Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thumpety-Thump-Thump - Review of "The Snowmen"

I didn't get to watch the "Doctor Who" Christmas Special until just a little while ago because I was with The Fam watching "The Dark Knight Rises" - and having to explain some of the finer points to my mother. But do you know how weird it is to go from a Christopher Nolan Batman movie to "Doctor Who?" Two words: Mood Whiplash. Anyway - spoilers for "The Snowmen" beneath the video of a decidedly non-killer-alien-whatever snowman -


(Just a thought - now with three under their belts, the Matt Smith/Steven Moffat era Christmas Specials have all taken cues from beloved classic stories.  Yes, "Frosty the Snowman" is a bit of a stretch - but there was living snow and the Doctor had a top hat. I'm going to say it counts).

I believe this is the first Christmas Special since New Who began that might actually have some real bearing on the rest of the storyline.  I say that, keeping in mind that Donna's return from being a one-off in "Runaway Bride" was not pre-planned - it just sort of happened.  But this has been in the works since before they started working on "Asylum of the Daleks."  That doesn't mean that "The Snowmen" doesn't have a distinct "rompy" feel to it.  Just that some of the romp-ness get played down in favor of introducing a new companion and created new mysteries and mind-bendy stuff that I have actually missed during the first half of Series 7 (yeah, I know - we fans are unpleasable creatures).

First, the obvious - JLC is a wonderful Clara Oswin Oswald (and I am happy to say that I CALLED IT!! Well, I thought that Clara's last name could be either Oswin or Oswald - but we got both!).  I loved her introduction!  Every time a new companion has been introduced in New Who, there has always been an element of wonder and magic and I think Clara's introduction took that up to eleven (no pun intended).  Either the Doctor is playing up the wonder and newness for Clara for kicks or he's actually acknowledging its existence.  Plus, he's making bargains with the Universe - which is an interesting direction for the story to take (not one that I am displeased with, though I'm certain some more cynical fans are going to get all butthurt about it).

Vastra and Jenny were wonderful and (judging from the Coming Soon trailer) will be a great addition to the Every Once In A While companion roster.  Strax... I'm still not completely sold on his status of Was-Dead-But-Is-Now-Alive (the explanation wasn't quite there).  But maybe it has something to do with Clara being dead twice over and All Will Be Explained.  But later (sort of like why the TARDIS exploded in Series 5 - holy cow, that was so long ago).

I'm not even going to begin guessing at what Clara's deal is - why she was Souffle Girl or why she's an erstwhile barmaid and governess in Victorian London.  I don't have enough information to even think of what she is.  She's certainly not all she seems - even before she meets the Doctor.  She's got secrets that she says nobody would believe.  It's like River Song all over again, but this time Clara's secrets probably have very little to do with the Doctor (unless she turns out to be a Time Lady - but how many times has that theory been hashed and rehashed again?)

"The Snowmen" - very enjoyable, very memorable and a great way to get us out of our "The Ponds Are Gone *sob*" funk (though I liked the nods to the Ponds in Vastra's "One Word Test" - that's another question - how would the mere mention of "Pond" bring the Doctor out of his retirement?  Just the Universe sending out little hints and coincidences to get him going again?  Hell, if that's all there is to it - I love it!)

ETA: CRAP! I forgot to talk about the new opening titles! (well, there was other stuff going on, wasn't there?)  They are totally and completely new - but there was a Classic Who feel to them as well.  Sort of like the new TARDIS interior (and exterior - Dear Sweet Scorby, Sexy could use a new coat of paint, couldn't she?)  The colors reminded me of the Pertwee era and there were planets and stars like in the 80s - oh, of course we had the Doctor's face ever so briefly reflected in the cosmos.  Anyway - changes are great, love them and I'm going to go see if there was anything else I missed.

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