“Doctor Who”: Time For Christmas

The holiday brings gifts for all: a new companion for the Time Lord – and a special episode for fans.

“The Snowmen,” for any normal TV program, sounds like the title of a heartwarming holiday special. But with “Doctor Who,” we can only imagine the icy chill to come as the time-traveling worlds-saver battles Frosty's Victorian forbearers.

We're talking about a show, after all, that turned seemingly motionless Gothic angel statues into perhaps the scariest monsters ever seen on TV. But that's the charm of “Doctor Who”: from unlikely villains to unlikely heroes, the writers disrupt the ordinary to create some extraordinary television.

Which is why we can't wait to wrap our eyes around “The Snowmen,” the “Doctor Who” Christmas special, which airs Dec. 25 on BBC America. The holiday brings gifts for all: a new human companion for The Doctor – and a long-awaited new episode for fans.

It's been nearly three months since the last installment of “Doctor Who,” and we're still recovering from the mix of heart palpitations and heartbreak. The Doctor defeated – at least for now – the Weeping Angels in an epic New York-set showdown. He also permanently parted – or at least for now – from his beloved human companions, Amy Pond and Rory Williams.

The instant-classic episode was penned by Steve Moffat, the great TV writer (“Sherlock,” “Coupling”) who helped revive the old British sci-fi favorite in 2005. “Doctor Who,” which originally aired from 1963 to 1989, has gained a growing U.S. following in its current incarnation, scoring record ratings for BBC America.

The Doctor, like the show, regularly reinvents himself – via a second heart that allows him to regenerate into new forms. He’s been played since 2010 by Matt Smith, who imbues the 11th overall version of the Time Lord with an energetic eccentricity. The Doctor also goes through an ever-changing band of human companions, plucked from everyday life to ride the time-bending TARDIS across the ages.

The Christmas special is set to introduce The Doctor’s latest human helper, Clara Oswin, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. The bubbly young actress, however, appeared in this season's first episode as Oswin Oswald, a soufflé-loving lass who retains her humanity as she's tragically turned into a Dalek, The Doctor's robot-like archenemies.

Seeing how that all plays out along the time-space continuum is as good a reason as any to tune in – especially considering the Christmas special, written by Moffat, will be the last we’ll see of “Doctor Who” until April, when Season 7 resumes. In the meantime, check out a promo for “The Snowmen” below:

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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