Christmas specials

This post will be spoiler-centric, so look away now if this bothers you…

Yes, I know Christmas has been and gone. I am painfully aware of this, as the holidays are about to end and I’m about to go back to uni for another term of exams and hard work. But as I enjoy one of my last days of freedom wrapped in a blanket with a huge mug of tea and watching the Doctor Who Christmas special, I’m reminded that I never commented on one of the greatest aspects of the festive season – Christmas television.

Well, I say ‘Christmas television’. I mean the two big ones – Doctor Who and Downton Abbey. One was more well-received than the other in my household, I’ll tell you. So let’s build up to a better finale by discussing Downton first. Oh Downton. I do love you. I truly do. As a previous post will tell you I have loved you since I first came across your soapy plotlines and fabulous period setting in a chance encounter. But you broke my heart when I watched your special this year and now I don’t think I can trust you again. Yes, we saw it coming a mile off and yes, everyone loves a bit of drama, but NOT ON CHRISTMAS DAY. NOT MATTHEW. It was too much to bear. Fortunately, as it was Christmas, there was enough chocolate to drown our sorrows in.

Doctor Who, though. The main event in Christmas television (certainly for my dad and I, anyway). My opinions towards Christmas specials are generally well-known among my friends – they’re too saccharine (although not if it’s the 2012 special of Downton Abbey), nothing ever happens, etc etc. I was certainly happy, not to mention relieved, that this year’s Who special was a step away from the overly-cute format we’re normally fed on Christmas Day. For starters a pivotal character died in it. Several times. So yes, we enjoyed Doctor Who. For several crucial reasons which I’ll go on to list (after spending my holiday writing essays I’ve evidently done too much and now I can’t think in proper sentences):

  1. Nods to past episodes and other magnificent things:
    Yes. I yelped whenever Sherlock Holmes was mentioned. I’m not particularly ashamed. Although that wasn’t the only reference I enjoyed (even if some of them might actually be imagined).  For instance, were those Amy’s reading glasses I saw? I do hope so. Even if they weren’t I’ll pretend they are for the sake of remembering Amy and Rory.
  2. The dialogue exchanges:
    Two scenes will stick out for being wonderful exchanges of wit and dramatic tension (ignoring all the Doctor/Clara stuff, which deserves a whole other point on its own): Vastra/Clara and the Doctor/Simian. The former for its magnificent ‘one-word’ answers and the latter for, well, the Sherlock references.
  3. The bad joke:
    “It takes one to snow one”? SERIOUSLY? I love a bad joke. This was a Christmas present in itself.
  4. The Doctor/Clara relationship:
    Tempestuous and cheeky and funny. It’ll be a good one. Y’know, when he actually finds some form of her that isn’t a mad Dalek/dead.
  5. The characterisation:
    Angry Doctor. Sad Doctor. Happy Doctor. All good (although possibly not in the right sense of the word) Doctors. Additionally, I love the character of Clara. Den of Geek and their great article about her have reminded me of that. She’s strong-minded, she’s fiery, and she is baffling. She also likes soufflés, which according to one of my friends is an extremely important quality in a person.

Bring on the return of the series in April!


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