That certainly was a fun, though not very Christmassy hour with Doctor Who.
Though I can’t say it was one of my favorite Christmas specials, this lighthearted romp was a welcome departure from the more depressing final season with Clara. Yeah, I still miss her. Steven Moffat definitely shifted gears here and though I was honestly terrified this episode was going to be a stinker… I didn’t hate it at all. It was just too upbeat and silly to hate.
Justin Chatwin has been a favorite of mine for years, and he brought that innocent charm of his to Grant. It was terribly amusing to hear his Ghost/Batman/Green Arrow serious superhero voice, while trying to look cool in that ridiculous mask. Charity Wakefield I’m not too familiar with, but she reminded me of Agent Carter’s Lyndsy Marie Fonseca (Angie) making her instantly likeable to me. I think she held her own pretty well. Still, even she couldn’t save that “Mr Huffle” gag, it was the one thing that seriously irritated me throughout the episode. Hopefully that thing doesn’t pop up during the new season too much. It really was not cute to me for some reason.
The Doctor meeting Grant as a child was reminiscent of Matt Smith’s adventures with Amy Pond. Man, I miss the writing of Season 5 but it does feel like Moffat’s opting for a change in tone for the upcoming run. I wonder if Grant will appear again at some point? That would be cool. I’m not a huge fan of Nardole’s, but he promised to look after the Doctor so I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him. He’s just not a memorable character like Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, or Strax. The split head/creepy brains with eyes villains were memorable though and pretty gross. Some of the visual effects were questionable, but again the episode was just so much fun it was easy to look past that.
I can’t believe its been a year since “The Husbands of River Song,” last year’s Christmas special. It was nice hanging in the Whoniverse again, wasn’t it? New companion Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) is going to put a fresh spin on the Doctor’s sidekick. I’m getting a Donna vibe from her. What do you think?
Doctor Who returns to BBC America spring 2017.