Doctor Who: Last Christmas Blu-ray Review: When the Doctor Met Santa Claus

Written by Sombrero Grande

When one can travel through all of time and space, sometimes Christmas comes about at the strangest of times. For Doctor Who fans, it’s Christmas right now as the BBC releases 2014’s Christmas special “Last Christmas” on DVD and Blu-Ray between Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.

While the title gets the 1984 song by Wham! instantly stuck in my head for hours to come, “Last Christmas” proves to be a brilliantly written and highly entertaining holiday outing for the Doctor. In fact I think it’s my favorite of all the Doctor Who Christmas specials so far. Imagine Alien, The Thing and Inception all wrapped up together in a shiny Christmas bow with a tangerine on the side and you’ve got the basic flavor of “Last Christmas.” It’s a fun, funny, scary Doctor Who adventure that reunites the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) with Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) as they take on an unknown menace at the North Pole with a little help from none-other than–get this–Santa Claus himself (Nick Frost).

The idea of the Doctor teaming up with Santa was enough to sell me on this episode and Capaldi and Frost’s chemistry doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it sparkles like glittering Christmas lights on a fantastic evergreen. These two powerful “fairy tale” characters don’t really like each other but work well together despite the fact neither one believes the other actually exists. The episode is joyfully stuffed full of the two exchanging verbal blows with the other, like Capaldi’s cantankerous Doctor accusingly asking Santa how he fits all the presents for all the children in the world into his one little sack, to which Frost’s smart-alecky Santa responds, calmly taking a sip from his mug of hot cocoa, “It’s bigger on the inside.”

While I enjoy Capaldi as the Doctor, he’s not a favorite of mine. Even after watching a full season of him taking on the role of the Doctor’s latest regeneration, I still feel like I haven’t “caught the wave” of this Doctor yet. As for Coleman’s Clara, she’s my second least favorite of the Doctor’s companions since his 2005 return to television. It becomes readily apparent during the later scenes of “Last Christmas” that this episode was meant to be her departure from the show–and it would have been a great one!–but apparently things were changed in the eleventh hour and the end rewritten to allow her to continue on as a companion into the next season. Ugh. I am so tired of Clara. Ever since her identity as the “Impossible Girl” was wrapped up and explained two years ago she’s really added little to nothing to the show. Being told at the end of “Last Christmas” that she will return for another season is like a brutal slap-awakening from an otherwise blissful dream.

In my perfect dream world, Frost’s Santa would have joined up with the Doctor after “Last Christmas” as his new companion to endlessly squabble with, but alas there are no Dream Crabs in the near vicinity to aid in building such an implausible reality.

The DVD and Blu-ray for “Last Christmas” also contains a commentary track by director Paul Wilmhurst and producer Paul Frift and a behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews from the cast, executive prodcuer Stephen Moffat, and others.

All in all, “Last Christmas” is a fantastic holiday adventure for any Whovian to undertake and would have been perfect had they stuck to the original ending. Oh well, there’s always next Christmas, seeing how this “Christmas” is far from the “Last”…

Cinema Sentries

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