Deep in the bowels of The Spool Studios, there lies a chamber only the greatest TV characters can enter – the funniest, the grumpiest, the maddest masks the television medium has to offer. There, we honor the breakout comic relief, the magnetically flawed protagonist, the one-time guest character that defines an entire series. This is where we hoard TV’s most valuable visages. This… is the Hall of Faces.
Welcome to the Hall of Faces, The Spool’s monthly TV podcast! Hall of Faces sees hosts and TV critics Allison Shoemaker and Clint Worthington build up a pantheon of television’s greatest characters, one show at a time.
For this holiday season, we decided to go off the beaten path just a little bit and talk about a genre of Christmas stories we enjoy more than anything else — the nearly 15-year tradition of the Doctor Who Christmas special. From the beginning of the Russell T. Davies era to the end of Steven Moffat’s, British television was treated with a big, bombastic, intensely Christmassy episode of the long-running British science-fiction program, and gosh we love them a lot. Much like the show itself, it’s a grab bag of whimsical, strongly-plotted fun and absolutely silly nonsense that falls apart at the slightest thought. They’re some of the show’s best, most important episodes (just about every Doctor of the modern era has regenerated around Christmas) and some of their worst.
With that in mind, Allison and Clint are joined by Allison’s Debating Doctor Who podcast co-host Alasdair Wilkins for a special crossover episode! Here, we debate which one of the Doctor’s yuletide adventures is the silliest, the funniest, the timey-wimeyest of them all. And, as a treat, the Doctor and companion in question can be grandfathered into the Hall of Faces for their services to the timeline.
Which special reigns supreme — the David Tennant-introducing The Christmas Invasion? The shark-infested A Christmas Carol? The Aliens-meets-Inception romp Last Christmas? One of the ones that barely has anything to do with Christmas? Christmas Christmas. Take a listen, and see you on Boxing Day!
(NOTE: we’re not counting Jodie Whittaker’s specials, since the Chibnall era has switched to New Year’s Day for their holiday hijinks.)