Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol was rather brilliant. It captured the spirit of the original Charles Dickens‘ story, telling it in an entirely unique fashion. I was surprised at how they pulled some of it off, and this first look at the new season bodes well. Quite well indeed.
The show opens with Rory and Amy aboard a spaceship while on their honeymoon (Amy in her old Policewoman “kiss-o-gram” outfit, and Rory dressed as a Roman soldier–just for fun!). There’s a hitch, however. Their ship is crashing, and 4,003 people (including them) are about to die. In order to save them, the Doctor must convince Kazran Sardick (played by Sir Michael Gambon) to allow them to land on the planet. However, Sardick is a crotchety old man who has no desire to help others. He will not go out of his way to help others, for he just does not care.
Oddly, the Doctor does not accept this outright refusal for help. After seeing Sardick’s hesitation to strike a young boy, the Doctor makes it his mission to change the old man’s mind. He travels to Sardick’s past and befriends him as a young boy, teaching him to care. The boy’s father (also played by Gambon) is in the midst of building a device which can control the tumultuous and hazardous skies of his planet. In these skies dwell fish, including sharks, which the Doctor and young Sardick go up against, more or less successfully. His father also lends a lot of money. In exchange for these services, he keeps a member of the recipient’s family as collateral in stasis.
Furthermore, the Doctor and young Sardick This participation in young Sardick’s past makes the Doctor the Spirit of Christmas Past. They awaken one young woman, Abigail Pettigrew (played by singer Katherine Jenkins). Each Christmas Eve, the Doctor and young Sardick revive Abigail and travel the stars with her. He is teaching the boy, as he grows into a young man, to love–while in the meantime he may or may not find himself married to Marilyn Monroe. These past events become memories for the old Sardick, and he simply gets angrier. For some reason, these annual visitations must end, for Abigail can only live for a certain number of days, and her time is running out.
Amy, as a hologram, serves as the Spirit of Christmas Present. She shows Sardick what is going on aboard the ship. Everyone is signing, despite their impending doom. He still does not relent. Finally, the Doctor must become the Spirit of Christmas future. There’s a wonderful Doctor Who twist to it–rather than transport the eldely Sardick to the future, he brings child-Sardick to meet his older self, and a catharsis ensues. Abigail is released for one final Christmas Eve with the man she has not seen for decades, and her singing produces good vibrations which soothes the sky and allows the ship bearing Amy and Rory to land.
In the end, this was good fun. Who better to re-enact A Christmas Carol–a tale about the human spirit, as well as past, present, and future–than the Doctor? They do it in a new, fresh way, and I loved it. Rory and Amy are not in it for very long, but it is very good to see them together and happy. If you’ve been following the blog recently, I’ve been rewatching the first series of the Doctor Who restoration, and I fell directly into Christopher Eccleston again. Because BBC America played a Doctor Who marathon all day on Christmas, I caught some bits and pieces of David Tennant, and the entire time I thought–Matt Smith who? Then this came on, and I remembered how much I love Matt Smith as the Doctor. He’s quirky and fast talking, wittily odd while genuinely lovable.
Right after the special, we got a quick look at the new season and it looks exceptional. Truly exciting. They go to America (Roswell?), and potentially see all too much of River Song. I may have to do a further breakdown of the trailer later. All I can say for now is: I Can. Not. Wait.