Us at My Fangirl Life are big Whovians and we are eagerly anticipating this year Christmas special. As lead up to this year’s episode, we offer one of our rankings of the past 9 Christmas episodes each week. This week Justine:
1. The Snowmen
2. A Christmas Carol
3. The Christmas Invasion
4. The Time of the Doctor
5. The End of Time Pt 1&2
6. Voyage of the Damned
7. The Runaway Bride
8. The Next Doctor
9. The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe
In ranking these episodes, one thing came easy, The Snowmen is number 1. For a number of reasons, The Snowmen is one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes of all time.
First, this episode is beautiful. The scenes where Clara is climbing the spiral staircase and visiting the Doctor in his box on a cloud. Gorgeous. The Victorian clothing is spot on. I love the top hat and red dress. As well, Victorian London is a beautiful as ever.
Second, this is our proper introduction to Clara. She is feisty, clever and perhaps it’s because I’ve owned multiple Clara dresses over the past year, but I just adore her.
Third, the Doctor and Clara have amazing chemistry. In this episode the Doctor takes a quick liking to her. Both are a little flirty and it’s fun to see the Doctor emerge from his Post-Pond Depression.
Fourth, this episode perfectly showcases what I love about Eleven. He can be serious and dark one moment and then silly and flustered the next. Eleven, I miss you.
Finally, I love everything else about this episode: the Doctor as Sherlock, the return of Vastra, Jenny and Strax, Clara’s death, the One Word Test, ‘Run you clever boy, and remember’ and most importantly, it fits into the Doctor Who storyline.
A Christmas Carol may be the most quintessential Christmas episode. With a fun twist on a Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol has everything that makes a good episode. It’s a fun adventure full of sharks and a new planet with plenty of time travel and a classic love story.
The main reason this one doesn’t top my list is the lack of Amy and Rory. This is the same reason I love The Snowman – the introduction of Clara. A Christmas Carol has none of the introductions or farewells I love to see at Christmas. I think that, in my mind, is what makes a perfect Doctor Who Christmas episode.
The Christmas Invasion is the first full episode with David Tenant’s Doctor and his entrance over half way through the episode is what pulls this episode so high: “Did you miss me?” – “That’s The Lion King” – “Am I ginger?” I barely remember the Christmas storyline, but I don’t think that matters. This episode is remembered for the Tenth Doctor’s entrance and it succeeds brilliantly in doing so.
The Time of the Doctor was a great episode for what it was: a farewell to Matt Smith. I’ve only seen this episode once – last Christmas, cried my eyes out and haven’t watched it since. The Christmas storyline is alright and it answers a number of pressing questions from Eleven’s era. But the main theme I love from this episode is the relationship between Eleven and Clara. It grounds the episode and makes the ending even more heartbreaking. A perfect ending to the Eleventh Doctor.
Similarly, I remember The End of Time Part 1&2 for the farewell of the Tenth Doctor. The Christmas story is simply background here. The Master’s plan is fun and Wilf as the companion is a nice change, but the best part of this two-parter is when he finds Rose at the end and tells her she’s gonna have a great year *sniff*.
If it wasn’t for Doctor Who marathons and Christmas special rewatches during the holidays I don’t know if I’d watch #6-9 again (yes I realize Donna is introduced in The Runaway Bride, but at the time she wasn’t coming on to be the new companion and this was just after Doomsday and I’m still not over that one!). These are all good episodes with a fun Christmas twist but they seem lacking in connection to the Doctor Who timeline. If you’re going to have a Christmas Special make it relevant and important to the overall story arc of the show, but with a fun festive twist.
This all being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Clara’s final farewell is during Last Christmas. I’ll be sad to see her go but introductions and farewells make for a great Christmas specials.