Doctor Who “The Snowmen” (Christmas Special 2012)

  • Title:  ”The Snowmen”
  • Series:  Doctor Who
  • Cast:  Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman, Richard E. Grant, Ian McKellen (voice), Catrin Stewart, Neve McIntosh, Dan Starkey

This is definitely my favorite Matt Smith Christmas special, but then I was somewhat disappointed by the previous two:  ”A Christmas Carol” (predictable, as is anything inspired by the Charles Dickens short story; though the fish in the fog were, um, whimsical – and impossible) and “The Doctor, A Widow, and the Wardrobe” (which just irritated me).  But, seriously, I really liked “The Snowmen”.

First, I really liked Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax.  I liked them so much I’d watch a spin-off about Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax set in the Victorian Era where they solve crime.  OK, yes, it’s a bit unbelievable that nobody noticed a lizard woman and a Sontaran in Victorian London, but somehow I just really, really loved those characters and I hope to see them again.  I know Madame Vastra and Strax were in “A Good Man Goes to War”.

I also loved, loved, loved Clara.  So much better than Amy Pond.  Now, I’m not one of the very vocal “Amy-haters” one finds on-line and at IRL conventions.  But, overall, Amy wasn’t one of my favorite companions, and I can’t even put my finger on why I didn’t like her (other than her life making no sense whatsoever).  I liked Rory better, and I thought he made more sense as a companion.  But I digress. Point is, I like Clara… in all her forms:  barmaid, governess, slightly insane Dalek, you name it.  I recently re-watched “Asylum of the Daleks” and actually enjoyed it more than the first time I saw it.  I hope Clara returns.  And, I hope Moffat doesn’t make her life too complex, like he did with Amy Pond.

I did have a question though – as soon as the Ice Governess pulled Clara off the cloud and into the sky… why didn’t the Doctor run to his TARDIS, disappear, and re-appear to catch her before she hit the ground? In the swimming pool if necessary.  After all, he’s done it before to save Dr. River Song.

So who is Clara?  How will she return?  Will she return? (The previews for the rest of Series 7 suggest she will).

The other part of the special I found very interesting was the Great Intelligence.  The Doctor at one point remarks, “It sounds familiar.”  It should – it did to me too, so I looked it up.  Here’s what I found:
Great Intelligence:  Entity from another dimension, which was exiled into ours, and condemned to hover between the stars and without substance.  It eventually took over Padmasambhava’s mind.  It planned to reincorporate itself and conquer Earth, when its gelatinous substance flowed through a pyramid gateway.  In spite of its robot Yeti, the Intelligence’s plan was thwarted by the Second Doctor, Jaime, Victoria, and Professor Travers in the mid-1930s.  The entity was banished when the Doctor held it in check mentally while Jaime and Thomni smashed its pyramid. (The Abominable Snowmen)
Thirty years later, Travers reactivated a robot Yeti’s silver sphere, which led the Intelligence to launch a new attack, this time in the London Underground.  It was again opposed by the Second Doctor, with the help of Travers, Jamie, Victoria, and Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart.  The Intelligence plotted to drain the Doctor’s mind, but the Doctor secretly reversed the polarities of the device, and would have turned the tables on his enemy if Jaime had not unwittingly wretched the device from the Doctor’s head at the last minute, thereby releasing the evil entity. (The Web of Fear)
Quote from:

Lofficier, Jean-Marc.  Doctor Who:  The Universal Databank, pp. 168-169, London: Doctor Who Books, Imprint of Virgin Publishing Ltd.

I also loved both the idea of the Doctor keeping his TARDIS up in the clouds, both physically away and separated from the world – and mentally and spiritually separated from helping people.  The Doctor has become cold indeed.  The new interior design I love, though, it’s so reminiscent of the late-70s/early-80s council rooms (prior to the stacked white boxes in the interior of the TARDIS council itself).  Clara climbing the staircase to “nowhere” reminded me both of “Jack-and-the-Beanstalk” and Mary Poppins.  Actually, Clara, as the magical governess, reminded me a lot of Mary Poppins.  OK, yes, Poppins was a nanny, but still, especially with the umbrella the Doctor gives her.  Very much Mary Poppins.

So who is Clara Oswin Oswald, really?  Is she a future Doctor?  A future River?  River or Amy’s future child?  Jenny – the Doctor’s Daughter?  And will she be back? I hope Mr. Moffat answers these questions!

UPDATE (9/6/2014):  The above review was written immediately after seeing “The Snowmen”.  As we know, Clara became the Doctor’s companion, and is the 12th Doctor’s Companion as well.  In terms of Moffat making her life too complex, we do have the “Impossible Girl” storyline which was wrapped up with Moffat turning Clara into a Mary Sue who spends her entire life saving the Doctor.  However, Series 8 seems to have forgotten entirely about that plot thread.Thank goodness.

Oh, and one more point, although the first story to feature the Great Intelligence, The Abominable Snowmen is still missing and presumed destroyed; the second, The Web of Fear is available on DVD.  The Doctor Who Missing Adventures (original paperback series) novel Downtime, also features the Great Intelligence and the Yeti (as well as Victoria, the Brigadier, Sarah Jane Smith, and Kate Stewart, the Brigadier’s daughter).  My review of Downtime is on Goodreads.

Dimensions in Time – Doctor Who – Photoset



Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time

One of the few Doctor Who things I haven’t seen.  This needs to go on a DVD, along with the classic “Curse of the Fatal Death” special with Rowan Atkinson, Richard E. Grant, Jonathan Pryce, Joanna Lumley, and numerous others.

Technology Paradigm Shift – The App-lication of Everything


There is a seismic shift underway in the digital world that within a decade will completely transform the web into an App-o-verse. Several simultaneous trends are stacking up to change how we consume and create digital content, and platform companies are positioning themselves to enable the process. What we are seeing are the early stages of what I call, “The Appification of Everything.” This is not about adding more icons to your home screen, though, but about a fundamental shift in how we metabolize information and entertainment. The web as the universal storage medium is being superseded by the internet as universal flow medium. Instead of thinking about the web as a hierarchical tree of documents—a Wikipedia of Wikipedias—we need to start thinking about all of that content as an underlying service layer for application-based interfaces. (via The Appification Of Everything Will Transform The World’s 360 Million Web Sites – Forbes)

Interesting.  Because I don’t QUITE see it going this way, not unless we can get two other types of apps to be web based:  Word Processing software, and databases.  Yes, ok, I admit it, I’m old enough to still, in some corner of my mind, think of my PC as a really advanced typewriter.  But, even with all the pictures and video on the Web, it is STILL a domain of words.  And office productivity software is still a major need (eg:  Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Databases, design software like Visio, etc).  The other major need is databases.  I have yet to see ANY database apps, even for the average consumer.  Make that ESPECIALLY for the average consumer.  I personally know enough SQL to have set-up my own relational database in Microsoft Access (the only thing I can afford – I certainly can’t BUY Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise or Oracle DB, and neither would  fit on my 1TB hard drive anyway).  I suspect there’s a need out there for people who want to organize and catalog their stuff.  I know I’m obsessed with the idea.  After all, how many sixth graders do you know who meticulously typed up 3×5 index cards of their book collection?  I did.  These days, however, consumers, especially fans, WANT to keep track of their DVDs, books, e-books, comics, etc.  And even a non-fannish household should have a register of household goods for insurance purposes (and boy does THAT need to be in the cloud, a register doesn’t do any good if it’s destroyed WITH your house).  And not only information, but pictures… something that the newest versions of SQL Server allow. – JM (Bitch with Wi-Fi)

So, until Word Processing, Spreadsheet, and Database programs exist as cheap or free apps, I’ll keep my desk top.

Who Wants To See Every ‘Doctor Who’ Story Since The Beginning? | Anglophenia | BBC America


This is a marvelous fan vid, one I found ages ago – and now the BBC is actually acknowledging it!  Babelcolour must be stoked.  If you’ve never seen it, please do, and check out his channel on youTube –

many of the best Doctor Who vids around!

Who Wants To See Every ‘Doctor Who’ Story Since The Beginning? | Anglophenia | BBC America

Christopher Nolan on Alfred Pennyworth – Quote

“It’s essential Alfred is a credible father figure because he is the person who *raises* Bruce Wayne… Casting Michael Caine in this role, allows us to create a really wonderfully rounded character, who really can be a true father, surrogate father, to Bruce Wayne.”—Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan, “Batman – The Journey Begins”, DVD Special Feature, Disc 2 of Batman Begins