Doctor Who is Returning to Its Most Underrated Genre

The Christmas special will shift the tone to something more mystical.

BBC Studios

Doctor Who is getting back into the groove of things. After three different 60th anniversary specials, there’s now a new Doctor in Ncuti Gatwa (though his predecessor is still sticking around) and he’s set to begin his adventures in the Christmas special, “The Church on Ruby Road.”

A new trailer for the adventure shows something entirely different from what we’ve seen before, but it’s the perfect choice for a Christmas special, even if fans may be resistant at first.

The trailer for the new one-off episode, premiering Christmas day, shows a newly rested Doctor partying in a kilt before a chance encounter with Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) as they embark an adventure full of baby-eating goblins, spaceships, and the secret behind her birth. Watch the full trailer below.

While the previous specials stuck to the sci-fi conventions Doctor Who uses often, like an invasion of an adorable alien or an old foe returning for a rematch, the tone of the Christmas special seems aptly whimsical, with pirate ships in the sky and even a Santa Claus name drop.

Christmas specials usually have a more feel-good tone — it’s the holidays, after all — but there’s something unique to how “The Church on Ruby Road” is posing itself: it feels like a fantasy, something more in line with Lord of the Rings or Labyrinth.

“The Goblin King” is incredibly fantastical for a Doctor Who villain.

BBC Studios

With this episode being the first one to contain Gatwa as the sole Doctor, this could mean a shift in the Doctor Who we know and love. Original reboot showrunner Russell T. Davies may be back, but there’s a new Doctor and a new companion at the start of a new season, why not try a new (old) genre as well?

Even if this is just a temporary jaunt into the world of fantasy, it’s proof of exactly what the third special “The Giggle” established: The Doctor took a break to rest and deal with the literal centuries of trauma that he has undergone, and now he can find himself in silly high jinks that are more suited to a classic children’s novel instead of a hardboiled sci-fi paperback.

Doctor Who “The Church on Ruby Road” premieres December 25 at 9:55 a.m. PT / 12:55 p.m. ET on Disney+.

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