Customer Review

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Christmas fayre, 19 July 2011
This review is from: Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol, 2010 Christmas Special [2010] [DVD] (DVD)
Well, living out here in Canada as I do, and being an ex-pat and life-long fan of Who since I was 4 (1971), I don't see Dr Who on the beeb or download it - nor do I watch it over here on the CBC as it airs with commercials (as if!) ... so instead I opt to wait patiently until the titles are released on DVD to see them as they were intended to be seen -- long after most people.

Well, I waited for 7 months with a sense of trepidation with this title as I knew that it drew rather bi-polar reviews -- people either really loved it or really hated it. Having, on balance, found the previous season to be inconsistent and something of a disappointment compared to David Tennant's time in the TARDIS (but I LOVE the portrayal of the Doctor by Matt Smith), I was prepared to be grudgingly disappointed.
I need not have been.

I was a little worried about 10 mins in with the Doctor's quirky entrance to proceedings, but he quickly settles in and the story gets underway and what an original plot it is too. I don't know why some reviewers here complain that it lifts straight from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" -- yes it does, but then, in the 1974-76 seasons, virtually every story lifted from some classic sci-fi film or horror plot device and they all scored to make the Hinchcliffe years the high-water mark of vintage Who. It's how it's handled that's important and this works beautifully here too.

Vintage Who was about the characters and the plot -- budgets were minimal and the sets just as wobbly, but the acting carried it all through to make it believable enough; and so it is here.
Yes, there are fish and sharks that float in air, but the plot and very fine acting are able to create the suspension-of-belief required. There is also a nice alien-ness quality about the planet and city that reminded me of the element of Space 1999 that used to draw peoples' ire; they would say that certain things that happened weren't possible according to any law of physics -- but those are laws as they pertain to OUR universe -- and the moon had left our universe. So who's to say ? Creating a credible suspension-of-belief is sometimes a fine line in sci-fi so as not to stray in to the ridiculous, but I think Moffat walked it just fine here.
Watching this last night, I felt that fish and sharks that float in air was credible enough given the plot -- and why not? Okay, a shark pulling a hansom cab at the end was fanciful, but no further a stretch than previous scenes, let's be honest. It was well realised and I went with it due to the acting around it -- and I smiled. Well, it's supposed to be Christmas after all!

Bottom line: The plot was engaging and rather clever and the setting very atmospheric. The acting was truly excellent. They pulled it off well. I'm not a fan of Amy or Rory, so for me it was nice that they were sidelined for once.
I really enjoyed it.
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Location: Toronto, Canada

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