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27 December 2010 @ 08:40 pm
Doctor Who 6x0X: A Christmas Carol  
Not much in-depth analysis here. Upshot: To my surprise, I kind of liked this one.

My surprise comes from the fact that I was tepid at best about, and actively annoyed at times by, the fifth series. It's the first series of the modern era that I don't yet have (and may not get) on DVD. I was prepared to dislike this episode, but it may be that bracing myself for the worst left me to be pleasantly surprised.

To be honest, as an episode of "Doctor Who", it has a major flaw: The timey-wimey element violates every prior rule established by the show. Well, most of them; it's not as if the show itself is consistent ... but what we saw here goes beyond even the timejinks of the end of Smith's first series. It also contradicts the "he can't ever go exactly where he wants to go!" meme they've pushed sporadically.

It does work nicely, though, when considered alone.

A few other minor complaints: Moffat has written this story before, several times. The poignancy loses its punch when we know that nearly every story he tells is going to have the same dynamic. (Seriously: several people in "Blink"; Mme. Pompadour in GitF; River Song and the Doctor in the Library two-parter as well as across series five; Rory and Amy at the end of series five ... we get it, having one person on the slow path and one not is sad. Can we move along now?)

The paucity of Amy and Rory ... I don't know, it worries me that their absence is associated with the episodes I've liked best. I really hate Moffat's idea of relationship cuteness, though; it's noxious and sexist — and he plays that out in the Amy/Rory dynamic in abundant spades (as well as in Amy's nudge-nudge commentary about the River/Doctor dynamic, in the first part of the series five Weeping Angels two-parter). There just wasn't time for that here, and I liked them well enough; I want to like the characters in general, but "she's emotionally abusive and he's pussy-whipped, hurr-durr!" is not my idea of fun. I hope, hope, hope the new series drops that and lets them be fun.

(Though ... "I somehow accidentally got engaged to Marilyn! And thwarted in my attempt to just run away, I was somehow forced to actually marry her!" Um, ew. Women naturally trap/force men into marriage, LOL! Ew.)

And dude, neither the winter solstice nor Christmas is the middle of winter. The solstice by definition. Oy. (That's leaving aside the implication that "people" throughout all of time and space celebrate Christmas-or-as-good-as. It's not as blatant as the online alarm I saw, but the show is led by that assertion and the mitigating language isn't really enough for me.)

But. They did a lot right here. It was just fun, for starters. The Doctor merrily broke all the rules of timeline management, which made for an entertaining story. They actually used the alien and science-fiction settings to build a story that depended on those elements, reshaping the Christmas story around them, rather than cramming a couple of blinking lights into an otherwise bog-standard Christmas story. That doesn't happen nearly often enough!

The Doctor was zany and bizarre in ways that really worked for me, and boy howdy did he come across as ace, which I always appreciate. (The line encouraging Kazran to kiss Abigail rather than making his mistakes, perhaps not, but that was a funny line.)

I don't know why, with all of time and space at their fingertips, they couldn't cure Abigail (sorry, that's just a gaping plot hole), but I think I like that the otherwise happy story doesn't have a perfectly happy magical-cure ending. I also like that Kazran was willing to let 4003 people die not because he was evil but because he just didn't care; I love that even at his most evil point, he had the saving grace that he was, by deliberate choice, not his physically abusive father.

And young Kazran is determined that a shark is worth saving, even the shark that tried to eat them. I adore them for that.

Hmm. That's more than I thought I thought, but I think that's about it. I will say I'm slightly more enthusiastic about the upcoming season after seeing this episode.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth | Comment | comment count unavailable comments
 
 
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skaredykat: snowflakeskaredykat on December 28th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
Hee, my likes and dislikes of the special were similar to yours. (Possibly also of series 5...)
Also, I finally watched the three-part BBC Sherlock series, and a) I'm sorry I didn't watch it before (thinking this modern-day version wouldn't be appealing. Wrong!), b) I am very sorry that Benedict Cumberbatch didn't get tapped for the Eleventh Doctor rather than Matt Smith, and c) I believe you like ace characters and ace (b)romance, yes? If so and you haven't seen Sherlock yet, do check it out... It's got issues, especially ep2, but it's gorgeously shot and the actors are excellent.
michelel72: SGA-Rodney-Mathmichelel72 on January 7th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
It's good to know I'm not alone on series 5. Heh.

Yes, I've seen Sherlock; later than the US airing, but probably a month or two ago now. I liked the first episode best, but yes, the actors are amazing. I've skimmed fic for the series; have you seen these?
The Goodge Street Gambit and the Controversial Non-Holmesian Principle (gen)
The Burning Game (gen)
It Feels Like Home When I'm with You (gen; paranormal)
The Issue of Cuddling (gen; ace cuddling)
Winter's Delights (John/Sherlock explicit; humor)
It's Complicated (explicit gen? Hilarious not-sex)
skaredykat: snowflakeskaredykat on January 7th, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
Indeed, you are so not alone ;)

Oooh, recs, thank you! I somehow (cannot remember breadcrumb-trail) near-instantly found and read and enjoyed all of etothepii's Sherlock fic (even though some would not normally be so much my thing) --besides the psychic!John and werewolf ones, there's a very intriguing/disturbing/interesting His Dark Materials crossover and a BDSM-au series that read more helenish-like than xanthe-like to me...

Many of these are new to me though, yay!! Also, I liked lavvyan's other ace!Sherlock fic a lot, and have you seen mad_maudlin's Apotheosis? Wow! also, wow... (My fave ep of the three was the third one, though I liked 1 a lot also even if in it we were told more than shown what a clever bloke Sherlock is. But for establishing the characters and the Sherlock&John friendship, that first one was ace (in that other/Brit sense, hee). :)

Also, was enthusing to jenna_marianne about Sherlock and the Apotheosis fic, and she has delicious tags for Sherlock... :) (and she often has really good recs)
michelel72: SGA-RodneySam-Readingmichelel72 on January 20th, 2011 06:31 am (UTC)
Oh, wow, "Apotheosis", yes — I didn't recognize it until I clicked through, but absolutely. I'll have to check out the others you've listed. (My to-be-read tag is over 400 already! Noooooo!)
Andrew Greene530nm330hz on December 28th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
Pretty much tracked my reaction. I thought the bit about letting people die because of the lesser evil of apathy was nicely understated --- how many people did *I* let die today because I couldn't be bothered to do more?

I really liked how they turned around the Ghost of the Future.

I was thrown by the "Sherlock" moment with daddy's picture. Please, Mr. Moffat, keep your shows straight.

Definitely wondering, as you do, whether my dislike of Smith's Doctor is actually a dislike of Pond. And Rory. Oy.
michelel72: DW-Doctor-Sadfacemichelel72 on January 20th, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)
Yes, the "Future" bit was very nicely done, I thought.

I think Moffat is mixing the shows deliberately, to be honest. Do you remember that "notice everything!" bit from "Eleventh Hour"? Very much in keeping with "Sherlock", I think.
korilian: Donna Noblekorilian on January 12th, 2011 11:03 am (UTC)
Amy and Rory used to bug the heck out of me for exactly the same reason, but now I've decided they're just involved in a happily unbalanced BDSM relationship. He likes being bossed. She likes being bossy. She's still one of my least favorite companion though. I might like her less then Martha even.
michelel72: DW-Donna-OMGmichelel72 on January 20th, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
I'd buy a humiliation kink if he didn't look so gutted all the time. (Then again, humiliation is a squick for me, so.)

Aww, I like Martha. I'd probably rank my favorites in order as Donna, Sarah Jane (yes even as a part-timer dammit), Wilf (oh, if only!), Martha, Jack ... and I guess everybody else after that. Heh.