Happy Christmas, everyone. I hope you had a nice one--I did. I went with my family to the zoo and my parents gave me a hatstand which I've begun the somewhat challenging effort of assembling. I saw a not thoroughly mediocre Ben Stiller movie.
I just finished watching the new Doctor Who Christmas special. It was good. Felt a bit like a continuation of the 50th anniversary special except with more nudity. Which was nice though I could have done with more in the Clara department. Still, people naked with their clothes on is surprisingly effective.
Spoilers from here on out.
I liked that the Doctor still had the seal of the high council he'd stolen from the Master in The Five Doctors. It's especially fitting since that's the story where we learn the Time Lords are capable of granting a whole new set of regenerations to an individual Time Lord, something so many people failed to mention in the sometimes vicious internet debates on the subject.
I do still like Neil Gaiman's idea that there should be some consequences for the Doctor exceeding the regeneration limit.
The brief lived--at least from the audience perspective--new character Handles was a nice addition, though probably best kept to one episode. As much as I love the chemistry between the Doctor and Clara, I did also like the flirtations between him and the Mother Superious Tasha Lem. Awfully cute name for a Mother Superious, though. Maybe a Natasha Lemonstrance or something might have been better but, then, maybe simple "Tasha" sounds more distinguished in the future.
I'm glad River Song and Rory weren't in the episode. I'm hoping rumours about a new male companion being added to be a love interest for Clara prove false, especially given how well she plays with just the Doctor, though the few minutes of Peter Capaldi in the episode weren't nearly enough for me to tell how well they're going to work together or even, for that matter, much about Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor at all. It sounded like he had a Scottish accent but that may have been my imagination, I'm so used to Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker.
I sort of liked the decision to show the Eleventh dying of old age especially after the stuff about the Tenth and Eleventh avoiding adult behaviour in the anniversary show. Then again, Smith's Doctor aged off screen, as he points out, hundreds of years without apparently aging, which means he must have been protecting the town "Christmas" for many thousands of years to have aged like he did. Actually, come to think of it, it doesn't make sense Hartnell looked so old if he was only around five hundred years old at that point. Unless the Doctor was born old or the rate at which a Time Lord appears to physically age varies from one regeneration to the next. I think I'd prefer the latter explanation.
Thematically, the idea of the Doctor appearing to age may even have been redundant. There is slightly less oomph to this story than there was in last year's Christmas special when we had the glee of being reintroduced to Clara. There's something static about it. Maybe that's appropriate since we're watching the Doctor die.