5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future,
This review is from: Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol (Christmas Special) [DVD]  (DVD)WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, SARCASTIC UNDERTONES, AND SHOCKINGLY LITTLE CRITICAL REVIEWING CONTENT OF THE EPISODE IN QUESTION! ENJOY :P!
In an attempt to appear topical, gimmicky and like a real reviewer, I will look at this episode by comparing it first with the Past, then the Present and then the Future... see what I did there? Yeah I know it's cliche and the message will be shoe-horned into these categories that possibly don't work, but let's roll with it and see what happens!
The Ghost of Christmas Specials that have come before:
So waaay back in 2005 Doctor Who bursts back onto our screens in a leather jacket with a chav for a companion, but hey it worked, who were we to judge? So 2005 delivers a brilliant series, that sure is only testing the water, but overall was critically applauded and loved by audiences. Then we get the first Christmas special, the pressure is high, never has Doctor Who done one of these before and we have a new Doctor. Well since we'd never had one of these before we couldn't really compare it to anything, at the time it seemed great but looking back "The Christmas Invasion" had flaws, namely no Doctor, a cheesy murderous Christmas tree and the beginning of the "my hands in a jar" storyline that would finalise in one of the worst bits of writing ever, you know what I'm talking about! The next year on we had "The Runaway Bride" it's best we don't dwell on this, anyone who watched it will know why. The next year we had "Voyage of the Damned" where RTD tried to blind the fact the plot was appalling and depressing with Kylie, well down Russell you really dodged the bullet there... ahem anyway moving as far away from the burning wreckage that was "Voyage of the Damned" in 2008 we hit "The Next Doctor". Rife with speculation beforehand the masterful David Morrissey takes the helm of the Doctor, or does he? In short because we haven't got very far with this review, this episode was brilliant over-all, we can just about forgive the giant cyberman Russell given what a brilliant actor Morrissey was, and this reminded us that the xmas episode didn't have to be a pile of crap! 2009 Xmas New year brings one of the most eagerly awaited episodes of anything every (granted there was more hype about the finale of Lost) but the end of David Tennant's era was a big thing! His final 20 minutes were bitter-sweet and beautifully acted, the plot *blows raspberry and puts both thumbs down* words could not describe how pointless the first 100 minutes of these episodes were, yay the master's back and he can shoot lightning... I'm sorry what?... everyone in the world became the master... I'm sorry what?... the Timelords are back and instead of being good stood in a gateway for a whole episode... I'm sorry what?!... If Dalton can't make it work then the script must be shockingly awful!
So we have looked to the past, the xmas special of Doctor Who starting on what we percieved to be a high became somewhat of a joke, the exception being The Next Doctor and the final moments of David as the Doctor! So the ghost of christmas present arrives to find opinion divided drastically over the latest series; the era I'm now calling "Marmite Who" - for more information please read my review of Doctor Who Series 5 - wait who am I kidding no-one's going to have read this far in this review and if they have there's no-way there'll waste more of their life reading another equally long review - ah well my inferiority complex aside, this Christmas special had almost as much riding on it as last years did, with fans who hated the latest series looked for redemption. As far as I can tell from the reviews I've read most did not. I personally really enjoyed it, I loved how this new quirky Doctor reached his plan to change an old misers heart on Christmas eve by hearing a Christmas Carol it was a brilliantly amusing way to get into a plot many of us were wary about having the Doctor attempt - let's be honest the Muppet Christmas Carol is the definitive Christmas Carol - wait have i just totally demeaned myself by putting this joke in... nevermind no-one will have gotten this far! Other things people didn't seem to like was the supposed lack of plot; well the plot was; A space cruise-liner cannot find it's way through the cloud belt of a planet, a cloud belt controlled by a man who's heart is colder than a meat locker, the Doctor has an hour to change this old miser into a loving man who will save the lives of the passengers, he goes back in time and tries to help the miser as a young man in his youth through his problems. The idea of showing the young version the older self as the way of "showing the future" was an inspired piece of writing. Surely there was enough plot?! I loved the fact it was original in it's take on this classic but also retained enough that you felt safe with where it was going. The episode was filled with those amazing moments we've come to associate with "The Moff's" writing, the first he ever did being the "That clicking's the end of the tape, I sent it to it's room, this is it's room" in "The Doctor Dances", pure genius! In this story there are several moments like this, including the "you're not paying attention look..." to show the sonic screwdriver has caught a fish.
The Ghost of What is yet to come... I understand how frustrating this might have been to those truly engaged in the story of the latest Doctor Who; let's be honest everyone's a little bit curious about who River Song is, what the Silence are, etc. so to have an episode completely taken aback might have annoyed a few people, but it's Christmas, we take a step back from life to appreciate the finer things. I felt this episode showed off "The Moff's" ability to write a brilliant character piece and not just highly plot driven episodes which is critically acclaimed for; - for good reason - and he managed to do it in a way that didn't make us want to kill ourselves like RTD's "Midnight", "Boom Town" and "Love and Monsters"!
So here's hoping the miserly among you at the beginning of this review saw that the past of Doctor Who Christmas episodes is a bit like a family reunion, there are good parts, parts you wish weren't related to you and parts that while boring you admire the lifestyle they lead. As we looked at the present we appreciated how this was a different take to any of the past Christmas specials, moving away from screaming hordes of people who were going to die - "Voyage of the Damned" of the wedding in "The Runaway Bride" - come now Christmas should be civilised! This year saw a new take on an old classic, and the revelation that Katherine Jenkins is not only a fantastic singer but a brilliant actress, holding her own in scenes opposite Michael Gambon - without a doubt one of the finest actor's of our time! And as we look towards the future we have big questions, questions about the actual plot of next series, and not a tabloid/celeb magazine querying as to whether the new companion or doctor will be any good. The future of Doctor Who to me looks bright, the writer's have finally stopped shooting themselves in the foot by having to spend the first episode of each series introducing a new companion or doctor, 'cos let's be honest these episodes "Rose", "Smith and Jones", "Partners In Crime" were crap! But let's be honest no-one changes their opinion of marmite so I doubt this review has done anything but antagonise and irritate those who have lost faith in Doctor Who in the same way it annoys me reading reviews of the hater's when Doctor Who has never been stronger!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 May 2011 01:57:16 BDT
A.C. Horsley says:
Your opinion of something doesn't make it a fact. You may hate some of the older episodes and love the new ones, but just because other people don't share your opinion it doesn't mean that those people are wrong or 'haters' (such a ridiculous term'). Plenty of room in the world for different points of view!
In reply to an earlier post on 25 May 2011 11:05:55 BDT
I never said their opinion was wrong, I said their opinion annoyed me which in itself is my own opinion and by your reasoning should be tolerated. I also only termed them haters' referring to the extreme people who do now hate the show because of the changes, they hate the show and therefore are "haters'" it's not my own spin on it or how I perceive them, it's their own words. I also never said I hated any of the older episodes so you've fallen foul of what you're accusing me of, I merely said they weren't as good as the recent ones.
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