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Showing posts with the label Steampunk

Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead (2005)

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Unless I'm forgetting something, this is the only episode of the revamped Doctor Who series set at Christmas that wasn't produced as a "Christmas special." It's only the third Christopher Eccleston episode, and marks the first time him and Rose went into the past.

The past they wind up in is 1869. It's Christmas Eve and - despite trying for Naples - the TARDIS takes them to Cardiff. As is always the case, there's more going on than a celebration. An undertaker in the city can't seem to keep the dead to stay still: they've picked up a habit of rising up and making trouble. One, an old woman, kills a grieving family member, climbs out of her coffin, and proceeds with her plans for the evening: catching a live reading of A Christmas Carol performed by the author, who is quickly pulled into the story.

Also of note is the undertaker's psychic assistant, a woman about Rose's age who's developed a connection with the beings responsible. The …

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol (2010)

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Easily my favorite of the Doctor Who Christmas specials, this episode from 2010 kicks off the second season with Matt Smith, the eleventh Doctor. This starts in the future on a distant world that's essentially a steampunk version of Victorian London. Only in space with flying sharks. Oh, and of course it's Christmas. Well, more accurately it's the winter solstice, but the opening monologue states the obvious: they're the same thing, anyway.

One of the things that makes this work as well as it does is that it really doesn't give you time to stop and question its logic. That's probably a good thing, because the premise is more than a little haphazard.

For example, Amy and Rory are honeymooning on a space cruiser that's about to crash into the planet of street urchins and fish-clouds, and the Doctor is unable to save them with the TARDIS. It's not remotely clear why this is beyond his capabilities (I think there might have been some BS tech-babble explana…

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

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This one might be a little controversial. The Christmas elements are pretty subtle, though they do bookend the movie. While it's possible to argue that the movie's plot might have tied into a pre-Christian fixation on the winter solstice, this was never stated outright or even implied beyond the seemingly coincidental timing, so it's admittedly a stretch.

Still, for a movie that barely touches on its timing, it seems to bend over backward to be set in December. The story is told, as is traditional, by Watson, who arrives at his new school about two weeks before Christmas. This is obviously odd timing from a narrative point of view, since it would have been easier to explain him arriving at the start of a semester. Throughout the film, London is always covered in a thin coat of snow, which even I know is ludicrous for the season. There's also a rather baffling detail involving a killer who wears bells which are extremely reminiscent of sleigh bells. At the end, the mov…