Doctor Who "The Snowmen" Review: The New Girl

Doctor Who Season 7 Christmas Special: "The Snowmen"

It's Christmastime, which means family, presents, tinsel, overeating, and for a lot of us, a Doctor Who Christmas special. Since 2005, fans have been treated to a holiday-themed Doctor Who every year on Christmas Day (if you don't count 1965's "The Feast of Steven," that is). Some of them have mimicked disaster movies, some have featured big guest-stars, but all were meant to be fun, accessible, holiday mini-movies. Since we've had a bunch of mini-movies in Series 7 thus far, we were prepped and ready to go, and this Christmas special did not disappoint.

The best Doctor Who Christmas specials, to me, are the ones that take something Christmassy and make it sinister, like the robot Santa Sycorax from "The Christmas Invasion." So imagine my delight when this episode introduced us to murderous Snowmen who appeared to have been controlled by a man named Walter Simian for his whole life. Their head honcho? Oh, he was a GIANT SNOW GLOBE voiced by SIR IAN MCKELLAN. It was fun and silly, but this episode wasn't about the monsters as much as it was about the monster the Doctor has become.

You see, since he lost the Ponds, the Doctor has been transformed into one of those men women go nuts for, one of those men who avoids human contact because "he's been hurt before." The Doctor is now a creature who hangs back, watching mysterious things happen without interfering. He's more of a documentarian than a savior, and he believes the universe doesn't care whether he saves it or not. His only friends are fellow weirdos—Madame Vastra the Silurian, her human companion (and wife!) Jenny, and Strax the Sontaran. You may remember these folk from "A Good Man Goes to War," and we got to spend a lot more time with them in "The Snowmen." We learned that Vastra and Jenny are the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and Watson, and we learned that Strax is hilarious. Some people may not be into Strax's dim-witted humor, but I thought it was a lighthearted addition to the story and a fun counterpoint to our emo Doctor.

However, this is all led up to the biggest selling point of the special, our formal introduction to the Doctor's new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. We met her (again) as a saucy barmaid who immediately started bossing the Doctor around and didn't shy away from anything, especially not the mysterious Doctor she's just met. Clara, a.k.a. Miss Montague, was a bit of a mystery herself, as she appeared to be leading a double life—one as a barmaid, and one and a posh governess for two rich children. One of those rich children was having nightmares about their previous governess, who drowned and whose body was still frozen in a pond in the backyard. Surely that wasn't related to the Snowmen...

A scene between Clara/Miss Montague and Madame Vastra explained everything we needed to know about how the Doctor has changed in our absence: He lives in isolation, he's lost his spark, he doesn't care about humanity anymore, and Vastra wants to fix that. The Doctor agreed to check into the child's nightmares based on his apparent crush on Clara and her mention of the word "pond," and it was enjoyable to watch him fight that crush tooth and nail. After he battled an impressive-looking undead snow governess (my goodness I missed this show), he insisted that he doesn't do this sort of thing anymore, only to notice that he was once again wearing his patented Doctor Who bowtie.

The best scenes of the episode were the ones that focused on the Doctor and Clara, as they have some pretty dynamic chemistry. If you compare those first scenes with Clara to his first scenes with Amy Pond as a grown-up, it's easy to see that even though both women are feisty and adventurous and flirtatious, the Doctor is much more gaga over Clara. It's a nice change. The two ran from the undead snow governess, straight up to the TARDIS, which now resides on a cloud in the sky, and along the way, they got to know each other. She rightfully called out that he was sulking in a box in the sky, and he introduced her to the TARDIS in a lovely, breathtaking moment. The TARDIS has had some upgrades and looks like an analog future—it's new, but it's a close relative to the TARDIS of the past. I perhaps preferred its previous incarnation, which somehow looked like an underwater lair, but I'm sure I'll get used to this one. Seeing the TARDIS again and hearing its theme so late in the episode was worth the wait.

But maybe you're like me and were wondering the whole time whether this Clara/Miss Montague was really Oswin Oswald, the woman the Doctor bantered with in "Asylum of the Daleks," the first episode of Series 7. Oswin died in that episode. Both characters are played by the same actress, and when Clara asked about making a souffle in the kitchen of the TARDIS, we saw a lightbulb over the Doctor's head. He never got to see Oswin Oswald, but he was starting to realize this woman may be special. He'd done several seemingly meaningless things throughout the episode that indicated he wanted Clara around, even as he insisted he didn't. Why? "I don't know why, I only know who," he said. A giddy Doctor gave her a key to the TARDIS and bounced around with delight. So naturally, Clara was pulled away by the undead snow governess, fell to the ground, and was mortally wounded.

I perhaps found it a bit sudden that the Doctor changed his stance completely and decided to take on a new companion, but I decided to chalk that up to puppy love, and that he'd just been looking for a reason to come out of retirement. The Doctor, feeling horribly guilty over Clara's deathbed, made a deal with the Universe: If he saved Earth, the Universe would bring Clara back. The Universe doesn't make deals, Madame Vastra warned. Case in point, Clara died, and when the Doctor saw her tombstone, finally it clicked. Clara Oswin Oswald's final words—"Run, you clever boy. Run, and remember" made sense to the Doctor now. Somehow, he'd met this girl twice, and watched her die twice. Something impossible has happened, and now, the Doctor must find her again.

It's always made an odd sort of sense to me that the Doctor can never really be in love with any of his companions while being the Doctor. If he could, instead of going on adventures they would just hole up and watch Netflix and order in, like those in new relationships tend to do. The idea that the Doctor has found a companion he could love, but that he has to chase her through time and space (much like his wife River Song), is ridiculously compelling. This Christmas special brought more fun, magic, and romance to Doctor Who than I've seen this entire series. We're back to the witty banter, sly sex appeal, and outlandish monsters that made me fall in love with the show, and I am looking forward to the reset that Clara Oswin Oswald has brought to the Whoniverse.


NOTES


– New theme! What do you guys think of it?

– "Winter is coming" was said at least a few times in this episode, an obvious nod to Game of Thrones, which I thought was pretty cool.

– I actually laughed out loud at Strax's line "Sir, emergency, I think I've been run over by a cab." There are a million inherent problems with a character who at some points appears to be impaired on a Memento level and at other points seems completely competent, but again, I enjoyed him.

– The Doctor was absolutely wearing Amy's Harry Potter glasses.

– I also appreciated the nod to Moffat's other show, Sherlock.

My favorite line of the episode: "I'm a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife."

– I had trouble understanding the Doctor's response to Madame Vastra when she asked, "You missed this, didn't you?" Did he say "Sure" or "Shut up"?

– The writers are clearly setting up the Intelligent Snow to come back as a supervillain later; it dissipated without being vanquished, and there was a lot of talk about the London Underground tunnels. I wonder how it will return?

Comments (249)
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Moffat sure loves his anagrams. I think he also liked the movie the sixth sense. When I saw the scene below it felt like the scene from the sixth sense when the boy tells the "dead" guy that he sees "dead people", but at this point you dont realize that the guy is dead.

Doctor: Maybe it's snow that fell before, maybe it remembers how to make snowmen.

Clara: What? Snow that can remember, thats sillyDoctor: Whats wrong with Silly?

Clara: Nothing, still talkin to you aint I?

Oswin Oswald= I WAS OLD SNOW (Obvious Anagram)

Interesting that both times we have seen Oswin die. There was snow

Mybe she was normal until she died from the fall onto the "MEMORY" snow.
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I'm not sure I'm a fan of the whole reincarnation thing. I had actually initially suspected it was something along the lines of River, where The Doctor simply met Oswin for the first time late in her personal timeline. I know they already did that with River, but I felt they never really made proper use of that avenue and thought they might be trying again with Oswin. Obviously we now know this isn't the case. *shrug* I guess I'll just have to wait and see where it goes.
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Actually the Doctor was wearing Amy's Winston Churchill glasses
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DoctorWho became just too childish. With Moffat it started great, the first episodes were darker than before but then they did a U-turn and everything was turned into a silly joke. Characters started acting all dumb in a very bad way, plots started getting lame too.
Since when Doctor Who became a show for 3-5 years old children ?
I really hope they are going to make it better and more adult now with the new actress or they should stop calling it Doctor Who and turn it into a Little Kids Who show instead.
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Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and second the, "Really?" I have a hunch this is the first Who episode you've watched in a while. Kanniballl is right, there's been plenty of dark episodes recently. Heck, I think Moffat has been pretty consistant with the tone he's set with his doctor. Besides, aren't the Christmas specials always meant to be kid friendly so a family can sit down and enjoy it together?
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Really?
This season alone. The recent "Angels Take Manhatten" was quite dark and adult. "A Town Called Mercy" wasn't exactly childish: a genocidal scientist and his deformed cyborg creation, along with talks about how the universe is all just shades of gray. "Asylum of the Daleks" wasn't exactly childish and "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" was somewhere between serious and childish.

Last season was a little light hearted, but it still had some dark moments.

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Heck to expand on my "last season" bit, Season 6 only had a couple of episodes that could be considered light-hearted.

Closing Time / Let's Kill Hitler / The Black Spot were really the only ones that were light-hearted, and even they had their moments.
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You must be little kids guys. If you think last Doctor Who season was dark..... "Let's Kill Hitler" is dumb, childish and retarded. The whole River character and plot is just plain silly and wrong on too many levels.
Moffat should watch and learn from Once Upon A Time to get a clue on how to do things the right way with a dark adult tone.
I don't expect Doctor Who ever go True Blood style...
But at least mantain consistency and quality along with a proper adult tone without getting lame, childish and cheesy it should have been a must.
Russell T.Davies started great too and then did a lot of mistakes.
But it's worse the fact that Steven Moffat when got in charge did a better job with the first episodes, excellent plot and characters the series seemed finally having along with a dark adult tone.. and then.. everything all of a sudden got wasted and turned into a silly farce that only very little kids might enjoy (and when I was a little kid I didn't like childish farce of any kind anyway, at 6 I was watching Poltergeist movie and Doctor Who series at the time were quite darker and way more adult).
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Reed my post.... I said "Kill Hitler" / Black Spot / Closing Time were the LIGHT hearted ones.

They were the SILLY ones. The only real "moments" Hitler had were the creepy floating orbs that summarily killed people inside the ship... but that was it. The other two, nothing creepy at all though some sad emotions here and there.

See the grandparent post where I list this season. 5 episodes in, and most were fairly dark. Last season, I'd say 2/3 of them were dark.

At least, dark for "Doctor Who" If you're expecting darker than that, then perhaps you didn't watch that many of the classic eps. This is Doctor Who, not Torchwood. Torchwood was branded as the darker / grittier show, Sarah Jane Chronicles was the children show, and Doctor Who stayed in the middle ground.
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Emily - Strax was touched by the slug that erases your memory. He was trying to retieve it after it escaped, without wearing the gauntlets. After his memory was erased I guess he couldn't figure out how he got under the cab, unless he had been run over. Then the Doctor uses the gauntlets to capture the slug.
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The Snowmen was one of the best episodes of Doctor Who. Even though it was a Christmas special, it made an introduction to the new series and the new companion: "The girl who died twice." I am all exited to see what they have in line for the next series but it should be great.

I would say that she is River's daughter (and not the Doctor's as some would suggest), but right now only the writers know who she exactly is and we will soon find out :-) Wait and see!
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The whole River character and plot was such a huge childish mess. They really ruined it all. The old actress playing River character.. the whole childish nonsense, childish romance.. all just plain lame and wrong.
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No you're acting childish. Doctor Who is a children's show. A children's show that happens to walk a fine line where it appeals and makes sense to children while being enjoyable for adults. You are obviously not a Doctor Who fan or you would understand this. It's genius what they're able to do and I throughly enjoy it.
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They may be setting the snow up as a bad guy, but it is an already existing bad guy, "The Intelligence has gone up against two previous doctors (20+ years ago)
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"I had trouble understanding the Doctor's response to Madame Vastra when she asked, "You missed this, didn't you?" Did he say "Sure" or "Shut up"? "

It was Shut Up. (I watched the episode about 4 times, I can probably recite it now). I know, but I'm a whovian, I have an obligation to be a geek.

I adore Clara/Oswin but I'm not sure about the whole universe/fate/destiny bringing her back thing, it does lay quite a heavy burden on the poor girl. Look what happened to the last Companion that the Universe made certain he met again, no one should have to suffer Donna's fate.
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Doctor Who + Merry Poppins = a perfect combination :)
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Actually it already happened in a sense. As part of the extras in Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series DVD/Blu-ray released in November 2011, there were five minisodes written by Steven Moffat collectively titled Night and the Doctor. Minisodes three and four were linked and titled "First Night" and "Last Night". The third minisode was about the first date that the Doctor and River had right after they were married and River was incarcerated. While River was in the Tardis dressing rooms two older versions of her entered the Tardis accidentally, The last older version in "Last Night" was with an older version of the Doctor dressed in a frock coat and top hat, same as what he wore to the wedding of the Ponds. The older version of River told the younger version of the Doctor that they were off to see the Singing Towers of Darillium. Both the younger and older versions of the Doctor exchanged sad looks since they knew that this was the last time the Doctor would see River alive. The younger version of the Doctor wishes his older version good luck as the older version leaves the Tardis with River. Also I think that the current costume of the Doctor is a dead giveaway as to why the Christmas episode takes place after the last meeting of the Doctor and River. It's a much more dour and austere version of what he wore during the last time he took River out.
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Ok did anyone else find themselves vehemently reminding the Doctor that he's married? I like Clara, but I didin't like the flirting, I like River too much for that.
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He is not married. River is, but he is not. Yet. Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey...Stuff
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Maybe Time Lords are okay with bigamy?
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I came in with the assumption that Clara (The snowman) was an ancestor of Oswin (Assilum of the Daleks) the same way Eve Myles played a character on DW and a few centuries latter on Torchwood, the doctor and Rose pointed out the similarity and implied the ancestry. When I saw that Clara was from the late 19th century I was thinking that it would be a nice change from always picking up a companion from the early 21st century, but then they killed Clara and now were going to get a new Clara, again, from the 21st century. All of space and time and the doctor always finds his companions from early 21st century England, at least Amy was Scottish.
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I think there's more to it than a simple ancestor / genetic-reincarnation, or however they explained Eve Myles in that throw-away scene in the cross-over.

Between the sufflet and Oswin's last-words (BOTH times) there's something more going on. Plus, the teasers for the regular season show some monks with a painting of Oswin saying that she's the "twice dead woman" or something. And the doctor saying that he wants to know who or what she is (something like that).

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- The new theme and opening graphic are righteously superb - way better than the weird update made during the genesis of the Moffat years (although that graphic got better at the beginning of season 7)

- Heavy references to another remarkable sci/fantasy series = fanboy nirvana

- Some other British reviewer suggested that Vastra, Jenny and Strax get their own spinoff series, à la "Sarah Jane Adventures". Completely down with that.

- Yes, he was.

- Not really the first time the Doctor impersonated Holmes (it happened twice before the reboot), but I get where you're coming from...

- It was "Shut up."

- As for the Intelligent Snow... already happpened! The same British reviewer mentioned two old Doctor Who episodes where he faced it, one of those confrontations happening in the London underground... ring a bell? One of those episodes was titled “The Abominable Snowmen”! That being said, I'm totally expecting Moffat to bring it back during this season, if not the next one.
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Just wanted to add: this is, by far, the best Christmas episode of the Moffat years - right there in the same ballpark than "The Christmas Invasion."
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Agreed on the theme. I love all the callbacks to classic Who in this, from the new TARDIS interior to the bad guy and the new opening featuring the face of the Doctor. It's genuinely clever and it looks great.
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Just a though but...

Doesn't the comment "Run you sweet boy, Run" or whatever it was, sound like something that River Song would say.

Could Clara be a rejuvination of River (I know that she is suposed to have used up all her regens to save the Doctor but!) ?

That would explain the instant chemistry between them
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That is what I have been thinking...
Now about the bigamy thing that somebody else mentioned... that is a tad difficult to track... When did get married exactly... and aren't they supposed to be going in opposite directions in time a la King Arthur and Merlin?
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Someone higher up on the comments list posted something pertinent.

Apparently the Doctor has finished running the gambit of "dates" with River. He's formally had the final date (from her point of view) prior to her death in the library. The dates were included in the minisodes, I guess similar to the Time/Space minisodes last year.

I'm not saying the writers are done with River: but from the Doctor's point of view he's been married, had his dates, had their final date, and she died.
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so she's a doppelganger i guess? that's kind of fun, i will miss karen gillian forever though she was so hot
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So that means this episode is the prequel to the robot yeti of the second doctor. I think so?
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i don't like that they've changed the Tarids again. i didn't know he could just change it willy nilly; last two times it was serevely damaged.
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I wouldn't think of it so much as him having rebuilt it, most of the rooms in the TARDIS move around abit and rarely go away completely. It's been shown in the past that there are multiple control rooms still in existence and he's probably just using a different one that doesn't have memories of Amy attached to it.
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It got pretty beat up in the Angles Take New York episode, so I can see it having to build a new room.
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I am not totally sure about this, but I think in theory the tardis renews itself, it is sort of a living thing inside it and it keeps changing and repairing itself all the time (good excuse to give it a new look from time to time) - the weird thing is that it never changed its exterior LOL but I like it that way.
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That's because the chameleon circuit responsible has been broken and the Doctor never repaired it. Apparently, the TARDIS can't repair that or it chose not to because the Doctor didn't want it.
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There was a David Tennant (but I have been wrong before) episode where he pointed out that the TARDIS saves a copy of every control room. He used another of the rooms to move the TARDIS in space/time when his was destroyed.
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The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) did repair the Chameleon circuit , but decided he liked the police box, so opted for making it "unremarkable" or "unnoticeable" instead.
The change of the control room is to imply that a LOT of time has passed (possibly River Song's lifespan) and the Doctor has been alone for some time...
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OOPS! Sorry Elsann, I didn't mean to flag your comment. I meant to reply.

The doctor was ~900 when he met Amy. But we find out that a lot of time passes. He spent many years looking for Melody even though months passed for the Ponds (just prior to the crop circle incident). And we find out that when he "died" he was around 1,100 years. Meaning he spent a LOT of time on his own.
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And the Doctor does say at one point:"Over a tousand years of saving the universe..." When he was with Amy, he was only over nine hundred. Wich means that he may have been in isolation for as much as a century after the Ponds left.
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love the new tardis just awesome
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Yes, you are right.
I thought new Tardis console room designs come with new Doctors. Not with new companions.
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Well, that's traditional I suppose... but the Series 6 episode "The Doctor's Wife" revealed that each iteration of the Control Room is saved and presumably still accessible, and a special short ("Time Crash", I think it was called?) for Red Nose Day one year during the Tenth Doctor's run (i.e. long preceding the Eleventh!) features the Fifth and Tenth Doctor's two Control Rooms temporarily smushing together and needing to be separated. In that, once the Fifth realizes he's talking to a future version of himself (rather than a fanboy, heh), he remarks that the choice of "Coral" for "the wallpaper" is one he doesn't like...

So, presumably the Control Room's decor is much like the appearance of a computer "desktop" - easily altered at the whim of the user. Complete with "wallpapers". ;)

Seems to me he's simply changed the wallpaper - possibly to a bare-bones version - so that he has less to remind him of what, or rather who, he has recently lost (as someone else above me pointed out, it's possible that he's also recently seen River off to her last date with him as well - boy, what a masochist!).

The fact that I know this should tell you what a geek I am. ;)
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The Robot Yeti was in the Underground from the Old Dr Who, I think it was a set up for something that already happened.
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From 1967 YES,,,The late Patrick Troughton's era...Excellent story FROM WHAT little we have available to watch. Also, the top hat Matt wore was a reference to a prop Trougthon was to wear as the "Cosmic Hobo" BUT later lost. Supposely, Smith will lose this soon too..(Kinda' like his Fez)...
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Ha! That's neat. :)

For those who are confused on the "from what little we have to watch" reference, there are a number of early Who episodes where the video footage was lost, mostly due to a policy a few decades ago where the BBC was "junking" or recycling old tapes - the First and Second Doctors were especially hard-hit, as they were earlier episodes and mostly in black and white, which the BBC for some reason thought would be a hard sell once color became popular (apparently they were foolish enough to ignore the rising of both syndication and home video recordings).

Some of them have been wholly or partially recovered from overseas material (copies sold overseas and later returned, and, perhaps most ironically, from clips in Australia and the like from otherwise missing episodes that only survived because they were censored for things like violence - they were submitted as evidence that edits had been made and are now in some cases the only footage that exists for those episodes!); some were miraculously found because someone at the Beeb left it in a basement (the case with two episodes returned by, of all people, the Mormon Church after they bought an old building that used to belong to BBC) or decided to take it home instead of tossing it, and some have been recovered because of (ironically) unauthorized home recordings of episodes as they aired both in the UK and abroad.

The good news is though that the STORIES aren't lost - just the footage. Audio (both in official and unauthorized recordings) exists for all of them in varying degrees of quality with the Beeb having remastered and reedited some of them with narration to form audio plays that got CD releases (the Krotons is one of these, for instance)... and most or all of them were once novelized for Target Books in paperback form.

So, people interested in this story sadly don't have the original episodes for the whole serial, but if they know where to look they can still probably find a paperback or maybe even a CD that covers the story. :) Check your local library folks - even in the US, some of them, surprisingly, carry some of the audios (that's how I accessed the Krotons, myself, despite living in Florida).
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Just liked to say I've just sat here and read all your reviews of the current season and I love them all! I've been getting very annoyed with a lot of Whovians who've been really negative about the show and hated how it's changed and continue to say things like they miss the old doctor and the writers are ruining the characters or things like that, but I love how your positive perspective on things while still remaining realistic on where the show is headed. Loving your reviews, please keep it up and I'll remain a faithful reader! :)
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Such is the nature of the internet that you will get the whiners and nitpickers in larger numbers, sadly.

I try to ignore those as best I can though, because honestly, Doctor Who is one of those rare series that just gives me utter childlike joy. I don't know exactly what it is that feels so magical to me - It's so crazy, so wacky, so weird and funny and moving and touching that I just can't help but love it, somehow. Even when it has off-moments (such as the silly quarrel betwixt the Ponds in "Asylum of the Daleks"), I still am capable of forgiving and just enjoying it. Especially episodes like "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". I mean, Christ, even just the title of that episode expresses everything I love about Doctor Who: DINOSAURS! ON A SPACESHIP! DINOSAAAAAURS. On a SPACESHIIIIP! I'm with Eleven on that one. ;) My inner five year old just about squealed when I saw that promo, and I am UNASHAMED of that.

Doctor Who is not a "guilty" pleasure for me: it is an utterly earnest love that I feel no compunctions about. When I am sad and need a pick me up, I watch Doctor Who. When I'm already happy and see a new one, I'm outright euphoric. I don't care how silly or insane it gets; that's precisely why I love it so much. Like you said: SNOW GOVERNESS. Evil Snowmen and a lizardwoman from the Dawn of time! God, I love this show so much. :D


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This is just my thoughts but it might be a spoiler.




I think Clara is the Doctors daugther, the one that was made by a bloodsample. That hasn't had any continuation thus far and this is a very good way to do just that.
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a little to kissy/sexually playful for a blood relative dont you think.... much more than a few Luke and Leia -ala Star Wars moments, dont you think?
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I was hoping that the Doctor's daughter would come back at some point, but I didn't think this was her.
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TRUE..But that would be VERY AWKWARD explaining how you just snogged your daughter...That being said, Princess Leia doing the same to Luke in "The Empire Strikes Back" THEN realizing they're blood relatives seemed to come off okay..This WOULD be a way to RE-introduce David Tennant's real-life wife, Georgia Moffet WHO IS the real life daughter of Peter Davidson, Doc #5 OR perhaps one of her offspring from the cloneing system. That being said, it is almost confirmed I've heard that the Doctor's "GrandDaughter", "Susan" (Carol Ann Ford) is going to make a reappearence in the 50th anniversary season.
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In my opinion the best episode so far with the new TARDIS interior and the new kickass companion. Im really looking forward to see more of the mysterious and smart new girl (not to forget hot) that died twice. I have to admit I was a little disappointed of the last episodes and got a little tired of watching but I think the series is back on track now and I cant wait to see more ..
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I don't know, it's a bit too sleek and modern looking. I'm a fan of the crazy-clutter and weird-contraptions more than something that looks like a generic science fiction console.
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Sorry, did I miss it or has nobody mentioned the moment the lizard lady said "Pond"? That felt meaningful to me, as it was meant to wake him up and did so by referring back to Amy. Or so I thought. Anybody agree?
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I think that was the point...the word 'Pool' wouldn't have woken him up. There was a significance to 'Pond'.
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Exactly! But no one else seemed to mention it, whereas it was a really memorable moment for me (huge gasp).
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It was a good way to tie in The Angels in Manhattan to The Snowmen...I wonder did they write this storyline specifically to allow for that, or was it something they discovered once it was written? Hmmm...
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Curses! I missed it. But on that note, from the article and the comments I'm looking very much forward to when I DO see it.
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This was one of the best episodes of Doctor Who I've ever seen. It was brilliant. I was always a bigger fan of Steven Moffat's work than the other writers and I think this episode helped to show why. For me last season never really seemed to kick into gear and I think that was probably because of the lack of a substantial season-long story arc. Doctor Who is at it's best when there are very subtle hints throughout the season suggesting towards the finale's bigger picture. This episode gave us "The Girl Who Died Twice", "The Intelligent Snow" - possibly combined with "Winter is Coming" (which maybe isn't just a nod towards the brilliant Game of Thrones) and "The London Underground" all three of which seem like a firm and intriguing foundation towards the new seasons bigger picture. I'm really looking forward to see how this one turns out.

On top of the new foundation is the fantastic new companion. Clara Oswin Oswald is a brilliant character and the chemistry between her and The Doctor is delightfully entertaining. It's been a while since The Doctor had a companion to truly flirt with and I'm looking forward to see how this incarnation of the mercurial quack handles the situation. Jenna-Louise Coleman appears to be the perfect actress to play the part and, like a lot of her predecessors, I think a big future lies ahead of her.

This episode was brilliant. Malevolent snow-creatures, an evil twisted ice governess, wonderfully funny and dim Strax (the whole memory-erasing worm scene was fantastically written and brilliant funny), the sassy cute new companion, the return of some old friends and a morally conflicted, heartbroken Doctor. This was Moffat's writing at it's best, along with the season 3 episode "Blink". He's introduced the new companion, laid the groundwork for the new season and shown us a new sparkly-looking T.A.R.D.I.S. I have to say though that the ending, or rather the not-quite-vanquishing of this seasonal episodes big bad, was a little disappointing after the brilliant build up, but that small gripe hardly dents the overall package. I'm a big fan of Christmas, even more so when there is a new Doctor Who to watch whilst slowly digesting an obscene volume of food!
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Actually the snowball already returned. He fought the second Doctor in the underground. The globe is the Great Intelligence and he was obviously inspired by the eleventh doctor to invade the underground as he thinks that it is now the key to taking over England. Does anybody study history anymore or at least the history of Doctor Who?
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Excellent point!...AND thanks for the historical reference to Patrick Troughton's Doc. (Who was perhaps the BEST to have ever played the role, even more so than my other faves Pertwee and T.Baker)
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I think a lot of us know, but I don't think an encyclopaedic knowledge of the History of Who is required to enjoy it or write about it. I really like Emily's write-ups and thoughts on the episode, and it's great to see some of the thoughts that come up when connections aren't already established.
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It makes me happy when It makes me happy when I' not teh only I'm not the only one who remembers stuff like this. When the Doctor brought up the Underground, I laughed out loud and gave a little clap because I knew it had already happened in the future past perfect
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Who else is a.) now seriously wanting to track down the Target Books novelisation for that episode? and b.) dismayed because they're sure it's going to jump in price on places like ebay now because of this episode? :)
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Strike before the Iron is too hot, you shoudl be able to find one now still at a reasonable price, but you're right... I hadn't even considered it.
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Remain Calm, human scum.
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Although I really did love Clara, I'm kind of wishing for the personality diversity of our first three companions: the young, ordinary, loving girl, the doctor-turned-soldier, the sassy and insecure and romantically uninterested early-middle-aged woman. Now sass is great, but now it's just sass sass sass, isn't she fiesty and sexy and hot and look, a kiss, haha! (Also still don't know what happen to River Song?) I am interested in Clara's timeline, and she looks pretty capable. I hope the cast of characters we meet this (second half of the) season balances it all out. And I will be watching for plot holes! -_-
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Sass is one thing, but the difference is that Clara can actually keep up with the doctor. So far the other companions have simply trusted the doctor. Clara doesn't have the science background, but she seems to know the doctor as much as River knows the Tardis. Examples "You like me." "You kissed me." "You blushed." and the entire explanation of why they came to the TARDIS. And given what the other Oswin did in "Asylum", simply put she's brilliant and pretty close to River (who as I put before is either completely gone or no longer in the present i.e the previous doctors who can always pop up but are still just as dead).
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I'm not sure what River is up to, but she was in the trailer for the upcoming second half of Series 7, so she'll be back. She's not dead or gone (the events of the Library have not yet occurred in the Doctor's "present"), but there was an implication in "Angels Take Manhattan" that she wasn't spending so much time in prison either. (We also know from that diary of hers that they have many many more adventures together.) So she's off on her own adventures, I guess, and based on comments made at various times in the last few eppys, spends time with the Doctor in between his known adventures. (She can also visit Amy and Rory in the past, and he can't, which, knowing 11, probably annoys him. Plus she's a reminder of his loss, so he may be seeing less of her right now.) River has always been an enigma, and now that the mystery of her origins has been solved, the writers are finding other ways to keep her mysterious. And I assume they want the focus to be on the mystery of the new companion too, at least initially.
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I think River's last date with the Doctor (from her perspective) may have recently happened (from his perspective), as somebody above mentioned might be another reason why he was moping and trying not to get involved with others.

That said, Timey-Wimey, my friends. River Song is a time traveller just as much as the Doctor is and they have all their adventures out of sync with each other. So yeah, we'll see her again. ;)
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This episode was excellent. The new companion brings fresh air and I'm sure next season will be great.
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Could Oswin's tales to the children actually be true? Like making fish so she have someone to swim with? Perhaps she didn't know/realize consciously, but that Sufflet thing came out from her subconsciouse. Maybe there's truth to this: either knowledge from another life... or perhaps she's some universal avatar.
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I'm beginning to think you may just be right. Oswin act of erasing the Doctor's name from the Dalek database in the "Asylum of the Daleks" was what gave the Doctor the idea of erasing all info about him from all the databases in the universe. In doing so, he not only set in motion the release of River, her return to the academe, and consequently her trip and death in the Library but also established the question that should never be answered leading to the fulfillment of the prophecy that the Silence feared - "Doctor Who?". She's pushing him towards a certain direction and he's following it because he "doesn't always know the why but he knows the who." Moffat may also be hinting at this especially with Vastra's statement at the end of the Christmas episode "Maybe the Universe does make bargains."
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I enjoyed this Christmas special, though it's not my favorite. The best part was the interaction between the Doctor and Clara. I really like the mystery surrounding her. I found Strax's lines a little over the top goofy, but considering how goofy this Doctor is I guess I can accept it. I just hope we don't have a lot of it. I like the new opening with the fleeting elements from the original series. I liked the references to Sherlock, but again, I hope we don't see a lot of that. The line about a family crying on Christmas eve made me laugh out loud, it was so hokey.
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I fought to understand the Dr and River moving in opposite times, but I'm thinking the Dr is now widowed and their times won't intersect anymore. Dr fought really hard to try to stay depressed and gloomy, but Clara was too irresistible with her quick wit, spunkiness (and looks) even before he figured out she was a mystery.
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The London Underground references were not hints of future adventures, but callbacks to Classic Doctor Who stories from the 60's. While I'd love to see the Great Intelligence return, I doubt it will try to attack the Underground with robot yetis...again.
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I love the mystery of Clara. I think she will make an amazing companion. The snowmen were pretty hokey, but a lot of the villains are in the show, it's tradition. Winter is Coming was overdone and unnecessary. But Strax was pure comedy and a great straight man to the Doctor. He delivered his lines beautifully, especially when he thought he had been run over by a cab. Pure vaudeville. He reminds of Magersfontein Lugg - upper class detective Albert Campion's servant/butler who was a former burglar. Here is his most famous saying.

"It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide."
("It's insane to try and bribe a policeman with fake money.")
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Sir, please do not nugie me during combat prep!
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Just one of the great lines from Strax...
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It was good and I love the new girl Clara, can't wait to see more.
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It was a great episode.
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Oh, I just ADORE Doctor Who!!! Magic as always!
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Oh my God, they killed Clara!
You bastards!

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OMG, I am so going to say this next time I see her die, no matter what episode it is.

I think my boyfriend made the Kenny joke before, right after the Special, but still. it's the line that makes it ten times funnier... XD
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Briliant episode! Brings back the sadness and duality of David Tennant!
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Glad you liked it BUT David Tennant would have just SO overacted the part. I mean, Tennant was entertaining BUT there's NO subtlety to the man compared to Matt who has that to an art...BTW, from an interview, he plans on staying with the role past the 50th season..Moffat blows off the rumour BUT I think Peter Jackson, who's talking Who movie after 2014, would pick him for not a reboot BUT a big screen adaptation..Back to Tennant, not to start a flame war, BUT it's like he was that oh so likable bloke WHO sorta' borrowed the Tardis for an extended jaunt. As much as alot of people disliked and resented Eccleston, Chris was more like "The Doctor" especially as the Time-War weary compliment to #8....
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If the evil snow is coming back dose that mean Sir Ian McKellen is coming back as the evil snow's voice :D
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he said shut up
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I actually am already looking forward for Clara to come into Doctor's life full throttle. Just as Amy in her own time brought in some freshness to Doctor/Companion dynamics, i think Clara is gonna be this other part of the puzzle in the same direction with vital, vivid and curiosity driven character i thought she is gonna be after the way she was introduced. And if there is some spark between Doctor and Clara, well let it be, where ever it goes from here, I'm likely to enjoy the ride and all the fun it gives me
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"Its smaller on the outside." I knew I was going to love this new companion and her description of the Tardis sealed it.
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Yes. Especially his reaction, a sort of confused, "Well... that's a new one." XD

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I did a lot of giddy squee-ing during this episode, particularly whenever anyone said "Winter is coming", and then Simian came back frozen and possessed. Whee!

As a relatively new fan (started watching back in May), this is my first "live" introduction to a new companion and new TARDIS, and I loved it. Not sure I'm a fan of the new TARDIS, but it's a great mirror for who the Doctor had become after the Ponds. It seemed very cold and metal and looks almost clinical. I loved the way it reflected his post-Pond pre-Clara personality, even though I'm not sure I like the look of it.
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The Tardis interior harkens back to pretty much what Patrick Troughton had 1966-1969...Other references to the Doc #2 era are the Bowtie, the Cosmic Hobo Tophat (which Patrick only used a little while then lost, we assume Matt will do likewise soon)..and the Yeti/Cosmic Intelligence..From what I've seen that's available of Troughton's, he was perhaps THE BEST actor to play the role..Tom Baker had a long time to develop his...Pertwee was great as well...Interesting point is that the program doesn't REALLY give much creedence to Bill Hartnell, the original. Maybe because he has been accused of being irracible AND controversial behind the scenes..Ofcourse, it's come out that Troughton had a second secret family THAT his regular family and wife already knew about..BUT there's more admiration instead of scandalous criticism of Patrick for being supportive of both (financially and otherwise).
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Very good Christmas-special, very funny and I already like Clara too, if only for her boobs - finally a companion with some cleavage! (How merry of me to point that out, am I right?)
Strax is welcome too, but I almost had to puke when I saw the new interior of the TARDIS. Seriously, how can ANYONE be OK with that nightmare???
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WELL there was that godawful one of performance by that Eastender's gal during David Tennant's Half-Swan-Song season. She has the BIGGEST boobs of anyone and ain't that bad to look at either BUT is an absolutely DREADFUL actress in that wasted Bus in the Dessert episode..Looks ain't nothing though IF there's no personality behind it and Jenna Louise is an "11' in my book!. Saucy BUT in a decent kinda' way...
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I really liked Michelle Ryan in "Planet of the Dead" I also really liked her on "Jekyll" and dare I say it "The Bionic Woman"

To go off on a tangent, I understand the Bionic Woman wasn't everyone's cup of tea... but what really bugged me was one of the reasons people hated it. That the "new" Jaime was and antithesis of woman's lib compared to the old.

Really? The original Jaimie was a tennis pro and a teacher. OK fine, she was a role model for the 70s but not a real big whoop. But the new Jaimie was a woman that dropped out of Harvard to take care of her deaf sister after her father abandoned her. I don't see that as being "anti woman's lib." I see that as a tough sacrifice, being it's hard to go to Harvard, pay for Harvard, and support a young deaf sister. Jeez.
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Wait, are you talking about Planet of the Dead?

I will respectfully have to disagree, sir. Lady Christina was one of my favorite one-off companions. So devious and adventure-seeking and off-putting to the Doctor! That was a fun little movie.
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I completely agree! I forgot about the Eastender's gal because she was so.. well forgettable!
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One thing that is getting to me though is that the 11th Doctor has yet to have an actual normal everyday human companion. Think about it, Amy grew up next to a crack in time and space in her wall, she could sense and remember changes in time. Even Rory was strange in that he had this uncanny ability to die and come back, something the silence even noted, and was technically 2000 years old in memory.Now we have Clara who so far, exists in the past, present, and future in some unexplained reincarnation.

So far, we have not had the everyday girl like we have had in previous incarnations of the Doctor. This Doctor seems to be drawn to people who are somehow strange in the universe, to people who are not quite right. Maybe it is the fact that this doctor is far more curious than the last one and is always looking for a mystery or riddle to solve.
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You could argue that Rose and Donna weren't "everyday girls" - Bad Wolf and Doctor-Donna? They may have been "normal" when he picked them up, but ended up being special. Although Donna did keep "finding" the Doctor... First on her wedding day and then the Adipose episode (her car and his TARDIS, for one). So maybe Rose and Martha were the only normal ones? I may have just confused myself..haha
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AND one might argue that the "Normal Girls" weren't very interesting...Catherine Tate had her comic wit about her..Rose was cute and sexy (NOW too much to return given her affiliation as Belle the High Priced Hooker in "Belle d' Jour".)..Martha (Freema Agyman) is a good actress BUT that whole season was a major letdown/pure RTD "filler". She was boring...I didn't think Amy was all that interesting at times...For being a trained actress, she didn't seem to have the natural "timing" that Rose (Billy Piper) has/had as somone pretty much new to the profession. Ofcourse, one of the worst castings was Kylie Minogue, WHO basically used her concerts to BUY a position on the program (even though she'd been on tv since teen-hood on Australia's version of "Eastenders" called "Neighbors")..
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You are right about Donna. She was normal but her destiny was certainly not and was not in her control which became confusing.

The Doctor believed that something was drawing them together. It may have been the Doctor Donna event reverberating back through the timeline. It could have also been Dalek Caan's influence as he did say he helped put things in motion or at least moved them along.

It could have also been an extension of what was happening with Wilfred and his destiny with the Doctor and that woman in white. Like Donna, the Doctor met him once and then met him again, while people tried for centuries to find the Doctor, Wilfred did it in an afternoon with a bus full of old people. He was a normal man but had an extraordinary destiny that he knew nothing about.

Possibly everything was intertwined. Maybe the woman in white, whoever she is, put things in motion. I have always believed that she was an agent of the White Guardian, a being who has the power to do this type of thing.
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I think it was awesome, a lot of fun and great chemistry! I'm really excited for how the the next season will unravel.

Unlike a lot of people I don't like to jump on a chance to say that 'the show has gone down hill since 'insert chosen time/cause'' because as with all things shows should change and develop constantly. It's that change that keeps things fresh and I think Who as a show has been great at that. If things stayed the same it just wouldn't be fun, sure everyone will think of a particular season or doctor as a Golden Age, but everyones is different in some way and some times they change(but are never overshadowed). Thats why people keep coming back to watch year after year, so remember, sometimes different is good!
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Exactly! I think it was i09 that pointed out the show has been completely different things at different times - it was an Avengers copycat during the Third Doctor era, a classic horror pastiche during some of the Tom Baker years,a "Boys own Adventure"-style show with the Fifth Doctor, character-driven mystery starting in the McCoy years, etc., and the Moffat years have gone kind of fairy tale with it.

Knowing that it has altered itself so many times helps a lot - you can have a favorite era of course, but really, all of them are just... "different". You know? :)

But one thing is consistent: it's almost always weird and kinda crazy and I love that about it. :)
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Very well put! I didn't want to get bogged down in detailing the ways it's changed over the years but you managed it very clearly and concisely so thank you!
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Very wise point Chaos-Melly, sometimes different is good and sometimes different is bad. Having Moffat take over as the head writer is more the latter.
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Aw, come on. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it's "bad". It just means you don't like it.

Hell, even something largely recognized as "bad" by lots of people can still be enjoyable to many... I loathe Twilight for instance, as do many others, but millions of people enjoyed it. Is it wrong to enjoy Twilight just because a lot people like myself dislike it and think it to be "too flawed" for their own taste?

If you answer, "yes, because it's awful", you take yourself far too seriously to comment on entertainment.

Taste is subjective. Just accept that and let's move on, eh? :)
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I'm not going to be as kind as our other respondent...RTD tried to force an agenda without really acomplishing the intended purpose That's why Chris Eccleston left after one season. RTD was too much the "fan boy" trying to out "WANK" his last end-of-season, overcrowded Tardis finale's. Look at the mess he's made of "Torchwood"...Pure Incoherency!. BUT then again, we got a good sign of how self-indulgent he COULD become by the BBC allowing that over-the-top finale' for him and David Tennant. I mean, Tennant had lost me as a fan already when he was allowed to hold on to the role, while he did his "Hamlet" thing. That short season was a sham and many of us fans still feel cheated. NO, I rarely go back and watch RTD episodes preferring instead to watch classic WHO stories instead...
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Thats a perfectly valid opinion, however I also know many people that despaired of the direction RTD was taking it in and find Moffat a breath of fresh air. Personally I have greatly enjoyed both and have also disliked some aspects of both. I have favourite episodes and story arcs from both 'Reigns'. I hope you've not found it so bad as to stop watching, that would be terrible! Maybe you will find more to enjoy in this coming season?!
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As much as i love doctor who i have to agree with the Moffat haters. The show has gone downhill since he took over. He raped sherlock in that second season. What i find really annoying about the latest episodes is how they end them...the tears of children crying at Christmas saved the world...come on!!
That been said i like the chemistry between the doctor and the new sidekick and the use of madam vastra and the wife and potato head.
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Can we not use the word "rape" to describe things that aren't literally sexual assault? I'm getting kind of sick of the use.

It devalues the word when you use it to describe such trivial things as "he did something I disliked when writing a show on TV". He didn't "rape" a goddamn thing - he just wrote something you didn't like

Nothing more, nothing less, and it's not like his version will ever have more staying power than the original Conan Doyle stories, which have seen countless adaptations before and will see countless adaptations after, and hell, have what, two other "inspired-by" adaptations and a movie series ONGOING nowadays anyway? You have plenty of choice if you don't like Moffat's version. Stop being so hyperbolic.

Have some perspective, please. Not being a writer you like doesn't make him a "rapist". Christ.
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get a life !
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it was clara's tear that saved them all. god knows why they made the doctor say that cheese filled with vomit line. it was oswin that saved everyone in the asylum too. i guess she'll be the martyr/rory character for a bit then it'll turn out she's more offspring. but then again his granddaughter before was a bit rubbish n just died(10th doctor - one of the master episodes or summat) so maybe she's susan's offspring?
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The thing that was slightly bothersome about it is that it had a perfectly reasonable explanation that the show had set up--the psychic snow mirrored thoughts directed at it or those around it in a symbiotic relationship. It was acting on it's own because it had somehow developed the strength to do so, yet was also over extended. The majority of it's physical self was at the mansion--and now very strong emotions were being directed outward at that location. So that all makes sense.

But then describing it that way, "the tears of a whole family crying on christmas eve"...well, it's poetic but a bit flimsy. A few more words linking it to the established pseudo-science could've kept the emotional impact and been truer to the show.
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I hated that line too.
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Not the best line BUT all you Moffett haters, go dig up your RTD stories and watch them in a loop...RTD is gone..He's a failure in America (WHAT the HELL was with Torchwood?)...His favorite star John "Captn Jack" Barrowman has become the first companion fandom does NOT want to see in the 50th anniversary, SO if it hadn't been for RTD leaving when he did, WHO would've been cancelled..The only BAD story was Moff's second with Churchill and the Techni-Colour Daleks which admittedly had me worried BUT thanks to Matt and the Moff, they pulled it off.
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Moffat wrote the first episode with Jack, pretty sure he created the character. But yes i hated what happened to Torchwood too. But i'll be pissed if Jack isn't in the 50th Ann. eppie
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In response to the actual review...my thoughts exactly! I would also like to add that I absolutely LOVED the character of Oswin Oswald. Not just because the character was great, but because of her interaction with The Doctor. Since I don't follow along behind the scenes (which apparently revealed this much sooner), finding out that she was the next companion could not in any way have been more SPECTACULAR!
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He said..."shut up!".
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I really like Clara a lot more than I thought I would because I loved the Ponds so very much. I still cry whenever I re-watch "Angels Take Manhattan." But the way that Clara and the Doctor connected I thought was absolutely adorable, there is a sort of puppy love in both of their eyes the entire time. Especially after their sudden kiss, and when Clara explained the Doctor's plan to the Doctor. He just knew that she was perfect for him and it just reassured him! Above all an absolutely brilliant episode, and I am going to be a little sad the next 4 months waiting to see the rest of the season, by the time it premieres I will be sitting at the very edge of my seat just waiting and ready to see what is in store!!
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