Ah, it seems so long since we last had one of these. Lots more people were alive, World War Three didn’t seem as imminent, and the idea of resurgent fascism seemed very unlikely. It was a simpler time, a better time.
And here we are again with our discussion of the Doctor Who Christmas Special, AKA the Doctor Who/Superman crossover.
J.A. Prentice (J.A.) and Jaden C. Kilmer once again entertain you with our thoughts and utter lack of disagreement.
Be warned. Beneath this read more tag lurk spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.
JC: Sooo what did you think of the new DC movie?
JA: Best Superman movie in a long time.
I’ve long said Moffat would write a great Superman and I was right.
JC: And how about the episode in general?
JA: I enjoyed it. It’s not Heaven Sent, obviously, but it was a fun Christmas special.
JC: As for me, the most specific way I can put it is “that was certainly an episode of doctor who more or less themed around christmas.”
JA: Only barely themed around Christmas, really, which was a little odd compared to Moffat’s usual Christmas-y specials.
JC: Yeah and I Prefer the Christmas-y christmas specials.
JA: Sometimes I prefer them and sometimes I don’t. In this case I barely noticed it wasn’t Christmas-y until the end.
JC: It had a certain upbeatness to it… Outside of the brain swapping face-straightening moments
JA: Yes. Upbeat is a good description.
JC: Leading me into my negatives then… That seemed like an upbeat superman fanfic script that got mixed up with a midseason one
JA: I would agree with that entirely apart from it being a negative. lol
Although I think it would have worked much better as the center of a season instead of as the only Doctor Who we got this year.
JC: Well for me the darker story was way less interesting
JA: The brain part?
JC: Yeah. The whole earth invasion thing, fittingly, kindof suffered from something lots of superhero movies suffer from
“Oh no the earth is being invaded! I wonder if they will win?!?”
JA: Sort of common Doctor Who issue too. Especially in the RTD era. Which is why I think in both cases it works better if the question is more “will these people make it out alive?” rather than “will the earth make it out alive?”
JC: Im usually asking “what clever thing will the doctor do to get out of this?” And in this case it was “hit buttons randomly.” Like, I do that every day to get my desktop to start.
JA: Yeah, I think that part of the plot needed a little more development. The Shoal were a creepy idea and visual, but not much beyond that.
Although possibly a more developed villain plot would have distracted from the actual center of the episode.
JC: Hence my advice if i was the editor. Lose it all! I want more sweet charming superhero romance!
not a sentence i ever thought id say
JA: It was fantastic sweet charming superhero romance.
Even though it was pretty much literally Clark Kent and Lois Lane.
JC: With the lead being played by Justin Chatwin! The lead of one of the worst movies ever! And he had charisma up the wazoo!
JA: He was really good. I think if he hadn’t been, the whole episode would have fallen apart, so he did a great job.
JC: And I loved Lois. Err… Lucy.
JA: She was great. I loved her interrogation of the Doctor.
JC: Yep. My favorite scene
JA: You know who I thought was great even though I wasn’t sure about him before?
JC: Bald dude from last year?
I really liked his dynamic with Capaldi.
He didn’t do much, but I thought he was great.
JC: I continue to have no opinion of him.
Honestly I loved not Superman and Not Lois and everything else, Doctor included, I didnt need.
JA: I think that’s fitting, since Not Superman and Not Lois were very much what the story was about.
I really need Moffat to actually write some Superman stuff after next year.
He’s really good at it.
JC: Unfortunately though this was an episode of doctor who and not a superman short
So I think he let his Superman fan side overpower his “i should write good doctor who episodes” side
JA: The Doctor felt a little like a guest star.
I think, however, it works well as a general audience pleasing thing as well. A Christmas special, especially after a year off, needs to appeal to as many people as possible without being too complicated or dark.
Much as I would like the Christmas specials to be like The Chimes of Midnight (it’s on Spotify), the general audience wouldn’t.
JC: Yeahhhh but a general audience thats not familiar with doctor who might just end up with the worst of both worlds
For example: my mom was snoring after twenty minutes
JA: Ah. That’s a fair point, backed up by anecdotal evidence.
JC: Anecdotal evidence FTW. Also, as there hasnt been an episode of doctor who in a year, the whole “doctor as a guest star” thing makes it feel like a tease
JA: I think, however, that there was an interesting part of the Doctor’s character shown in the conversations with Nardole and st the end of the episode, where he seems to be throwing himself into an adventure to avoid getting lonely post-River.
But the general concept would probably have worked better in the middle of a series. Or after a full series.
Doctor as guest star being the only episode doesn’t work as well.
Especially since the only other appearance this year was literally Doctor as guest star in Class. Which hasn’t even aired in the US.
JC: So I guess thats my conundrum. I liked a lot of the episode, but in the grander scheme of things it was not what i think the doctor who world needed
JA: I liked it and I’m not entirely sure what the Doctor Who world needed.
I think, however, that Series 10 is coming up very soon, so that should give us some not-guest-star Doctor.
And then Moffat needs to go write Superman and give us more of that. lol
JC: Breaking news: series ten to be entirely doctor lite episodes
JA: Capaldi has been taking vacation advice from William Hartnell.
“Can’t the Doctor just wander off for a few episodes so I can sit on a beach somewhere and relax?”
JC: Is that an actual quote?
JA: I just made it up, but probably.
OK so getting back on topic, it looks like we actually pretty much agree again. Except I’m weighing the negatives heavier?
JA: Pretty much.
I was expecting you to be more negative.
JC: Well it’s a weird thing where I dont have any huge problems anywhere, but feel it was lesser than the sum of its parts
JA: I think our disagreement was that I really liked Nardole and you didn’t have any feelings about him.
JC: Yeah I have no strong feelings one way or another
JA: I think the “lesser than the sum of its parts” thing might be just coming off a year without Doctor Who, following up on a near-perfect series.
JC: Thats the worst thing about series 9. It was almost too good. Gonna be impossible to follow.
So since Moffat definitely reads these i have a suggestion for him.
JA: I’ve been suggesting he write Superman this whole time, so I’m sure you can give one of your own.
JC: Next time we have a “doctor meets a kid and later on he comes back in the kids adulthood for an adventure” thing, have a previous doctor meet the kid, then the current doctor have the advtenture
i mean, it makes sense right? He’s running all over the place and yet he only seems to ever meet people as one iteration. Because contracts.
JA: I really like that idea.
JC: Is that Josh or Stephen Moffat typing?
JA: Sadly, still me. I’m sure that between McGann, Smith, and Tennant, they could find one of them willing to film five minutes.
Those being all the Doctors who still look like they did.
With the exception of Eccleston, who just wouldn’t do it.
JC: *sad face*
But yeah I think it would be neat and it wouldve been a christmas treat to have a surprise cameo
JA: Although I can see the argument that it might undermine the current Doctor.
But Capaldi survived that Matt Smith cameo in his first episode. I’m sure he’d do fine with McGann giving a child superpowers.
JC: I was imagining Matt Smith in that scene and as much as i like Capaldi I think Smith wouldve made it anazing
JA: I think Smith could have done a good job, but I think from a real-world point of view, bring in the previous Doctor is the most likely to undermine the current Doctor.
Also I need more McGann.
JC: Alright lets wrap up. Closing thoughts and score?
JA: I thought it was a great take on the Doctor walking into a Superman story. The characters were fun and there was a lot of amusing dialogue. I enjoyed it. However, there wasn’t much Doctor and it wasn’t quite on the level of Husbands of River Song or Last Christmas. Probably 8/10 but a very good 8/10.
(Editor’s Note: RIP George Michael, casualty of 2016)
JC: For me this was a 9/10 superman fanfic wrapped up in a 6/10 doctor who episode. However since this is officially a doctor who episode I feel like that weighs heavier and I’m tempted to say 7/10. HOWEVER it made Justin Chatwin great and that alone merits a bonus. 7.5/10 for me
…So yet again we are within one point
JA: One day we’ll disagree.
Probably on a Gattiss episode.
JC: What was the point difference for us on sleep no more?
JC: Just looked it up. I said 7 you said 8
JA: Our biggest disagreement yet.
JC: This is just law of averages evening out our stardust/interstellar stuff
Or build up to when you think Chibnall’s Doctor Who is fantastic and I turn into a Facebook comment section of hatred.
JC: Im trying to think of a movie/DW episode i like considerably more than you and only thing i got is doctor widow wardrobe
JA: I think that might be it.
JC: Would it be more than a one point difference?
JA: I think it might be. I’ve never scored any Doctor Who episode I didn’t review for this blog.
That would probably only be a 6/10 for me, though.
JC: I keep a google doc of every movie ive seen this decade lol. And wow i would give an 8.5 WHY CANT THAT ALWAYS BE THE CASE
JA: The discussions would be so much more interesting.
And on that promise of a theoretical more interesting Doctor Who discussion, it’s time to end. We’ll be back with Series 10!