Many years ago, I noticed a trend in the quality of the Doctor Who Christmas specials.
From my perspective, they alternate each year between “very good” and “not so good”.
I will try to make my case below, by ranking each episode from 1 to 10.
Keep in mind that I rank these up against other Doctor Who episodes.
All of these are worthy entertainment, I just judge Doctor Who on a whole other scale!
1965s The Feast of Steven (part 7 of The Daleks’ Master Plan) – Disqualified
This episode is great fun, there is only one problem. Like many episodes from the 60’s it has been mostly destroyed. Most of the video can sadly no longer be seen.
Audio and still-images still exist, so it is worth checking out reconstructions of this and other missing episodes.
2005s The Christmas Invasion – 9
The first modern Doctor Who Christmas had a whole new Doctor (10th), a killer christmas-tree and an alien invasion!
Had this episode not been as great as it was, we may have never gotten the rest of them.
2006s The Runaway Bride – 5
This is the first episode featuring Donna, and in her first episode I hated her.
She is now my favorite companion ever, so I have no idea why this episode bugged me (no pun intended) so much.
2007s Voyage of the Damned – 10
Kylie Minogue as a waitress on Space Titanic, which is about to crash into Earth!
Also, killer robot angels!
What’s not to love?
2008s The Next Doctor – 3
I think this episode was hurt by the fact that David Morrissey was clearly not The Doctor, and I think the reunion of him and David Tennant must have worked better for people who have actually seen Blackpool (I’m getting to it eventually).
So the whole episode was hinging on a mystery I knew the answer to.
Beyond that, The Cyberking Dreadnought-class ship was a cool concept. I wish we could have seen it in full form in a later episode, as the one in this episode was supposed to be scrapped together from what The Cybermen could find in Victorian London.
2009s The End of Time – 8
Look, I know this episode has some problems…but it is so damn enjoyable!
I don’t care that The Master gets superpowers and turns into all the people on the planet, John Simm sells the hell out of it!!!
It is the last episode of the RTD-era, with Tennant regenerating. I love that era, as it was my first.
2010s A Christmas Carol – 9
The 11th Doctor and his companions fill the roles of Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future in this sci-fi retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story.
But there is also time-travel and flying sharks in this version!
2011s The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe – 4
Boring Narnia, but has some sweet parts.
2012s The Snowmen – 7
Great monsters! Still got the mystery of Clara going for it.
2013s The Time of the Doctor – 10
The most charming of all of these.
The aging, dying 11th Doctor takes on the job of defending a small village called Christmas. Against A LOT of The Doctor’s old enemies!
Matt Smith really makes us miss him in this, his last episode.
2014s Last Christmas – 6
It is no secret that I love Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, but when his first Christmas special aired I was afraid that the show had lost some important piece of charm.
This charm is back in all of his other Christmas episodes.
And this episode is still good! A mix between Alien, The Thing an Inception.
Also, Nick Frost must have been born to play Santa Claus!
2015s The Husbands of River Song – 8
Moffat wraps up the story of River Song beautifully in this.
It is also just plain old fun!
2016s The Return of Doctor Mysterio – 7
Doctor Who does Superman.
Better than most actual Superman-movies.
2017s Twice Upon a Time – 8?
This needs to sit with me some more, I’ve only seen it once after all!
I do think it is great. Including The Christmas Armistice was a stroke of brilliance, and David Bradley was great as The First Doctor.
Capaldi’s last episode, Moffat’s last episode, a lot of the crew’s last episode.
Hopefully not Rachel Talalay’s last episode, as her directing was great as usual.
And Jodie Whittaker’s first scene was great!
I’m on board!!!