, Moffat's "A Christmas Carol" wasn't a rip-off, it was an homage. It deliberately used settings and archetypes familiar to Dicken's A Christmas Carol
to tell a time-travel story. Despite the happy ending, though, there's something darker at play in the Who
version, where our care-free Timelord uses time travel not to educate Kazran, but to rewrite
his history. By the end, Sardick isn't a changed man because he's seen the errors of his ways, but because he's literally a changed man. The ends the Doctor achieved are definitely positive, but the means by which he got there? Well, just imagine his reaction to a villain who tries to rewrite Amy's history to achieve a noble outcome.
Anyway, I found "The Bells of St. John" to be a fun, fast-moving episode. The only trouble I actually had with it was the execution of the antagonist's plan, which felt a little half-baked, but in the rubbery-super-science-which-can't-be-distinguished-from-magic way that's typical of Doctor Who
new and old. Aside from that, the it was a tight screenplay that made great use of foreshadowing and formally introduced the Doctor's latest companion in a solid, enjoyable fashion. And I loved that bit about taking the short cut to breakfast, leaving the bad guys tired after a night of searching. Moffat proves again he really does get time travel.
Two thumbs up, Geronimo, five stars, etc., this was more like the kind of show I was expecting in the Smith Era.