Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Specials: Downton Abbey, Call The Midwife & Doctor Who

Today I got to catch up on all the Christmas specials that aired yesterday.

(Downton Abbey S5 doesn't air here in the US until Jan, so be warned spoilers)

First up was Downton Abbey S5 Christmas Special. It's the early autumn of 1924 and Rose's father-in-law Lord Sinderby has rented Brancaster Castle in Northumberland and invited the Crawleys to a grouse-shooting party. However, the Sinderbys' butler Stowell has an axe to grind and a scandalous secret threatens to derail the holiday. Back at Downton, the servants hold the fort and unlikely later-life romances abound, while Bates takes drastic measures to clear Anna's name as she faces an uncertain future behind bars. The seasons change and another Christmas is enjoyed at the Abbey, where a heartbreaking farewell and a joyful reunion take place

I really enjoyed this Christmas special. This entire season has been pretty awesome. I wish that Bates and Anna can live happily every after. I liked the romantic possibilities for both Edith and Mary in this episode and it brought me to tears when Carson asked Mrs Hughes to marry him. It's been a long time coming. I'll be sad to see Branson go but I guess he can also come back since he's just going to the Chicago. I now have to wait until the Autumn of 2015 for the sixth season to begin... so far away!!

Next I watched Call the Midwife S3 Christmas Special. As the nurses prepare for their 1959 Christmas show Patsy and Chummy escort two pregnant teen-agers, confident Avril and nervous Denise, to a home for expectant mothers run by the unfeeling and drunken Sister Maltby. When Denise falls ill and is denied medical treatment Avril reports Maltby and Chummy and Patsy temporarily run the home, making huge improvements for the better with help from Avril, whose baby they deliver on Christmas Eve. Shelagh goes to the aid of down-trodden epileptic Victor when he has a fit in the market - which leads to the discovery that he and his girlfriend Nancy are living in squalor. Nancy, who believes she is pregnant, fears the baby will be taken from her on the discovery that she met Victor in a mental hospital, from which they have been released with no after-care, but Dr Turner and Cynthia realize that , due to operations carried out on her in the hospital, she can never conceive. They nonetheless encourage the couple to be strong and care for each other. With Christmas over Cynthia leaves to become a nun whilst Peter Noakes is promoted to sergeant. 

I've missed Call the Midwife and was really looking forward to this special. This was the first episode without the main lead character Jenny, who left the show at the end of season 3. What makes it strange is that we are seeing this world through her eyes as an older version of herself as the narrator so I was interested in seeing how they worked around that. I actually liked what they did. Vanessa Redgrave does the voiceover of the older Jenny so they opened and closed the episode with Vanessa playing the older Jenny on screen. It was nice way to keep Jenny around. I really enjoyed this episode but I've enjoyed all the episodes, they really know how to pull on the heart strings. Like with Downton Abbey I can't get enough of these amazing British series.

The final Christmas special that I watched was Doctor Who "The Last Christmas". The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas. Trapped on an Arctic base, under attack from terrifying creatures, who are you going to call? Santa Claus!

This was an interesting Doctor Who episode, more horror with a touch of Christmas. It reminded me of Alien and what it funny one of the characters in the show even makes a reference to Alien and Facehuggers. It was kind of like Who Inception. A dream within a dream within a dream. 

I was bummed to hear the rumor that Jenna (Clara) was leaving at the end of this Christmas special but as this aired news broke that she is definitely coming back for another season. Now I didn't enjoy Clara with Matt Smith's Doctor but I'm loving her with Peter Capaldi's Doctor and I look forward to many more adventures.

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