Welcome back! With Christmas coming up next Wednesday, I thought I’d focus on one of Doctor Who’s takes on the holiday. While Matt Smith still has one final special under his belt, there are three others that precede it. While I enjoyed the previous two, “The Snowmen” and “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” (although I consider the latter to be the weakest one), my favorite will always be his first outing, “A Christmas Carol.”
Yes, you read that right. Doctor Who did their own take of the classic tale, albeit with a few twists and timey wimey-ness attached. I watched the special during my big marathon of the New Who series and was in love with it once it finished. Even now, I still consider it one of my favorite adaptations of the story, up there with the likes of the timeless Disney version. And while I’m not doing a traditional review of the episode, I would like to reflect on it a little.
Basically, the Doctor helps an old, Scrooge-like man named Kazran learn the value of Christmas with the use of confrontations involving love and childhood. I remember feeling like everyone acted their butts off, even Amy and Rory who had a pretty minor role than usual. The special captured the joy and warmth of Christmas while still feeling like a Doctor Who episode, mixing goofy humor with serious moments. And it was easily one of the best-looking episodes, catching that Christmas feel with the use of nighttime and snow. The music was also haunting, allowing for some really beautiful, serene moments.
One thing that’s been a reoccurring theme in these specials is the Doctor’s love for the holiday, and it really is cemented in the first special. Sure, the 11th Doctor himself acts like a big kid from time to time, but you really get to see it when he gets into the holiday spirit. He just enjoys playing the Ghosts to give this old man some Christmas cheer. It really is one of the best shows to have these specials, because the Doctor can bring so much joy and gravitas no matter what occurs in them.
And not everything goes smoothly in “A Christmas Carol.” Amy and Rory pretty much end up in danger early on, and the Doctor inadvertently causes Kazran’s future grumpy nature when he introduces love to his youthful self. It’s not all cut and dry like many other adaptions. While I can’t say I didn’t expect it (c’mon, it’s Doctor Who), it was a refreshing thing to see and much appreciated. It makes the special stand out from the many others out there aside from being connected to Doctor Who.
This is a special that I regret not seeing when it debuted, but now I’m glad I can say I have. I’d gladly make it a yearly Christmas tradition from here on out, and I look forward to seeing what Capaldi’s Doctor will give us next Christmas.