Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

For the first Christmas special of his era of Doctor Who, nobody can accuse Steven Moffat of playing it safe. That’s not to imply that he delivered a piece of holiday fare that’s in any way dangerous, but rather that he broke so far away from the types of stories that Russell T. Davies served up for the holiday season that some viewers may have found the resulting tale to be a tad disorientating. But if there’s a major hallmark that Moffat has stamped on the series so far during his brief tenure, it’s disorientation. You’ve either got to get onboard or be left behind. My advice would be to go with the former, otherwise you’re liable to miss out on what should be some great Doctor Who when Season Six kicks off in (presumably) a couple months.

“A Christmas Carol” is not a direct riff on the Dickens tale, but rather an adventure that’s directly inspired by the Doctor’s (Matt Smith) awareness of Dickens. As you might recall, the Ninth Doctor met Dickens way back in Season One, and he professed to be his biggest fan. And although that meeting is never mentioned, clearly Moffat has taken it, and the Doctor’s fandom, into account.

The action begins on a crashing space liner (which has a very Star Trek: The Next Generation feel to it), aboard which is Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), who are celebrating their honeymoon. Moffat isn’t above throwing some innocent kink into the mix by putting Amy into her kiss-o-gram uniform and Rory into his Roman soldier digs, which is all good clean fun, and the sort of stuff Moffat revels in. The ship barrels down onto a planet with about an hour until it hits the surface, but the Doctor can’t lock onto it with the TARDIS, so he must head down to the planet and work from there. He discovers a world that appears Victorian, but in reality is an advanced Earth colony, lorded over by a horribly selfish man named Kazran Sardick (Michael Gambon).

Read the rest of this Blu-ray review by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.