Friday, December 30, 2011

The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

The Christmas Special of “Doctor Who” has become a tradition. It is tradition that the Doctor will have one more light hearted, sentimental but largely un-impactful adventure every year on Christmas Day. The early years when Russell T. Davies was penning the special also required that they occur on our current, real world Christmas Day and that the Earth be threatened by alien forces. This aspect has had to be corrected quite a bit in the Moffat run of the show, because well… we were all there and nothing like an alien invasion happened. Moffat has also managed to use the special both years to have fun telling stories that are inspired by other Christmas fiction. Last year was loosely based on “The Christmas Carol” and this year turned to Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

It is an hour of delight; fun and almost silly but mostly whimsical. The Doctor sums up the feel of the whole episode as he takes a family on a tour of the house where he is the “caretaker.” At every amazing gimmick he has set up around the house he turns to the kids in barely contained excitement concurs with their expressions: “I know!”

His ultimate gift to the family is a tour of a magical, otherworldly “Christmas” forest, but things go wrong when the kids open the present early. It is a very Narnian wood, and the circumstances are also Narnian, as the younger brother ends up alone in the woods with the Doctor and sister searching for him. The Doctor even quotes a line from the Narnian Chronicles in similar circumstances: “Time moves differently across the dimensional planes. What do they teach you in school these days?”

Many other fun moments and characters appear throughout, but the end is quite moving. The family has a Christmas miracle, and the Doctor…

Well, the end is bittersweet and almost cruel. The Doctor experiences an emotional reunion with his two current (and for many of us our favorite) companions. Coming on the heels of Moffat’s announcement earlier this year that Amy and Rory are headed for a “heartbreaking” departure from the series next year, it is almost mean!

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