Voyage of the damned (2007)

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This episode was first broadcast on 25 December 2007. A brief and somewhat spoiler-ish summary of the plot: it's the Titanic in space. No iceberg, though.

A lot about this Christmas special simply works. For starters, this story does the 'disaster movie' thing admirably - it looks spectacular, the action keeps going at a steady pace, and the traditional ragtag bunch of characters who get caught in the middle and who will have to work together in order to survive are all kind of likeable in their own way. There's also a great incidental score - pure bombast, but that goes with the genre.
At the same time, there's enough that sets this story apart from your regular disaster movie. The Titanic in space, the robot angels, the alien tourists marvelling at a London street, the Queen, Tinkerbell Astrid - these may not all be great ideas, but they are very Doctor Who. (Well, maybe not the Queen or Tinkerbell. Those were a bit silly.)

And yet this story is strangely lifeless, and the main problem seems to be with the characters and their relationship with the Doctor.

The Doctor goes through this story trying his hardest to save the remaining souls aboard the good ship Titanic but never making a meaningful connection to any of them.
Astrid, who is supposed to be the Doctor's love interest, is the blandest of the entire cast of characters and even when she's snogging the Doctor there's no on-screen chemistry whatsoever. That, and the fact that the last time we see her alive she's attacking a head-in-a-box with a fork-lift truck, makes it hard to care about anything that happens to her.
Said head-in-a-box is one of the least interesting new-Who villains ever, right up there with the Abzorbaloff from 'Love and monsters', and his conversations with the Doctor are just dull.
There's a young officer who has been shot and who is now locked in on the bridge doing heroic things to save the ship, and obviously he's another character we're suppose to empathise with. Fortunately for him but unfortunately for the story he appears to make a miraculous recovery during the episode, and in the end everyone just seems to have forgotten about the bullet in his gut. This makes it hard to care about his plight or even to take him seriously.
The only character that the Doctor seems to be bonding with in this story is Mr. Copper, the deluded but wise-when-it-matters tour guide, and at the end of the story the Doctor just can't wait to get rid of him.

My verdict:

Quite good, actually.

All gift-wrapping, no present.

More about Doctor Who

An introduction:
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More "quite good, actually." Doctor Who:
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More Doctor Who with David Tennant:
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Similar stories:
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Episode guides:
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Episode reviews:
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