So, unfortunately, I succumbed to reading io9's review of the Christmas Special before writing my own, but I've avoided others. But you know, I do think they were right when they said that this was probably the most fairy tale of the Moffat's Who.
And that is it's biggest problems, I think.
All the plot holes are all very fairy tale-ish. The mysterious, clock-work illness where, for some impossible reason, she only has 8 days to live scream magic, not science. Abigail wasn't a character at all - mostly just a plot device on par with the psychic paper and the screw driver in order to get Stuff Done like changing Sardick into a Nice Guy and being the tool to save all those people.
It wouldn't have been so bad if she had come up with the idea or even volunteered for it - but no. The Doctor thought of it, Sardic unlocked her, and she just goes off and does whatever it is they want her to.
She actually reminded me of a combination of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty - Snow White because she's essentially in a coffin posing as a freezer, already DOA (remember that old movie, where the guy's poisoned with a deadly, lethal substance with no known cure and has to find his killer even though he's already, like, dead?) and Sleeping Beauty because she never wakes up on her own. Oh no, she's gotta have men wake her up.
Fairy tales can be cool - and I didn't mind the fairy tale elements of the fifth series at all - but they usually are wanting when it comes to the treatment of female characters, and this is no exception. Of course, their insistence in clothing her in white, her constant angelic appearance, was also aggravating.
Even the magnificent Amy Pond had next to nothing to do.
However, after reading the monstrous Bleak House, I do think that it captured something very Dickensonian: the exploitation of poor people (just for the record, Dickens - like many other Victorians - was also a fan of women being Angels in the House, so yeah, Moffat got that spot on too).
I really liked how Gamdon portrayed Sardic - it was nuanced and complex. Still, I think the latter half of his character development was contrived, much how a lot of the plot was, I suppose. Meh.
I was really excited when I saw
Because Rory is awesome and an official companion!
And then he didn't do anything. Disappointed!
Though, I did like all the nods to Gaiman:
This reminded me of the fishies in Mirror Mask, and one mustn't forget Delirium's penchant for the little buggers too.
And at one point, the Doctor says, "Better a broken heart than no heart at all" which is similar to a line from theStardust film (can't remember if it was in the book).
This just makes me even more excited for The Awesome that is Gaiman.
I have to say (going back to the problematic fairy tale essences), that I found some of the dialogue delightful and annoying at the same time. For example, then they were talking about what to do when girls are crying, how the Doctor suggested talking about girls (and how it wasn't something he normally did, aww), the dangerous times combined with being boys - it was funny, and part of me enjoyed it (because Matt Smith is unendingly adorkable), but at the dame time it was just very gender-divided and I like my gender bended.
I know it sounds like I didn't enjoy it - even though I did on some sort of level. The frame of the story itself was sheer genius - they way Moffat took a well beloved Christmas story and changed it, made it science fiction and fairy tale while playing with ideas of change and time was great - but there needed to be more follow through. I thought the Doctor was brilliant - I fell in love with him all over again, and there were so many great lines there was no way I could possibly keep up with them all - but, at the same time, I honestly, think I would have enjoyed it more if it had focused on the idea that the Doctor had literally screwed with someone else's life without asking permission, which Sardic was not really pleased about at first - but these issues were never really addressed.
I guess such topics wouldn't be all warm, gooey, sugar-plumish enough for Christmas. :(