Thoughts on Doctor Who – A Christmas Carol

by Amy Yen

By definition, a Christmas special, especially for a family show, is going to be centered on moral lessons & warm, fuzzy feelings about generosity & love & family & good will toward men. Rarely will you even have anything as substantial as Community’s excellent “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.”

Steven Moffat’s first Doctor Who Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol,” is no different, although it does manage to get in some of Moffat’s trademark dark themes (daddy issues & domestic abuse abound!) & timey-wimey goodness to boot. Overall, it was a satisfying episode, to tide us hungry Whovians over until series 6 finally rolls around, & the moral cheesiness & fake CGI shark-powered sleigh rides can be forgiven. After all, it’s Christmas.

Other random thoughts on “A Christmas Carol”:

  • Although the “big idea” behind the episode, the Doctor’s version of the famous Ghost of Christmas Past, Present & Future tale—the Doctor literally inserting himself into Kazran’s timeline & rewriting his past to change who he is—is quite clever, it does seem slightly irresponsible on the Doctor’s part. It seems the further we get from the RTD era, the less we hear about fixed points in time, not messing too much with things that have already happened, & the more we hear about how time can be rewritten. Of course, there are consequences, both the machine no longer responding to Kazran’s touch & the tragic romance of Kazran & Abigail. I like that the Doctor didn’t try to fix Abigail, realizing that this is how it has to be.
  • It happens that I just bought Steven Moffat’s version of Sherlock on DVD for my dad for Christmas. Matt Smith’s monologue, where he explains to Kazran the significance of him not hitting the boy, sounded exactly like one of Sherlock’s explanations when he has to explain the 14 logical steps he’s taken in his head, faster than everyone else in the room can get through one of them, to get to the conclusion he’s just presented.
  • “Fish that can swim in fog. I love new planets.” I love that the Doctor can always take the time to smell the roses & revel in the marvelousness of the universe.
  • Little Kazran Sardick cries for the dying shark that just tried to eat him. This is how you know Kazran is inherently good. The Doctor doesn’t change him that much. It’s also exactly the kind of thing I think will earn you the Doctor’s undying love.
  • Kazran has seemingly known the Doctor his whole life. Just like Amy.
  • “Santa Claus. Or as I’ve always known him, Jeff.” The Doctor really did have some fantastic lines in this episode.
  • “Eyes off the skirt.” Heh! PS: Yay for Arthur Darvill making the credit sequence!
  • I love that the Doctor is still possibly married to Marilyn Monroe.
  • “Like we’re saying, well done, everyone. We’re halfway out of the dark. Back on Earth, we call this Christmas.” Halfway out of the dark… Sometimes I can’t even believe how good Steven Moffat is with words.

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, the series 6 trailer:

Happy Holidays, everyone! (PS: Remember, stetsons are cool.)

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4 Responses

  1. Indeed – stetsons ARE cool. As is sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office and asking for Jammie Dodgers and a fez. (Let’s face it,wouldn’t we all just love to do that?) Although the Doctor being held prisoner in Area 51 is less cool.

    A perfect Xmas episode. Serious, but without allowing it to drag the whole thing down. Focussing more on fun and the Doctor’s sense of wonder. And just plain comedy genius at times. (“Finally. A lie too big.”) It’s light, it’s fluffy, it brings a smile to your face – isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be about? Give me that over flying Masters and giant steam-punk Cybermen any day.

    • I agree, thinking about it more, I liked this so much better than End of Time, it’s not even funny. There’s plenty of time for angst & tension later, this was exactly what was needed out of a Christmas episode.

  2. Loved this Christmas Special. Had me smiling all through out it.

    Moffatt is a great story teller, especially with the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey bits that he just loves to throw in every now and then. The days of RTD suddenly seem a tad too dry and boring (and so long ago).

    Great commentary on the episode.

    -Ix

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