Doctor Who fans have yet to experience any of the Time Lord's excitement-packed adventures in 2016, thanks to the extended delay between Season 9 and Season 10, set to be Steven Moffat's last year as showrunner. Thankfully, we will get to see the good Doctor up to new tricks before the year is through in the annual Christmas special, and this year's story will introduce a superhero to this time-jumping universe. Rather than aiming for the darkness of modern superhero fiction, Steven Moffat has another powered protagonist in mind.
I've always been fascinated by superheroes, but where I think superheroes are at their best is in the secret identity. The most exciting superhero of all time is Clark Kent. He has to be a god and pretend he isn't. It's the best story ever.
You gotta love how, possibly because of editing, Steven Moffat doesn't even call him Superman, or even Kal-El, but rather Clark Kent. This is the character who has to do all the pretending, since Superman doesn't ever have to specifically act as if he isn't Clark Kent. Funny that Moffat should be so invested in the concept of a secret identity, considering he has been working for over a decade on Doctor Who, a show whose central character has a non-hidden but regenerative identity.
For the Christmas special, the Twelfth Doctor will team up with an investigative journalist played by Charity Wakefield and a superhero named Grant played by Justin Chatwin, and the trio will try to save New York from the threat of an alien attack. It's pretty easy to see how the Superman mythos may have been an inspiration here. A superhero working with a journalist plays right into the Clark Kent/Lois Lane dynamic, and Superman is an alien himself, with many otherworldly foes taking him on over the years. And even though it's a "G" in the chest insignia of the costume seen below, it's reminiscent enough to the Man of Steel's symbol.
Steven Moffat briefly explained in the Christmas Special's speak peek why the Time Lord works perfectly for holiday specials, and his description for the Doctor could easily stand in for one about Superman.
In an age of bitter and sad anti-heroes, the Doctor's boundless heart and huge optimism fits perfectly on Christmas Day.
Fans will get to see a familiar face reappear for the Christmas special, too, as comedy actor Matt Lucas will reprise the role of Nardole that he first brought to life in last year's stellar River Song-fronted Christmas special. Sadly, we won't be meeting up with new companion Bill, to be played by Pearl Mackie. We'll have to wait a little longer for her introduction.
Doctor Who's "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" will make its debut in the U.K. and on BBC America here in the States on Christmas Day, December 25, and Season 10 is set to kick off in April 2017. To see when everything else is coming to the small screen later this year, check out our fall premiere schedule, and don't forget about the upcoming debut of the "lost" Doctor Who serials.