Sure, Christmas is a big deal and all, but let’s be honest: the event we’re all looking forward to the most each December is the premiere of the “Doctor Who” Christmas Special. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you trace back the history of the holiday, you’ll discover that Christmas was actually invented as a way to celebrate the special episode of “Doctor Who” that airs between the Fall and Spring seasons.
I was fortunate to get an early peek at this year’s Christmas Special, “The Snowmen,” and as if that wasn’t enough of a treat, I watched it in the same room as the Doctor himself, Matt Smith, as well as showrunner Steven Moffat, actress Jenna-Louise Coleman (The Doctor’s new companion), author Neil Gaiman (who’s written a few episodes of the series), and John Hodgman (nerdy author and actor and all-around nice guy). I can now say from experience that seeing Smith, Gaiman, and Hodgman sitting down for breakfast together is both a little surreal and something that actually happened in my life. And I’m not going to lie: I spent most of “breakfast” trying to come up with something to say to any one of the three aforementioned people and came up with nothing. Zilch.
But hey, here’s an excerpt from my spoiler-free report on “The Snowmen,” which I wrote up for Newsarama:
You’ll see a side of the potato-headed, ultra-militaristic race of aliens that you haven’t seen before in this year’s Christmas Special, with a surprising dose of comedy from an unlikely source: a Sontaran. Not exactly known for their keen sense of humor, a Sontaran not only plays a big role in the episode, but he also provides many of the laughs to be found in “The Snowmen.” In fact, this particular Sontaran is one of the main reasons the 2012 Christmas Special is one of the funniest Doctor Who episodes of the modern series.
“The Snowmen” continues the time-honored tradition of bringing some fan-favorite characters from past episodes back into The Doctor’s life for a new adventure. If you’ve seen the teaser for “The Snowmen” that debuted online recently, you already know who those characters are – but you can get another look at them by re-watching the 2011 episode “A Good Man Goes To War.”
You can read the rest of my “Doctor Who” review/preview over at Newsarama.com, but I will say this about the special, too: it’s the funniest episode of the series that I’ve seen since “The Lodger.” While it’s not quite as good as the “Christmas Carol” special from a few years back (which is one of my favorite “Doctor Who” episodes of all time), it’s one of the best of the modern series, by far. I’m looking forward to watching it again when it airs later this month.