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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eureka Christmas (2011)

Here it is the 31st, the last day of our SCI-FI Christmas in July celebration.  I have one more science fiction Christmas episode to share.  This past holiday season bought a very interesting animated installment of the TV series Eureka, an original program on the Syfy Channel.

In the fourth season episode, "Do You See What I See?" Sheriff Carter wants to surprise the town residents with a fresh blanket of snow on Christmas morning.  He arranges Fargo to create a holographic snow making machine.  But when the Super Photon Generator just outside of Eureka goes into overdrive, everyone finds themselves animated characters in a Christmas story.

The Eureka residents find themselves animated characters!

Carter blames himself for the technological breakdown and sets off into the surrounding mountainside to fix the photon generator with Andy, Allison and Jo.  But their efforts are hindered as they keep changing animation styles--from CGI to Saturday morning cartoon, traditional animation to claymation to Japanese anime!  The characters encounter this strange cartoon world filled with obnoxious sound effects, where cars and dogs can talk and the usual rules of physics don’t apply.  When the Eureka characters become animated, Dr. Taggert becomes a polar bear that speaks with an Australian accent, Jo resembles Disney’s Snow White/Cinderella, Andy is a robot with cartoonish accessories, Henry Deacon becomes a toy with a pull string, and Fargo becomes a bobblehead doll.

WHAT is causing this Christmas time disturbance?

What Carter doesn’t know is that this animated world isn’t his doing--it is young Jenna’s new Christmas present interacting with the Super Phonon Generator.  The child has opened her new toy, Holotown, an interactive electronic game book where you create your own story as you go.  Not only has the toy made all of Eureka animated but the monster she creates, a ninja snowman is devastating the community!

They have to fight the ninja snowman while trying to correct the Super Photon Generator.

As Carter and Jo fight the snow ninja, Allison, Andy and Dr. Drummer (did you see the previous year’s Christmas episode?) repair the Super Photon Generator to get it to stop interacting with the interactive Holotown.

Not just animation styles but character design keeps changing for the Eureka characters in this Christmas episode.

Here the cast become Peanuts characters.  Did I mention how much fun this episode was?

This isn’t the first time a TV show turned its cast into animated characters for Christmas.  But it is one of the most exciting!  The many different animation styles are very thrilling--there’s even a brief scene where our main characters (Carter, Andy and Jo) flash from non-descript traditional cel animated-looking characters to characters that look like A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Simpsons/Futurama, South Park and even Scooby Doo characters.

They even transform to Scooby Doo-style characters.

Other live action TV shows have turned their characters into animated ones for the holiday show.  I remember: Home Improvement's 1996 episode "The Wood, the Bad and the Hungry," That 70s Show's 2001 episode "An Eric Forman Christmas," George Lopez' 2005 episode "George is Being Elfish and Chris-Misses His Family," and of course, Community's 2010 episode "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas."  Do you remember any others?

Did you see the Community episode from 2010 where the entire cast becomes stop-motion animated characters for Christmas?

Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons voices Carl, the animated Jeep vehicle.

This episode also includes guest stars: Edward James Olmos voices Rudy the lead dog in the sled team, Jim Parsons as Carl, Carter’s Jeep that can talk, Matt Frewer as Taggert the animated polar bear, and Chris Parnell as Dr. Drummer, dressed as Santa Claus.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Futurama Holiday Spectacular (2010)

Most of us have already seen the first two holiday episodes of the animated TV series Futurama, right?  There is 1999's "Xmas Story" about the future's deadly vengeful Robot Santa, and the 2001 follow-up episode "A Tale of Two Santas." 

The comedy series Futurama knows just how to mock American culture... including the holidays.

 Are you familiar with the latest yuletide episode "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" from 2010?

Futurama pokes fun at the hyper-commercialization of Christmas TV specials with its own frequent and shameless plugs for the fictional company Gunderson’s Nuts.

In this sixth season episode, viewers are treated to a spoof of a musical Christmas TV special.  The story consists of three separate segments each containing its own holiday song explaining the traditions of the season. 

The deadly Robot Santa returns in the first segment--and SINGS!

In the first segment, the crew find themselves once again celebrating Xmas.  The deadly Robot Santa returns to suggest the space crew get themselves an old-fashioned pine tree for the holiday.  Though pine trees have been extinct for centuries, the crew fly to a seed vault and grow their own coniferous tree. 

The trees' infected pine cones drop and explode like grenades, spreading seeds all over the planet.
One year later, they are happy to decorate their first Christmas tree.  This segment turns into a hilarious horror story when it's revealed that their pine tree has been contaminated by germs resulting in coniferous trees spreading their seeds out of control, sprouting up all over, and re-foresting the planet.  When the Earth is literally covered in trees, the air becomes over-saturated with oxygen.  And, when Bender lights his cigar, he unwittingly ignites the atmosphere, returning Earth to its previously desolate condition again. 

Bender's Robanukah involves the celebration of having enough oil for fem-bots to wrestle for 6 1/2 weeks.

In the second segment, Bender is eager to celebrate his own version of a holiday he calls Robanukah.  (The others accurately accuse him of appropriating Robanukah from the popular Jewish tradition of Chanukah).  Bender insists his holiday celebrates the use of oil needed to keep fem-bots wrestling for 6 1/2 weeks--but he only has enough oil for 4 1/2 weeks.  Thus he insists the crew go drilling for rare petroleum oil.  Unfortunately, the crew become trapped when their ship implodes due to drilling at great depths within the Earth's core.  500 million years later, Bender discovers a Robanukah miracle has occurred! 

The Kwanzaa-bot (voiced by Coolio) returns for this 2010 episode.

And, the third holiday segment sees a return of the Kwanzaa-bot when the crew gathers at Hermes house to celebrate Kwanzaa.  When the Kwanzaa-bot insists Hermes use beeswax candles in his kinara, the crew once again go in search for the rare resource.  They journey in their ship to a beehive in space known to be populated with giant space bees however, once there, they discover the space bees are infected with parasites and harming each other. 

The Queen space bee is voiced by Dawnn Lewis--remember her?  She also played Jaleesa on A Different World.

Hermes takes it upon himself to inspire the space bees with the spirit of Kwanzaa to bring unity to the hive.  Unfortunately, the crew soon find themselves used as beeswax candles for the giant space bees’ kinara. 

The Head of Al Gore is voiced by, yep, you guessed it: Al Gore.

In this episode, viewers also see a return of the Head of Al Gore, an appropriate character considering these three holiday stories each have a potentially scary environmental message about shortages of our natural resources in the future.

Merry SCI-FI Christmas in July!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stingray Christmas (1964)

Continuing our SCI-FI Christmas in July celebration, Christmas TV History would like to welcome guest blogger Dominic with his second post this month.  He also wrote the Bravestarr post earlier in July.  Click HERE to see that again.  This Christmas episode of Stingray is currently available to watch on Youtube.  Check it out.  It is also on DVD.  Merry SCI-FI Christmas in July everyone!

Stingray "A Christmas to Remember" from 1964
by Dominic Caruso

Anything can happen in the next half-hour!

Stingray is one of several shows created by Gerry Anderson that featured miniaturized sets and a process of filming highly stylized puppet characters he called Supermarionation. Anderson’s marionette/puppet hybrids have, for me, always been somewhere between creepy (imagine a show populated solely by puppets that remind you of ventriloquist dummies) and fascinating to watch. But that creepiness is largely inconsequential, because the sci fi worlds Anderson created are utterly charming and great entertainment. This is perhaps even more true in the case of Stingray, because significant portions of the show take place “at sea” and underwater.

Stingray was created when it was important for TV shows to have a great theme song and opening title sequence. Accordingly, Stingray’s is magnificent. It’s filled with explosions, missiles, torpedoes, futuristic vehicles launching themselves through air and sea. Entire buildings descend via elevators into the earth, and then comes the pronouncement that, “Anything can happen in the next half hour!” Not only does Stingray have a fabulous title sequence, it has an incredible credit sequence as well--featuring a song in the vein of “You Only Live Twice” dedicated to the alluring character Marina!

The action takes place in Marineville, where the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP) defends the seas and the futuristic base from all manner of nefarious attackers. The jewel of WASP’s fleet is Stingray, a submarine piloted by the heroic Troy Tempest, with co-pilot George Lee “Phones” Sheridan, and occasional assistance from the aforementioned Marina, a silent, mysterious mermaid-like woman who joins WASP after defecting from the side of Marineville’s chief adversary, Titan. Atlanta Shore is a female aquanaut and daughter of the base leader, Commander Sam Shore, who gets around in a kind of hovercraft version of a rascal scooter.

The Christmas episode, “A Christmas to Remember” is excellent, and a good introduction to the futuristic oceanic world of Marineville. It follows a familiar Christmas TV theme: the desire to create a great Christmas experience for a less-fortunate child. In this instance, the child is Barry Burns, an orphan whose deceased father was an aquanaut at WASP. Atlanta and Troy visit Barry at Christmas and are impressed by his knowledge of WASP and Marineville (he even presents them with a scale model of Marineville that he’s made). After spending time with Barry, Troy decides to spring the boy from the orphanage and bring him to Marineville for Christmas to be amongst the aquanauts he idolizes, even though it’s against base regulations.

Barry visits Marineville, dons aquanaut-appropriate jammies

Troy succeeds in buttering up Commander Shore with a fake letter from Barry, and Shore agrees to bend the rules and have Barry stay with him and Atlanta for Christmas--despite the fact that the base is under alert, having captured a suspiciously deserted alien enemy submarine. Marineville at Christmas looks fantastic: it’s blanketed in snow. Marina and Atlanta build snowmen, and WASP headquarters is decked out with a Christmas tree and gifts. Even the incidental music takes on a Christmas theme, with lightly Moog-y versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Good King Wenceslas” bubbling in the background. Troy, Atlanta, Phones, and Commander Shore even take Barry ice skating! It’s particularly delightful seeing the Supermarionettes skating fluidly and gracefully exhibiting a number of classic skating poses.

Atlanta and Troy enjoying the season with a graceful couples’ skate.

Troy aboard the empty alien vessel. You can tell they’re aliens from the freaky interior Jackson Pollack paint job

However, it becomes a Christmas to remember for junior aquanaut Barry when he gets to co-pilot Stingray (uh, are there any base regulations that they follow??!!) in a dramatic rescue mission in which it’s revealed what really happened to the alien crew of the mysterious captured sub. Spoiler alert: it involves a plan for World--well Marineville anyway--Domination!

Yep, there’s no one else around to help Troy co-pilot Stingray. I know, let’s get a kid to do it!

“A Christmas to Remember” is a wonderful sci fi Christmas episode because it’s rich with Christmas detail in addition to the typically impeccable ultramodern details of the show, from the Christmas cards in the Shore home, to a comical appearance by a would-be Santa Claus, and the gift of a scale model of the Stingray submarine. Stingray is captivating television precisely for that attention to detail. There’s something about the world in miniature that never fails to please--especially the Mid-Century modern world of Marineville, which looks like it was designed by Oscar Niemeyer or Eero Saarinen--all streamlined arches, wings, darts, and symmetry. It’s a great space for the imagination to inhabit and enjoy dreams of Christmas future.

Fans of Gerry Anderson’s brand of sci fi entertainment might also want to check out the Christmas episodes of his other TV series’, including, the 1966 Thunderbirds episode “Give or Take a Million,” the 1968 episode of Joe 90, “The Unorthodox Shepherd,” and the 1983 episode of Terrahawks, “A Christmas Miracle.” You can also read about each one in both of Joanna’s books, The Christmas TV Companion and Tis the Season TV.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

List of Doctor Who Christmas episodes

This past week during SCI-FI Christmas in July, guest bloggers have shared their thoughts on favorite Doctor Who Christmas installments.  Someone asked me how many Doctor Who Christmas episodes are there?  So here's a list.  If you're so inclined, this may make a very satisfying viewing marathon for next Christmas time.

~~The Unquiet Dead (2005) Though it didn't originally air in December, this episode's story takes place on Christmas Eve 1869 and includes the Doctor meeting Charles Dickens at a public reading of his popular work A Christmas Carol.

~~The Christmas Invasion (2005) The newly regenerated Doctor faces the Sycorax, an alien race come to earth at Christmas time.

~~The Runaway Bride (2006) The Doctor meets Donna, a bride that pops into the TARDIS.  Together they face the Empress of Racnoss from an eight-pointed star in the night sky.  This particular episode's story is re-visited in the later episode Turn Left in 2008.

Fans of the series know that The Runaway Bride's Donna Noble ends up becoming The Doctor's companion later in the series.

~~Voyage of the Damned (2007) The Doctor is aboard a luxury cruise spaceship named the Titanic.

~~The Next Doctor (2008) The Doctor returns to London on Christmas Eve 1851 where he meets another man claiming to be The Doctor.  Together they face down the Cybermen's latest attempt to dominate with the Cyberking.

~~The End of Time (2009) The Doctor faces another time lord, The Master, as well as his own mortality as predicted by the Ood.

~~A Christmas Carol (2010) The Doctor uses time travel to encourage Sardick to change his Scrooge-like ways.  This planet has an unusual atmosphere that includes fish swimming in its fog.

2010's A Christmas Carol guest stars: Michael Gambon as Sardick and Katherine Jenkins as Abigail.

~~The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe (2011) The Doctor returns to England at Christmas time 1941 to help two children have a merry holiday despite the presumed death of their father.  They journey to a beautiful world of snowy trees.  Unfortunately, the trees are being threatened by harvesting.

~~Best of the Christmas Specials (2011) This is a clip show with celebrities commenting on their favorite moments during the past Christmas specials.

If you are into watching the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood, you may also enjoy watching another Christmas episode:

~~Out of Time (2006) This story takes place over Christmas time as accidental time travelers from 1953 arrive in 2006 and find they must adjust to modern life.

And, Old School Doctor Who fans may be interested in watching the failed spin-off K-9 and Company which includes an unusual Christmas/Winter Solstice story.

~~A Girl's Best Friend (1981) The Doctor's former companions Sarah Jane Smith and K-9 spend the holiday at Sarah Jane's Aunt Lavinia's home where they discover the rural community is conducting black magic rituals including human sacrifice.

Wow!  That's a lot of Doctor Who Christmas watching.  Have I missed anything?  Have you seen all these installments?  Do we need to jump into the TARDIS to go directly to December and make this viewing marathon happen?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Doctor Who Christmas: The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe (2011)

Christmas TV History would like to welcome our next guest bloggers RigbyMel and J.A. Morris.  They are long time friends to this blog. During last year's Christmas in July, they wrote a review for Northern ExposureClick HERE to see that again.  They also write their own reviews on the blog Holiday Film Reviews.  Be sure to check them out.  Merry SCI-FI Christmas in July!

Doctor Who – “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe”
by RigbyMel and J.A. Morris

Aired  25 December 2011 in the UK and US

It's Christmas, 1938. 
Above the  Earth, The Doctor (Matt Smith) narrowly escapes incineration on an exploding spaceship.   He falls to Earth wearing a spacesuit that he donned as both he and it fell from the ship.  In his
(understandable) haste, the suit's helmet gets put on backwards.

He meets Madge Arwell (Clare Skinner), who not only doesn't bat an eye at an impact crater containing a “spaceman, possibly an angel,” she helps him find his way to the TARDIS (the Doctor's ship, for the uninitiated).  Since the Doctor's space helmet was back-to-front, Madge never actually sees his face.  The Doctor thanks Madge, and tells her if she ever needs his help, all she needs to do is make a wish.

Now we cut to three years later during Christmas 1941, World War II is raging.

Madge's husband Reg (Alexander Armstrong) is in air battle and is lost at sea.  She receives a telegram
telling of Reg's death, but doesn't tell her children, Lily (Holly Earl) and Cyril (Maurice Cole).  She will tell them after Christmas, so that they won't think of Christmas as the time their father died.   Madge arrives with Cyril and Lily at a mansion in Dorset, presumably to escape the Blitz.   They meet the Caretaker…who turns out to be the Doctor!  (Marge doesn't yet realize this though.)  He gives them a tour of the house… it looks like it is going to be a rather brilliant holiday for Cyril and Lily with special enhancements courtesy of the Doctor including a very elaborate Christmas tree,  a nursery with the Magna Carta, a model of the house they're in (“not to scale, sorry”) and hammocks to sleep in and even a tap in the kitchen that dispenses lemonade. Madge is a bit concerned that he may be overindulging the children. 

The Doctor has also brought them a Christmas present in a giant box.  Cyril cannot wait until Christmas morning, so he sneaks downstairs and opens it that night.

The box turns out to be a portal to a Narnia-like snow-covered forest, where Christmas ornaments grow on trees.  Cyril sets out to explore, following a mysterious creature that emerges when one of the
“ornaments” breaks.  Before too long, the Doctor discovers Cyril's absence and follows him into the portal with Lily.

Lily : Where are we?
The Doctor: In a forest. In a box. In a sitting room. Pay attention!
Madge realizes that her children are missing and follows them into the box where she meets a team of
space-suited miners from an alien world (Bill Bailey, Paul Bazely and Arabella Weir)  who are preparing to harvest the trees using acid rain, killing everything in the forest!

Maybe, just maybe, the Doctor, Madge and the children can escape from this predicament unscathed. 
And maybe, just maybe, they'll find that wishes can come true -  you'll have to watch the episode to see
what happens!

RigbyMel says:
There is a heck of a lot going on in this episode, but it hangs together remarkably well considering how
involved the plot is.  I particularly enjoyed all the Narnia-ish references and thought that Madge was a wonderful character to play against the Doctor.   Madge is imaginative enough to go along with whatever the situation throws at her and even discovers courage she probably didn't know she had – yay for strong female characters!


The atmosphere is magical and a bit scary, just as it should be in a Doctor Who episode and the
Christmas-y themes tie in perfectly (there's even an ecological message tucked neatly into the episode).
There are also a few moments that are quite touching without being the least bit maudlin.  As an
example here's one of my favorite bits (an exchange between Madge and the Doctor while the children
are elsewhere):

Madge: Lily and Cyril's father—my husband—is dead and they don't know yet because if I tell them now then Christmas will always be what took their father away from them, and no one should have to live like that. Of course when the Christmas period is over I shall... I don't know why I keep shouting at them.
The Doctor: Because every time you see them happy you remember how sad they're going to be. And it breaks your heart. Because what's the point in them being happy now if they're going to be sad later?
The answer is, of course, because they are going to be sad later.

This does bring me to one complaint about the episode though –  the Doctor talks about “happy crying” as being “humany wumany”, I found to be a cloying and weak reference to a fun line from a previous episode that the current writers seem determined to beat into the ground.   “Wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff” was fun in “Blink”, it gets less fun every time Steven Moffat overuses it.  

Overall, a fun addition to the Doctor Who Christmas special tradition.
My rating:   3 candy canes (it might have gotten 4 but for the “humany wumany”)

J.A. Morris says: 
I agree with RigbyMel about the "humany" line, but I liked this special just slightly more than she did. 
I'll say up front: I'm not a huge fan of Matt Smith as the Doctor.  He's okay, just a far cry from the two
previous Doctors.  But I think he works best in specials and episodes where he isn't teamed up with
regular companions.  I think he had great chemistry with all the members of the Arwell family here.
I'm not familiar with Claire Skinner, but she's great as Madge.  Early in the special, Madge almost comes across as almost scatterbrained, but in the end, Skinner is convincing as a mother who will fight an army to save her family.

Comedian Bill Bailey, always a welcome presence, is good as Droxil, leader of the forest mining crew.  He also looks very funny in his spacesuit.  But for me, the biggest surprise comes from Paul Bazely, who plays a miner named Ven-Garr.   Bazely (another actor who is new to me) gets the funniest lines of the "forest" scenes, but Bailey's reactions to them are just as funny.

"The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe" is a Christmas generally a fun ride and something you should be able to watch with relatives around the Holidays even if they're not hardcore fans of Doctor Who.
My rating:
3 and a half candy canes.

l to r: RigbyMel, actor/comedian Bill Bailey, J.A. Morris.

Post script:

We mentioned earlier that Bill Bailey plays Droxil in this special.  We were fortunate enough to see Bailey perform his stand-up act in New York last September, shortly before filming began for this special.  He's one of the best comedians working today, integrating lots of music & songs into his comedy.  He gave a great performance that night, if you ever have the chance to see him live, please do so.  Bailey was also extremely kind to us (and the dozen or so other hardcore fans who waited to meet him post-performance). We took the train from Richmond,VA, he said that's a further distance than anyone ever traveled to see him perform in England!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Doctor Who Christmas: The Next Doctor (2008)

It's Doctor Who week as we continue our SCI-FI Christmas in July celebration! Christmas TV History would like to welcome the next guest blogger, Brit Charek, who shares with us her passion for another favorite Doctor Who Christmas episode.

Doctor Who: "The Next Doctor" 2008
By Brit Charek

What could possibly be better than the Doctor sweeping in to save Earth? Why, two of them of course! Apparently writer Russell T. Davies decided to give Doctor Who fans just what they wanted for Christmas in 2008 when "The Next Doctor," the first of a run of five TV-movies, was aired featuring both David Tennant as well as David Morrissey as the Doctor.

David Tennant on the left, David Morrissey on the right--this Christmas installment offers 2 Doctors.

Being that fans knew David Tennant’s time as the Doctor was coming to an end (The actor who plays the Doctor only does it for a limited time, James Bond-style), it was exciting to see the Doctor faced with the man who could potentially be his replacement. Although he was definitely weirded-out when face-to-face with the Next Doctor when he landed the TARDIS in London on Christmas Eve of 1851, the Doctor was excited to meet what he suspected to be himself at a different point in time and space.

Could the Doctor have bumped into a future regeneration of himself?

(You see, in the universe of the Doctor, time is far from linear. It is, in his words from my all-time favorite episode Blink, “more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff,” which basically means that, well, pretty much anything can happen.)

Actress Dervla Kirwan plays Miss Hartigan.

Naturally, nothing is how it seems. Despite who the Next Doctor really is, the two Doctors team up, along with the Next Doctor’s companion, the saucy Rosilita, against a band of Cybermen led by Miss Mercy Hartigan, a cold villainess in a stunning red gown.

A giant-sized Cyberman known as the Cyberking threatens to destroy the entire city.

Not only do they have to deal with a giant Cyberking that would crush all of London, but Miss Hartigan has kidnapped and exploited children as laborers to generate energy for their project, in true Dickens fashion.

The next doctor's TARDIS?  If he's not a time lord, just who is this next doctor?

The banter between the two Doctors is delightful. The Next Doctor seems to know what he’s supposed to be, but doesn’t quite get it right—his sonic screwdriver is simply a screwdriver, his TARDIS is a hot air balloon that has never left the ground—but you can’t help but be charmed by his enthusiasm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Doctor Who Christmas: Voyage of the Damned (2007)

This is Doctor Who Christmas week--did you see yesterday's "Christmas Invasion?"  Continuing our SCI-FI Christmas in July marathon, Christmas TV History would like to welcome guest blogger Mathias Noble King.  He has studied film at the University of Toledo and is an all around nerd.

Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned (2007)
by Mathias Noble King

In the words of the Doctor, “What…What…WHAT?!” I’m very new to Doctor Who but not so new to Christmas, unlike the attendants of the ironically named cruise liner, Titanic, which is on a voyage to Earth. British pop star Kylie Minogue joins David Tennant in this Christmas themed episode full of misunderstood holiday sayings, romance, killer robots, cyborgs and Bannakaffalatta.

She's still waiting tables and he's still saving Earth.

"Voyage of the Damned" aired in December of 2007, was directed by James Strong, and written by Russell T. Davies. After crashing the TARDIS into the Titanic, the Doctor joins the passengers as a “stowaway.” While a corrupt suicidal captain tries to take down the ship with a couple well-aimed asteroids, little does he know that there’s a 903-year-old time lord with a soft spot for Earth on board.

Who doesn’t love a space ship as an actual ship, Captain Harlock anyone?

A major theme of this episode is sacrifice, which ideally is the central theme of Christmas. The Doctor’s hodgepodge team doesn’t disappoint though, ready to jump into the ships main reactor to take down a Host at a moment’s notice (but I guess who wouldn’t if the love of your life just fell to the same fate?).

Bannakaffalatta noble, but dead

After some banter with the Host the Doctor is taken to the cause of this whole mess. And who do you think is behind the ruin of this holiday cruise? Yep you guessed it corporate greed, or maybe revenge however you want to read into it. But once again love and selflessness prevails and Earth and the Doctor live on for another episode (hopefully another Christmas themed one).