Not many TV shows have Christmas specials anymore, but one show manages to keep up with this tradition every single year: Doctor Who. One would think a quirky, mysterious immortal alien traveling through time and space would have nothing to do with Christmas, but the BBC always manages to put one holiday episode in there — and, for the most part, they are...
In fact, the newest season/series about to start with a Christmas special, "The Return of Doctor Mysterio," which airs December 25th on the BBC:
So, now's the perfect time to look back at previous Doctor Who Christmas specials from the modern run. Which ones are the best? Which bring the most charm, fun, adventure and, of course, the most heart? Let's reverse the polarity of the neutron flow and count 'em down! ALLONS-Y!
10. 'The Christmas Invasion' (Series 2, Episode 1)
What better way to start the Tenth Doctor's adventures than with a Christmas special that features killer Christmas trees, robotic Santa Clauses, and aliens attempting to destroy the Earth. Ah, the bizarre world of Doctor Who.
While it doesn't have much of the feeling of Christmas, it is, however, a great adventure for the Time Lord and his companion, and acts as a great introduction for the fan favorite Tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant.
9. 'The Unquiet Dead' (Series 1, Episode 3)
Here is an idea for a story: Charles Dickens has lost the spirit of Christmas, so he starts seeing ghosts. Interested? Well, I can confirm that this episode definitely executes that idea perfectly with a team-up between the iconic writer and the Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccelston.
It's technically not labeled as one of the Christmas specials, but it all takes place around Christmas and it features the writer of the most iconic Christmas story ever made, who has become a Scrooge himself, so I say it counts! A total blast of a special too!
- 'Doctor Who' Gets The Superhero Treatment In 2016 Christmas Special Trailer
- Celebrating the Doctor Who Christmas Special
8. 'Voyage of the Damned' (Series 4, Episode 0)
Not only a great Christmas special, but this is one of the best adventures that the Doctor has ever had. A common theme I seem to notice is that some of the best episodes feature the Doctor when he's without a companion, and this is one of those cases.
The Doctor comes across the starship labeled as the Titanic...I think you can all see where this goes. Again, it doesn't really have many of the Christmas elements to it, but it is another great adventure to watch for a lot of fun.
7. 'The Next Doctor' (Series 4, Episode 14)
Finally, we get to see some snow in a Christmas special! The Doctor travels back to mid-nineteenth century London, where he meets a man claiming to be the Doctor as well. It's a great little twist on the idea of, "What if the Doctor met his future self...and the audience hadn't yet?" I won't spoil anything, but let's just say it leads to a great story, with the two Doctors teaming up to fight the Cybermen.
6. 'The Doctor, The Widow, And The Wardrobe' (Series 7, Episode 0)
All the silly and childlike Eleventh Doctor (my personal favorite Doctor) wants is to give a heartbroken family a cheerful Christmas, so he pretends to be a housekeeper to do just that. However, it ends up with him — and this family — being transported to a wintry planet filled with many dangers.
I dare not spoil what happens from there, but trust me, it is a total blast, which brings a LOT of beautiful scenery perfect for Christmastime and has a lot of heart to it. This is one of the Eleventh's best adventures and a great special that gets me to smile every time I watch it.
5. 'The Snowmen' (Series 7, Episode 5.5)
Killer snowmen in Victorian-era England — what more do you need? Honestly, this one is very, very close in quality to The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe because both are so good, but this manages to get the higher ranking because of one thing: Clara. Clara is such a lovable companion, and she practically makes this entire episode — along with the great villain, humor and scenery.
4. 'The End Of Time' (Series 4, Episode 17)
David Tennant's run as the Tenth Doctor brought a whole new life to Doctor Who, making it a phenomenon across the world — and making him as iconic as Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor. This made it even sadder when had to see his time come to an end.
Every Doctor's death is sad or depressing in some way, but no regeneration made fans cry more than Ten's. It was a fantastically epic adventure for Tennant to end his run with. I may have cried a bit when Eleven had to go, but I can't deny that this had me bawling like a baby even more. We all didn't want him to go...
3. 'The Time Of The Doctor' (Series 7, Episode 15)
At some point, we all have to say goodbye to our favorite Doctor, and that was the case for me with this special. Matt Smith's run as the Eleventh Doctor had one last adventure — and, boy, was it a good one, as we see the Time Lord go from the man-child we know him to be...to what he truly is: a kind old man, ready to face death to save innocents.
A much more depressing Christmas special, to be sure, but it's filled to the brim with many great moments of adventure and Christmas elements. The town that this episode takes place in is even called Christmas.
2. 'The Husbands Of River Song' (Series 9, Episode 13)
Why don't we return to something a bit more lighthearted, shall we? The most recent Christmas special featured the return of fan-favorite companion, River Song, who is yet again bringing the Doctor in another crazy adventure featuring severed heads, diamonds, robots and much, much more.
What I truly love about this one is the chemistry and humor between the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and River Song, which is almost nonstop hilarity throughout the entire special. It has a perfect ending, which makes you grow a giant grin and also makes you feel all that warm mushy stuff that a Christmas special should make you feel.
1. 'A Christmas Carol' (Series 6, Episode 0)
I can already see most of you rolling your eyes at me and saying, "Really?" And I can somewhat understand that reaction, but this is probably the most unique spin on Charles Dickens's iconic Christmas story — with many twists and new elements while still feeling like it's in the same vein as the original.
Michael Gambon appears in this episode and he gives just a stellar performance as the Ebenezer Scrooge stand-in. The same goes for the rest of the actors, including Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, who just brings so much energy to the role. This episode also has one of the most beautiful pieces of music that I've ever listened to:
I love the visuals, I love the use of time travel to simulate the ghosts of Christmas Past and Future, and I love all the twists. It's a great special because you don't really need to know much about Doctor Who to really enjoy it, as it is disconnected from any of the story arcs in the series. Anybody can watch it around this time of year and have a blast, which I do: every December I watch this episode and I have a permanent grin on my face the entire time.
If you're in search of something to watch this Christmas, check out Doctor Who's reinvention of this classic tale — even if you're not a Whovian yet, you will be.
Doctor Who Series 10 premieres December 25th on the BBC.
So what do you think of this Whovian's list? Do you agree with it or do you think it should be EXTERMINATED?!? Let me know in the comments below and have yourselves a merry Christmas! GERONIMO!