Monday, 27 December 2010
A Christmas Cartlilage Fish
I figured I should probably put together a review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special, but in truth there isn't a great deal to say. It's always easier to deconstruct a failure than it is a success - I guess when something works there's a fear that pulling it apart will break the toy forever.
And this year's special was definitely a success. I confess to being initially skeptical of the "Who does Christmas Carol" idea, and not just because even gorgeous redheads cannot be allowed to replace the Great Gonzo when it comes to adaptations of the tale. I just didn't see how it was fit.
Clearly, I didn't think about it for long enough. A Christmas Carol at its heart is already a story about time travel. Sure, the means by which Scrooge visits different Christmases is supernatural, but that doesn't really matter. What matters is that Moffat's Christmas Carol takes what is often the best approach to taking classic stories and moulding them into something new: it asks one simple question and allows everything else to spin out from it. In this case, the question is this: what if the Ghost of Christmas Past had allowed Scrooge to interact with his past self?
I'm pretty sure the result blows apart Moffat's own rules over when the TARDIS can be used. In fact, combine this with the well-written but structurally unsound conclusion to the last season it's possible the series is on the point of breaking with any story logic whatsoever. That's a problem for later, though. I'm prepared to let Moffat off on this occasion, partially because the story was so good, partially because the central question was so smart, but also because the rule-breaking was set-up and not conclusion (I still don't understand how hard it is for so many people to realise the importance of the distinction). I suppose a little bit more lee-way can be given at Christmas - it's easier to note the wild inconsistencies when they occur within the same series.
Also, having re-written Dickens in a way that entirely makes sense and avoids dumping all over the source material, Moffat must have sat down for a few minutes and thought: "Fuck it, I'll put a flying shark in there".
This is definitely the guy I want running Who.