This year's Doctor Who Christmas Special wasn't too bad at all, particularly given my initial fears and misgivings. I feared the worst. When I first heard the title and saw the trailer with Santa Claus in it, I rolled my eyes and groaned in despair. I mean, a Christmas Special with the title of Last Christmas (strains of Wham! playing in the background)? And Santa, Rudolph and the rest of the gang flying around, delivering pressies? Please, not another piece of silly, irrelevant, soppy old Christmas nonsense! Oh God, spare us!
So I tuned into BBC One at 6:15pm on Christmas Day not expecting anything special, to be perfectly honest. Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad at all. Thankfully there was a reasonably intelligent story, which wasn't particularly fluffy or seasonal (despite the presence of Santa). It was even pretty dark and ominous in parts. Hell, there was even a (relatively) logical reason for the presence of Santa in the story. The aliens were pretty good, but derivative, right out of the film Alien. But Moffat managed to work a decent "facehugger" reference into the script as an acknowledgement of the original source, accompanied by a pretty funny scarcastic joking comment by Capaldi.
After all the rumours and the speculation about Jenna Coleman leaving the series ("will she or won't she?"), it was nice to find out that Clara will definitely be back as the Doctor's companion. Is it just me, or has there been a lot of Clara-hating going around in fandom circles? I know that she has taken a lot of criticism from fans, but I think that Clara has come into her own during Season 8, after an initial beginning as more of a plot device than a real character. In my opinion, she fits in better now with Peter Capaldi than she ever did with Matt Smith. I regard Jenna Coleman as a good actress, so I'm glad that she's staying with the show.
Overall, it worked out to be a reasonably good Christmas Special for 2014. Sure, it wasn't a mind-blowing entry in the annals of best Doctor Who episodes of all time, but it was definitely worth wasting an hour on.