Doctor Who Christmas Special - Sinks like the Titanic


Can I say that again? Ugh.

Just got done watching the Doctor Who christmas special (I justify my bittorrenting by saying that ... erm... well, if my passport had arrived on time, I'd have been watching it in the UK).

Here's the short and skinny:

The pacing was totally off. I mean, totally. Not enough emotional ramp up, too many hits in too small a space... too many blindingly obvious attempts at emotional manipulation. Basically too big a story in too small a space... either that or it's just plain hamhandedness. Russell T. Davies, I'm looking at you. Occasionally you write scripts like you're a kid with a toybox... I wish you'd practice some restraint, just once. I can take pigs in space - almost. I can take Voodoo Child - I mean, ok, I get it, at this point The Master is nutso. But please, get rid of the one-note gags. Forehead zippers? Farting? Come on, man, get it together! You don't have to put every idea on the page, no matter how cool you think it is when you come up with it. Sometimes, the best thing a writer can do it not write. Kill your babies - even the ones you're fond of. The script is better off for it.

The musical score... too much music. Way too much music. Silence is useful. Bombasticness is not the way to go - it overpowers the drama. Try Battlestar Galactica on for size, they get it right nearly every single time. Murray Goldman, please, for the love of god, stop! You did a great job when Rose died in Doomsday. A fantastic job. You did a wonderful job on The Girl in the Fireplace ... You did a great job with Father's Day. Where's that subtle hand? I know you can do it. You should do it more.


Yeah, I know, I'm taking this way too seriously... but sheesh... two Doctor kisses in one episode? Hammering the fact that the Doctor can't save everyone way too hard? (It only needs to happen once - at most twice - even in a Christmas special. More than that is overt). Never mind the fact that you appeared to change your mind on exactly what way you were going to take this episode - originally you meant for that Titanic to be the real one. How do I know? Even in the special, in the scenes that you borrowed from the last episode, water came off the boat. If it's a spaceship, that doesn't make sense. So what was your original plan? And why did you change it? The whole ship is space thing seems like you painted yourself into a corner and this was your only route out of the whole thing.

As for the director... James Strong directed my two least favorite episodes last season - Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks. I don't know why, but they just didn't ring true for me in any sense. Oddly, he also directed two of the higher-end episodes of the previous season - The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit. This episode continues with the Dalek episode streak, unfortunately.

This has to be the worst episode I've seen since ... well.. Aliens In London was bad. Rose was pretty lame. But sheesh... what happened guys? You're blowing it.

Here's to that rest year. You guys are going to need it if Season 4 carries on like this...

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

Archived Wordpress comments
Luke wrote on Saturday, December 29, 2007:

Totally agree - the biggest pile of dung Doctor Who episode since the one with the cat people. I find it an insult to my backside that I had to inflict the pain of sitting through it. About 60% of the episodes in a series are good, the others are written by Russell T Davis.

facebook comments