2011 xmas special

2011 xmas special

Postby IanKennedy » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:21 pm

Did anyone else find this years xmas special completely worthless?
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Re: 2011 xmas special

Postby Captain Seafort » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:32 pm

Not really. It's wasn't a classic by any stretch, but it was enjoyable enough. Plus it had enough little references to keep the attention - Androzani Major, lots of Star Wars, and it looks like time is still in less than ideal condition given the presence of a Lancaster.
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Re: 2011 xmas special

Postby Graham Kennedy » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:41 pm

I thought it was pretty much crap (as Ian knows since he watched it sitting next to me). It was just a lot of haphazard things kinda thrown together, amounting to nothing much.

Spoilers follow...

For one, the whole premise was a blatant ripoff of the Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. But why? Can the Who writers no longer come up with ideas of their own?

So much of the story was so thin. Did we really need a good ten minutes of screentime devoted to the Doctor showing them around the funhouse of lemonade taps and spinning trees? What did that contribute, exactly? Or the idea of the trees giving "birth" to something that grows big and dangerous... like that, as a concept. But what came of it? They spend a BIG chunk of screentime on that and in the end, what we get is a pair of wooden statues whose only real action was to stick a ring on somebody's head. You could just as easily have the Doctor find the ring in the tower and put it on his own head. And how the hell did those things run through the forest fast enough to stay ahead of the kid? They could hardly move!

Captain Seafort wrote:it looks like time is still in less than ideal condition given the presence of a Lancaster.

Huh? Why wouldn't there be a Lancaster around in the middle of World War II?
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Re: 2011 xmas special

Postby Captain Seafort » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:50 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:For one, the whole premise was a blatant ripoff of the Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. But why? Can the Who writers no longer come up with ideas of their own?


You call it a ripoff, Moffat would probably call a homage. It's no different from last year being a slight adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

Did we really need a good ten minutes of screentime devoted to the Doctor showing them around the funhouse of lemonade taps and spinning trees? What did that contribute, exactly?


Just the Doctor being the Doctor - mad as ever.

Or the idea of the trees giving "birth" to something that grows big and dangerous... like that, as a concept. But what came of it? They spend a BIG chunk of screentime on that and in the end, what we get is a pair of wooden statues whose only real action was to stick a ring on somebody's head. You could just as easily have the Doctor find the ring in the tower and put it on his own head.


The point was a) to demonstrate that the Ents were taking active steps to try and rescue their species rather than simply leaving the headgear around and hoping someone stumbled across it and b) to provide exposition on what exactly was going on. They weren't just standing around gawping,

Captain Seafort wrote:it looks like time is still in less than ideal condition given the presence of a Lancaster.

Huh? Why wouldn't there be a Lancaster around in the middle of World War II?


The setting was Christmas 1941. The first Lancaster squadron only started converting in December '41, and the first operational sortie wasn't until March '42.
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Re: 2011 xmas special

Postby Graham Kennedy » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:05 am

Captain Seafort wrote:You call it a ripoff, Moffat would probably call a homage. It's no different from last year being a slight adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

No doubt he would - they weren't being subtle about it given the title and all. But the two examples serve to show the big difference between homage and ripoff, IMO. Last years took a story and twisted it in an interesting and unique way, using the time travel aspect and how the older and younger selves affected one another. This year they just adopted the setting and then just kinda left it there doing nothing.

The point was a) to demonstrate that the Ents were taking active steps to try and rescue their species rather than simply leaving the headgear around and hoping someone stumbled across it and b) to provide exposition on what exactly was going on. They weren't just standing around gawping,

Yes, but their active steps were absurd. Their plan was to create a tower, put a relay into it, and then hope that somebody would stumble along who could rescue them? It's a stupid plan. What if nobody came? What if nobody "strong" enough came? And even then, the whole wooden statue thing contributed virtually nothing to the plan. They entire role could have been replaced by a couple of signs reading "This way!" and one reading "Put this on."

The setting was Christmas 1941. The first Lancaster squadron only started converting in December '41, and the first operational sortie wasn't until March '42.

I suspect that's more cockup than timeline alteration. I imagine they just decided to go with a recognisable WWII aircraft, and as there's a genuine Lancaster still in flyable condition...
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Re: 2011 xmas special

Postby Captain Seafort » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:27 am

GrahamKennedy wrote:Yes, but their active steps were absurd. Their plan was to create a tower, put a relay into it, and then hope that somebody would stumble along who could rescue them? It's a stupid plan. What if nobody came? What if nobody "strong" enough came?


Then they're still no worse off than if they didn't do anything, and the fact that the second Ent didn't hatch until after the boy showed up suggests that they were reacting to his presence rather than having a set plan all along, It does raise the question of what the other one was doing - presumably someone else showed up and proved incompatible.

And even then, the whole wooden statue thing contributed virtually nothing to the plan.


Other than a) forcing whoever showed up to put the thing on b) providing a degree of exposition and c) deciding who was compatible and who wasn't.

They entire role could have been replaced by a couple of signs reading "This way!" and one reading "Put this on."


In what language? Moreover, why would anyone put it on simply because some sign told them to? How would a random individual know what characteristics were required to operate the ship.

I suspect that's more cockup than timeline alteration. I imagine they just decided to go with a recognisable WWII aircraft, and as there's a genuine Lancaster still in flyable condition...


OOU, true, although I think it's more a matter of finding any WW2 bomber for the ground scene rather than an airworthy one - all the airborne scenes were CGI. They were originally planning to just do a cockpit mockup until they found a Lanc at East Kirkby. Unfortunately there are no Hampdens or Wimpies in suitable condition.

IU, it's not as if time hasn't been screwed with six ways from Sunday over the last couple of series.
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Re: 2011 xmas special

Postby Graham Kennedy » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:22 pm

Captain Seafort wrote:Then they're still no worse off than if they didn't do anything, and the fact that the second Ent didn't hatch until after the boy showed up suggests that they were reacting to his presence rather than having a set plan all along, It does raise the question of what the other one was doing - presumably someone else showed up and proved incompatible.

In universe, yes, it's a bad plan that's mildly better than no plan. But as a piece of writing, it comes across as rather thin and weak. I'd far rather they flesh this whole section out and give it a bit more body. For instance have the kid release the thing and run back through the hole, scared, only for it to come through and kidnap the kids. Something that shows the forest is being proactive and actually working for its own ends, rather than just sitting there hoping for the best.

In fact make it bigger than that. Have the tripod-spaceship people coming to chop the forest down rather that dissolve it with acid rain (and oh god how silly was that idea?). The forest is producing these statue things as soldiers to fight them - but it's likely to be a hopeless battle that they will lose, hence the transport thing as a backup plan. It would give it a greater sense of urgency, make the statue things more important to the story, make the forest look like it's actually actively trying to achieve its goal. And they could generate the screentime for it by dropping the silly "house of fun" nonsense. Preferably along with the "daddy's MIA" stuff, which is a groanworthy cliche in itself.

a) forcing whoever showed up to put the thing on b) providing a degree of exposition and c) deciding who was compatible and who wasn't.

Only there wasn't any real need to force them or give even the very minimal exposition they did. And the rings "decided" by reacting as they did, not the statues.

In what language?

In any language, the Doctor can read them all.

Moreover, why would anyone put it on simply because some sign told them to? How would a random individual know what characteristics were required to operate the ship.

Again, this is the sort of thing the Doctor works out all the time on his own. Wave the screwdriver at it and say "oh, it's a relay! I wonder what will happen if..."

Point being, the role of the statues was so thin that you could easily ditch them and barely change the story. It really needed to have their role built up and made important to what was happening.

OOU, true, although I think it's more a matter of finding any WW2 bomber for the ground scene rather than an airworthy one - all the airborne scenes were CGI. They were originally planning to just do a cockpit mockup until they found a Lanc at East Kirkby. Unfortunately there are no Hampdens or Wimpies in suitable condition.

Yeah, I wasn't meaning to suggest that they were actually flying in it. Rather that it was in good condition to be filmed.
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Re: 2011 xmas special

Postby Jim » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:48 pm

I think that all of the Christmas specials were "average episode" in quality... nothing actually special.
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Re: 2011 xmas special

Postby IanKennedy » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:00 pm

I actually really liked last years, despite what others have said. "The xmas carol" one. I've seen it again very recently and it was just as good as I remember. On the other hand I saw this years again and it was just as bad as the first time. The first sequence in particular, with the backwards space suit, felt like it had been written by a child.
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