Thursday, December 25, 2014

Top Five - Christmas Specials

It's Christmas Eve! Are we all excited for tomorrow's episode? I, for one, am really looking forward to it, so I have decided to celebrate by counting by my top five Christmas Specials. Since 2005, there have been 9 festive episodes. Which were a gift from the heavens, and which were as lame as a Christmas cracker joke?

Honorable Mentions

Firstly, I'd like to kick off with some good ones that just weren't good enough to get on the list:

  • The End of Time - The Tenth Doctor's swansong was a great story, but for a Christmas episode, it wasn't Christmassy enough for me. Also, although it was in the New Year episode, that "I don't want to go" line absolutely ruined the vibe.
  • The Christmas Invasion - The Tenth Doctor's debut, again, was another good story, but the thing that let this one down was that there was not enough Doctor. For a story that was meant to introduce a new Doctor, he spends most of it in a coma.

  • 5. The Runaway Bride (2006)

    The Racnoss attacks Central London
    After the heavy departure of Rose, the Doctor has a Christmassy adventure with a loud Donna Noble. For me, this episode is great as Donna is my favourite companion and she's in it, but the way David Tennant and Catherine Tate work together is absolutely brilliant. The dynamic was well established and I am so glad they decided to bring her back.

    The threat in this episode was also great. The Racnoss, brilliantly played by Sarah Parish, was menacing, while the Robot Santas were a good but completely separate addition which seemed to only be used for a few bangs at the party.

    4. The Next Doctor (2008)

    The Cybermen convert Miss Hartigan
    against their agreement
    The Cybermen returned for the first time since 2006 when the Doctor threw them all into the Void, and they plan to conquer Christmas in Victorian London. The return was executed well with the wonderfully acted Mercy Hartigan at the head of their plan. The Cybermen proved to be as ruthless as ever when they convert Miss Hartigan against her will.

    However, the thing that made this episode was the start of the lead up to Tennant's departure. Here, we see the Tenth Doctor face up to the fact that he will regenerate some day when he meets someone who appears to be his future regeneration. It's great to see how the Doctor is reacting to his future regeneration, even though he doesn't know how imminent it is.

    3. The Snowmen (2012)

    The Snowmen advance upon the
     Doctor and Clara
    Misleadingly advertised as the first appearance of the new companion played by Jenna Coleman, this episode was the birth of the Impossible Girl mystery that was the story-arc of the second part of Series 7. The chemistry between Jenna and Matt became immediately apparent, making the viewing easy and enjoyable.

    The return of the Great Intelligence was unexpected and brilliantly done, with this episode becoming a prequel to The Web of Fear with the nod to the London Underground. The Snowmen were also great as it took something Christmassy and turned it into a threat. Also, the death of Clara showed that these old enemies still packed a punch by killing ruthlessly.

    2. Voyage of the Damned (2007)

    The Doctor and his friends battle the
    Host on an unstable bridge
    The idea of a spaceship version of the Titanic orbiting Earth on Christmas Eve smells of disaster. My favourite thing about this episode is that it introduces a large range of guest characters then puts them in great peril. It them makes you watch them battle for survival with some emotional scenes as some don't survive. The whole guest cast is brilliant, particularly Kylie Minogue, as Astrid.

    Once again, the idea of taking a traditional Christmassy thing and turning it into a threat is brilliantly done, this time using angels. The Heavenly Host are ruthless killers despite being deceivingly helpful in earlier episodes. The imminent collision of the Titanic with Central London is also well done, with News Reports and cut scenes to what is happening on Earth at the time.

    1. Time of the Doctor (2013)

    The Eleventh Doctor's finale was a brilliant episode. Matt and Jenna's chemistry was brilliant and they both gave an emotional and impactful performance. I also liked the way the story brought together all of the story arcs, even though they had seemingly been resolved, and didn't fully resolve them, but gave them a regeneration of sorts, allowing them to carry forward into the Twelfth Doctor's era.

    The Doctor's greatest enemies assemble
    around the planet Trenzalore
    This episode also showcased an ensemble of the Eleventh Doctor's greatest foes, such as Daleks, Cybermen, the Silence and Weeping Angels, without making the episode overcrowded, which for me seems like a great task. Also, the theme of Christmas is very strong in this episode, which gave this episode a great balance of different emotions: the jolly festive spirit and the sadness at the loss of a Doctor.

    However, this episode, along with the 50th Anniversary, are absolutely pivotal in the direction of the entire show. The 50th toyed with the idea of Gallifrey still existing, with this episode confirming that it exists. Also, the show's lifetime is extended within the story of this episode, with the Doctor being given a new cycle of regenerations.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment