What the Dickens?
The episode opens and the Doctor's companions are in danger, they're on a spaceship that's about to crash-land on the planet below. It's Christmas Eve, but it seems like Christmas is once again cancelled as danger and chaos ensue.
But that's all a bit Russell T Davies, isn't it?
'A Christmas Carol' is the first Doctor Who Christmas Special with Steven Moffat at the helm and Matt Smith leading and it works! Steven is quoted as saying that this is the "most Christmassy Christmas Special ever" and this is mainly shown through how the Eleventh Doctor treats the adventure. Amy and Rory are on this crashing ship that is stuck in a cloud belt, the Doctor is in the TARDIS trying to help them and needs to find the man that can control the ice clouds. So the Doctor lands in Sardicktown on Christmas Eve and can't resist coming down the chimney, and then claims to have met Father Christmas, along with Albert Einstein at Frank Sinatra's hunting lodge. He talks to Kazran Sardick, a grumpy, old miser who happens to be the one who can control the clouds. Only problem is, he won't. Even at Christmas. The humbug.
The story isn't too Christmassy though, I reckon it could be watched at any time of the year. It uses Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' and adds some science-fiction, some time-travel and a pinch of a love story. The wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey element is pure Steven Moffat, even if it does throw up a few questions about paradoxes. The Doctor goes back into Kazran's childhood whilst the older Kazran's still watching him on a screen, this means that Kazran's memories are changing along with what the Doctor is doing. It isn't just his memories that are changing though, the things in his study are – a portrait of his love, Abigail Pettigrew, souvenirs of his travels with both of them around time and space and half of the Doctor's screwdriver. Older Kazran and younger Kazran also embrace, surely the laws of time have something to say about that? Perhaps the Doctor is still trying to go against the restraints of time?
Away from the action on the planet below, it's good to see Amy and Rory together again. Arthur Darvill (who plays Rory) got his name in the titles for the first time. Even though they had very little screen time, this episode showed the banter we all love between the married couple. Poignantly between them, was a moment when they thought they may die and they shared a look showing the love that they truly have for each other.
One question that I want to ask: It may have been a good, mad story, but was it Doctor Who? Modern Doctor Who has definitely changed the tone of the show from what the classic series showed. Even from the New series, it felt different. Was this episode a refreshing change from a normal Doctor Who story, or too far from what a TARDIS adventure should be? I suppose it's personal preference. It seems like Doctor Who can try and cover all sort of genre, and from the Series 5 trailer it's going to get a lot darker...