can’t wait …

  2. Xmas episodes are supposed to be light, fluffy and meaningless – we can leave the serious stuff for season six proper.

    True enough. I think perhaps things got a bit mixed up, with how serious and sad the last festive episodes were.

  3. I loved this episode. There were a few, “Why didn’t he ask why?” moments but overall, this was probably the best Christmas Special I’ve seen in the new series.

    I’ve watched all five series back to back after I finally told myself to watch the new Doctor Who and my impressions of Series 5 “reboot” far surpass anything that was done under the reign of Russell T Davies.

    Steven Moffat is a much more dynamic, engaging and emotional writer and director and Matt Smith is the Doctor David Tennant could never be. He feels more alien. Half the time he doesn’t have a clue how certain aspects of human life work, and it’s hilarious! I enjoyed watching Doctor Who before Series 5 but I always felt as if I was pushing myself to keep going on.

    Russell’s directing and writing are on a cheap TV level. Boring, static and predictable. Too much lighting, static camera shots, very annoying techno music and very annoying infatuation from the companions. But the new series has “Feature Film” written all over it. Hell, look at the actors they’re guest starring.

    The bigger budget, the effects, the directing of the scenes and the acting is of a much higher standard, but best of all, the stories make me FEEL something after watching them.

    I tip my hat off to Steve and Matt and the new production crew for bringing the emotion back into Doctor Who.

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