A Few Thoughts About The Christmas Doctor Who Special

A Few Thoughts About The Christmas Doctor Who Special

Other Thoughts Are Available…

♦ Peter Mann returns for a nearly-live reaction to the Doctor’s regeneration. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it SPOILER ALERT!!!

Nice Intro…

The combination of old footage was nicely done, and the seque from Hartnell’s Doctor to David Bradley was nicely done. Bradley has the chops for the first Doctor, and the detail put into his Tardis makes me hope that the BBC has realised that stories from other Doctors could be cool… I’d like to see David Troughton reprise the second Doctor as he has done so ably on the radio.

The Plot

In many ways this episode sums up all of the problems with Moffat’s time on the series, starting off with the fact that the plots are often just too bloody dense. So, for my daughter, who lost interest halfway through…

The first Doctor decides to die rather than regenerate. Current Doctor does the same. Both at the North Pole. Meet-cute and comedy misunderstandings ensue. Time freezes/goes wrong in some non-specific way, but probably due to the non-regenerating Doctors. Mark Gatiss wanders in as a WWI British soldier who was in a Mexican standoff with a German soldier, but has now come loose in time. The entire cast is kidnapped by Testimony, who lift current Doctor’s Tardis into their massive steam-punk CGI confection of a ship. Glassy android-y lady offers the Doctor (current) the chance to see Bill again if he’ll hand over the soldier. Bill then rocks up anyway. Doctor 1 realises that the glassy lady is NOT an android because she is unsymmetrical (lack of symmetry being impossible for artificial life forms for *reasons*). Somewhere around here, we discover Bill is now a shiny glass lady.

The current Doctor – bugger it, from now on they are 1 and 12 – decides he needs access to a massive database to match android-y lady’s face, (there’s other stuff- escape from ship and so on) so buggers off to planet where Rusty the Dalek who hates Daleks (Into The Dalek, S8E2) is killing Daleks who are trying to kill Rusty. Don’t ask. 12 persuades Rusty to hook him into the Dalek hive mind and matches the face to a lady from the future who explains that Testimony “harvest” human being’s memories at the point of death and reconstitute them in synthetic bodies in the future so they can (basically) live again. So they aren’t the bad guys. There aren’t any bad guys. All are happy except for Rusty, but hey, he’s just a Dalek…

1 and 12 must return soldier to die, but he doesn’t because, *reasons* (i.e., 12 interferes in time and moves him to the Christmas Armistice, cue hymns, Auld Lang Syne, and football). Oh, and he’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s Dad. Or Grandad, I forget…

1 and 12 have a meaningful conversation, then 1 sods off to regenerate. 12 meets up with future android-y Bill and Nardole, has a hug and sods off to regenerate also.

Sadly, I’ve only touched on the numerous plot elements, but here’s the basic problem: all of this happens due to a) the fact that neither Doctor asks Testimony what the heck they are up to and b) the fact that Bill – who could stop this at any time by telling the Doctor precisely what Heather did and how it relates to Testimony – fails to do so. There’s just too much cute stuff, including Gatiss’s casting as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s ancestor.

Chewing the Scenery

There was a moment when Capaldi said, “What’s another life?” (or similar – working from memory here) and I thought “Great! An elegant regeneration like Eccleston’s!” No. Cue five mins of bad dialogue,  scenery chewing, and dancing around the Tardis until 12 finally sods off. Which he does to great effect. 13 turns up, looks great, Tardis shakes, doors throw themselves open, Tardis catches fire and dumps new Doctor into space. Next episode 13 plummets to Earth, dies and immediately regenerates into 14, played by, oh, I don’t know, let’s say Brian Blessed or Brian Cox, and the status quo is restored. The Doctor can then continue to be the whiny bitch he’s been since Moffat took over. Chibnall – say it ain’t so!

The problem with Doctor Who is not the acting, the directing, or the effects. It is a show that relies, and always has done, on a good script. Since the restart, the scripts have varied from excellent to awful, which has always been the case. What wasn’t always the case was the inclusion of whiny, self-indulgent, Tumblr-focused tragic dialogue. I can put up with Lion-o turning up in In The Forests of the Night or robot Robin Hood, but please God this stops now!

In short: It was OK. The new Doctor gives me hope, but then they always do. 

Tagged with

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: