The Christmas Specials

By Rev/Views

So I'm back online again (yay!) and I'm still not confident that I'll get an episode of WtW (that's Watching the Wire) up in time due to work commitments. I think it'll be best if I knock it on the head this week and leave it until the following Sunday, it's better to delay by a week instead of putting out a half assed piece with more errors than usual.

Before we move onto the British Christmas specials I'm going to write a little about Zavvi going into administration, I have to admit it's a pretty sad thing for me. I've got a few friends who work in my local store and I hope they all find new jobs. It was pretty bewildering and sad wandering around there Christmas Eve before heading out of town, the place looked like a horde of DVD locusts had stripped all the vegetation from the stands. I'm really going to miss the place if/when it closes, the UK will be left with even fewer options for purchasing DVDs. WHSmiths has a really limited in store range, Woolworths is gone, HMV is decent but often overpriced or missing the odd season from a set and there are precious few other independent DVD stores alive any more. It looks like it'll be up to and to get the UK through this dark period, but for me that's not quite the same. I like to pick up my DVDs and have them right there and then, I'm an impulse purchaser for discounted stock.

For Christmas I got the first season of Damages and Rescue Me - more on them in the new year, especially Damages as I shall be watching the second season as it airs - and in an attempt to help out Zavvi I picked up the complete set of The 4400, it felt a bit weird purchasing a dead series from a dying shop. Especially as I arrived in the shop two minutes before closing time and ran about panicing while the announcement told me that 1. The shop was closing, 2. I should take my purchase to the nearest counter and 3. I could buy from the Internet. Number 3 was morbidly amusing because Zavvi's Internet sales option has been down for a while now.

I first picked up the second season of Rescue Me, then after being harassed by a member of staff who thought I was too stupid (or assumed I was stupid, goodness knows I look it) to be able to hear the previous announcement (despite the fact that I was laughing at the irony when it was announced) I quickly switched up several times before leaving, discarding Rescue Me (which I keep typoing as RescuMe) first for Cold Feet, then This Life, then Ally McBeal and then finally regaining my manhood when I picked up The 4400 and bought that. Disaster averted!

It seems when I'm under pressure my Y chromosome goes off for a picnic and only returns at the last possible moment to save me. Onto the Christmas specials.

Doctor Who: (The Next Doctor)
It's hard to gush or put down this year's Christmas special, The Next Doctor was decent but not amazing. The Doctor (David Tennant) finds himself in Victorian London and encounters... The Doctor (David Morrissey), but this new Doctor doesn't seem to have all his memories intact, he doesn't even recognise his past incarnation. Add to this the presence of the Cybermen and you have the potential for a really interesting show.

Unfortunately in the end it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, the emotional moments were decent but the rest of it just wasn't really exciting. Which was a little disappointing because there are only three more specials left before we lose Tennant, and he's become my favourite Doctor.

Wallace and Gromit: (A Matter of Loaf and Death)
The most watched thing on Christmas day across the UK was the newest Wallace and Gromit, every single show of this animated brilliance has been pitch perfect so far and this one was also. Wallace falls in love with Piella Bakewell once star of commercials for Bake-O-Lite slimming bread. But Gromit is somewhat concerned that Piella might have less than wholesome designs for Wallace.

A Matter of Loaf and Death has everything in it you'd expect from Nick Park; it's fast and funny with occasional touching moments. My only complaint is that it was only half an hour long, it felt like the story had been compressed greatly for some reason. I would have prefered an hour long special with a slightly more natural build up of events.

But ultimately I can't complain about a show which has Peter Sallis uttering the line "Gromit, there's a bomb in my pants!"

Gavin & Stacey:
Hot on the heels of the wonderful Barry announcement for a third (and final) series of Gavin and Stacey came the Christmas special. And there's not much I can say about it except that it surpassed expectations on every front. It was easily the best thing I watched over Christmas, James and Ruth once again delivered a superb script and every member of the cast was on top form. I really enjoyed every single moment of it and I can't wait until the next series comes out.

All in all it was an enjoyable if not mind blowing Christmas.

Coming up over the next few days will be the final two DVD reviews of Red Dwarf and a look back on the year's TV. I promise there will be no Top X lists at all, unless someone asks for them.


1 comment so far.

  1. MysterLynch 28 December 2008 at 17:38
    I am really looking forward to season two of Damages. With the addition of Gay Harden and Hurt, it should be just as strong as season one.

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