Spoiler Free Review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special

Image for article titled Spoiler Free Review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special

We've seen the new Doctor Who Christmas special that stars the dazzling new companion, Clara. What did we think? here is our entirely spoiler free review.


We've been sworn to secrecy and cannot share anything at all about the giant, massive reveals in this episode. So we'll just say this: There are some enormous, huge moments that hit fast and hard, right away. Hopefully these first few revelations will leave you just as they left us: mesmerized.

So let's get to what we can talk about. The Christmas special picks up almost immediately after the little prequel that was screened during the recent BBC charity event. So if you haven't seen it, now's the time.

As you can see, we're dealing with a broken Doctor. The crumbled Time Lord slinks through an old-timey London. He's given up on chasing monsters and bendy plots in the time continuum. Now he just kind of wanders about as a raggedy old Victorian, similar to Scrooge. We're actually surprised he didn't utter a single bah-humbug through the whole episode. However the "Winter is Coming" joke does get dropped here and there.

Meanwhile the Doctor's friends Vastra, Jenny and Strax stand by his side wishing and hoping that a new companion will rekindle the old Doctor inside of him. Enter Clara, played by the bippity-boppity Jenna-Louise Coleman. We've seen this actress before in "Asylum of the Daleks," where she dazzled us with her quick deliver and ability to hold the audience captive even when she was the only one on screen. But we hadn't seen her interact with the Doctor in person until now — and it's a treat. Coleman takes to Matt Smith's banter like a Star Whale to space. Watching these two spar is wonderful — it's like watching two pixies hopped up on Red Bull go at it. It's the exact kind of character who can fill in the giant void left by the Ponds. Clara is crazy assertive, she doesn't let the Doctor win her over, she goes after him, and hard. Like a cunning little kitten that always finds a way to your feet, she's there. All you need to know is, the chemistry works.

As for the actual plot of the Christmas Special, it does lean a little too much on the classic Moffat "this is way too complicated" plot line. But whatever — it's The Doctor and he's fighting snowmen, you have to kind of expect wildly dramatic, completely nonsensical explanations about alien snow. It happens. "Victorian Values" is a huge theme and they nail it with the new villain and his wacky science lab.

In conclusion we're super excited about the the new Companion. And extremely thankful for the presence of Vastra, Jenny and Strax... especially Strax. The Doctor and the "Potato Man" are really quite fun together. All in all, this new companion and the Doctor's gang of friendly alien helpers could usher in a new season of classic Who tales.



James Whitbrook

Tell me everything you can about the new Console room redesign. Is it good? Evocative of classic console rooms perhaps for the 50th anniversary year. Spill the beans, Meredith!

Also... I'm kind of disappointed to hear that the plot is a little too 'moffaty', for want of a better descriptor. I don't mind that complicated trickery in the show - in fact, more often than not, I like it a lot - but I see Christmas Who as something slightly different to the regular episodes, a time to kick back after eating way too much Turkey and opening presents, and enjoy a simple, silly, not-really-making-much-sense-but-who-cares romp of a Doctor Who episode, stuff like The Runaway Bride and Voyage of the Damned.

Still, very glad to hear Matt and Jenna's chemistry as good as it seems to be in the snippets we've had of them together. I really can't wait to see more of The Doctor and Clara!