‘They’ say “be careful for what you wish or it may come true” and ‘they’ mean this to be a bad thing, however… What if there was a wish for Gandalf or Magneto to make a guest appearance in Doctor Who? And that he was joined by a real life version of an alternative, animated 9th Doctor? Indeed, what if the wish included a Victorian detective trio including a Silurian and a Sontatan? All this in the wish; before a brilliant new look for the Tardis, an exciting new companion and fresh new look for the Doctor himself. Imagine that wish…
The Doctor Who 2012 Christmas Special, The Snowmen, made this wish come true and for the bulk of viewers this was no bad thing at all. Although the special was only slightly longer than a usual episode the enlarged cast had room to breath and each were made good use of. Madame Vastra’s team of unlikely detectives could have easily stepped out from their own series, as could Jenna Louise Coleman’s glorious mix of cockney barmaid and upper crust governess. In fact it could be said that is was lucky that the Doctor himself had taken a backseat at the start of the story, as the excellent Matt Smith could have been easily outshone. The guest casting of Richard E Grant and Ian McKellen worked a treat with each used well, with neither outshining the story.
The plot itself was not too taxing for a Christmas Day and Moffat reins in his time twisting specialties to give the viewer a rip-roaring adventure. The story unfolds quickly, without feeling rushed, and reaches a (mostly) logical conclusion without many last minute plot changes. Having said that, the ‘Clara cries to bring salty rain’ element did feel a little contrived and the ensemble all seemed to merely assume that the snow men and ice women were undefeatable. Neither seemed to do any actual physical harm to anyone, despite all their menace and as such were a hamstrung invasion force. Countering this was the wonderful reveal that the main villain behind everything was the Great Intelligence, a lovely flashback to the 2nd Doctor with additional jibes at the London Underground as well!
A Christmas special is never likely to meet the heady heights of some regular episodes, but as a Christmas wish, this one came true.