Who! Who! Who! Merry Christmas!
December 24, 2012 2:28 AM   Subscribe

This year's festive Doctor Who Christmas episode will feature a new companion, a new theme tune and title sequence and a new look to the Tardis interior! But look out for those scary Snowmen!

If you want to get in the mood, and you've not done so already, check out the Advent sorry Adventure Calendar, that features a new short story Houdini and The Space Cuckoos (Parts 1, 2, 3 Pdf Part 4 to come) (Previously)

And incidentally a Happy Christmas to all of you at home!
posted by fearfulsymmetry (121 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, wow - that actress and character were in the one recent episode I've seen and I said to myself that she'd make an awesome companion.
posted by XMLicious at 4:28 AM on December 24, 2012


Fan video: How the Doctor Puppet Saved Christmas
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:03 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, okay, yeah, I remember her. Like XML, I was thinking they really should be bringing her along, although the outcome of that episode made it fairly difficult.

They let her sparkle enough during her scenes that she won't feel out of place at all. I should have picked up that she was going to be the next Companion, but for some reason, I thought Amy and Rory would last the season out.
posted by Malor at 5:28 AM on December 24, 2012


I love the new TARDIS interior, it's finally going to look more like a proper TARDIS again. It's unfortunate that they are using Vastra and her silly gang in this one, but Christmas special has come to mean silly romp with the Willy Wonka Doctor so what cen you expect.
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:11 AM on December 24, 2012


Very much looking forward to watching this tomorrow night. I, too, was won-over by Louise-Coleman's performance in the Dalek asylum episode. It struck me as an unusually strong performance for a guest actor, and felt like it was more of a sneak-peak for her. She just might help me get-over my sadness of no more Amy.

I'm iffy about the new Tardis interior. To me, it's a bit too...tech-y. Those bright blue rings on the walls are way too distracting. Personally, I'd love to see more scenes in other areas of the Tardis. I recall episodes during the Baker years where they had scenes in all manner of different areas, and not just in the control room. It seems to me that the only time we saw other areas of the Tardis recently, it's been mostly spaceship-ish halls.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:46 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thorzdad-

The interior seems to be reaching back to the earlier parts of the show. The interiors prior to the relaunch were very techy. I agree on wanting to see more of the Tardis, especially the library (with or without swimming pool included).
posted by Hactar at 6:52 AM on December 24, 2012


The interior seems to be reaching back to the earlier parts of the show.
Yes, I get that. It's just that I honestly never cared for those earlier interiors. They're too obvious, design-wise. I've much preferred the newer pseudo-organic interiors.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:04 AM on December 24, 2012


They should have left her a Dalek, that would have been brill.
posted by Artw at 7:29 AM on December 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


The pseuduo-organic interiors were one of the many problems with the re-launch. If I want to see an organic ship that's Moya from Farscape. The TARDIS interior should look "techy", like a space ship.

Also they told us that Louise-Coleman was going to be the new companion before the Dalek episode even aired. I'm surprised by the number of people I've heard from who were surprised she would be back in this episode.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:32 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, have they got rid of all the tacked on toy telephones and other garbage?
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on December 24, 2012


Oh, have they got rid of all the tacked on toy telephones and other garbage?
That crap was about the only thing I didn't like in the new interiors.

I would also like to see them dial-down the manic-acting, rapid-yelling, always-running stuff. I know that's a pipe-dream, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:57 AM on December 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


The TARDIS interior should look "techy", like a space ship.

This may make me a bad person, but I want to see the Leopard Skin desktop theme TARDIS, and not just hear about it.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:59 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually kind of preferred the Fourth Doctor's secondary console room.

I also disagree that it ought to look techy; I mean, the whole thing about the TARDIS is that it's supposed to be able to look like absolutely anything he wants it to. The same way he dresses like a historical Earth figure instead of in any of the clothing you see Time Lords wearing on Gallifrey, you'd think he'd do his interior decoration on the same sort of motifs.

The background image of tardis.wikia.com has already been changed to show Jenna Louise-Coleman.
posted by XMLicious at 8:01 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A ship... a living ship.... that you make go by hitting a rubber duck with a mallet and squeezing an acccordian box.
posted by Artw at 8:05 AM on December 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


The secondary control room was great, and much better than the re-launch control room. It looked like Gallifreian architecture. Also the Chameleon circuit changes the outward appearance of the TARDIS, it doesn't make the inside look like whatever you want.
Also the most important reason it should look that way, is because that is how it looked in the original material. :-P
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:12 AM on December 24, 2012


I'm looking forward to Eleven and Clara/Oswin/whoever she actually is, because even though they didn't (arguably) physically meet in Asylum of the Daleks they seemed to instantly click as a pairing in a way that really reminds me of Seven and Ace in terms of similar energy.

(There was a moment in AotD when I also thought the Doctor was getting a smart-arse hacker genius Dalek as a companion and for a giddy ten seconds that was the best ever thing in the history of Who.)
posted by toadflax at 8:40 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also the Chameleon circuit changes the outward appearance of the TARDIS, it doesn't make the inside look like whatever you want.

I wasn't talking about the Chameleon Circuit; there doesn't seem to be a specific name for the changes in the interior but they happen fairly frequently - see the Wikia article on Architectural Configuration, for example.
posted by XMLicious at 8:59 AM on December 24, 2012


I know this isn't going to be a popular opinion, but the interior of 8 is my hands down favorite, with the 1st a close second, then 11.

I have a feeling there will be many more call outs to the original series, in addition to the interior, that we're going to see in the upcoming episodes.
posted by kmartino at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah I'm all for seeing more of the Tardis... like compaions's bedrooms, that would be cool... er, maybe yeah
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:27 AM on December 24, 2012


You've changed the desktop theme, haven't you?

Count me among those who think it doesn't need to be 'techy' in some way that we would recognize as such; the TARDIS may be a technological device wrapped around a time vortex but that device doesn't have to look like something you'd get at The Sharper Image; or even need to be made of normal matter. He seems to be able to modify it at will -- see also the way he repaired it when he intersected the spacegoing Titanic -- it pretty much flowed back into shape when he turned a crank.

I'd always supposed that the rubber duck and toy telephones were the result of hasty repairs and hacks made on technologically backward planets. Kind of like the timey-wimey detector.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:00 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't mind the 'other garbage'. I just assumed it was stuff that had been assimilated from Amy's shed to aid with the rebuilding, which struck me as tremendously practical.
posted by Sparx at 10:02 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


George, I don't think any of that is points in favor. That Children in Need short is very silly, especially the whole desktop theme crap. Timey-wimey should be forever forgot. It's not that the Doctor can modify the TARDIS at will, it's that RTD thought he could modify Doctor Who at will and Moffatt has followed along.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:36 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like XML, I was thinking they really should be bringing her along

I really need to start reading whole threads--including usernames--before skipping around and reading individual posts. I thought for a minute that you were making a point with some kind of obscure computer-based metaphor.

"Like Python, I really needed to go buy some grapefruit."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:36 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Sorry, XML, you're too bulky to ride in my box. JSON is my main squeeze and monster bait now!"
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


You should bring some XML wherever you go because you never know when you might need it. Also a towel and a sonic screwdriver.
posted by XMLicious at 10:52 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


That Children in Need short is very silly,

And the series is otherwise not silly? I've decided just for myself that all the charity specials are canon. That way I can say that my favorite Doctors are Rowan Atkinson and of course Joanna Lumley.

it's that RTD thought he could modify Doctor Who at will and Moffatt has followed along.

And John Nathan-Turner didn't? Move the goalposts around to suit your personal tastes enough and the pitch might as well be a pegboard. Every fan sees things to like or dislike in the things a given curator did. Personally I loved the classic Who at the time but now find it unwatchable; much better as a remembered experience than reexperienced. But I'm not claiming to be "right" about that, or that someone who feels differently is "wrong".
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:53 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mainly when I think JNT I think "awful show killing episodes", so there's a number of senses to the word "classic".
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on December 24, 2012


If you haven't see it yet, a model Tardis that's bigger on the inside than the outside.
posted by Hartster at 11:06 AM on December 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not excited about this sterile new TARDIS interior (not a fan of the console rooms from the old series either, sorry) but I imagine there's much more to it than what we're seeing in the one picture.

It sounds like they're tying the redesign to the Doctor's post-Ponds emotional state, too, which I am very in favor of. Eleven could use a bit of melodrama.
posted by greenland at 1:21 PM on December 24, 2012


Once again, as far as I'm concerned, The Curse of Fatal Death is canon....

And really, there has never been any question that the New Who CiN stuff is in fact canon, such as that meeting of doctors Five and Ten. Several of them have actually incorporated clear transitions to Christmas Specials and so forth, so you'd have to untangle that particular skein if you wanted to de-canonize them.

You have to know timey-wimey is the perfect way to handle canon in the Whoniverse. There really isn't a whole lot of consistency even in old Who (witness the "UNIT dating controversy"). If you're going to argue that Moffatt or RTD started mucking with canon, they're just the latest in a (modestly) long line. Oh, the howls at the sonic screwdriver!

I can see the appeal in an old-school sort of TARDIS interior, but one of the things I liked about the new one was how little it looked like a spaceship. And I think the question of whether the TARDIS is essentially organic has been conclusively answered.

Anyway, I still pine for the return of Georgia Moffett, though Tennant seems to have solid hold on her at the moment. ;-) But yeah, if I can voice my own complaint, it is that I've had it with these cheesy Doctor-Companion romantic tension arcs. I don't think they even really exorcised it during the Amy-Rory era. I'd be up for some Sherlock-style male bonding, even, and despite the existence of actual male Companions in the reboot, nobody really fits that bill. And while we're at it there are subtler ways to incorporate LGBT in Who than the juvenile way they play on it here. Still, I expect a fun romp and undisturbed loyalty to Who in the New Year. Smith has been an utterly fantastic Doctor as far as I'm concerned.
posted by dhartung at 4:34 PM on December 24, 2012


Strax Sings all your Christmas favourites ... with a twist!

Also: Dalekmania of the 1960s with I'm Going To Spend My Christmas With A Dalek, and in the early 1980s K-9 sung carols!

Bonus: Christmas Songs of the Doctor Who Writers
posted by Mezentian at 5:05 PM on December 24, 2012


If you're going to worry about canon Who has got to be either the worst show Or the best show.
posted by Artw at 5:06 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm down with what I can see of the new TARDIS control room.
But Doctor Who sneers at your puny earth attempts at canon.
posted by Mezentian at 5:07 PM on December 24, 2012


It is time to shut down this argument about canon before it even starts, because there is no Doctor Who canon.
posted by mightygodking at 8:19 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad that we're getting a new TARDIS interior without duckies and I'm glad we're getting more Madame Vastra, who is awesome. Would watch a whole show about her.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:16 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh my, Clara... and that's all I can really say without massive spoilers.
posted by toadflax at 10:50 AM on December 25, 2012


[EMERGENCY REMOVE FROM ACTIVITY]
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on December 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Now that was fun.

And Clara, oh my indeed.
For every conceivable meaning of oh (and my).
posted by fullerine at 2:19 PM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was hugely entertaining. There's some clever dialogue - and Strax gets all the best lines :)

Great new version of the theme tune. Plus the decision to ditch the steampunk console was a wise one.

Clara was brilliant - and I'd better say no more than that.
posted by panboi at 4:32 PM on December 25, 2012


I didn't find it hugely satisfying as an episode unto itself but in terms of setting things up for the series to come it was a lot of fun.
posted by MUD at 4:50 PM on December 25, 2012


That was great fun, and silly, and perfectly Christmassy. I love the nod to the older openings, with that little moment of the Doctor's face. I rolled my eyes a bit at the Sherlock nods, but liked them despite myself.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find and read every single even halfway decent Madame Vastra fanfic ever written, because SHE IS SO AWESOME. Clara shmara, are there still rumours of a Vastra spinoff?
posted by kalimac at 6:38 PM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rewatching "Parliamentary Democracy of the Daleks" earlier today I was convinced that Oswin would turn out to be the new companion at the end of her timeline. Many of her lines (long story; I don't know, I've never met you; run, you clever boy) seemed designed to have an ironic-tragic double meaning later. It seems like they've decided to go in another ghosty-whosty direction with it instead, though, about which I reserve the right to be totally skeptical.

Moffat's infatuation with the "Doctor? Doctor WHO?" gag seems more and more like a way to claim a proprietary ownership over the entire series -- ie, the whole show has been building up to and culminates in his current plot lines. It seems, I don't know, unsporting somehow. I guess being the showrunner for the 50th anniversary year will do that to you.

Fun episode, despite those anxieties.
posted by gerryblog at 7:30 PM on December 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I rather liked the bit where a smart companion with height issues was tested by a Doctor with an umbrella. Nice shout out.

Yeah, it was fun. Vastra/Jenny FTW.
posted by toadflax at 8:18 PM on December 25, 2012


I like Clara. I kinda want her and the trio of awesome to travel with the Doctor for the rest of the season.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:31 PM on December 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I thought the Strax comic relief could have been corny but was brilliantly played by Dan Starkey.
posted by fullerine at 9:29 PM on December 25, 2012


Scally Mary Pawpins companion would ALMOST be as good as Dalek companion.
posted by Artw at 11:56 PM on December 25, 2012


Vastra should be the new companion. Why do all the companions have to be human anyway? If not Vastra, how about an Ood? Oods are good. Love an Ood.
posted by homunculus at 12:03 AM on December 26, 2012


Royal Mail reveals Doctor Who stamps
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:58 AM on December 26, 2012


Oh and that was the best Christmas special they have done so far, imho.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:03 AM on December 26, 2012


I just watched this, and it ranks among the best Christmas episodes ever, because it's an episode with Christmas.

AND I PICKED THE SPOILERY BIT SO EARLY ON (and wasn't that trowelled on like Marzipan?), and I feel it will have some impact on a later episode, and for how long Clara hangs around.

Indeed, I did my "Motherfucking Macra" dance. It's like crabcore, but it was invented when I watched Gridlock and was very drunk.

Strax was awesome. It's not perfect (what Who is), and the new Control Room is snug, but I give this episode an A for Awesome. I did want to see more Snowmen killing. If I had kids they would sleep tonight.
posted by Mezentian at 4:51 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm also a bit of a fan of the new titles.
A FACE!
I didn't mind the old arrangement, but I think it made me think the Silence were going to turn out to be more of a threat then... why did the TARDIS explode again?
posted by Mezentian at 5:40 AM on December 26, 2012


What a great episode! Sets up a very interesting dynamic for the upcoming season. I liked the ensemble nature of the episode with Vastra/Jenny/Strax/Clara as real teammates for the Doctor. The memory worm stuff between the Doctor and Strax was hilarious. "I think I've been run over by a cab!"
posted by Rock Steady at 5:43 AM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Strax is awesome.But who returned him to life?
An old friend? Was it Rose?
I think that life has resonsance beyond handwaving.

I have a theory:
Oswald -> Kennedy assassination-> 50th
A CERTAIN DATE.
Annual US shooting.

Tell me I'm not crazy.
posted by Mezentian at 5:50 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mezentian: Ooh, that's good.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:59 AM on December 26, 2012


Mezentian! Clara's headstone in 1892 states she was born on 23 November 1866!

Double anniversary reference action!
posted by leotrotsky at 6:01 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually kind of preferred the Fourth Doctor's secondary console room.

Oh god yes! That was my favorite hands down, had a very H.G. Wells Time Machine feel to it, and the episodes were some of my favorites, feeling like a Hammer Film each time.

Kind of wondering if they will call the Great Intelligence what he was called before, Yog Sothoth, but i doubt it.

Kind of getting tired of the mary sue type companions with mysteries. There was a kind of empathy with characters who were like us that get to go on adventures we can't. The fourth wall blinking in the dalek episode where she said "remember me" as she looked right in the camera made me roll my eyes so hard, and i can't believe people didn't know she would appear again. I like her as an actress, but the character is already starting to wear on me. Let me guess, she will die each episode, or close to, and he will search for her each time again. Ugh. Moffatt can be good, but the man doesn't know how to write these kinds of things, like how they put the cracks in time in that season, but they had no real point in the episodes besides a couple.
posted by usagizero at 6:25 AM on December 26, 2012


Kind of wondering if they will call the Great Intelligence what he was called before, Yog Sothoth, but i doubt it.

The books don't count, and this suggests no, and that the Great Intelligence was neither great nor intelligent. I would like to see a sequel to TAS.

Kind of getting tired of the mary sue type companions with mysteries.

Same.

Let me guess, she will die each episode, or close to, and he will search for her each time again.

I think you are wrong. I think she will die for the last time (or live, for the first time) on November 23, 2013.
posted by Mezentian at 6:42 AM on December 26, 2012


It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Clara Oswin Oswald turns out to be a trap - the kind of 'impossible' trap the Doctor absolutely cannot resist. And a trap not just for the Doctor, but also deliberately for the viewers. 'Remember me', indeed. The fourth wall is very, very rarely broken in Who.
posted by toadflax at 6:50 AM on December 26, 2012


Every week, the blue diamond tunnel pulled me into a realm of sheer dread. And every week, it climaxed with an unholy tearing sound, as though the world were being ripped apart by the fear, and then you were chucked back into the blue diamond again, returned to your ordinary life.

If you weren’t scared of Doctor Who as a child, you missed out on a crucial experience
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:15 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't wait for Moffat to be off this show as equally as I couldn't wait for RTD to leave. Is there any news that Moffat's days are numbered? The first few episodes he did were quite good, just like the first season of Sherlock was, but now, it's absolute American network television quality awful, as was the second season of Sherlock.

The tone of the show reminds me of that awful Star Trek film where Data says "Lock and load" and Picard has so much "fun" driving a dune buggy. I really despise the hey audience, we're going to make sure you know we're having fun and are wonderful by shoving it in your face and out your ass style the show has taken on. I guess the children's show thing is being taken to heart.
posted by juiceCake at 7:30 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're allowed to stop watching it, you know.
posted by Artw at 7:37 AM on December 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think Moffat is great at character moments (though his fondness for the Ponds has worn soooo thin), but awful at plotting. His plots make no sense. Really. No sense. They're not even handwavium!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:42 AM on December 26, 2012


Royal Mail reveals Doctor Who stamps
posted by Artw at 8:41 AM on December 26, 2012


I could not agree more Gerryblog. It is time to seriously quit it with the whole Doctor Who?! business.

I've always liked the fact that the show is called Doctor Who, but no one ever really asks that or calls him that. Except they have now, ALL THE TIME!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:08 AM on December 26, 2012


What do you know, you're just this guy, y'know?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:09 AM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Really dig the new interior.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on December 26, 2012


No Yeti. I am disappoint!
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:44 AM on December 26, 2012


The wooden TARDIS linked above was my favourite too. It was only used for one season, because (a friend with inside information told me) they stored it for the off-season under a leaky roof, and it got wet and moldy and warped. Sadness! Loved it in Robots Of Death.

Re Oswin: the actress is excellent and the character is interesting, but I've got a sinking feeling that her sole function will be to die repeatedly and cause emo moments for the Doctor.

Vastra, Jenny and Strax forever.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:54 AM on December 26, 2012


If you've not seen it already you should totally check out Songtaran Carols.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:43 AM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


That was ...lovely. I think.
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:19 AM on December 26, 2012


Vastra, Jenny and Strax forever.

The world needs a spinoff show of their adventures.

but I've got a sinking feeling that her sole function will be to die repeatedly and cause emo moments for the Doctor.

I think he's realized she comes back and so he's not too broken up by her deaths now.
posted by drezdn at 12:31 PM on December 26, 2012


Poor old Rory.
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're allowed to stop watching it, you know.

I'm aware of that but thanks. I've also heard I can get a Mac, an iPhone, and clue too. All wonderful advice that I much appreciate but am aware of. I find it difficult and rather ridiculous to be critical of something, positive or negative, without having a look see. Clearly I'm not an emo guy.

What do you know, you're just this guy, y'know?

Now Zaphod was a fun guy without shoving it in your face. His psychologist looked to be great fun as well.
posted by juiceCake at 1:46 PM on December 26, 2012


I'm all for a critical appraisal, but I would agree with ArtW in that if all you have to say amounts to "I hate Moffat, he is poop and everything he touches turns to poop." then yeah maybe you should stop watching Moffat's stuff.

Like the new interior, although I am partial to superfluous: knobs, dials, levers, large electical switches, oscilloscopes, reel to reels, and some electrical Jacob's Ladder action. Even the most recent Fringe had some going on. It's sciencey!

As far as the episode goes, I thought it was fantastic. The direction and photography was brilliant and Moffat's dialogue is snappy and moves right along.

Kind of getting tired of the mary sue type companions with mysteries.

I wanted to get a grasp on what this was about so I looked it up and learned that it is the most pointless thing to say about a female character.

My take was that Clara is Echo, and the Doctor is Narcissus. There were several allusions and references back to the fable and I'm curious to see if Moffat uses, and expands, that allegory to flesh out their whole relationship. Perhaps one way to consider it is the Doctor is constantly searching for his complimentary; a Yin to his Yang. He could easily go adventuring with the wacky threesome but none of them are apparently companion material and I think there is a reason for that. At least according to how Moffat views it, and I'm all right with that and his choices.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:27 PM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Great episode, but quite possibly the most confusing and unintelligible antagonist ever. I understood pretty much nothing about that carnivorous telepathic snow.
posted by painquale at 6:15 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah. They could have replaced all of the dialog regarding the Great Intelligence with Charlie Brown's teacher's "Wah wah wahwah wah wah" and not made any less sense. Reminded me of the black cubes episode that way.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:35 PM on December 26, 2012


I understood pretty much nothing about that carnivorous telepathic snow.

It's the Fungi from Yog Soggoth. It exists to exist and take over everything.
It might make no sense, but that's Lovecraft for you.
posted by Mezentian at 7:42 PM on December 26, 2012


Moffat's infatuation with the "Doctor? Doctor WHO?" gag

Hate. This. Gag. SO MUCH.

I am intrigued by COO as companion, but I hope that her storyline takes a dark turn. The Doctor needs a Moriarty.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:04 PM on December 26, 2012


Moffat's infatuation with the "Doctor? Doctor WHO?" gag seems more and more like a way to claim a proprietary ownership over the entire series...

I don't think so. Or at least, I hope it's just him being thinking that it's still funny when it's not. He did try to make "Geronimo" a catch phrase after all. He can be very wrong about that sort of thing.

The Doctor needs a Moriarty.

Isn't that the Master?
posted by Gary at 9:08 PM on December 26, 2012


Yes, but the Master's gone, trapped in the timelock with the rest of the Time Lords (for now?).
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:12 PM on December 26, 2012


This episode had a moment of absolute fridge brilliance for me today, I gotta say. The Doctor learns her name, tells her it's a nice name and to keep it. Later observes that she doesn't listen when he tells her what to do. When she meets him in Asylum, she's dropped Clara as a name completely. Pretty cool.

(That kind of attention to detail always makes me like Moffat more than perhaps I should as I know, as I said upthread, that his plotting is awful. Because it's clever, really clever.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:22 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't like the Oswin character. Manic Pixie Dream Girl all the way. There might as well be a neon sign over her head blinking QUIRK QUIRK AM I NOT CHARMINGLY QUIRKY AND TWEE. It just felt... forced.

Also, the Doctor's married. Back the fuck off, Oswin.
posted by Windigo at 11:17 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


There might as well be a neon sign over her head blinking QUIRK QUIRK AM I NOT CHARMINGLY QUIRKY AND TWEE.

I think it's time to retire the Manic Pixie Dream Girl meme, which at this point is threatening to surpass "Mary Sue" as synonymic for "girl character I don't like."
posted by mightygodking at 11:28 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not to mention that the Doctor has served as a Manic Pixie Dream Boy on several occasions, especially in the reboot. Poor Rose the shop girl, if only an eccentric love interest could let her travel the universe and show her that she is so very important.
posted by Gary at 12:30 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


All of the criticisms of New Who can be answered with: "What's wrong with silly?"
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:33 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


which at this point is threatening to surpass "Mary Sue" as synonymic for "girl character I don't like."

But then we'd have to retire Gary Sue.
posted by Mezentian at 1:50 AM on December 27, 2012


The Gallifreycrumb Tinies. Some old school mixed in with the new.
posted by Mezentian at 1:59 AM on December 27, 2012


My favourite bit of Madame Vastra art, from the 2012 BBC Doctor Who Brilliant Book
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:15 AM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Okay, I recognise Kroton the Ninja Cyberman, but who is the blue dude?

Also, I rewatched it, and the theory that Clara is a trap holds up well.
posted by Mezentian at 4:16 AM on December 27, 2012


brilliantmistake: that is fucking brilliant. no mistake about it.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:22 AM on December 27, 2012


I think it's time to retire the Manic Pixie Dream Girl meme, which at this point is threatening to surpass "Mary Sue" as synonymic for "girl character I don't like."
posted by mightygodking


ZINGER! Except not.

Oswin isn't a MPDG because I dislike her; I dislike her because her introduction was so overly MPDG it was grating. She was textbook, right down to inspiring the Male Lead to grasp life with her zest and mystery. I didn't like Martha much, either, and she wasn't a MPDG.

Obviously every companion has to be zesty; there's a reason homebodies don't run off with the doctor to explore all of space and time. But none of the other companions have lacked personality the way this one has. I found Amy troublesome at times, but at least she was shown, from her introduction, as a layered character with positive as well as negative traits.

So if you dislike the idea of the MPDG, join the club. So do I. But don't dismiss it, that's not very helpful. I hope they flesh Oswin out and she's not just this plucky paper-thin character he chases from episode to episode. If they go that route, I think her character will have the same issues the Dollhouse series seemed to have - when a character changes every episode without memory, you can't really build upon it.
posted by Windigo at 6:34 AM on December 27, 2012


I like Oswin because she has agency. She does things, rather than standing around asking questions/flirting. Already, she has her own life that's independent from the men around her (in fact, she has several). They tried to spin Amy the same way early on--she liked to open locked doors--but never followed through with it.

I found Amy to be a fairly thin character except for her relationships to the men around her, by the way. She didn't have strong motivations to do anything. The jobs she had weren't particularly tied to her interests because we never saw her particularly enjoy anything. Contrast Rory, who is defined by his nurturing nature and is, therefore, a nurse. Amy never quite lived up to the potential of the little girl we saw in The Eleventh Hour--the one who wove stories and drew pictures and wanted to run away with a mad man. Amy as an adult was instead defined again and again by her love for two men, Rory and the Doctor. Which is fine, I guess, but it's not particularly deep.

Oswin, on the other hand, is already established to be clever (in fact, a genius), challenging (doesn't do what she's told), charismatic, hard working, impulsive, nurturing and dedicated.

I'd wager that every other companion was pretty thin two episodes in. That's not to say that Moffat might not botch it. Despite my fondness for River Song, I don't love the way he spun her character in the end. Likewise, Amy. But there's no reason Oswin won't be as strong as Martha or Donna or even Rose. Decrying her as either a Mary Sue or a MPDG seems like premature haterade, frankly. And feels a bit sexist.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:22 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't see anything remotely sexist in disliking a character because thus far she has exemplified sexist character tropes.
posted by Windigo at 7:42 AM on December 27, 2012


On the "Doctor Who" gag: maybe it's just because I see Moffat doing that across his approach to running the series. Since taking over he's aged the Doctor several hundred years, such that his time with Amy and Rory as his primary companions is now between a third and a quarter of his career, and when Amy and Rory left the show the Doctor quit Doctoring altogether for a long while to sulk. And that's putting aside the growing importance of River Song (another Moffat creation) as arguably the central figure in the Doctor's entire life, and so on.

It rubs me the wrong way -- his approach seems disrespectful both of the earlier portions of the franchise and of the people who will run the show when he's done with it. It's the Doctor show, not the Stephen Moffat show. He's only borrowing it.
posted by gerryblog at 7:43 AM on December 27, 2012


Whatever you want to call Oswin, the Doctor doesn't need more companions who rapid fire flirty zingers back and forth with him constantly.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:50 AM on December 27, 2012


I think Jenny Flint and Vastra would be excellent companions *dreamy sigh*.
posted by Windigo at 7:51 AM on December 27, 2012


I don't see anything remotely sexist in disliking a character because thus far she has exemplified sexist character tropes.

Except she hasn't. Oswin clearly has a life outside the Doctor and seems to be pursuing him to satisfy her own curiosity, not to enrich his life. In one of the two episodes we've seen, her death doesn't even do that. You're cherry picking to favor your own interpretation.

It rubs me the wrong way -- his approach seems disrespectful both of the earlier portions of the franchise and of the people who will run the show when he's done with it. It's the Doctor show, not the Stephen Moffat show. He's only borrowing it.

The same could be said of RTD. I was thinking about the companion-as-audience-avatar, and it seems that to some extent, both show runners began to identify with their initial companions so strongly that they became unable to say goodbye. Narratively, the Ponds' story could have ended perfectly at the end of season six. The extended goodbye was mawkish. I've heard Rose's second conclusion, with the Doctor clone, and her own TARDIS, referred to as a fanfic ending. That seems apt to me. Sentimentality seems to get in the way of proper closure--I'm very glad that the Ponds are in a time locked NYC and seem set to not return, because otherwise, I'm sure we'd get Amy popping up again and again. I wonder if each new show runner will give us a new MOST IMPORTANT COMPANION EVAR.

Even though I'm pretty stoked about Oswin, I would genuinely like to see the Doctor travel with Strax, Vastra, and Jenny (and maybe Oswin, too). I'm a little tired of the romantic relationships between the Doctor and companions. Makes him seem a little like a dirty old man. Plus, I love the dynamic when multiple people travel with him. Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan were great. Wish we could have that again.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:10 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm very glad that the Ponds are in a time locked NYC and seem set to not return, because otherwise, I'm sure we'd get Amy popping up again and again.

The sole reason that plot ended in the weird way it did is so she can come back for the reunion next year. Hopefully that will be the end of it...

What you said about Rose and fanfic is so true. I "bought" that plot well enough but it's definitely a refusal of the usual logic of the Companions. Which is odd, because RTD was more aggressive than most in deconstructing just how abusive and one-sided the relationship between the Doctor and his companions actually is.
posted by gerryblog at 8:14 AM on December 27, 2012


I agree with PhoBWan -- the Doctor's relationships with his companions in NuWho have been... too much. Considering this is a man who intentionally ditched his own granddaughter on an Earth ravaged by a Dalek invasion, I have a hard time believing that he'd freaking RETIRE after Amy and Rory.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:16 AM on December 27, 2012


The sole reason that plot ended in the weird way it did is so she can come back for the reunion next year. Hopefully that will be the end of it...

Oh god, are you kidding me? I know KG has said she didn't want to return. Pity the poor companion who is traveling with the Doctor at the time (just like I did Donna, when Rose popped back up).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:21 AM on December 27, 2012


For reals though, Donna was the best. 10 desperately needed someone to temper his crazypantsness, and she paid like the saddest price of all the new companions for it.

I do agree that Oswin seems like a trap - a companion who is both an irresistible impossible mystery and can't plunge him back into guilt and depression by dying? Too good to be true. You'd think the typical villains wouldn't want him back in action since he's already off the board, all wallowing in misery and not interfering. So it's gotta be something personal. Or, since it's the 50th anniversary year, maybe this is another iteration of the Doctor steering 11 towards a goal with something he knows he can't resist?
posted by jason_steakums at 8:57 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


The sole reason that plot ended in the weird way it did is so she can come back for the reunion next year. Hopefully that will be the end of it...

Please no! Moffat has quite an annoying habit of introducing brilliant and energising new characters into Who and then having them so overstay their welcome that you forget what was ever great about them (hello River!).

Clara/Oswin was great in this but there are loads of interesting ways they could have gone with an 11/Vastra/Jenny/Strax team for a few stories.
posted by brilliantmistake at 9:23 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oof! I was trying to forget the clumsy shuffling stage left of the Ponds. There were some great ideas in that story, but that wasn't one of them (see also the Statue Of Liberty as an angel).

Add my vote to a Vastra, Jenny, Strax as companions idea!
posted by panboi at 9:29 AM on December 27, 2012


Some random thoughts for the conspiracy minded:

Vg nyjnlf ortvaf jvgu gur fnzr dhrfgvba: "Qbpgbe jub?"

Ur arire xabjf ubj, ur bayl xabjf jub.

Gur Svefg Dhrfgvba, gur dhrfgvba gung zhfg arire or nafjrerq, vf "Qbpgbe jub?"

Bfjva renfrq gur Qbpgbe sebz gur Qnyrx'f uvfgbel.

Ure oveguqnl vf Abirzore 23, 1866 -- 97 lrnef orsber gur svefg rcvfbqr bs QJ nverq.

Fur qvrq ba Qrprzore 24, 1892, ng ntr 26. QJ jnf svefg pnapryrq va 1989, nsgre orvat ba gur nve sbe 26 lrnef.

Nabgure Bfjnyq, Yrr Uneirl, xvyyrq Xraarql ba Abirzore 22, 1963, gur qnl orsber gur svefg rcvfbqr bs QJ nverq.

Ba gur svryqf bs Geramnyber, ng gur snyy bs gur ryriragu, jura ab yvivat perngher pna fcrnx snyfryl be snvy gb nafjre, n Dhrfgvba jvyy or nfxrq, n dhrfgvba gung zhfg arire, rire or nafjrerq.

Vg nyjnlf ortvaf jvgu gur fnzr dhrfgvba: "Qbpgbe jub?"

Jvyy PBB pnhfr gur snyy bs gur 11gu? Fzvgu unf fnvq gung ur'yy or cynlvat QJ guebhtu ng yrnfg 2014, fb ur'yy tb cnfg gur 50gu naavirefnel, ohg creuncf gur snyy vf abg gur 11gu'f qrngu, ohg fbzrguvat zber... gentvp?
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:46 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Have you been drinking again?
posted by Grangousier at 9:49 AM on December 27, 2012


I'm all for a critical appraisal, but I would agree with Artw in that if all you have to say amounts to "I hate Moffat, he is poop and everything he touches turns to poop." then yeah maybe you should stop watching Moffat's stuff.

Not what I said at all, but thanks for the reading of it, it's hilarious. I said he was quite good and now, not so much, too much look at us, we're wonderful technique. It's constant and overboard in my opinion. Your opinion differs, that's fine. Never said I hated Moffat either. Quite admired him and expect better. It is my high opinion of what he has done before and the potential that he could do so again that makes me return. Unfortunately, I'm disappointed. I may not like what he's writing now and the way he is as a writer, but that doesn't translate into hating the man himself. I don't know him. I do appreciate the advice that yourself and ArtW have given me. Thanks.

It's wonderful that you found the episode fantastic. Yay and wowzzers (as it would be done in the new Who). You're free to voice your pleasure with it (yay again, good for you, I'm glad you liked it), just as those of us who who felt otherwise are free to voice that opinion as well. I don't think I'll bother to totally warp what you said into something that you didn't say though.

I'm very glad that the Ponds are in a time locked NYC and seem set to not return, because otherwise, I'm sure we'd get Amy popping up again and again.

I'm sure we will. Unbreakable locks and impossible to cross barriers are not actually unbreakable or impossible to cross because the Doctor is just wonderful and he can do anything that fan fiction can do. When he announces that things are impossible it's just because he doesn't know any better, or something like that. Anything can be overturned in this universe and usually is so we can see Amy and Rory and Rose and the Master and the destroyed Time Lords, and anyone else who had been killed, locked away forever, etc. That's the way things work now.
posted by juiceCake at 9:53 AM on December 27, 2012


That was pretty unnecessary rot13.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:31 AM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Isn't it always?

Anyway, my pet theory is, given that Oswin's episode was a prelude to two mostly lost serials from the Troughton era, we're going to find out that she's the one who erased the old BBC masters.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:39 AM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


we're going to find out that she's the one who erased the old BBC masters.

Oh man. You're going seriously meta on us. I once had an idea for a meta-Who episode arc. It involves the BBC purposely airing slightly different versions of DW episodes in the various countries where the show is broadcast. The differences would get larger and larger over the course of like 4 or 5 episodes until they become glaringly different -- different actors playing guest parts, different endings, etc. At this point the Doctor and his companion(s) begin having problems remembering how things happened or who certain people are. In the concluding episodes, the Doctor discovers that his adventures have been broadcast as television entertainment in a parallel dimension for the past 50 years, but now a malevolent force (perhaps the return of The Wire?) is attempting to infiltrate and alter those broadcasts to some nefarious purpose...
posted by Rock Steady at 10:57 AM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


What better way for Torchwood to keep the existence of the Doctor secret than by funding a TV show about it?

now a malevolent force (perhaps the return of The Wire?) is attempting to infiltrate

At first I thought you meant the return of The Wire. I was like, "Are we going to see Marlo Stanfield's crew fight off a rival crew of Sontaran crack dealers?"
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:47 AM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


For those of you clamoring for more Madame Vastra and Jenny (and count me among your number), there's a relatively new ebook adventure starring them, which evidently serves as a prequel to the Christmas special. Written by Justin Richards, who has written some of the best original Who novels.
posted by jbickers at 12:12 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


At first I thought you meant the return of The Wire. I was like, "Are we going to see Marlo Stanfield's crew fight off a rival crew of Sontaran crack dealers?"

Doctor comin'!
posted by jason_steakums at 12:26 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I dimly remember a crazily meta Doctor Who short story from 1990 (ish - in a Virgin book maybe?) about a BBC controller who had been increasingly worried that the Doctor was late dropping in his latest hundred year diary and so they hadn't been able to make a new series based on it that year...
posted by brilliantmistake at 1:00 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


now a malevolent force (perhaps the return of The Wire?) is attempting to infiltrate

We are going to see a sort of return of the Wire, a kind of WiFi monster.
I assume that's the one with Clara and The Doctor scooting around London (hey look, Big Ben!), and Imelda Stanton with an iPad (hey look, the Gerkin!).
I can't work up any enthusiasm, but it will be nice to see London again, I suppose.
posted by Mezentian at 3:02 PM on December 27, 2012


Well, I enjoyed it. I should watch it again, given that I saw it on Christmas Day afternoon, which is the one time one is likely to enter a peculiarly jaded state of mind. There's something about having been able to consume everything one wanted beyond excess that lays bare the fundamental unsatisfactoriness of pretty much everything. But, fun, yes.

If there is one problem that the writers have had over the last couple of seasons, it's the almost all of them seem to be incapable of writing three distinct characters simultaneously. So you tend to have two characters doing something and the third hanging around waiting for their turn. So having the three extra characters in it for the long-term would probably be less than helpful. could for some fascinating and lurid fanfic though, I should think.

Oswin, or rather The Oswins is a character so meta that I'm not even going to bother thinking about it that much. I'm just going to wait and see what happens. Still, she's very engaging to watch, and her tendency to be reacting to everything that's going on externally or in her head all the time at least means she's never going to be dull. I saw the movie of Captain America a few days ago, and she was in that for 30 seconds or so, and was instantly recognisable precisely because of this tendency. Though it was more distracting there – it can sometimes seem like we're watching someone having in an internal monologue to which we are not privy.

She seems to be more a collection of references than anything else – I wonder whether the character in Asylum of the Daleks might not have been a reference to Zoe in the same way that this character was a reference to Victoria. Alternatively I'm completely deluded, but not alone in that I think.

Anyway, it seems that the series is going to going to full fanwank mode for 2013. And why the hell not, as they missed out 1993 and 2003 and have to sort of make up for that. November 23rd is going to be luminous with Who obsessiveness. Or at least the bits that aren't going to be recycling the Kennedy assassination.

I liked the staircase to the clouds, and if there's one programme and character who can get away with doing something as flamboyantly implausible is that it is this one.

That Great Intelligence are probably the most ironically named villain in all of Doctor Who.

But all of that said, I am looking forward to the new series. Largely this is because I have decided that I am, as far as possible, going to be easily pleased in order to increase the likelihood that I will be pleased. It seems to be working so far.
posted by Grangousier at 5:47 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked this write up of the story on the Doctor Her blog
posted by brilliantmistake at 9:06 AM on December 28, 2012


Doctor comin'!

It's all in the gamey-wamey, yo.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:39 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hardware Store Employee: I see you've got the sonic. Your screwdriver, sonic?
Snoop: Yeah. The trouble is, you leave it in a truck for a while, need to step up and use the bitch, the battery don't hold up, you know?

I really need to see this mash-up happen now.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:36 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, so, I'm just this guy, you know?

So the only Christmas Special that I have really liked is "A Christmas Carol," which set up its rules nicely and followed them in order to create a genuine emotional pay-off. Like Moffatt's great episodes always have. But Moffatt has gone beyond handwavy recently, and this one didn't even make any sense that I can tell. It did have some nice moments though, I won't deny that.

Anyway, Clara/Oswin. I've got two eyes and some loins, and so I recognize that she is certainly fetching and charming and seems to be portrayed by a very skilled actress, but so far this is like Moffatt proving that Amy wasn't what he'd do if he set out to make a Mary Sue.

I know, people bitched about Amy the same way, but Amy was given a proper introduction which set her up as Wendy to the Doctor's Peter Pan. Both were running away from growing up and facing consequences, and were bad for one another in certain ways as a result, allowing for Rory to evolve from "irritating distraction" to "best character by far in NuWho," because he was the only one of them who actually wanted to be a mature adult and who had the moral chops to stand up to the Doctor and be right.

I'll be curious to see what Oswin's faults are, because right now I don't see any. And that's not an interesting character, no matter how charming and attractive she is.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:04 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


All of the criticisms of New Who can be answered with: "What's wrong with silly?"

This is true of a lot of criticisms of the old series as well. (Another large subset can be answered with "What's wrong with bubble wrap?")

I'm generally meh on the Christmas specials, but I liked this one, mostly for the character interplay between Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. Oswin was less engaging than she was as Souffle Girl but I'm interested in her as a macguffin. Hopefully she'll break in and we'll get to know her a little better.
posted by immlass at 1:38 AM on December 29, 2012


My hope is that Oswin dies in a new, increasingly gruesome and absurd way every week, a la South Park's Kenny.

I liked all the stuff in the special a great deal, even if the plot didn't make very much sense. I'd rather see a show about the Silurian detective and her wife in the 1880s more than I would most shows currently on television, including this one, so that part was pretty cool. And the titles! The Matt Smith face was one thing, but the time tunnel at the end and the music sounding more like Baker-era Who than ever before...yes.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:26 AM on December 29, 2012


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