The Doctor Who holiday special was was so strongly hyped, I must admit I was a bit skeptical.
We were told the new companion would be from a strange place with a mysterious origin story, but were then shown clips of the new companion as the same kind of girl that always ends up on the TARDIS, so I didn't believe, and I shrugged off the rest of the claims as well.
This was to be a new era of Doctor Who, in which the Doctor is once again the mysterious stranger, rather than the lost child he became over the last couple seasons. I found it unlikely. But oh, how wrong I was, as the promised goods were certainly delivered.
The Doctor is different. He's still a bit goofy, but he's more mature, less lost. It's been about 80 years since the Ponds left him, and he's ready to go back into the world-saving business. He's ready to solve a mystery, and that mystery is Clara.
Yes, she's another pretty girl from the UK who has a bit of a crush on the Doctor, but she's not so simple as that. There is a connection between her and the Oswin girl from The Asylum of the Daleks. That connection is the mystery that ultimately draws the Doctor out. It is also the mystery which has drawn me back into the show.
The last half-season was juvenile and overly fun. There were too many in-jokes, too many 'the Doctor's an idiot' moments to make it all work for me. I like it when the Doctor is the smartest person in the room, albeit in a mysterious and sometimes silly way. Starting with The Snowmen, we've got that Doctor back, and he has something really compelling to do.
For the first time in months, I'm really looking forward to the next episode of Doctor Who.
If you gave up on Doctor Who in the last season or so, then now is the time to return. If you didn't catch the episode on BBC America Christmas night, I suggest you find a way to watch it now. If nothing else, Amazon will have you covered sometime in the next few days.