Usually the Christmas Doctor Who episode is one of the highlights of Christmas day; everyone’s opened their presents, eaten way too much, and it’s nice to just slob out on the sofa and watch, what is usually, an exciting fun-filled festive adventure, but this year that wasn’t really the case.
This may be a controversial opinion but I really didn’t like the 2013 Christmas episode and I’ll have to break it down into smaller sections to make this review make a little more sense. By the way, this review will have spoilers so if you don’t want to know what happened I wouldn’t advise reading on. And bear in mind that I really love Doctor Who, just not this episode.
The Lack of Christmas
From all of the posters and advertising surrounding this episode I expected a certain level of Christmas to be in it. I mean we’ve seen killer Christmas trees, the Master, the return of the Time Lords, a sci-fi take on A Christmas Carol and living snowmen, amongst other things, in Doctor Who Christmas specials and for some reason this episode didn’t feel that festive. Apart from the town being named Christmas and the brief snippets of Clara’s family Christmas, I didn’t feel like there was anything too Christmassy about any of it, especially compared to the look of the posters and such.
The monsters were a massive problem for me in this episode. As I just said, there are usually some really interesting and creative creatures in these Christmas episodes but I feel as though everything was thrown at this episode with no real reason. I mean it had Weeping Angels, Sontaron, Daleks, Cybermen and The Silence but nothing really seemed to be the main enemy, which is something I think every Doctor Who story needs. The way it was, it didn’t seem as though there was any immediate danger as there was no one enemy that was about to defeat the Doctor, he was just dying of old age.
There was something odd about this episode in that it felt, whilst watching it, like Stephen Moffat had just made a list of all of the monsters he wanted to include and all of the plot threads that needed tying up and then all of that was just thrown into this one episode. Although I think that some of the explanations were really well thought out, the episode should have been longer in order to give each thing more screen time, similarly with the sheer amount of monsters that were included a little pointlessly.
Dying of old age?
As every Doctor Who fan knows, a Doctor’s regeneration is not only supposed to be emotional but the death that causes that regeneration is meant to be a big deal. In this episode, I didn’t really connect to the way that the Doctor decided to just stay in this town to protect them when there supposedly are other people he could be saving at this time. The Doctor dying of old age is not an exciting plot point, nor is the fact that he was just handed a regeneration very interesting. The crack in the wall, caused by the Time Lords, wasn’t dealt with and I suppose it will be coming back in future episodes.
The regeneration itself was strange. I didn’t feel like there was enough time to connect to the fact that Matt’s Doctor was changing because everything happened so quickly. I liked that he began to reminisce about Amy, as she was obviously a huge part of Eleven’s character, but I think that the actual change was just too quick. I felt like I didn’t get emotional at all over getting a new Doctor, and it wasn’t fair on Matt Smith as he didn’t even get a ‘goodbye’ line. In previous regenerations, such as when Eccleston and Tennant left, their last lines were emotional and poignant, lines which every fan remembers, scenes where the emotions were running high, but I think Moffat missed the mark with Smith and I was saddened to see that there was no real closure on Matt Smith’s time as the Doctor.
I am still reserving judgement on Capaldi as the Doctor as he really didn’t get that much screen time. His time was brief but I was a little disappointed to see that he hasn’t got an English accent as all of the previous Doctors have had. Even Tennant, who is himself Scottish, acted with an English accent which to me is a quintessential part of being The Doctor.
Overall, this episode was disappointing and although I am of course looking forward to the new series of Doctor Who, I am a little anxious about what Moffat will do next. I know that some of my opinions may differ to a lot of people’s but please respect my opinion, and let me know what you thought of the episode in the comments =)