Don’t you hate it when your favorite show goes on a “mid-season hiatus?” There are few things as frustrating as a fan than to be trucking along on a new season of a television program, loving every moment of it, or perhaps discovering a new darling, only to have that momentum interrupted by a prolonged break. You know the reasons why: ratings are down over the holidays, it gives the show time to catch up on filming, it builds anticipation for the remainder of the season. Regardless of the reasons, it still sucks.
Doctor Who fans are lucky in this respect, because, while their favorite sci-fi adventure takes some time off in the middle of the season, they always deliver a special Christmas episode to ease the pain and whet the appetites of rabid Whovians. And if the ratings are any indication, there are lots of them out there watching.
BBC America reported that the 2012 holiday special, “The Snowmen,” was met with a 54% increase in viewership over the previous year. That’s one hell of a Christmas gift for the producers and the network. “The Snowmen” garnered a grand total of 1.434 million viewers. While those are pretty big numbers, they’re still somewhat behind the 1.555 million who watched the series seven premiere last fall, a BBC America best.
So, why are the yanks tuning in to see the Time Lord leap around time and space in such great numbers? Some speculate that it’s due in part to the fact that “The Snowmen” properly introduced fans to the Doctor’s newest companion, Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman), and her mysterious past. Whether or not that’s the case, much of the remainder of season seven will certainly be spent digging into the intricacies of her backstory.