I really liked this; I didn't love it, but I did really enjoy it. Morrissey was FABULOUS and he and Tennant really do have a great chemistry. Dervla Kirwan was marvelous as the big bad; excellent, excellent job.
Okay then, I've got three kids with me that I'm watching, so just some quick thoughts. (Two of whom -- the 4 and 6 year old boys watched it with me and thought, in the words of the 6-year old: "This is awesome!")
- Alas, the whole River/Morrissey's Doctor theory has been shot to hell. Ah well. ::Sigh:: I'll just go with the events of FotD made the future that was supposed to happen go bye-bye and will let no other explanation sway me. In fact, I'll go so far to say that the future events with River had already not happened in the timeline once Rose entered the Doctor's life, and all of River's memories were based on a different timeline of hers. What? It's timey-wimey, spacey-cracky "Who" -- works for me!
- I wasn't horribly impressed with the actress playing Rosita. She kinda did nothing and brought nothing to an admittedly small role, but a stronger actress could have made more of it. I did like when she punched Miss Hartigan, but mostly because of how the Doctor said so approvingly that he disapproved, LOL!
- Speaking of Rosita, I knew there was a reason that Rusty picked that name and I honestly think it was simply to give that small Doctor/Rose moment when he said the name (accenting the "Ros" in "Rosita") was nice. Of course, it was then either preceded or followed shortly thereafter by the Doctor using the phrase "timorous beastie" which brought "Tooth and Claw" to mind.
- I'm glad that the Doctor chose to have dinner with them. Good for you, Doctor.
- On the other hand ... yeah, some leave, some forget you, and some break your heart ... but you forgot that some are dropped off in an alternate universe by you yourself without their say-so for their own good -- in YOUR opinion. (I'm all fine and cool with JE, but come on, Doc, don't re-write what happened, dude.) If anyone's heart was broken by that departure, it was no one's fault but your own, buddy-boy!!!
- Still, I was glad that despite that upbeat beginning, we did still get the sense that the Doctor WAS affected by the loss of Rose and Donna; because regardless of whether time has passed or not, I think we needed to see that he was still grieving them even if it was just to a small degree, because many of us are still grieving somewhat too.
- Still, the introduction was hilarious, even if I'd already watched it a few times. Actually pretty much going all the way up until Jonathan Lake was shellshocked at the top of the stairs after the Doctor was trying to hold off the Cybermen with the sword was pretty dang funny, even with the darker moments scattered here and there.
- This one was sad a lot, but it had a mild tenor of anguish compared to recent episodes, so it didn't seem that sad.
- Okay, call me dumb, but I don't get how/why Miss Hartigan blew up along with the Cybermen at the end there? Huh? Still, more on her character, I did think it was kinda cool that she was stronger than the Cybermen control, and how the Doctor acknowledged that. Very interesting character, she was.
- Loved seeing all of the Doctors, especially my first: Nine. Oh, Eccleston, how I love you so!
- There were a few appropriately eye-rolling-worth moments that I loved. Can't have an Xmas special without 'em.
- Heh, tapping the screwdriver on the door -- "See, it makes a noise. Sonic." And the Doctor's expression. LOL!
- Also funny, funny, funny was the Doctor's "whistling." Especially when Lake asked him if he was whistling again, and how the Doctor responded that "Yes, yes, he was." ROTL!
- Oh, the TARDIS as an air balloon was hysterical! And, of course, the Doctor flew it. Of course.
- Which led me to my favorite part: I loved how Lake said that the Doctor's done this so many times, but had never been thanked and not this time. And then they all starting cheering and the Doctor realized it and rung the bell. It was wonderful (and so not cheesy and kinda, sorta lame as everyone saying his name in 'The Last of the Time Lords"). It was a beautiful moment.
ETA: Some have commented that the Doctor has been thanked before, but I think here it was meant in the face of a whole group of people saved by the Doctor's actions, as opposed to one or two. When the Doctor saves a massive group of people, most don't know in that massive group. This time, Lake was making sure the whole group knew AND was thanking the Doctor then and there.
All in all, not my favorite Christmas special, but DEFINITELY better than the last one, and pretty dang fabulous all around. YAY!!!!