No Christmas is complete without the seasonal Dr Who Christmas special. Actually I tell a lie since many of them have been eminently forgettable. Ever since the brilliant sword-fighting excitement of 'A Christmas Invasion' and the surreal flying shark of 'A Christmas Carol'. our eyeballs have been assaulted by a never ending stream of plastic santas and C.S. Lewis-esque winter wonderlands.
On first viewing this one was similarly unimpressive. In true Christmas style I had had a few glasses of wine already and was surrounded by my extended family. This naturally meant I missed certain bits (where the hell did the memory worm appear from?) as I fielded questions about whether the lizard woman was a goody or a baddy.
From this distracted perspective the story was a bit of a mess. The plot zoomed along without much rhythm or rhyme and it seemed as though the producers were trying too hard to introduce the new assistant while making the usual family friendly jokes.
However, a second solitary viewing with a lower blood-alcohol level persuaded me that the episode was not without its merits. Jenna-Louise Coleman is shaping up to be a brilliant new companion and they have set up an interesting mystery with her seeming ability to reincarnate. The Doctor's impression of Sherlock Holmes was absolutely hilarious and I loved the idea of him being dragged out of his self-imposed retirement by a new whip-smart acquaintance.
Of course the show still had weaknesses. The ice lady, after a huge build up, got a grand total of thirty seconds screen time before being blown up by the Doctor. Admittedly she came back but then spent the next ten minutes trapped by a grenade force field. As for my final bit of nit-picking, I know the Doctor is meant to be adorably absent minded but I think that he might have remembered to close the doors of his floating police box rather than wading through some soppy dialogue before watching Clara be dragged to her (possibly second) death.
So all in all a mixed effort. I still can't wait for this series to restart. Here's hoping that they can get it together to show entire series consecutively again rather than messing around with all this mid-season hiatus business ad nauseam.