Diddly dum, diddly dum, diddly dum...Oooooo-eeeee-oooo
The new series of Who has gone from strength-to-strength and 2007 will take some beating. The final two episodes were somewhat questionable but the rest was truly strong drama. Blink (personally) was amongst the best bit of television drama seen in recent years. Charlie Brooke (for those familiar with the wonderful Screenwipe) agreed with this. It was when I was watching Smith & Jones that the bile and disgust I had for all things New-Who fell away and I finally got what it was all about and I could now, for the first time, enjoy both the old and the new. Boy was that a wonderful feeling! I got what it was about and now and I could enjoy MY show once more. Despite all that I wasn't too keen on The Sound of Drums and The Last of the Time lords nevertheless I was sad to see yet another series go by and now the anticipation of next year quickly hit home. Thank goodness for the Christmas Special: it takes some of the pain away.
Well...it was decent. The Runaway Bride was a great deal better but this was OK. Nothing really to complain about other than the really stupid stuff including Elizabeth II. I feel that the plot could have been better: just because it is Christmas does not mean we cannot deal with heavier plot lines. 1984 saw Yes, Minister have its own Christmas special and apparently Eastenders (the soap that followed the broadcast of Voyage of the Damned) gained large viewing figures (and that was dealing with some bleak having an affair with my step-daughter plot). However, it was bleak in the amount of characters that got killed on and off screen. Something that I rather enjoyed, it was nice for a family-viewing programme to cover how crap Christmas can be which is something most families will know (hell, I've been through my fair share of really shit Christmas days).
Being serious for a moment, I wonder if there is anything else that should be considered really bleak about this episode and wasn't mentioned on screen but was supposed to be subtle level for those who know that Voyage of the Damned is a movie from 1976 which deals with the true events of Jewish people escaping Nazi Germany in 1939 for a life in Cuba. The government of Cuba and later, America reject them and they are forced to return to Europe. The passengers decide to jump into the sea rather than return to Germany. If this is indeed the case then this gives the passengers and the plot greater depth. Of course you can look into these things too much and the tile is probably just a lack of imagination.
Anyway, the characters were dealt with in a wonderful manner both in terms of how they were written and performed. It was nice to see the miser get to live simply for the wonderful moment: if we could decide who would live and who would die, that would make us monster (excuse the paraphrasing). There were also nice kisses to the past, mainly in regard to The Robots of Death. I also found the mixed up meaning of Christmas and Mankind's history rather funny and I enjoyed that. So, there were things to enjoy with this episode and as such it can be regarded as a good episode.
However, some moments were rather bad. I was a big niggled that this didn't really continue from Time-Crash. Anyway, it is getting on my nerves the amount of times that R.T.D. feels duty bound to keep involving Earth being in mortal danger. I know this may seem hypocritical because I do think that Pertwee's time as the Doctor was bloody brilliant but for some reason, there is something about it this time round that makes it feel superfluous. Surely it would have been more than enough just to involve all in the space-liner being in mortal danger. The characters were fleshed out in a wonderful way (both in writing and acting) that we can easily identify with them in some way and as such feel for them...as well as it being Christmas! We don't want anyone to be murdered let alone in this season of thanksgiving and stuff.
Also, as I've mentioned before, that stuff with the Queen was just stupid and despite its intentions, wasn't funny. Another thing that grated is/was the religious significance that R.T.D is giving the Doctor. He did it in The Last of the Timelords and he has done it here again. Why? Why should we think that the Doctor is Jesus? Is it not enough that we think of him as a hero without having him endowed with more power. It was OK in Battlefield for the Doctor to be Merlin, mainly because Merlin is a fictitious character and it is also clever (well, I think it is). Yet, this is not. If you think this is because I think that the Doctor and religion should be kept apart then you are right. If you are one of those who will be disagreeing with me, then get a grip! Are you seriously trying to tell me that that Doctor should be hinted at as being the Son of God (the Bible says Son of Man, but that is a debate for somewhere else) as well as God--or that he is a prophet? Ridiculous! R.T.D. maybe an Atheist but...well, let me put it like this: if it were not for Jesus you wouldn't have the chance for a Christmas special!
Also, I felt that turning Kylie into that Blue-dust stuff ruined her sacrifice. It was a good moment when the Doctor realised he could not bring her back but having her as Tinker-bell and then the dust stuff was ruining a good part of the episode. It reminds me of The Trial of a Timelord when Peri is killed (which is shocking) and then it is explained that it never happened (which rid the series of a dramatic moment).It was sad that Astrid died mainly as she was a lovely character (wonderfully acted by Kylie) but that is what made her sacrifice all the more powerful and then R.T.D. pissed all over his OWN good work just making the episode feel somewhat redundant and pointless.
So, there were good moments and there were bad: and they did not overpower the other. It wasn't good and it wasn't awful. Therefore, the episode just made me feel somewhat cold. It was exciting to see the preview of Series 4 and I do hope it is a great series that somehow beats the third. I have a strong feeling that it will and yet somehow I have a feeling that Voyage of the Damned will mark some sort of end in Doctor Who. It certainly has with Behind the Sofa which is a huge shame as it has brought much joy over the years.
Happy 2008! To the future.