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Doctor Who XXXIII(7).6: The Snowmen

December 25th, 2012 (10:21 pm)

...and so our poor Intelligence did, or will do. It seems the obsession with prequels extends to more than the publicity. I had always assumed that the Intelligence and Padmasambhava met each other much earlier than 1892, but the original concept continues to stand by itself. Doctor Who is a garment of many cloths.

Early anxieties that jokes were being inserted at the expense of exposition were swept aside by the development of the story, and the enjoyment of seeing the Doctor returned to a position as close as possible, given modern audience expectations, to the withdrawn and aloof character he was in 1963. We are a long way from the kitchen sink, and it's appropriate that the new companion (of sorts, given that the Doctor has to seek out her company all over again) has more than a touch of Mary Poppins.

This may be old-fashioned and pre-timeshift of me, but I do have some worries about the timeslot given the importance of the episode to setting up the new semi-regular cast and the Doctor's new quest. 'The Snowmen' was looking for slightly later in the evening, when people have woken up a little after Christmas lunch and the new toys have become more familiar. I still hold out a slender hope that we will see the remaining episodes of this series before April, but suspect that like Simeon I am dreaming.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/566494.html.

Comments

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:12 am (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

A quick look at About Time 2 (I know, but I haven't got time to watch/listen to two and a half hours of The Abominable Snowmen) shows that the Intelligence was keeping Padmasambhava alive for 200 years. Oh well. Steven Moffat would probably say something about "timey-wimey, astral planey-waney." Or "Shut up, fanboy, which one of us is the the multiple-award winning show-runner?"

Not sure that the first Doctor was originally withdrawn; aloof, yes, but the Doctor was annoyed at being stuck in London, 1963 for months on end and wanted to go back to exploring. I can't imagine him sitting on a cloud sulking indefinitely.

I don't see such trouble with the timeslot of the episode, although I didn't watch it until about five hours later. I think a broadcast for much later this year, closer to the anniversary (I assume you noticed Clara's birthdate) is more likely, albeit possibly with a gap between the end of the season and the special. Though this is largely guesswork. Anyway, I think Doctor Who should be on in autumn/winter evenings.

I thought it was quite good, if not great, with a good twist at the end. Why should specials be separate from ongoing story arcs? Why not try to drag the casual Christmas audience in? Proper review tomorrow, hopefully. Which is today now. Like I said, timey-wimey.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:15 am (UTC)
Sherlock Holmes

I think I have just written a comment longer than your review. Whoops.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC)

Go ahead!

There is more which I could have said - the cutting and pasting of homage, particularly to The Turn of the Screw as well as various interpretations of Sherlock Holmes. Madame Vastra's blood-drinking has echoes of that other alien interloper in late nineteenth-century London, Dracula.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

Well, it could have been Ribena... (I was actually expecting a punchline along those lines.)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:29 am (UTC)

It's tempting; checking online, I find Wikipedia claims Ribena wasn't invented until 1933, but there were certainly fruit squashes of various kinds at an earlier period.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:38 am (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

The Doctor could have brought her some from the future...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:54 am (UTC)
Pertwee_TVAction

The only intervention the Doctor would permit himself was to facilitate the supply of Ribena to Madame Vastra... plausible, plausible.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

Or she could have 'liberated' it from the TARDIS when he took her back from Demon's Run. Though why she would have done that is another question!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 02:06 am (UTC)

You are trying to catch me out! River took Vastra back from Demon's Run - perhaps she keeps Vastra supplied with blackcurrant concentrate?

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 02:05 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

I think I've caught myself out!

I happened to knock over the art cards that came with the latest DWM off the big pile of DWMs and, in picking them up, noticed that Strax is pouring Vastra a large glass of beaujolais (the label on the bottle deliberately facing the camera) in one of them, so it may have been a bluff after all... But are DWM art cards canon?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
DoctorQuillDWW

Within the canon of DWM art cards, at least...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:18 am (UTC)
DoctorQuillDWW

I'm sure that another story could account for the Intelligence learning to travel in time, or at least hitching a lift with the Doctor.

I don't think specials should be separate from story arcs at all; Dan Martin of The Guardian thought that this episode was the best Christmas special since 'The Christmas Invasion', and there's a good case for that.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:29 am (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

Sorry, I meant that as a rhetorical question rather than assuming that you thought the opposite!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 26th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)

Apologies for thinking otherwise!