There’s something specific needed to make Christmas Christmassy; it’s not the turkey or the flaming pudding, no, it’s a Time Lord.
Ever since the BBC reinvigorated the Doctor in 2005, Christmas has not been the same without a season adventure. For many, it’s the perfect way to end a hectic day and, for sci fi fans, the perfectly wrapped present not under the tree. Even better, this year’s episode – menacingly titled The Snowmen – features the return of ‘soufflé girl’ Clara Oswin Oswald, albeit not quite as we remember her from this year’s Asylum of the Daleks.
The Doctor’s seasonal episodes are often stand-alone and hint at things to come when the series returns the following year. This episode is no exception but also includes the whimsy and comical moments that we’ve come to know and love. After all, it’s no fun digesting all that turkey and stuffing if you’re worried the world is about to end.
Which reminds me. Thank you, Doctor, for ensuring the Mayans were wrong.
The Snowmen manages to cram in the proper debut of a new companion, a more techy-looking TARDIS interior and an almost Bakerish feel to the new opening credits. It also sees the welcome return of the unlikely trio of Madame Vastra, her wife/servant Jenny and the loveable soldier-nurse Strax (wait, didn’t he die?)
Also added to the cast for this episode is Ian ‘Gandalf’ McKellen and Richard E. Grant, both playing bad guys … well bad something. I love McKellen’s work but even as the token bad guy – an orb of glass with snow in side it, in this case – it’s hard not to see Gandalf the Grey facing off the Balrog. I’m sorry, I can’t help it I went to see the Hobbit on Friday.
But this was one Christmas when it didn’t feel particularly festive. In his ninth incarnation, the Doctor didn’t do families and yet as he regenerated, so did his attitude to obligatory festive occasions. By the time of the eleventh Doctor in last year’s episode, he was a much welcome sight at the Ponds’ Christmas table (they even set a place for him).
Time Lords, being Gallifreyan and all, might not do Christmas but the Doctor does with relish. Yes he’s no longer got the Ponds’ (though this episode has a couple of sneaky references for the observant) but the Doctor still has a list of things he wants. This Christmas, the universe might actually give him what he wants; the chance to be who he is, rather than the forgotten warrior living in exile and he might even be able to get his choice of a new companion, if he’s a very good boy.
Doctor Who returns to the BBC in April.
Here’s the link for the last part: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006q2x0, it’s the Doctor Who official site 😀