Xmas Special – THE DOCTOR, THE WIDOW & THE WARDROBE

I know Christmas specials shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but there has to be a limit. If you’re going to do something as daft as this, don’t make it canon. The Doctor falling from outer space and crashing into Earth was a ridiculous start for so many reasons. The lack of gravity in space for a start. How did he and the spacesuit fall so perfectly to Earth? And I don’t care how good an impact suit it is, his fall created a massive crater, there’s no way the same man who regenerated after bumping his head on the TARDIS console survived that. Daft start aside, like a few of Moffat’s Christmas specials, this is just a blatant rip off, in this case of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Although he was clearly in no rush to hide that fact, I’m guessing Moffat is on a considerable salary as show runner. Can’t he come up with his own ideas? I enjoyed the Doctor’s tour of the house. It was entertaining to see how he’d customised it for fun to be had. The story itself though needed an actual enemy. The forest about to be incinerated was a weak threat in my opinion and there never seemed to be a great degree of danger. Madge flying home the spaceship through the time vortex and saving her husband Reg in the process was a far too overly touching moment for me. It was soppy for the sake of it and I didn’t like it. Overall, it’s an ever so slight improvement on The Christmas Carol, but Moffat’s first two attempts at Christmas specials were grim. 4/10

Episode 1 – ASYLUM OF THE DALEKS

I recently wrote a piece that asked the question; have the Daleks lost their fear factor? Some of it was based on this story. (https://talkingtardis.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/have-the-daleks-lost-their-fear-factor/) The asylum was meant to contain insane and horrifically dangerous Daleks, that even normal Daleks feared. However the Daleks in the asylum were tame. We saw Daleks that weren’t even conscious, Daleks that missed Rory with their guns from about five yards away, and Daleks that didn’t even have guns. I don’t know if I missed something but this was such a hyped up story from the start and what we were given was a terrible let down. Amy and Rory’s divorce shenanigans partly overshadowed the story, I don’t even know why that was included as it served nothing to the plot. And when they kissed at the end of the episode rather than actually escaping, it just made their characters seem like over emotional soppy fools. Seeing the soon to be new companion earlier than expected was very intriguing. I liked the mystery about the milk and the eggs regarding her soufflés. The revelation at the end where we discovered Oswin was a Dalek all along was a brilliant and shocking twist. Moffat is clever at delivering the unexpected, more so in creating a story line rather than finishing it off. Seeing the Alaska crew turn into Daleks was a very creepy sequence. However the fact that they showed more threat that the Daleks themselves proves how shoddily the Daleks were used. Basically the lesson is, if you build up a whole planet of Daleks that Daleks are scared of themselves, actually make those Daleks scary and threatening. This is another story that needed two parts, as at times it felt rushed. There were some good moments but the role of the Daleks made it a mess. 4/10

Episode 2 – DINOSAURS ON A SPACESHIP

First of all, congratulations to whoever came up with such an inventive and mysterious title…it must have taken you hours. This was actually not a bad story although it was a basic plot. The dinosaurs were underused but Solomon, played by the wonderful David Bradley, more than made up for that. I loved the exchanges between he and the Doctor. They couldn’t have been two more contrasting characters. One sought to rip the universe apart for profit selfishly, and the other simply wanted to explore the universe and make sure it was a peaceful place. Although the title may not suggest it, this was about as dark as the eleventh Doctor got in his time. For the Doctor to willingly allow and instigate Solomon’s ship exploding was truly shocking and it showed how he detested everything Solomon stood for. Away from those two, there wasn’t really much else to this episode. The dinosaurs didn’t need to be there to be honest. As much as I love Peep Show and other David Mitchell and Robert Webb productions, they didn’t work in this episode. Their voices for the robots was distracting and annoying and made the robots seem that little bit too stupid. I loved seeing Brian Williams, I wish we’d seen more of him as he was a hilariously fun character to watch. I don’t get why the Doctor didn’t recognise him, wouldn’t they have met at Rory and Amy’s wedding? The script was also littered with innuendos which was unnecessary and a bit disturbing. Matt Smith and David Bradley carried this episode a lot. It was fascinating to witness the Doctor’s extreme behaviour, but other than that, this episode was another weak one. 5/10

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