December 28, 2016

DOCTOR WHO - The Return of Doctor Mysterio (Review)

This may sound like hyperbole, but this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special was just what I needed after a tough year - entertaining, funny, and willing to take some chances.

I always get a kick when Doctor Who stretches itself and attempts to integrate more modern tropes - when it works (like Season Eight's Time Heist), it works beautifully; when it doesn't (like Season Three's 42 or Season Nine's Sleep No More), it's either still watchable (like 42) or a complete abomination (Sleep No More).

The Return of Doctor Mysterio is more like Time Heist in how it encompasses the tropes of comics, but in terms of story (thanks, Steven Moffatt, for a not so plotty-wotty plot) and direction (for which you can thank Ed Bazalgette, who you probably know better as the lead guitarist for the Vapors - see the video below for details)

Anyway, back to Doctor Who:The Return of Doctor Mysterio....yes, there is a very tangential Christmas theme, as it begins with the Doctor encountering a young boy in New York....and serves as an origin story, of sorts, for a superhero who shouldn't exist, but does. And yes, Moffatt does go through all of the comic-based tropes (and thanks to Bazalgette's direction, several moments are presented in split-screen, like comic panels), and the tone is appropriate light, clever, and humorous - enough to make this one of Moffatt's better Christmas specials.

And yes, it does follow on from The Husbands of River Song. And there's the appropriate sense of melancholy as well.

The only real bum note is Matt Lucas....Yes, he tries hard, but I still scratch my head and wonder why he was brought back. Much of it is a personal bias after watching Little Britain and finding it very mean-spirited and smug (much like South Park after its fourth season). I'm hoping that he only makes occasional appearances in Series 10, and is not a full-on regular....because quite honestly, I find him annoying.

But that's a minor quibble amongst a total gem of a program. Yes, there will be those who complain about Moffatt's writing, but this is one where it feels like Moffatt actually had fun writing a Doctor Who script.

It's showing theatrically in theaters around the country, and I managed to catch it last night. Seeing the Doctor Who Christmas special on the big screen is going to become my new holiday tradition.

Highly recommended.

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