Monday, January 5, 2009

Dr... Who The Hell Is This Guy?

SOURCE: Relative newcomer tapped to take over title role of Doctor Who

From the look of my friends list, The Doctor Who fandom is - as so eloquently put it - "losing its' shit" over this announcement.

On one-hand, I can understand these feelings coming from part of the fan-base.

Perhaps the biggest cause for contention is that there were several reputable rumors that Paterson Joseph (probably best known to American sci-fi audiences for playing The Marquis De Carabas in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere) was up for the part and was practically a lock. Personally, I'm disappointed Patterson didn't get the part - not because of the step-forward in having an actor of African descent playing The Doctor - but because he's a damn good actor and his take on The Marquis De Carabas would be a PERFECT tone for The Doctor.

And then there were the rumors/hopes that The Doctor could regenerate into a woman and that ceiling could be broken. Those rumors were especially hot given that Stefan Moffat - many fans pick for the best individual writer the New Who has had - is now the show-runner and his first published Doctor Who story depicted The Doctor as being capable of regenerating into a woman. The fact that this story - Curse of the Fatal Death - was a Comic Relief Special hasn't defused any enthusiasm for the idea among some fans.

On the other-hand, I can't understand these people who are freaking out because of the age issue.

Okay. Matt Smith is 26. He's relatively inexperienced and the youngest actor ever to be cast in the part. But he's not THAT much younger than Peter Davidson, who was - at the age of 29 - cast as The Doctor back in 1981. And I have it on good authority that people complained about HIM being too young back then and he did okay.

For that matter, let us stretch our memories back to three years ago. I can recall several people - myself included - who complained about David Tennant LOOKING too young to be The Doctor even though he was 35 when his first season aired and he'll be nearly 39 by the time this last batch of movies is done. That's a few years younger than Tom Baker was when he STARTED playing The Doctor.

If the show has taught us nothing, it has shown that chronological age is meaningless. As long as the actor has the right temperament to play a character who has an old man's wisdom, a child's sense of wonder and a young man's righteous indignation at the stupidity of the world, the rest is all gravy on the meat.

If nothing else, let's have a little faith in Steven Moffat and take him at his word when he says that Smith "...blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord...". He's a fan. He was a Doctor Who fan long before he got into writing other TV Shows and he always dreamed of writing Doctor Who as a kid. Trust in the guy who wrote something as creepy as Blink. Trust in the guy who wrote something as revolutionary as The Girl In The Fireplace. Trust in the guy who created Captain Jack Harkness. I don't think he's going to steer us wrong.


  1. I just had to comment and say that I loved this post title.

  2. I had someone freak out on me, and I was like.. uh well a bunch of people were freaked out by Tennant... and look how well that turned out. I'm looking forward to this.. maybe it means we can keep him for a few years.

  3. I'm a bit worried about the age thing. And Tennant proved nothing for me since to me he was always too flaky and bouncy and never seemed wise enough to be a Doctor. heh
    That said? I DO trust Moffat. That's why I'm not flaming the new guy or freaking out. I had hoped to get an older, more experienced Doctor. But I'm hoping that Moffat has his shit together, has a vision, and he'll take good care of us. Now if we could just talk them out of letting Russel Davies write scripts without someone else coming in and editing out the fart jokes, we'll be golden.

  4. I doubt it. Three seasons seems to be traditional for most of the actors playing The Doctor, since Patrick Troughton (who played it for three years) advised Peter Davidson to limit his time to a similar length to avoid being typecast. This is also why Christopher Eccleston limited himself to one year...

  5. I've always thought of The Doctor being the picture-perfect example of High Intelligence/Low Wisdom using D&D Terminology.
    Davies is still writing scripts for them? I thought he was out for good. Other projects and all that.

  6. Nope, Davies is writing... I think six scripts? Three of them are being co-written, but a few he has full reign on, which worries me a little. Well, a lot.