Let me start by saying that this is the best Doctor Who Christmas Special in like… ever. Which is why I just have to post. If you haven’t seen it, watch it before reading this entry.
Consider all of the Doctor Who Christmas specials so far. They tend to focus on over the top alien invasions and throw in a Christmas tree. THIS Doctor Who, by contrast, is exactly what the Christmas season calls for. Observe…
Steven Moffat continues his trademark dark fairytale and makes it festive. This episode best reflects the season we are in by echoing Charles Dickens’s most aped work, A Christmas Carol. With Moffat writing you can count on the plot being intricate and well structured. As with the Christmas season there is sentimentality leavened with darkness, humour and time travel. Indeed, the time travel sequences are all brilliantly done with Doctor Who engaging in some of the sharpest match cuts ever seen on television – these are all humorously deployed and enjoyable to watch.
Furthermore, the Doctor is on an alien planet which allowed the set designers to create something wonderfully different and imaginative – Victorian London crossed with Bioshock with so much Christmas atmosphere exuding from the sets.
The acting is just fantastic. Michael Gambon is compelling as a bitter, angry man however it is Matt Smith who steals the show. He uses his energetic presence and delivery to create wonderful humour that keeps the episode sparking along while he retains a lot of the humanity that makes the Doctor such a compelling character. His unique taste in fashion gets numerous welcome mentions as well.
All in all a brilliant episode that proves Moffat is the best choice to carry Doctor Who forward. The next season is looking even better as this trailer (which SFX magazine posted) proves.
Now it is time to enjoy the rest of the festive season!