Thursday 27 December 2007

Dr Who Christmas cash-in

Doctor Who - Voyage of The Damned
Every year I watch the Dr Who Christmas special and every year I am left gob smacked at the fiendish misuse of the word 'special'. Terms such as 'cash-in' or 'rip-off' would have been more appropriate. The trouble is I know that Dr Who, despite occasional moments of brilliance, isn't really that good. I might have been tempted to blame David Tennant consistently gurning at the camera; but Christopher Eccleston did exactly the same thing in his turn as The Doctor and he's a brilliant actor. The problem lies in sloppy direction and some really inconsistent writing. The good stuff is good enough that you forgive the dross that is all too frequently meted out. However Christmas episodes of Dr Who are rather like the entire first series of Torchwood (I'm a software developer so I had to watch it all); they take the worst bits of Dr Who and put them into an extended episode cunningly timed for just after the evening meal.

Think about it; it's Christmas day and those people with a social life will by that time have consumed enough alcohol to view the whole thing through rose-tinted spectacles. Those with their critical faculties intact, and therefore without a social life, are going to watch it regardless. I suppose it's quite clever but just once I'd like a Christmas special that lives up to the name; an episode with original characters, without the usual clichéd dialog. This episode, just to rub it in, indulged in visual clichés that even Jerry Bruckheimer would have been ashamed of. At least next Christmas I know what to ask for from Santa.


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