Matt Smith Stepping Down from Doctor Who

2 06 2013
matt-smith-doctor-who-bow-tie

Matt Smith in costume as the 11th incarnation of the Doctor. Copyright BBC Worldwide.

It was announced yesterday that Matt Smith will be stepping down from Doctor Who in December.

The 11th incarnation of the famous time traveling alien will appear in the much anticipated 50th Anniversary Special, which will air on Nov. 23, 2013, and then regenerate in the 2013 Christmas Special into an as-of-yet-unnamed 12th incarnation.

Smith, 30, joined the show in 2010, taking over the reigns from David Tennant who portayed the much loved 10th incarnation of the Doctor. I was, at first, unsure of whether Smith was the right fit for the role or not, having been a huge Tennant fan; however, Smith grew on me, like I think he did for many other fans of the show, and I will be sad to see him depart the role.

On his departure, Smith said, “”Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show…It’s been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with ‘the ginger, the nose and the impossible one’. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt.”

It is always a bittersweet moment at the announcement that one actor will step down and a new will arise as the Doctor. Speculation as to whom will take over the role has already lit up the interwebs with much emphasis on the possibility of an African-American or female actor/actress being a potential replacement.

I am by no means a sexist, but I will be honest that the idea of a female Doctor doesn’t seem right to me. Yes, Time Lords regenerate into different appearances and personalities, but this late the game, a gender switch seems like it would not be good for the story. The ethnicity change I could see as being an interesting twist, however, given that all 11 incarnations of the Doctor to date have been Caucasian males.

But, whatever the future holds for The Doctor, I’ll be tuning in and trust that the showrunners will make a good decision on whomever they decide to go with, male or female. With a heavy heart I will prepare to bid the 11th farewell, but with open arms look forward to welcoming the 12th with my viewership!

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Doctor Who: All Eleven Doctors Ranked Worst to Best

5 09 2011

So, I’ve finally had a chance to see at least one serial of all eleven doctors in Doctor Who.  I understand that this post will be completely subjective, but honestly, this is my blog, so isn’t it all completely subjective any way?  Well, here goes, my list of favorite actors who have portrayed the time-traveling Time Lord simply known as “The Doctor” from 1963 all the way up to last Saturday night:

11. Colin Baker – 1984-86 – Doctor #6

I’m so sorry, Colin.  He always gets a bad rap and, to be fair, there was a lot of pressure against the show during this time and some of the worst scripts as well.  Even still, however, something about (this) Baker’s portrayal of the Doctor just rubs you wrong.  Compared to many of the other Doctors, he was brash, (more) arrogant and sometimes just downright mean to his companions.  Not to mention, what the hell was he wearing!?!  Most of the Doctor’s outfits over the years, though eccentric, have still been pretty cool.  This rainbow infested disaster, however, wouldn’t even make the “cool” ranking of a four year old.  Again, Colin, I’m sorry, you seem like a great guy in real life, but as the Doctor, I just couldn’t dig your interpretation.

10. William Hartnell – 1963-66 – Doctor #1

I know, some of you are going to berate me for putting the original Doctor this low on the list.  It’s true, he provided the groundwork that all the other Doctors elaborated upon, not to mention he made the show famous from the beginning episodes.  This crotchety grandfather-like figure as the Doctor just doesn’t have enough fun though!  I like Doctors that know how to be serious, but also have that ridiculously zany element we’ve all come to know and love.  Hartnell’s first Doctor also seemed too absent-minded and feeble for me to completely enjoy.  In fact, unfortunately due to his poor health near his final episodes as the character, Hartnell would flub lines, so some of the idiosyncrasies of the character can’t wholly be deduced to acting.  It’s a shame he was so ill near the end and God bless the man for continuing to do what he loved for as long as he could.  A salute to you, sir, for your original portrayal and I dug the Victorian costume, but my favorite Doctors lie ahead.

9. Tom Baker – 1974-81 – Doctor #4

O.K., so I’m sure most of you expected to see the second Baker a bit higher on the list.  I’ve given him a fair shake by watching several serials, but just can’t put him any higher than this lowly position of number 9.  During his run, which was the longest of any Doctor to date, he epitomized the character with his off-the-wall elusive behavior, wild hair and elongated scarf.  In my opinion, however, I just couldn’t buy into it.  His delivery at times seems stilted and his inability to take charge of the situation was just too distracting for me to fully ingest his portrayal of the Doctor.  So, for you upset over this choice, would you like a Jelly Baby?

8. Peter Davison – 1981-84 – Doctor #5

From this point in our list on are Doctors that I really liked.  Not until our 5th entry do we get to the Doctors that I loved, but the next few entries at least get my one thumb up approval.  Davison, when cast, was the youngest Doctor to date.  In fact, he is still the second youngest even 30 years later.  With an outfit that looked like a mix of tennis court yuppie and panama jack, not to mention the curious piece of celery, this Doctor ushered us into the 1980s.  He was young, spirited and actually took great care in listening to his companions.  I really enjoyed Davison as the Doctor and think he did a wonderful job, even despite the fact that some of his episodes weren’t the best written.  His final episode, The Caves of Androzani (a bit overrated in my opinion, but still great), continues to top lists of the best episodes ever for the series.

7. Christopher Eccleston – 2005 – Doctor #9

I began the series with the 2005 reboot, so this was essentially my first Doctor (though not MY Doctor as many people state).  I have to give him some credit for engaging me in the program and helping bring me into the world of Whovians.  Though, in reality, he has been my least favorite of the rebooted Doctors.  He switched back and forth between quirky and crazy to intensely serious on the drop of a hat.  This element alone is enough to make you ask exactly what type of emotions is going through this war-born Time Lord.  I wish he would have picked a side, one way or the other, but other than that  – nice run Eccleston!

6. – Sylvester McCoy – 1987-89, 1996 – Doctor #7

I know a lot of people hate McCoy.  I know, it was with his Doctor that the series sank to all-time lows and initiated a nearly 16 year hiatus (of course, outside of the Doctor Who Movie in 1996).  To further clarify my placement of McCoy, I have only seen serials from his latter tenure which included companion Ace.  From what I have seen from these later episodes, which have consistently been rated much higher than his earlier episodes, I have really enjoyed him.  He has a dark demeanor and is very much a Sherlock Holmes-like Doctor.  Not to mention, his interactions with Ace are some of the best Doctor/Companion interactions I think I’ve seen on the show outside of Rose and the 10th Doctor.  And, trust me, that’s saying a lot!

5. Paul McGann – 1996 – Doctor #8

Outside of audio stories, McGann only had one chance on television to grace us with his portrayal of the Doctor.  Though the movie wasn’t amazing, I liked it.  What I loved, however, was Paul McGann’s awesome performance.  He was witty, eccentric, yet very much in control and concerned with saving the world.  His outfit was completely bad-ass as well!  A Victorian Buffalo Bill mixture that is elegant, yet weird.  I wish we could have seen Paul McGann grow the character onscreen a bit more.  I immediately enjoyed his portrayal, and everyone knows it usually takes several episodes before you start to warm up to a new Doctor.  If he’d had the chance, I think he could have been one of the best yet.

4. Matt Smith – 2010-present – Doctor #11

Our current Doctor, Matt Smith.  At first, I was not sure what to think of him, but he has proven himself quite well.  He is definitely eccentric and on the weird side of Doctor characterizations, but he also knows how to take control and fight back when the situation calls for it.  Furthermore, with Stephen Moffatt behind him as the creative force, his stories are becoming some of the best yet.  Smith has also single-handedly made bow ties quite cool once again!  Who knows, in time, I may move Smith up even higher on my list, but for now, he will stand at the still admirable number 4 position. Geronimo!

3. Jon Pertwee – 1970-74 – Doctor #3

Dare I say, our most adventurous Doctor?  With cape and dashing personality to match, Pertwee was the James Bond of Doctors.  He was cool, conservative and sometimes overly confident.  Forced for most of his tenure to assist U.N.I.T. on Earth, Pertwee had a great relationship with his companion, fellow researcher Jo.  Out of all the serious incarnations of the Doctor, who had little time for zaniness, Pertwee is my favorite.  Don’t get me wrong though, his witty and cynical remarks born from his ego are some of the funniest lines from this era of the series.  I can’t wait to continue working my way through Pertwee’s tenure as the Doctor, and remember, to always reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.

2. Patrick Troughton – 1966-69 – Doctor #2

Unfortunately, many of Troughton’s episodes no longer exist due to the BBC’s clearing policy in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  However, what is left is testament to his amazing portrayal of the character.  He was the first Doctor to not be so serious all the time, a “Cosmic Hobo” if you will.  Despite his goofy antics and somewhat aloof personality, this Doctor could be extremely effective and usually knew what was going on well before his stumped companions.  One of the subtlest actors in the role, this flute playing, Chaplinesque Doctor is one of my absolute favorite.  Now, if I can just scour the Earth for the rest of his lost episodes…

1. David Tennant – 2005-2010 – Doctor #10

This is it, the end of our list.  Here we come to MY doctor, David Tennant.  When he first arrived on the scene, I had no idea what to think of him.  As time progressed, however, Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor as a goofy, caffeine-induced super hero, complete with maroon chucks and brown duster, became my favorite.  I don’t know whether I’ll ever like an actor in the role as much as I enjoyed Tennant.  He will definitely be a hard act to follow and whenever I think of the Doctor, this is who comes to my mind first. Well, there you have it, my countdown of the actors who have portrayed the Doctor.  Until next time, Allons Y!!!

**ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT BBC WORLDWIDE**





My Favorite Doctor Who Episodes from Series 1-6 (2005 – Present)

14 07 2011

Above: Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston Middle: Tenth Doctor, David Tennat Below: Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Copyright BBC Worldwide

As of two months ago I knew essentially nothing of Doctor Who.  I knew that it was a British science fiction show, that the main character traveled through time and space in a police box and that the show had been on the air forever.  After finishing a run of Twin Peaks for the second time in my life, I was looking for another television program to become involved in.  Because I generally really enjoy most science fiction and fantasy, I asked several people I know that watch Doctor Who if they thought I would like it and they all said, “Yes!”.  The second problem was where to begin.  There is a classic series that aired on the BBC from 1963 to 1989 which was produced in a serial format with each chapter being an amalgam of several 25 minute episodes.  The first seven incarnations of the primary role of The Doctor are contained within these 26 seasons of the show.  The Eighth Doctor, portrayed by Paul McGann, was part of a British-American co-produced television special in 1996, and, finally, the reboot of the television series arrived with Christopher Eccleston playing the ninth regeneration of the Doctor in 2005.  The reboot of the series is currently in their sixth season and Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith.

After much deliberation, I started the series with the 2005 reboot (though I have since watched some of the classic series as well).  Just yesterday, I finally caught up with the current production schedule with the series six mid-season finale that aired last month.  The series won’t continue series six until sometime in September.  I am so glad I started watching this series and can’t recommend it enough, it’s well-written, well-directed and well-acted.  If you have any geekiness in you whatsoever or an affinity towards science fiction or fantasy, you will love this show.  Of the 81 episodes I’ve watched of the reboot (including Christmas Specials), I’ve decided to elucidate on my favorite episodes of the series thus far:

As to not spoil the episodes for future viewers or people who’ve yet to get to these episodes, I will not include much of a synopsis in the descriptions.

1. Blink – Season 3, Episode 10 – Written by Steven Moffat

If you look around online, you will see that this episode constantly gets rated in the top of the series, and for good reason, because it is brilliant.  Season 3 is during David Tennant’s run as the Tenth Doctor (my personal favorite!), but this episode is actually what the series calls a “doctor light” episode, as he hardly appears.  The real star of this episode is Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow and the amazingly creepy monsters, the Weeping Angels.  This episode was so good that writer Steven Moffat won a Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, and a BAFTA Craft and BAFTA Cymru.  It’s an amazing episode and probably my favorite of them all since I’ve been watching the series.

2.  The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances – Season 1, Episodes 9 & 10 – Written by Steven Moffat

This two episode entry into season 1 is by far the best story of that season.  It takes place in World War II and centers around an extremely creepy little boy with a gas mask on that continually haunts people, asking them, “Are you my mummy?”  Christopher Eccleston is portraying the Ninth Doctor in this episode and one of my favorite companions of the series so far, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), is at his side.  In addition, the hugely popular character of Captain Jack Harkness is introduced in this episode, who goes on to be one of the leads of the spin-off series Torchwood.

3. Human Nature and The Family of Blood – Season 3, Episodes 8 & 9 – Written by Paul Cornell

This is the two episode entry right before Blink, so you know you are in for a treat once you get to these episodes, because three amazing entries are to follow.  David Tennant is the Tenth Doctor in this episode, but for all intensive purposes is that of John Smith, as he has erased his memory and reverted to a human form to escape a family of monsters who are chasing him through time and space.  Unable to remember his past, his companion in this season, Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), is presented with a very difficult task of watching over him and calling him back if needed.  When the blood thirsty family find Martha and the Doctor’s hiding location, things get very interesting.

4. The Doctor’s Wife – Season 6, Episode 4 – Written by Neil Gaiman

This episode by well-known science fiction and fantasy author Neil Gaiman was to come out during season 5, but was ultimately delayed for various reasons until season 6.  This episode is extremely interesting and entertaining because it does something that the show had never done before: it allows the Doctor and his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space – his time/space traveling police box) to speak to each other when the TARDIS’s time vortex is put into a human’s form.  The witty banter between Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and his oldest friend in human form is brilliant, and seeing them have to work together to save two companions in the series is a real treat.

5. Vincent and the Doctor – Season 5, Episode 10 – Written by Richard Curtis

Series 5 was a bit difficult for me.  David Tennant had been my favorite incarnation of the Doctor so far and I was having a hard time getting used to Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor; however, I thought this episode was great, and it might be the episode that I finally warmed up to Matt Smith in the role.  The Doctor and his companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), go to Europe in the late 1800s because of something the Doctor saw in a painting by Vincent Van Gogh at the National Gallery.  They meet Van Gogh and have to work with him to tame a monster that only he can see.  The ode to the work of the great master and the beauty in which Tony Curran plays Van Gogh is exquisite.

6. Dalek – Season 1, Episode 6 – Written by Robert Shearman

The Doctor’s longest running adversary from all eleven regenerations is that of the alien race known as the Daleks.  This episode in the first season is the first time that Daleks are introduced in the reboot of the series.  The Ninth Doctor and Rose turn up in an underground bunker that belongs to an eccentric American billionaire who collects “space junk”.  His prized possession is that of a Dalek, though he doesn’t know what it is and it is currently incapacitated.  When the Dalek returns to full form, everyone’s life is in danger, not just in the bunker, but in the world.

7. The Waters of Mars – Autumn Special 2009 – Written by Russell T. Davis & Phil Ford 

There was no full series in 2009, only a series of four specials that rounded out the last episodes of David Tennant’s duration as the Doctor.  This was the third of those specials before the two-part finale and regeneration into the Eleventh Doctor.  The Doctor is by himself for this episode, exploring the planet of Mars, when he is captured by members of a space station in the mid 22nd century.  Once on board, he insists he poses no threat.  He then realizes who these members are from history, as a terrible thing had happened that killed them all.  When the wheels are set in motion, he must decide whether or not to interfere with a fixed point in time.

8. Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead – Season 4, Episode 9 & 10 – Written by Steven Moffat

In this two-parter, the Tenth Doctor is with companion Donna Nobel (Catherine Tate).  They arrive in a futuristic library that is literally a planet; it is the largest library in the world.  However, there are no people in the library, as something happened to them.  A strange little girl in a side story can see into the library when she closes her eyes, and the Doctor runs into a very important figure in his life, the character of River Song for the first time in this episode.

9. A Good Man Goes to War – Season 6, Episode 7 – Written by Steven Moffat

Starting to catch on that Steven Moffat is a pretty damn good writer on this show?  He is actually the current head writer, though several of these listed episodes he was just a staff writer under former head Richard T. Davies.  This was the mid-series finale for season 6 that is the most recent episode to date.  When one of the Eleventh Doctor’s close companions, Amy Pond, is abducted by a strange army, the Doctor calls on all his favors and goes to fight to get her back.  It’s one of the few times that you see the Doctor truly angry in this incarnation of himself and the ending of the episode leaves the audience with a HUGE surprise.

10. The Shakespearean Code – Season 3, Episode 2 – Written by Gareth Roberts

The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones end up in Shakespearean England after some strange occurrences have been happening under the title of “witchcraft”.  Not only do they arrive in Shakespearean England, but they actually must get involved with Shakespeare himself and force him to rewrite certain altered parts of his unreleased play Love’s Labor’s Won to prevent a great evil from being unleashed onto the Earth.  It’s a fun, historic romp and even has a Harry Potter reference thrown in the mix!

 

 








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