September 5, 2012

My Doctor (spoiler: it's the Eleventh Doctor)

"I'll be a story in your head. That's okay. We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? 'Cause it was, you know. It was the best. The daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well I borrowed it. I was always going to take it back." - The Doctor

I adore Matt Smith as the Doctor. And I mean adore. He wasn't my first Doctor, but he became my Doctor at the end of "The Eleventh Hour." Right about the time of this fantastic speech:

"Hello, I'm the Doctor. Basically, run."

In that way, he had me at hello. You know how Amy Pond is looking at him in that moment? That's exactly how I felt. Completely smitten. And I'm not talking about his looks - though I do find him attractive - no, it's the way he plays the character. The way he manages to be youthful and yet so old all at the same time. I see the weariness I would expect to see in the Doctor in his eyes and in his expressions. The Doctor carries hundreds of years of stories and experiences around, and some of it is oh so heavy - I see that in the Eleventh Doctor in the way I didn't see it in Nine or Ten.

It was unexpected, too. I was attached to Christopher Eccleston and even more so to David Tennant. Even though I don't love the way Tennant's run ended, I was terribly sad to see him go. He had so many wonderful moments, and he and Donna Noble were such a fantastic pair. I braced myself to go through the usual Doctor departure mourning period that comes with watching this series. After Eccleston's more serious Doctor, it took me a while to warm up to Tennant. Like, half a season. Then again, the continued presence of Rose didn't really help.

Anyways, I was resistant to Matt Smith. I was prepared to not be happy with this new, young guy coming in but then he charmed me in a way no other Doctor had. He captured the essence of what I know of the Doctor (I started watching with Eccleston and haven't dove back into past episodes much), and I don't find a lot to nitpick. He's emotional, he's fierce, he can be downright intimidating, he has a sense of humor, he possesses curiosity and a sense of wonder, and he has the same soft spot for humanity that all the Doctors before him have had. I hesitate to use the word perfect, but he's close. I haven't been enthusiastic about some of the stories over seasons five and six, but that's normal for any show.

I'm incredibly glad that we get Matt Smith as the Doctor for at least another season. I mean, we could get more moments like this:

Tell me about your Doctor.


  1. This post almost completely mirrors my sentiments about all the Doctors -- started with Eccleston and loved him, found Tennant to be an upstart but grew to enjoying him even more, and, now, I find Smtih to be even better.

    This is helped, I feel, by Amy, Rory, and River (to a lesser degree) because they add layers of depth that we haven't seen with the other Doctors, not to mention they're interesting in and of themselves.

    The only point I disagree with you on is Donna Noble. I wasn't a fan; I preferred Rose and was unhappy when she left. It actually overshadowed any time with Donna or Martha. Changing up the Doctor finally got me out of that funk.

    I've been re-watching the series (and doing short reviews on my blog) with the wife. We've started season 3 but it's not going well -- she's still 100% an Eccleston fan. I'm hoping when we get to Smith she'll be converted.

    1. Yeah, I know a lot of folks love Rose! It makes me feel like I'm missing something. I liked Martha, but I didn't like the eensy bit of desperate attitude towards getting the Doctor to like her romantically.

    2. personally, i really enjoyed eccleston (i began with him) he was a great doctor who should have had another season but the minute david tennant as the doctor sent those watchamacallit aliens running i immidiately knew he was going to be a great doctor. then, came matt smith. while i havent decided on a favorite doctor yet (as i am not finished with the past episodes) i know smith will at least be runner up. plus, we'll have to see how john hurt makes it as number twelve.

  2. I completely agree! I loved Christopher Eccleston and it took me a while to switch over to David Tennant. I was expecting the same to happen with Matt Smith (I had such a hard time between 9 and 10 I almost stopped watching), but I loved him right off the bat. It took me a while to admit Matt Smith was my favorite- I was afraid I was just being swayed by Stephen Moffat's awesome writing.

  3. Marvellous post! ^^

    Matt Smith is definitely one of my favourite Doctors, but I haven't pinned it down; maybe it's the whimsy, the adventure or probably because he's downright mad!

    But my Doctor is definitely Christopher Eccleston; his Northern charm and non-nonsense attitude...His eccentricities and his emotional weight...All adds up! I was introduced to Eccleston, not just as the Doctor, but the actor himself when 'Doctor Who' re-started in 2005. Since then I've been keenly following his other works, such as the first episode of a series called 'Accused', where I spotted a hint of Doctor #9 as his character walked to court, with the weight of his recent past on his shoulders. Also more recently was the adaptation of 'The Borrowers' where he played Pod Clock! ^^ And, it almost goes without saying, I cannot *wait* to see him in 'Thor: The Dark World'! (The God of Thunder vs. The Oncoming Storm! ^^) Which brings me back to 'Who'...!

    The main thing for me in the Ninth Doctor was the gravitas Christopher brought to the role; a similar acting approach to the first three and the eccentric fun of #4. Plus all the fun #9 had, especially at others' expenses (i.e. how clever and important he is), could easily have been a foreshadowing to another character Steven Moffat has control of; Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock. And I believe I loved Cumberbatch's Sherlock for more-or-less the same reasons.

    Since 2005, the Ninth Doctor has inspired me in many ways, mainly for how he was written and the amazing dialogue he had. Best example was when I actually composed my own Ninth Doctor speech made from a couple of his key quotes strung together with my own writing (I could send/post it if you want)...I performed it for my College course; twice! Had the leather jacket too! And sonic! ^^

    Anyway...Everytime I see the final moments of 'The Parting of the Ways', my heart-strings are tugged...This is the Doctor who showed me many ways of looking at things with a positive and caring attitude, not with fear, but with wonder and amazement and acceptance, sprinkled with a new-found sense of adventure...My Doctor. When he cheekily reclaims how fantastic he was, I can't help but agree; "Absolutely fantastic!"


    1. Eccleston really added a bit of darkness to the role that was appropriate for what the Doctor had just been through - I liked it a lot. The Doctor Dances is one of my favorite episodes.

    2. True, with the Time War...

      Cool! Moffat's writing can hardly be faulted! Hehe I loved the two-parter as a whole (difficult for me to decide which half I prefer! XD) but the final scenes in The Doctor Dances really concludes a story on a high-note which is still wonderful every time you see it! ^^


  4. They say you never forget your first Doctor, but I'm in the strange position that 8, 9, 10, and 11 are ALL my first a way.

    I remember seeing the beginning of the Doctor Who movie when I was a kid, but I didn't really know what it was and didn't watch very much of it because it wasn't that good. So my first true encounter with the series were a couple of Tennant episodes (The Planet of Ood and the Fires of Pompeii), but I was only halfway paying attention because I wasn't that interested. The first full episodes I actually sat down to watch were from the first season (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances), but it wasn't until I saw a Matt Smith episode that I decided to keep watching because I enjoyed it so much.

    So while any one of them could technically be considered by first Doctor, 11 is *my* Doctor, and encapsulates everything I think the Doctor should be. I'm a little worried how I'm going to take it when 12 arrives.

  5. I was die-hard tennant. was. this third viewing of seasons 5 & 6...something happened. maybe I just paid more attention, but regardless, without me realizing, smith had stolen my heart. it might be his dashing good looks, simultaneous cheerful/scary demeanor, or the adorably awkward way he never knows what to do with his hands, but my answer is eleven.

  6. I had some old Tom Baker videos a cousin had given me when I was growing up and I watched them and rewatched them, particularly "the ark in space" and I was terrified. The Doctor had this goofy grin, mad hair, a cool outfit and could flit between childish playfulness (jelly babys) and a dark and serious tone. This will always be the doctor in my head. Yet my description could so easily also be of Matt Smith, don't you think? I think he's certainly the best of the modern age and that everything you've said is true. I also think Moffat deserves masses of credit for leading the writing in a direction condusive to such a performance.

  7. I had some old Tom Baker videos a cousin had given me when I was growing up and I watched them and rewatched them, particularly "the ark in space" and I was terrified. The Doctor had this goofy grin, mad hair, a cool outfit and could flit between childish playfulness (jelly babys) and a dark and serious tone. This will always be the doctor in my head. Yet my description could so easily also be of Matt Smith, don't you think? I think he's certainly the best of the modern age and that everything you've said is true. I also think Moffat deserves masses of credit for leading the writing in a direction condusive to such a performance.

  8. I found Doctor Who via Torchwood (I watched that series first). I started with Eccleston's episodes and worked my way through all of the Tennant ones till I saw his final special. Matt Smith was the first "new Doctor" I got to experience and have all the anxiety about if I'll like how the Doctor is being portrayed. I think Matt Smith is awesome but David Tennant is my favorite Doctor.

    1. This reminds me that I still need to watch Torchwood.

  9. Loved Christopher Eccleston as an introduction to the series for me and really enjoyed him as The Doctor.

    FELL IN LOVE with David Tennant. I don't know, the way he smiles and how he speaks just grabbed my heart immediately (felt a little guilty, I'm a married woman after all ;) ). I cried SO HARD at the end of his stint as The Doctor. His facial expressions (happy, sad, curious, heartbroken, when he's a freaking BAD ASS against the Daleks, etc) just kept me captivated to him.

    I have to say I was so glad that Matt Smith brought some whismy right away because my heart needed to heal from the end of 10. Matt is great and I enjoy watching the show with him but David Tennant will most likely always be "my" Doctor.

  10. I'm old enough to remember the First Doctor, William Hartnell (just!). I remember being very disappointed when he turned into a silly man in a silly hat, who played the recorder. (I have since revised my opinion of Patrick Troughton upwards).
    So my Doctor was really Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor, he of the Venusian aikido and frilly shirts with velvet jackets.
    If he popped his head round the door of the Tardis and said "Fancy a spin?" I'd be there in a heartbeat - and not only because I want to be Sarah Jane Smith when I grow up! (I'm 52 - it could happen at any time!)

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