I don’t mean to drag out the Christmas stuff since we’re already several days past it, but I finally got around to watching this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, and I thought, “Why not write a little something about the Twelfth Doctor’s first full yuletide adventure?” Because it was actually pretty good! Let’s discuss.
Synopsis: “The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas. Trapped on an Arctic base, under attack from terrifying creatures, who are you going to call? Santa Claus!” –www.imdb.com
What I liked:
- The plot. It’s this weird, fun mix of Christmas stuff and references to Alien and even a little bit of Inception, believe it or not. Honestly, it might be the most unique and interesting story so far.
- The closure. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the end of season eight leaves us wanting in regards to a) Clara’s (Jenna Coleman) status as a companion and her relationship with The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), and b) pretty much all things Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson). This special addresses those issues and ties up some loose ends.
- Nick Frost’s Santa Claus. It was fun to see Frost in this role, but I also really liked the way the character is treated. He walks a line between reality and fiction, and he’s funny in a way that is appealing to both kids and adults, which is particularly nice since Doctor Who fans span such a wide range of ages.
- The Doctor loosens up a little! Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor has been a bit of a Grinch so far (albeit generally in a funny way), but there’s a glorious sleigh ride scene where he’s grinning like a fool and even accepting a hug, and it’s nice to see.
- The humor. After the heavy end to season eight, I think it’s great that Moffat and co. went with such a lighthearted, funny Christmas special. Of course, I guess it’s kind of a given that the Christmas special should be lighthearted…but given that the Eleventh Doctor met his end last Christmas, I find it best not to hold my breath when it comes to these things.
- Some of the fun info I just learned about the cast! This doesn’t really have any bearing on the quality of the episode, but I just learned one of the actors in the episode, Michael Troughton, is actually the son of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton! AND one of Santa’s sassy elves is Dan Starkey, the same actor who plays recurring character Strax! I just thought that was kinda cool. 🙂
What I didn’t like:
- For a family-friendly show, some of this is actually pretty creepy. I mean, I compared it to Alien so…yeah. I didn’t have a problem with that, but if you’re watching with little kids, it’s something to keep in mind.
- This episode does the ol’ jump-right-in-and-go-go-go that so many Doctor Who episodes do. I’ve pretty much gotten used to it, and I think most DW fans have, too, but if you’re not used to it, I imagine the show can come off as very, very manic.
- There’s a discussion at one point that drags on a tiny bit too long. I love Steven Moffat, but sometimes I think he gets a little carried away with his dialogue.
- In true Doctor Who fashion, some of this episode gets cheesy—not overly so, I don’t think, though there is one particularly forced Christmas line (because hearing anyone but Tiny Tim say, “God bless us, every one!” is a little painful).
To Sum It Up: I thought this episode was great! Definitely a big improvement over last year’s—and not just because we didn’t have to say goodbye to a much-loved Doctor this time. The story is fun and unique, the humor is amped up, and it provides a nice cap to the eighth season. Whovians, I’d recommend giving this one a watch!
My Grade: A-
12 thoughts on “Doctor Who Christmas Special: Last Christmas”
I still have to watch this…..
Do itttt! It was pretty fun!
I haven’t watched this yet because I only liked about 3 episodes out of the whole of the last season but I probably need to check it out.
I’d say it’s better than most of the episodes, so give it a whirl! 🙂
This show used to be so much better. So much creepier. It was never intended to be marketed to families, it kills me that it has gone this way. My dad was a big fan of this show back in the 70s, but he hasn’t watched it since the late ’80s (or something close to). I’ve never gotten into it but from everything I’ve heard from him this is like a completely different show. Which is too bad. I should probably take a gander for myself so I can form my own opinion, but sometimes I gotta trust the elder generation. 😉
Wait. No. I”m on your blog. I trust your opinion more!!! 😀 😀 😀 😀 (Phew, that was close. I felt Miguel’s presence closing in on me.)
Y’know, I think you actually caught a break on the Miguel front–he’s in Israel terrorizing MovieRob for disagreeing about our 2014 rankings. In fact, I should really email Rob and make sure he’s okay…
Anyway, I wouldn’t completely write this one off–Doctor Who may be a little different now (I’ve never seen the older episodes), but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. It’s weird to get into, but once you do it’s a lot of fun. The Christmas specials are probably among the cheesiest stuff. To be fair though, a lot of Christmas stuff is cheesy, Hahaha.
If you ever do decide to give DW a go, you MUST let me know what you think. Because if you don’t, Miguel WILL find you…
Every time I read your blog it is a reminder for me that I need to watch Doctor Who seriously I need to get on that at some point!
I think I’ve encouraged you to do this already, but I’ll say it again: DOOOO ITTTTT!!! 🙂
I know right!!!! Working on it! That should be my TV resolution.
Oh yeah! I still have to watch this! And, er, the very final episode still…. Oops. 🙂
Haha well you have plenty of time to catch up before the next episode. 🙂