Friday, December 21, 2012

Countdown to Christmas - The Next Doctor Review

The Next Doctor is perhaps the most Christmasy Doctor Who Special, being the only one where it actually snows on Earth. I also feel that it has more Christmas spirityness than the other David Tennant Christmas Specials, which I think is due to the fact that the very first opening scene is a Christmas Eve celebration in a town market, and it gets you in the mood for the rest of the episode. The fact that it's snowing throughout the episode helps remind you that it is actually Christmas, which can be very easy to forget in some of the other David Tennant Specials.

This is one of the only Doctor Who episodes with an element of mysteriousness in it. You immediately meet this man who calls himself the Doctor, and while you want him to be the next regeneration of the Doctor and you want this to be how future Doctors are introduced now, deep down in your heart you just know he isn't the Doctor. So the entire episode you're left wondering why this man thinks he's the Doctor, until it's finally explained. It's one of the few instances in Doctor Who where something grabs your attention and you're left wondering about it the rest of the episode until the Doctor figures it out.

This episode, despite being penned by Russell T. Davies, marks the beginning of the Series 5 story arc. The Cybermen and Cyberking were all erased from history and no human appeared to be aware of them afterwards. The Daleks of Season 4 were also erased, which could make that the start of the Series 5 story arc. The problem is that they were not erased immediately as evidenced by their mention in the later episode, Planet of the Dead. So Davies participated in Moffat's storyline without so much as a whisper about it until the end of Flesh and Stone. This again illustrates Davies' strength for taking long-term story arcs and embedding them very subtly into episodes.

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