Saturday, June 8, 2013

The 11th Hour (Redux)

OK, it seems like a cliché has hit Doctor Who, the cliché being “I've always wanted to direct.”

It seems like only yesterday that Matt Smith came crashing into both our living rooms and Amy Pond's backyard on April 3, 2010. It's hard to believe that a little over three years have passed since The Doctor began his 11th incarnation by going up against both the Atraxi and Prisoner 0.

It seems like only yesterday . . . . . and now it's almost over and yes, I am not at all happy about it. There, I said it, not happy at all.

This comes as a total surprise to me as I had read that Smith had recently signed on for Season 8 and he said filming would be starting in January of 2014. I am bummed out in that I had actually been looking forward to maybe an entire 13 episode in a row run instead of the split season nonsense we've suffered through the last 2 years. Maybe we'll get 13 in a row with whoever the new guy is.

Smith made the part his own after having some seriously huge sneakers to fill. David Tennant left a large shadow over the part. People cried with his leaving the show (yeah I did), just knowing that no one could ever take his place, and yet a 26 year old relative unknown (totally unknown over here in the US as pretty much all of the actors to have played The Doctor have been) took over and, with some ups and downs, became The Doctor!

Trust me, I had some serious love for David Tennant (and for his now wife Georgia and his wearing suits with blue in them and his classically American high top Converse Chuck Taylor canvas sneakers – even though the logos were sanded off – we know our “Chucks”) and was really sorry to see him go, but unlike those who have only watched the show since it was resurrected in 2005, I have been through all of the previous regenerations and was willing to give this long, narrow faced kid a shot and I am glad that I did.

From Fish Fingers and Custard to the Pandorica to the 'Gangers and that whole Madame Kovarian silliness (though I liked the Headless Monks – great name for a rock band too!), we broke out of the “one companion per season” mold of the Tennant years to a Doctor who occasionally popped in and out of the lives of an off again/on again then married couple with some side visits to a guy named Craig (I loved Stromageddon!) and a visit from the heart of the TARDIS herself (I love Neil Gaiman, but he should never write another episode of Doctor Who, “A Nightmare in Silverwas OK, but it kind of tarnishes his amazingThe Doctor's Wife” (I still cry on watching Idris return to the console))

I did get a bit tired of the Rory dying all the time but – but that was not Smith's fault. And Smith got to act with not one, but two old school companions in “The Sarah Jane Adventures”, Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant, not even Tennant pulled that off! Elizabeth Sladen and Katy Manning are Doctor Who royalty! I actually watched that story over the weekend and there were some interesting references in it having to do with regenerations and how The Doctor never pops back to see old companions.

I know there are Smith haters out there and I have to admit that I haven't always liked the show since Steven Moffatt took over. I think Moffat's better suited to just writing great single episodes of TV. He did give us River Song and the weeping angels of “Blink” (no – I was not thrilled with the other episodes they were in – except for their actual filming here in the US for the last one in Manhattan – that was cool) and “Sherlock” and “Coupling”, but I think I am pretty sure that he is not right to be a show runner, and he is the reason for the Smith haters out there.

Russell T Davies threw the occasional concept out there (loved the "15 hour rule for regenerations)", but I think he kept it to a level that we, from kids to adults, could relate to. Moffatt throwing in things that you almost have to be a nuclear physicist to understand and he has seriously messed with Doctor Who canon (an Eye of Harmony powers all TARDISes???) and Matt Smith has been the victim of some fan backlash because of that. That and what was up with the no explanation re-do of the TARDIS console room??? I like the design but there was no reason given for it in the show. Not even a one off line about how he was broodingly redecorating up on his cloud from Madame Vastra during “The Snowmen”.

Anyway, I truly hope that they keep the trend of a younger actor playing The Doctor going. Matt Smith proved time and again that a mid-twenties guy could look like both a frat house clown and a guy who had lived a thousand years in a way that I'm not sure that Tennant or Eccleston ever captured.

Farewell Matt, I hope your successor becomes less dependent on the sonic screwdriver (I really wonder what you're looking at sometimes LOL), or that the next sonic actually projects images that can be read or has a little video window or something – THAT would be cool!

OK – after all of that I am seriously miffed at Matt Smith. I'm not sure, but I think in an interview with him that I read on-line he said he was back for season 8 and that they would be filming the Christmas special this month and starting in on Season 8 in January. Which to me meant that we would be having the purple coated, bow tied Doctor back for at least one more season, which made me happy. I liked the “OK I'm over brooding about Amy and Rory” Doctor and wanted him back for a little more.

I liked that long face and slightly crazy hair (loved the longer version in “A Good Man Goes to War”), loved that you echoed Patrick Troughton's cosmic hobo with your suspenders and too short pants. Loved the change to the longer, more Victorian jacket and waistcoat with pocket watch chain and now you're just going to take off to direct. The least you could have done was stay for one or two episodes of the 8th season, then take off.

From David love to Matt love I had graduated, I loved seeing you on the screen, even with some of the lesser episodes. But I liked you a lot and loved the change to the longer coated Victorian look (OK – I admit that I had started to have a blue version made – it was in the drawing stages – I like long tailed coats – what can I say????)

Mister Smith, it's my love for you in the part of The Doctor that has me miffed that you are leaving with the end of the Christmas Special. You could have given us at least a couple more episodes for a more organic leaving.

There, I've had my say.


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