Doctor Who

Episode Christmas Special

A Christmas Carol

5
Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Dec 25, 2010 on BBC America
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

8.7
out of 10
Average
330 votes
  • A Christmas Carol

    10
    A Christmas Carol was a perfect and very entertaining Christmas Special Episode. I really enjoyed watching because the story was creative and a unique re-imagining of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with a Doctor Who twist. I liked the characters and how every thing played out. The flying fish were amazing and beautiful as were the other special effects. The ending was amazing and I was left with a great feeling. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • With Amy and Rory stuck on a doomed space cruiser in the future, the Doctor must alter the lifeline of a lonely old miser, who holds the key to being able to save the Doctor's friends. Okay, I'll dare to say it – I found this one dull and disappointing...

    3.5
    I'm a bit late with my review of this one. Normally I'm online as soon as a new DW ep has aired sharing my comments (hey, I have no life!), but due to Christmas commitments I'm a bit behind on this one. Anyway...

    This seems to be one of those episodes that most people have really enjoyed, but... I'm sorry, I just didn't take to this one at all. The Christmas episodes have always been a bit hit-or-miss to me (I loved 'The Next Doctor' and last year's 'The End of Time' but, again bucking the majority, never warmed to 'Voyage of the Damned'), and this one I'm afraid falls on my "miss" list.

    I thought it could have been good – we've seen so much good Doctor and Amy interaction in the WONDERFUL Series 5, which I hoped to see continue here, and I felt that the whole 'A Christmas Carol' idea had scope and could have been really creepy. But I felt it came out as an uncertain mish-mash, that just didn't hold my attention much at all. At times it was confusing, and, I'll sadly admit, by the end I found much of it frankly a bit boring.

    Going back to Amy... I was bitterly disappointed that she barely features in this story at all. In my opinion, Amy Pond is by far the best companion Modern Who has seen, she's such a great character, but here she was reduced to just a couple of non-important cameos. Matt Smith / The Doctor and Karen Gillan / Amy have such a wonderful interaction that built up over the last series, so I was really let down to see that there was none of it on show here.
    Plus there's Rory... As I've said in previous reviews, I like that they've dared to make him rather nerdy, but – as once again shown here – as a "regular companion" he's a spare wheel and just comes across as out of place. They either need to find something major to do with him next series (how about making him turn bad, tearing Amy's heart up, even if 'Buffy' season two already did a similar plot) or lay the character to rest.

    This is not me knocking Moffat / Smith Who one bit – the total opposite. Series 5 had a lot to prove, and some were determined not to like it simply because it wasn't Russell T. Davies / David Tennant (cough*rose-tinted spectacles*cough), whereas I was the opposite – I think Matt Smith as a far better (and more interesting) Doctor, and Moffat's writing and series tone is superb; I love it far better than the Davies / Tennant era. Which is why I was so let down by 'A Christmas Carol'. We'd seen so much quality in Series 5, but sadly I found very little of it on display here.

    The trailer for Series 6 (which will be shown in two halves), looks excellent (though, once again, I am slightly worried of them overusing River Song – a mysterious character supposed to be intertwined with the Doctor's future – and bringing her back to frequently), and looks set to hold some wonderful stories. But as for this Christmas outing, I know others loved it, but personally I have to put 'A Christmas Carol' down to being a disappointing blip in an otherwise great period of 'Doctor Who'.
  • X-mas yet again, but this time the Doctor is off earth for the holidays.

    6.5
    Was Moffet out of his mind!? Ripping off the Charles Dickens story again? First time in The Unqueit Dead and now this one with even the same title!
    Its hard to believe that the Doctor didn't try something else to save them. I mean, he could have found Kazran a new girl to love or asked Abagail what her desiese was. i mean if there was a cure for it in the future, she could have been cured and lived to her golden years with kazran.
    But the ending was a great redeemimng part, not only for Kazran, but for the story. i mean its always the climax of these rip offs of the orginal that are the good part.
  • It was a great Christmas tale and a nerd nightmare all in one.

    7.5
    The time travel omnipotence the Doctor has developed is a problem I've been pointing out since last season's finale, and it's clearly here to stay. It's creating plot holes already.

    If the Doctor can go back and overwrite events in which he's already engaged, why doesn't he just help the ship before it loses control? Why doesn't he go back and heal Abigail before she's terminal? Why doesn't he go back way into his own past and fix all the incredible tragedies he's witnessed? Sure, in this one there's a very good "because": because it is better that way, more poetic. That works because the episode is charming, and fun and endearing and self-conclusive (the great jokes, the acting, the amazing Peter Pan-ish silhouette on the round window!), so it can pretty much do whatever it wants to do. But when we're in season mode, like last season and the upcoming one, suddenly those questions become relevant. Until things are turned back to normal Who time travel rules, the Doctor has infinite lives. He's cheating, and I'm immediately less concerned about the fates of all characters and less invested in the outcome of every situation.
  • An ok start to Doctor Who season 6.....

    7.0
    I am still not sure if I liked this episode or not...
    Firstly, that ship at the start so looked like a ship from Star Trek, it had the same layout of the bridge and I swear I even saw a red line across the hull of the ship like they started doing with next-gen era Starfleet ships. They were also using lens flares like the did in the latest Star Trek movie.... not complaining or anything, its just something I picked up on. But does this mean that Star Trek does exist in the future? haha :)
    I really like the fish in the clouds/sky, I thought it was really cute.

    A couple of things I had probelms with: I thought that the Doctor didn't like going back on people's personal timelines, or was that just his timeline he wouldn't go back on?

    This was an ok Steven Moffat episode, I prefer the Russel T Davis era episodes, season 5 was my lest favourite season of the new series. But in comparison with season 5 this was a good episode. I really miss though that Steven would make some references, even small ones at least to the past characters, I can understand why he doesn't want to bring them back, but at least make one or two references to them, so that they are not totally forgotten so soon! This episode have a lot of opportunities to make some references so I was disappointed when there weren't any.

    I was also hoping to see more of Amy and Rory in this episode (mostly Rory) so I was disappointed in that field too. But none the less I am looking forward to season 6 and the adventures it brings!
  • Really? They're Doing 'A Christmas Carol'?! Moffat's lost his mind...or maybe not...

    10
    When I saw that they were going to do a version of A Christmas Carol for the Christmas special, I thought, 'Really? This is what we've come to?' And then I actually watched it. First of all, the Dickensian Christmas Carol is merely the inspiration, both for the Doctor and Moffat as the writer. There's not really a one-to-one comparison (which is good b/c Davies already did Dickens back in Series 1).

    Some might complain that Amy and Rory are strangely absent from this special and that is certainly true. Honestly, I rather prefer it that way. I'm not a big fan of Amy and Rory, but I adore Matt Smith as the Doctor. He is as always the perfect blend of young and old and he gets ample opportunity to shine as he acts as friend, mentor, and adversary of Kazrans of varying ages.

    And then there is the ever brilliant performance from Michael Gambon. Playing a character that's only "half-way out of the dark" is difficult as he could neither be all together good or bad. Gambon, however, manages to hit all the right notes, as does the surprisingly good acting of opera star Katherine Jenkins.

    Upon reflection, I realized that none of the previous specials have really been all that Christmasy. Christmas was the setting, but never the point. This Doctor Who special reminds us what the spirit of Christmas truly means instead of another story about Cybermen trying to take over Victorian England. It's a Christmas Classic I would sit right next to my copy of A Muppet Christmas Carol.

    Oh, and did I mention there are flying fish?
  • The highlight of the 2010 christmas TV line-up.

    10
    Yes this wasn't a hardcore nerdfest loaded with masculinity stroking action, yes at time this episode was rather bonkers and perhaps a bit too sugary, but this episode was a strong reminder to anyone of Doctor Whos storytelling flexibility.

    Admist all the wacky concepts is perhaps the most inventive alien world of any sci-f show, I found myself immersed in this world, from the social structuring to its envirnoment and eco-system, and for the first time I am not going to even moan about the CGI. I thought this episode was incredibly pretty and there was a real sense of being on an alien planet, rather than a cave on an alien planet ala Star Trek!

    What other show could do a story like this? What other show has so imaginativly parodied the Dickenzien classic? None. How can anyone moan when this episode so embodies the crazy world of Doctor Who! No show is like this no show could do this, and this episode is one big glourious dip into that exlusive pot of potential plots only writers of this show have access too. Since it's return in 2005 nothing like this has been done yet either. It is a fresh story and a new angle to the show it's self. And it has to be stressed that anyone who want DW to do more alien planets were paid off here too.

    The episode was brilliantly cast and am sure the predictable moanings about Katherine Jenkins inclusion are now rightly silenced. Murray Gold continues to impress with a great soundtack yet again. And Jenkins 2 Operatic performances are beautiful adding a sense of class of quailty to the overall episode. What other sci-fi gets such an elegant touch from a world renouned singer?

    The only thing I would moan at is one or two rubbish lines, such as Amys line at the start "It's christmas" and like always with Doctor Who, if your attention wanders for moment you can miss a lot of dialogue and sometimes key points, but I learned a long ime ago to give up moaning about that...I should pay more attention. However, more fool to the directors who allows some great lines and jokes get lost so easyily.
  • A very dissapointing episode

    4.0
    doctor who is not up to it's usual standards, I expect better from the series than this, this episode had no real villain and the closest we had to an action scene was a giant shark in a bedroom which was rather lame. The story was also bloody boring, some old guy just likes being a jerk for some reason, something to do with his father I guess. and it's kinda stupid that his young self would fall in love with a woman after just meeting her for one day a year. I watch a doctor who episode expecting to be on the edge of my seat during the episode but this didn't accomplish that. I know a lot of people are probably going to be angry at me about this but that's just the way I feel, I guess it was supposed to be heartwarming or something, not really into that sort of thing so maybe that was the problem. Hopefully season 6 will be an improvement.
  • This Christmas special even kept my 1 and a half and 3 year old nice and nephew transfixed!

    7.5
    When it comes to Christmas stories my favorte that I read every year is Charles Dickens 'A Christmas Carol' and I am picky about the film and TV versions (the only one I like is The Muppets Christmas Carol as it is closest to the book) so while I was excited about a take on it in Doctor Who, I was excited and worried at the same time.
    I needn't have worried, rather than make a Christmas Carol The Doctor uses the story as a guide to make Michael Gamborn's 'Scrooge' type change his mind.
    The flying fish were good, and I loved the flying Shark carriage ride, and the Doctor getting engaged to Marilyn Munroe (someone who we need to meet!) was a fun joke!
    My main problem was having our main protagonist meet himself from another time! In 2 stories this has had dire consequences! Yet, as a story device, nothing happened this time.
    But I enjoyed it over all!
  • Well done everyone

    9.0
    One imperfection!

    Great start and yeah a bit of a Star Trek holiday ship rip off I must
    admit!!

    The Doctor first begs for the lives of those on board and gets the boot.

    He then here a Christmas Carol and decides to play Dickens.

    I do not fault Moffatt for the interference in Time Travel.
    That actually enhnces to the art.

    And this is fun ( Anyone for a Doctor Who and MArilyn Monroe meetup?)

    What I did not like was the young Sarkis meeting the old Sarkis.

    Anyone recall Maydryn Undead and what one brigadier did to another?

    Political power and influence, Moffatt weaves these themes well.
  • "I guess it was supposed to be heartwarming or something, not really into that sort of thing so maybe that was the problem." I don't know what episode you saw...I was moved and amazed by the sheer imagination of Steven Moffat.

    10
    Why does every episode of a science fiction series have to be about action and violence? Doctor Who may be the last great bastion of imaginative programming, lasting decade after decade by simply being more free-spirited and by actually allowing an SF series to be more about wonder than blowing things up.

    Steven Moffat has a gift for making me feel like the scared child behind the sofa while in my 30's. I can't help but be swept up by the unfettered strangeness of a Moffat story. Having been an avid film and science fiction buff all my life I am at times quite jaded when it comes to the quality of modern television or film. And so it is an absolute joy coming back time and again to Doctor Who--a show which, while nearing it's 50th anniversary, continues to surprise me with new possibilities and the promise that much of this genre's best ideas remain blissfully untapped.

    For those viewers who found this episode to be below par, I'd just like to say that before tonight I had never even dreamed of flying Christmas sharks or the song of an angel rippling through a crystal fog. Thank you, Mr. Moffat...keep doing what you're doing. I don't think I'd want to know anyone who couldn't be touched by such splendor.
  • Steven Moffat is a magician. With his latest feat of magic he seems to pull of the impossible, reinvent a story that has been read and loved all over the world and made it interesting, charming, & exciting all with a stroke of a pen!

    10
    'A Christmas Carol' done in Marvelous Dr Who Fashion, Is a love story plan and simple. Written by Steven Moffat, Directed Brilliantly by Toby Haynes. Without giving away any spoilers ( I never do ) I will just say This Christmas special brings new life to a old and very much loved Charles dickens story "A Christmas Carol". A fresh spin was placed on this story with the help of the very beautiful and very very talented Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, and the enjoyable acting of Michael Gambon a well known theatre actor, but maybe best known to the younger generation from the harry potter series.

    This episode is great for the whole family , and I encourage you too watch it as a family or with a date. I promise you it will tug at your heart stings.

    With the sneek peek at next years coming eps. Doctor Who Looks very exciting! Which is more than I can say for this past seasons run, Which was great out of the gate with the first eps., but stumbled alone the way.

    Samuraikuroi USA
  • So it's Christmas and the family gathers in front of the TV and they can't do much better than watching this show.

    10
    Why would Sir Michael Gambon allow himself to be roped into this? Why would Katherine Jenkins commit to this as her first acting role and sing a newly written aria to an audience that is unlikely to frequent her operatic productions? Could it just be because a brilliant script reworking a classic Dickens novel was clearly destined to be the highlight of Christmas Day TV?

    Matt Smith was on top form, as always, with his exquisitely nuanced doctor delivering each and every line with gravitas, intrigue and perfect comic weight and timing. His interpretation of the Doctor is simply perfect and has, for me, has him firmly ensconced as my favourite Doctor.

    The story was fast moving, in Nu Who style, and full of wonder, humour, atmosphere (literally!), magic and charm. My family was fixed in awe at the intricacies of a beautifully woven plot and we spontaneously broke into a round of applause at the closing credits.

    Well done Moffat and his production crew, dodgy CGI excused considering their budget. This was perfect Christmas television and I'm off to watch it again.
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