I enjoyed this Christmas Special better than last years and the year before and the year before. Ever since Christmas Invasion the tone of these specials has been old over the map from the stupid Racknoss to the loud and over blown Titanic Episode to the Scrooged-eseque episode from last year. The Christmas Ep with the fake Doctor wasn’t so shabby until Temple of Cyberman showed up with their giant steampunk Cyberman Robot.
This year’s episode besides pulling a great deal from the overall location of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe found the Doctor stopping an alien invasion before it reached the Earth and jumped from the ship sans a space suit, crashed to Earth and helped back to his TARDIS by Madge Arwell played by Claire Skinner a soon to be widow of an RAF Pilot.
The dialogue throughout the episode was snappier than I expected and I was happy to see the Doctor not having a companion that went all weak in the knees for him. Instead it was the Arwell children and their grieving mother that were brought onboard for a wild ride across time and space to a forest of living trees.
Over the course of the episode they find out the trees are trying to get out because they are about to strip minded for their power by an unknown, faceless, company.
The set designs such as they were ranged from normal to forest to tower. Overall, quite ordinary and a welcome change of pace even if one of my main criticism since day one has been the alien worlds have been sparse while Cardiff seems to be a great deal of the focus. The alien costumes I thought were extremely well done. The mech design and cockpit was enjoyable. It’s unfortunate with Doctor Who Confidential now being no more, it would have been interesting to see how much work had gone into the alien costumes.
The plot could have had the Doctor shaking a finger at the strip miners but instead the saving the family was priority one and in the end everyone had a happy Christmas even the Doctor ending up on Amy and Rory’s doorstep. Yes, Amy with a water pistol does not surprise me in the least.
So, with no preview for the coming year we close out on 2011 with hopes that with the longer than normal time off is reflected in the Series 7’s writing…