Review: Doctor Who Series 7 Christmas Special – The Snowmen

Directed by Saul Metzstein

Written By Steven Moffat

Starring Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman and Richard E. Grant

Merry Christmas everybody! And what greater gift given to us by the BBC than the latest Christmas Special of Doctor Who! The Christmas Specials usually are quite the stand-out episodes, taking things bigger and better than most standard-fare episodes, and this one is no exception.

The Snowmen is the sixth episode of Series 7 of Doctor Who, and the first post-departure of previous companions Amy and Rory Pond (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill). This is the first step towards the next direction the show is going in and what a fantastic way to do it.

Matt Smith returns as the Eleventh Doctor, in an episode that spouts a lot of new interesting details, ranging from the new intro sequence to a new companion, as well as a fair few fun call-backs to previous adventures viewers will be happy to retread.

This episode is set in Victorian England, where a mysterious presence of psychic memory snow threatens mankind, creating carnivorous snowmen and other even more dangerous creations. At the head of the dubious operation is the sinister Doctor Simeon, played by Richard E. Grant, who manages to show a brilliant range that flows so smoothly under the talents of such an actor.

Doctor Simeon’s corroborator is the apparent source of the snow, a faceless entity voiced by an actor who I shall not reveal, for I had such a wonderful surprise discovering who it was. It was like a present inside a present. Their vocal talents also lend very well to build up the strong presence of the antagonists in this episode, something I personally found lacking in a couple earlier episodes in Series 7.

On the Doctor’s side of things, he is joined by several faces from his past, such as the awesome detective couple of Silurian Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and her human companion Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart), as well as the Sontaran Strax (Dan Starkey), the latter of which offers some of the best comic relief moments of the episode.

But the real draw here is the introduction of the Doctor’s new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. Coleman is Clara, a woman who is not like most others the Doctor has come across of late, definitely giving ideas that she is more than what she appears. It is with her nature and behaviour that inspires the Doctor, who has more recently taken to being a recluse and a reluctant protector of the Earth, too far scorned by the losses he has suffered in his time.

Clara’s story, and her curiosity, once it gets the better of her, makes for some beautiful sequences. Make note: The TARDIS sequences in this episode offer a nice sense of wonder, and offer yet another take on discovering the madman with a box’s box and how one would react to it.

Coleman definitely fits right at home in Doctor Who, and it really is her chemistry with the Doctor I am most looking forward to. Smith and Coleman look to be a double-act that will rise from the ashes of Smith, Gillan and Darvill, and go in new directions with some new adventures that are certainly going to take us into even more exciting escapades through time and relative dimensions in space.

Today’s Christmas Special was certainly one of the best Doctor Who specials to have come out since the reboot of the show. It is full of that sense and wonder Doctor Who is all about, offering adventure, excitement and humour, while playing at the peak of its current game. With lots of both small and large moments that will bring a smile to your face, it really is a fan’s episode.

Saul Metzstein has directed a wonderful Christmas Special, with show runner Steven Moffat really pulling it out of the bag to write a spectacular outing for the Doctor. He has once again penned an interesting take on introducing a new companion who intrigues the Doctor enough to make him offer his hand and invite them to run away with him.

Or maybe this time things might be the other way around.

The Snowmen premiered on BBC One on Tuesday 25th December 2012. It is available on BBC iPlayer, and Doctor Who will return in April 2013 with the second half of Series 7.

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