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< 7.5 - The Angels Take Manhattan
7.7 - The Bells of Saint John >

7.6 - The Snowmen

Rating Votes
10
12%
13
9
17%
19
8
35%
38
7
21%
23
6
8%
9
5
5%
5
4
2%
2
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
7.8
Votes
109
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 2/12/19 12:21 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This is a very enjoyable Christmas special with lots of good elements (which I will go into later) but it again suffers a bit from the lazy and obsessional storytelling of Steven Moffatt. The ending is rather spoiled by yet another deus ex machina where people feeling a strong emotion suddenly defeats the alien threat. This is fairly logical here as the snow is telepathic therefore emotions influencing it makes a bit of sense. The problem is it is a lazy, unexciting, uninspired ending which Moffatt era stories have used too many times - 'love conquers all' etc. In fact it has effectively been used for 3 of Moffatt's Christmas specials in a row! Emotional singing controlled the clouds in A Christmas Carol, the widow's strong feelings for her family and her husband returned them all home and brought her husband back from the dead in The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe and now the family's love and loss of Clara turns the 'evil' snow into rain. It was also used in Moffatt era stories like The Lodger, Closing Time, Night Terrors etc.

The other problem is Moffatt's obsessions taking over so many stories. His obsession with the Doctor's dark side here has 11 supposedly giving up helping anyone (but hanging around Victorian London). His obsession with convoluted, long drawn out story arcs here has the Clara 'impossible girl' mystery overtaking the episode. This arc is better than the totally illogical River/Melody arc but it is ultimately not great and not worth all the build up. Yet again the arc seems more important to Moffatt than giving us a great episode. He lets the ending become a lazy let down while focusing on Clara's arc instead.

Now, onto the positives because there are many. Richard E. Grant is a great guest star and although he is not given enough to do he makes a sinister and impressive villain with brilliant screen presence. Having the return of a classic adversary from one of the best ever seasons of Doctor Who (Season 5) in the days of the 2nd Doctor, is a fabulous nostalgic aspect and having the legendary Sir Ian McKellen perform the voice of the Great Intelligence gives a fabulous, rich voice which adds gravitas. Again, this is not exploited fully but is a doubtlessly positive element. Anyone who has not seen the incredible earlier appearances of the Great Intelligence needs to go and watch The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of fear. They are top standard Doctor Who even with certain episodes missing and only available as reconstructions.

The acting of Matt Smith and Jenna Louise Coleman is very high quality and the 'Paternoster Gang' are well acted too with Strax providing a lot of amusement. The Sherlock references are fun, including the theme music being used and the music throughout this episode is one of Murray Gold's finest scores I think. The special effects and the recreation of an atmospheric Victorian London are perfect. The Snowmen themselves are well done and are scary enough to have kids hiding behind their sofas.

The story up until the end is interesting, exciting, intriguing and fun. If only there was an ingenious solution from the Doctor to defeat the Great Intelligence we would have had a classic 10/10 adventure. Instead the Doctor's genius goes unused as people's emotions suddenly and magically save the day instead, yet again.

As it is only the ending which spoil an otherwise very enjoyable episode I will only knock a couple of points off from the potential 10/10 and mark this as a solid 8/10.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 4/25/15 11:36 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The 2012 Christmas Special has a lot to commend it. I have to give credit to Stephen Moffat. It’s easy to make shadows or gothic statues scary but snowmen, that’s another accomplishment entirely.

It says something about the Doctor that even when he tries to go into isolation instead of doing what a normal person would do and going to some isolated place and parking the TARDIS, he parks in the air above Victorian London. Jenna Louise Coleman turns in a good performance particularly given her story was meant to establish a sense of mystery. There are also great funny moments courtesy of Dan Starkey and some emotional ones.

There are problems with this one in terms of logic, and also the lack of development of Doctor Simeon. Still, this is a case where everything that’s right with the story and particularly it’s style, outweighs the problems with its substance.