Moffat’s first Christmas offering didn’t break traditional, in that it couldn’t have been more Christmassy is Smith had wished all the viewers at home a merry Christmas at the end of it.
I always half expected Tennant to do that at the climax of one of RTD’s interminable Christmas assaults on the nation’s gag reflexes, but the announcement of the latest episode’s title as A Christmas Carol put paid to any ideas that the focus may simply be on the story, rather than a festive element.
Did it work? I’m not sure, but I didn’t dislike it the way I did all of RTD’s. So, was it The Runaway Bride or was it the Chimes of Midnight?
Nice to see the regulars back, and the story really suited Smith’s Doctor.
Visuals – Lovely, imaginative set design and visual FX of the kind that have really moved the feel of the series of since the end of Tennant and RTD
Gambon – Always good, but I wondered if Patrick Stewart may have been even better.
Dialogue – It really pays to listen carefully to the Eleventh Doctor’s lines, which always jump off the page. Moffat’s dialogue in Smith’s mouth makes for a winning combination.
Christmas Carol – As a framing device it paid off, if a little awkwardly.
The trailer – Moffat could really have sat back and followed the RTD pattern established over the previous few years, but he seems determined to do something very different with the series. The trailer seemed to confirm that, and it looked thrilling.
Psychic paper – Shorted out by the Doctor’s claim to be a responsible, mature adult.
Marrying Marilyn – A bit throwaway, but it was nice to see the Doctor at a 50s California pool party. The series rarely does justice to the anywhere, anytime’ potential and it’s always nice to see it employed.
Shark-drawn sleigh – It’s Christmas, Doctor Who is whacky. We get it.
Kathryn Jenkins – She was fine, but the singing grated and it seemed really crowbarred into the story to me
Christmas indulgence – A hell of a lot seemed to happen in this episode, and I couldn’t really be bothered to figure out that singing, weather, fish stuff. It felt a tad over-egged, and tough to digest in one sitting as a result.
Altogether the most intriguing and rewarding Christmas episode – albeit not one I’d care to rewatch very often – but I hope Moffat has the balls to write a Christmas episode that’s not absolutely drenched in Yuletide cliches next year.
• Caves and Twins? What are you dribbling on about?
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