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Doctor Who Christmas Special 2015: The Husbands of River Song

December 25th, 2015 (08:00 pm)

Doctor Who at Christmas is increasingly a difficult beast to shepherd into a pen. The two most recent series have felt more like
mainstream mid-evening BBC drama rather than the ‘drama for a light entertainment slot’ of 2005. Consequently the Christmas episodes feel increasingly like a drastic change in tone. Even the grading seems to be different, with the colour palette seeming brighter, returning to the blue with flashes of other primary colours of the Matt Smith era Christmas specials.

The highlight was the typically vigorous performances of both Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston, of course; but despite a good start I failed to be held by these alone in the way I hoped, despite some strong moments of repartee. There was too much emphasis on a denial of sparkle between the Doctor and River, rather than on its existence. Likewise the business with the robot and its switching heads seemed underplayed and undramatic and lacked sufficient sleight of hand to convince; nor were the decapitated characters depicted with sufficient sympathy to make me feel for their plight. There were so many still backgrounds or illustrations which I thought would have been animated a few years ago too.

Perhaps I’ll revisit it and find it more enjoyable another time. I don’t like being negative about the series, and am glad to see from some early reactions that that it did engage and entertain several others.

Also posted at The Event Library

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2015/12/25/husbands-of-river-song.html.


Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 26th, 2015 09:37 pm (UTC)

I didn't like it much. I thought it was silly, a bit icky in places and had too much battle of the sexes stuff. But I've never liked River Song much anyway, both in concept and execution. A shame, as I was ready for something a bit lighter after the last season.

Oh, and River said the Doctor has never given her presents, even though a few scenes previously she said he gave her her diary.

Something else that has bothered me: if River knew Doctors one through nine, why didn't the tenth recognize her in Silence in the Library? Or has she just been stalking him from a distance?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 27th, 2015 01:00 pm (UTC)

This is a very divisive episode!

Big Finish already have a plot device in circulation to explain how River can have had adventures with earlier versions of the Doctor...

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 27th, 2015 01:08 pm (UTC)

To be fair, I generally don't like the Christmas episodes of anything much, which I think must be partly down to it not being my culture. To me it's just another episode, but one where I'm supposed to excuse more sentimentality and silliness than usual, despite not necessarily being in the mood. And yesterday evening my mental health was very bad, which didn't help either.

I admit I've long since lost touch with Big Finish! Although I've just discovered they have downloads of some old stories on sale for £3, which is tempting.

Looking forward to starting a Matt Smith marathon later today (hopefully), the first time I'll have seen all of his regeneration-long arc in order since transmission!