It’s time like these when I wish I had access to the Greybeards from Skyrim (yeah, I can make a post about Doctor Who nerdier than it already would be). I need their ability to use the Thu’un to shout across the land “It. Is. Done.” (I don’t know what that would sound like in the Dragontongue). After nearly a year, I have watched all 6 seasons of Doctor Who! And all of the various holiday specials! I finished Season 6 proper just yesterday, and all I had left was the 2011 Christmas special until I was finally completely up to date on the adventures of my favorite lone survivor of Gallifrey. Written by Steven Moffat (because I guess it’s an unwritten [or perhaps written. what the fuck do I know about the backstage processes of the BBC] rule that the showrunner writes the Christmas episode), 2011’s Christmas special continues the tradition set by “A Christmas Carol” in 2010 of making a very loose adaptation of a beloved children’s story, (this timeThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe). While I may not have enjoyed “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe” quite as much as “A Christmas Carol,” it was still leagues better than any of the Russell T. Davies specials, so I won’t complain.
Under unexplained circumstances (which I love that they put no effort into telling us why the hell what was happening was happening), the Doctor is jettisoned by an exploding spaceship and hurtles towards the Earth. He manages to latch onto a spacesuit and falls to the Earth. He somehow survives a maximum velocity plummet to Earth because (I’m not really sure why) but the spacesuit is healing him so that’s part of it. He’s helped by a middle-aged British woman (on the eve of World War II) named Madge. He tells her if he can ever repay the favor to just make a wish. Cue three years later and her husband, a pilot, is believed to be shot down over the English Channel. Madge can’t bring it upon herself to tell her children (because it’s Christmas and she doesn’t want to ruin Christmas for the rest of their lives) even after they’re eventually forced out of London during the blitz to stay with friends of the family. When they arrive at the estate though, the original caretaker is gone and he’s been replaced by none other than the Doctor (who Madge doesn’t recognize because when she first met him, his space helmet was on backwards). The Doctor’s fixed up the house (which means making it completely anachronistic to the setting with plenty of sci-fi doodads), but things go wrong when the son, Cyril, climbs through a hole in space and time that’s wrapped as a present that takes him to a forest where the trees are suddenly coming to life.
I enjoyed the episode. I thought there were wasted moments (mainly very shallow characterization for the children as compared to the rich emotion with Kazran last year), but it still shows just how wildly imaginative Steven Moffat. There are obvious allusions to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe throughout the episode (the Blitz, the Doctor as the professor, the freaking snowy forest, the Doctor calls his TARDIS a wardrobe, and even a lampost), but Steven Moffat manages to make it a completely different story and knowing C. S. Lewis, he wouldn’t have minded one bit. I loved the fact that the beginning of the episode was basically a giant take-that at the Christmas stories of the Davies years (which were all “Save the entire Earth from Aliens” affairs), and the scene at the end of the episode where the Doctor sees Amy and Rory finally to tell them that he wasn’t really dead (even though River already told them) definitely got me choked up. Matt Smith was fantastic, but when isn’t he?
I’m very excited. Now that I’m all caught up with both Doctor Who and Dexter (which I’m really wondering if I should even bother watching the latter when it comes back on since season 6 of Dexter was so god-awful) I can finally begin two new series to watch. One of them is definitely going to be Mad Men since I’ve already reviewed the first Season and I want to start watching it before I wind up 5 seasons behind on it as well. I’m leaning towards Angel as the second show to watch while I take breaks between seasons of Mad Men. I meant to start Angel as soon as I finished with Buffy last semester but I decided to wait so that I wouldn’t burn myself out on Joss Whedon, and enough time has definitely passed since I finished the epic series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, perhaps its time to return to a world of Slayers, demons, and vampires with souls when I need a rest from the soulless denizens of Sterling Cooper.
Final Score: A-