Is it just me, or is Doctor Who getting better with each passing series? I’m writing this after just watching the premiere for the second half of the sixth series. I have to say, I haven’t always been a fan of the Doctor. I came into the game rather late. After watching The Doctor Who Movie in 1996, I became interested in the character. Now, I was ten years old and this is before the days of Googling anything you are interested in and knowing about them. I had to go to the library and look for anything that pertained to the Doctor. I felt like one of the characters in the show. There was little to no reference to him in the United States in the mid-nineties.
I did happen to find the entirety of both the sixth and the seventh Doctors’ runs. The show was a bit corny, but I dug the basic premise. I was saddened by not being able to find any VHS copies of the earlier incarnations of the show. The thing that really killed me was that not only did the movie not do the character justice, but it seemed that the show itself had come to an end. This all changed in 2003 when I was online reading rumblings of the show’s possible return. This became a reality in 2005 when the Tenth Doctor was introduced to the world. You could tell that the budget for the effects was almost non-existent and the writing was a bit cliché, but after finding it’s audience things picked up.
Then, my favorite incarnation of the Doctor graced the screen. David Tennant, as if born for the role, leaping onto the screen as a selfless, intense, extremely loyal Gallilian. For five years I followed this man’s exploits. They fleshed out the character and gave him some great stories. Granted, some of them were a bit weak, but for the most part the show was consistently awesome. Due, in part, to Russell T. Davies (who also gave us the formally great Torchwood) and his writing, but mostly because of David Tennant’s portrayal. It seemed as if the show was just getting better and better. With a story that intertwined through multiple seasons and relationships forming between the main characters, it was coming to a head. Which it did.
It was announced sometime in 2009 that the fourth series would be Tennant’s last. This was heartbreaking news for me. My Doctor was going to cease to exist. Sure, he would still be the Doctor, but this incarnation would be gone forever. The only thing that made it any better was thinking about two things. First, there was still one full series and two specials until David passed the Sonic Screwdriver and I wasn’t going to miss an episode. The other thing was speculation as to who would take the controls of the T.A.R.D.I.S. There are a few British actors that I would have loved to see (and still would like to) take over the roll. My list was short:
Bill Nighy Alan Cumming Eddie Izzard Jim Broadbent
I also thought that a grittier, darker toned Doctor would be a nice choice given the events that transpired in the final season. Though, I can only think of two names that would do the character justice. Jeremy Irons and Robert Carlyle. Both are strange enough looking to work within the character, and both have an intimidating look. As if they are held together by pure willpower. Ultimately, they announced who will portray the 11th Doctor. Matt Smith, and the entirety of the Internet, fan or not, let out a resounding “WHO?!?!?” I was taken back. I wasn’t familiar with the actor, or his work. I had to Google his picture at least 5 times before his image stuck in my head. I remember thinking he was too young and that his hair was annoying. Assuming that the official picture was the look (except for the clothes) of the Doctor. I had no choice but to give him a chance.
To get back on topic, the last season of Tennant’s run was fantastic and the two part finale of his incarnation remains one of the most emotionally charged things I have ever seen. Both for me as a fan, and from his portrayal. His last lines fit the situation perfectly. “I don’t want to go.” Riveting. I have to admit, I shed a tear. Okay, my 6’1, 280lb, bearded, pierced and tattooed body cried like a baby. I was too distracted from that awesome line to notice that Matt Smith had made his first appearance as the Doctor. His mannerisms and looks seemed to fit nicely. And like that, it was over. I wasn’t ready for it, and once it was over, I bought the boxset to all of the seasons and re-watched it all over again. As if it were some sort of visual prayer in tribute to a fantastic character’s journey.
I waited, eagerly, for the fifth series premiere. I was ready to see this Doctor in action, and I wasn’t disappointed. Matt Smith, and the series as a whole, his the ground running. First, we saw the new look of the Doctor. Bow tie and all. Then, we got to meet the most stunning Scottish woman I have ever seen. A woman that I would leave my fiancee for if given the chance. The 11th Doctor’s companion and the woman that graces my fantasies, Amy Pond(Okay, I’m exaggerating on her beauty just a bit, but she is attractive, body and mind). Adventures were had, at worst some were decent. He was shaping up to be a great Doctor. Then it happened. An epidose aired that would go on to become my favorite single (two-parters are a different story!) Doctor Who episode ever. Bar none (Except two-parters!). Vincent and the Doctor aired and not only did it show me that this Doctor was different from the others, but it made me happy to see it feature my favorite painter. The episode featured Vincent van Gogh, the Doctor, and Amy battling depression and a monster. The episode also features a great appearance by Bill Nighy (My #1 pick to play the 11th Doctor) and an ending that made me tear up. I know. I’m a softy sometimes.
As a whole, the fifth series was fantastic and it even brought back a recurring character that I love. River Song. The two-part finale was a bit of a stretch and seemed to be pointless once everything was said and done, but I dug it for the wedding scene alone. If you are a fan, you know what I am talking about. If you don’t watch the show, or haven’t seen it yet, elaborating would be a major spoiler. It seemed the series ended on a high note. The Doctor and his TWO companions. Amy and the Boy Who Liv….er…Waited(HP reference), Rory. I was hooked. This Doctor was great and I was starting to accept the departure of Tennant. Feeling solace in the fact that the character was in good hands.
Earlier this Summer, the sixth series premiered. And damn it what a premiere! It was everything you’d want. It set up the entire series, pulled your heart strings, and it did what no other incarnation of the Doctor has ever done. It took place in the United States! I’m not going to review the series so far, I will tell you that it is bad-ass, though. Sure, there were only six episodes before it took a break, but 3 of those episodes were instant classics. One of which was when my favorite author (Neil Gaiman) wrote an episode that was completely brilliant. Another was the aforementioned When a Good Man Goes to War. That was a MAGNIFICANT episode. Definitely a story that a darker version of the Doctor (Irons maybe?) would have been better suited for. Though, Smith kept it light and entertaining. It might have been a bit depressing with a darker Doctor. I digress.
As I said when I started this blog entry, I just finised watching the premiere for the second half of the sixth series. And it had some kick to it. A few questions were answered, a few more were raised, and a theory (more of a hope) of mine was shot down
I was hoping that River Song would be a character that could be used over and over again due to what we found out last episode. Mainly, she has a bit of time-lord in her. Meaning she can regenerate when injured. This would ensure that anytime in the future of the series, no matter how old the current actress gets, we could still see a new version of the character emerge. This was shot down when River used ALL of her remaining regenerations to save the Doctor from dying for the poison she gave him. It is bittersweet. In a way, I am happy because I was right that she even had the power to regenerate. Ultimately, though, I am sad because unless they retcon this, River Song only has 3-4 seasons left before the actress is too old to portray an immortal woman. I call it the Jack Harkness paradox.
End of Spoilers
All in all, it is a great series so far. I look forward to seeing all of the stories tied up. Well, I hope they leave a few open for next season. Mainly, taking down the Silence. Or at least finding out what the question is. I can speculate all I want, and it is fun, but all it will do is ruin the experience for me. I hope Matt Smith sticks around for a few more series. I would hate to see him replaced after just getting to know this incarnation of the Doctor and liking him as an actor. Then again, Bill Nighy isn’t getting any younger and that dream is slowly fading from the realm of the possible.
If you have been on the fence about the show, I suggest you get off your ass and start watching. Though, as much as I hate to say it, skip the first series featuring the Ninth Doctor. It’s not that it was a bad incarnation per-se, it is just that the CGI is a big turn off. I have had this problem with two friends that I tried to get into the show. They couldn’t get over how awkward the first two episodes were. Instead, I skipped the Ninth and went right into the Tenth Doctor and they all fell in love with the show. Granted, I told them everything important about the Ninth Doctor to help them out, but that is nothing a quick Wikipedia search won’t solve for you. I look forward to making more blog entries about the Doctor. They might be short, quick theories I have about what is going on in the series. In which case I will let you know about the spoilers ahead of time. Or, I may just review an episode or series as a whole. Who knows?
If you found yourself wondering what the hell I was talking about with this article, you can Google the terms/Doctor, or you could just ask me about them in the Comments.
Speaking of comments, please leave some. It is nice to know what people think of my blog, or if anyone is actually reading it. And for you fans out there, who was your favorite Doctor? Why?