Doctor Who was never a show that would fare very well under heavy scrutiny. I mean, the show tries to sell us the above tin can with an egg beater and a plunger as the most terrifying thing in the known universe.
But we love it, with all our hearts.
I got into the Doctor Who game pretty late. When I started watching, the fourth season (or “series”, as those zany Brits call it) had just wrapped up, and that year’s Christmas special was right around the corner. Suffice it to say, I had to wait for the Christmas special. I swallowed up those episodes faster than you can *obscure Doctor Who reference* at. The show is just full of so much energy, so much zest, that you take the ridiculousness of some of the episodes and just run with it. It’s show in which you can accept a tin can as a deadly, genocidal being.
Case in point, the episodes which worked best, were always the more low-key ones. The ones not being bombarded with special effects. Episodes like “Midnight” or “Blink” (by far the best episode in the current run), where the Doctor is not facing an army of Cybermen or alien invaders. The grandiose episodes, in particular the finales of each season were always such an over-the-top, hold-your-breath-til-its-over experience, that my initial reaction after watching each is “that was awesome”. Once I calmed down, and started thinking things over, I saw the gaping plot holes, the nonsensical chain of events, the handy coincidences. That doesn’t bother me, though. You’re not supposed to take the Doctor that seriously. The show is fun, it’s always an entertaining 45 minutes, even if the plot doesn’t make much sense. And, most importantly, it’s always energetic. In large part thanks to this guy:
Yes, thanks to Hamlet.
You see, David Tennant is a talented actor. He played one of the toughest Shakespearean roles, in the Royal Shakespeare Company, and had one of the most prominent performances of our time. This is a little known secret in the TV-making community, so don’t go repeating this, but in order to have a good show, you need good actors (I’m looking at you Heroes and FlashForward). Tennant’s sheer energy brought so much to the part, that, while Christopher Eccleston deserves credit where credit’s due, Tennant will go down in history as the man who brought Doctor Who into the mainstream. It’s his ability to convey both the wild-eyed wonderment as well as the sombre, serious, no-nonsense Doctor that made the role perfect.
Alas, Doctor who as we know it is over. David Tennant and Russel T. Davies (showr-unner of the show from it’s return) are off to better pastures. The TARDIS and fate of time of space are left in the hands of Matt Smith and Stephen Moffat (actor and show-runner, respectively). I don’t know enough about Smith to make a prediction, as the only acting of his I’ve seen is the last several seconds of “End of Time” (Tennant’s were better). Moffat, on the other hand, is a different story. I am beyond psyched to hear that he would be the big man calling the shots. Should Smith’s acting be up to par, I daresay we are in for one hell of a ride. Moffat’s Who-writing credits include some of the best episodes the show has seen to date – “The Girl in the Fire Place”, the “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” two-parter, and, my personal favorite Doctor Who episode, the afore-mentioned “Blink”. I, for one, am interested to see what a Moffat-penned finale looks like, as I am pretty certain it will be a spectacle to behold. My guess would involve weeping angels, but that’s the topic to a whole different post.
Doctor Who, despite what others may say, is a thrill ride of a show. It proves that you don’t have to be dark and gritty to tell quality stories, and sometimes it is ok to just have fun. I hope the show continues to enjoy a long successful run. All that’s left is to see what lies ahead. So…. Allons-y Geronimo!