DOCTOR WHO RESOLUTION Kicked Off the New Year with a Bang [Blu Review]

The traditional Christmas special shifted from Christmas to NYE

Over the last ten years or so, Whovians have been treated to a festive special for the series, an episode that usually leans a little more into the weirder vibes the show occasionally channels. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the booze & tryptophan-soaked state many find themselves in on Christmas evening. This year we were denied, instead getting something a little different: a adventure on New Year’s Eve that kicked off 2019 with a bang.


With 2018 marking a brand-new era for Doctor Who it is only right that 2019 kicks off in spectacular style. So, to mark the occasion, in this year’s festive episode the TARDIS will travel through the time vortex from its traditional timeslot on Christmas Day and will land in style on New Year’s Day.
 As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring, from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?

If the synopsis seems short, it was an intentional by the BBC to try and conceal some of the festive surprises that lay in wait with Resolution. It was a move bizarrely undermined by revealing the episode would feature a Dalek mere days before it aired. Despite this, Resolution is a damn fin slice of Who, one that serves as a proper capper to the recently reviewed Season 11. If you want to read a little more about Thirteen’s debut and how Resolution fitted into things, checkout this bantery overview between fellow Whovian Brendan and myself.

Back to the episode in hand, featured on this standalone release. Yep, it features a Dalek, the first time in Jodie Whittaker’s tenure to bring back a classic, established villain. The malevolent pepper pots have been both effective and egregiously overused since the show’s revival in 2005, so to bring them back again they need a new angle or edge; thankfully, Resolution delivers. In an opening set hundreds of years ago, a creature is defeated by armies, split into fragments, and scattered to the corners of the Earth. In present day, an archeological dig unearths one of the pieces, reawakening the creature and bringing the Doctor and her companions back to the planet. What awakes is soon identified as a Dalek, the actual organic creature that is housed within the protective and destructive shell. Taking control of archeologist Lin (Charlotte Ritchie), the monster uses her as a puppet to build itself a new body and unleash destruction on all who get in its way.

While a little silly in moments, there’s no questioning how this puppeteer action and wicked personality do much to reinvigorate the Doctor’s most prevalent foe. Even when reassembled, the scenes that follow solidify the threat, brushing off the Army with ease in some explosive scenes. It’s far more effective seeing one Dalek achieve this than the overload of hundreds that is often deployed (and swatted aside) in the show. As to the central cast, the episode builds on their arcs, their growing closeness, and contrasts well with the opening Season 11 episode, showing how far they’ve come. Whittaker especially has a swagger in her step now. It wouldn’t be a festive special without a bit of gooeyness, so the script does indulge in a few overly cloy moments. But still, it solidifies and ties together many of the emotional threads of the season, all while busting out a pretty great action filled episode.

The Package

Season 11 has presented a rather stunning revitalized aesthetic for the show, one more cinematic in scope, and flat out gorgeous at times. While Resolution is largely Earth-locked, it still looks great. Fine detail, impressively vibrant and saturated colors, with deep blacks for the most part, although some of the sewer sequences lose some integrity. There’s a nice array of extra features too:

  • Series 11 Look Back: Just over 10 minutes, it serves as a nice recap, but moreso as a way for the key actors to share their favorite moments from the series.
  • Making of Resolution: 12 minutes long, snippets of behind the scenes footage and cast/crew banter, along with interviews.
  • The Monster: Focuses on the design and practical effects in bringing the Dalek to life.
  • Closer Look: Looks at one of the more dramatic scenes in the episode, one which does feel a little superfluous, and impeding to the pace of things.

The Bottom Line

Whovians are assured of picking this up for completion’s sake — it should really have been included in the complete Season 11 — but as it stands, Resolution is a solid package with plenty of extra features for this seasonal special. The episode itself also stands out as one of the best in Jodie Whittaker’s inaugural season. Well executed action, a smart new take on an old favorite, and each of the new cast members very well settled into their respective roles, notably Jodie Whittaker, who is waving that sonic screwdriver with aplomb.

Doctor Who Resolution is available via BBC America now.

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