Monday, January 8, 2018

Belated response to the Doctor Who Christmas Special

All right. I finally found the time and mental space to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special of 2017. Which I have been eagerly waiting for. And which I enjoyed very much.

Kind of Vague but Still Spoilers

First of all, I have to admit that I currently view Stephen Moffit’s time as story runner as a mixed bag. 

Some episodes, like ‘Listen’, made me wonder what I had just watched. Others, like Death in Heaven, just seem too over the top. The human race is just going to get over and forget all the dead coming back as Cybermen? Really? The whole human race blanks things out thing, that seems to extreme for that explanation. And I also felt Moffit hung onto companions too long, like he had problems letting them go after their initial story arc.

On the other hand, his time also had some of the best stories I’ve seen. Heaven Sent may be the best story I’ve ever seen and I liked the entire tenth season, although it helped that it had new companions with a new arc. Matt Smith’s first arc was also amazing.

And I think that both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi were amazing Doctors. Colin Baker proves you have to be more than just a great actor to be a great Doctor. You need a great team with you.

Mind you, I watched Davis’s time as showrunner before I was a dad. I didn’t have the same kind of time to watch TV after our doodle arrived. Maybe when I have the chance to properly binge and fully watch Moffit’s time, I’ll like it even more. 

So, all that said, where did Twice Upon A Time sit with me?

In all honesty, pretty well. After the extremes of The Doctor Falls, this was a quiet, thoughtful story. The external crisis turns out to be a fairly quiet one with most of the plot turning out to be driven by the Doctors’ internal struggles.

Biggest disappointment was that Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter didn’t appear.

And I was glad that the Testament turned out to be benevolent, at least until they show up again. I wasn’t looking forward to another apparently global threat that had been around forever that somehow never appeared before. (“Oh, it’s not an evil plan. I don’t really know what to do when it’s not an evil plan”)

I think what really made the Christmas special work for me was the fact that it was willing to be silly (since, at its heart, Doctor Who is a children’s show and, sorry, Torchwood, I never want it lose that heart) but also willing to admit the emotional weight that the show has developed. It’s a balance and Twice Upon A Time managed that balance.

I’ve been watching Doctor Who for over twenty years now and there are plenty of folks who have been watching it longer. It’s been a part of a lot of people’s lives. It does mean something and this farewell acknowledges that.

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