With the 50th anniversary of BBC’s “Doctor Who” approaching this fall, everyone is sizing up The Doctors. Who is the most popular? Least appreciated? Over-hyped? Is there really a “right” answer to these questions? As we take a look at three views of the latest three Doctors, one thing is for sure, when it comes to your personal favorite Doctor: Everyone is right!
The Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston
By Lisa Kay Tate
Years ago, my official “first Doctor,” was the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, and in my mind he will always be the man worthy of the title THE Doctor, the quintessential poster boy for the show’s legacy. However, he isn’t My Doctor, that honor caught me and my solitary heart quite unexpectedly off guard, when the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, first invited me (okay, and Rose Tyler), to join him.
To think we almost skipped him, due to suggestions that “Ten is the Favorite” (and rightly so, Tennant is excellent in the role). Had, I done that, I would have missed the first (and still my favorite, so far), leg of the journey.
Now I have to give credit where credit is due: no one handled the role with more energy and character than David Tennant. He’s an incredible, crazy, wild-eyed loon with whom I seem to personally share much in common; from his love of Star Wars to his favorite bands to his wardrobe choices (actually, I’m not so sure he isn’t dipping into my closet when I’m not looking and stealing my shirts and Converse). Matt Smith has also won my respect for his treatment of his fan base, particularly when it comes to his thankful acknowledgement that they are the ones to whom he owes his fame. I love his handling of his youngest fans in particular. To both these men, I say “job well done, indeed.”
But Christopher, in my opinion, just doesn’t get the credit he deserves, from the obvious — he started the “new era” of The Doctor for an entire generation of fans — to the more subtle nuances of bringing a diversity of expression and emotion that could be downright goofy with spot-on slapstick timing, sometimes eerily dark and predatory, awkward and nerdy as a love struck teen, and a diehard action hero badass.
I was also weirdly surprised, I might add, at how incredibly appealing — and incredibly sexy — I found his look. While every other Doctor before, and since, veered from the eccentric butler to a hipster Pee Wee Herman (love ALL those looks, I promise), the post-war leather-and-tight-jeans made him not only someone I could follow to the next planet system in the vortex, but hop on the back of a vintage Indian Chief motorcycle heading down the highway blaring psychobilly — not that I’ve actually had that thought, mind you. Well, not more than three, maybe four times, tops.
His tenure as The Doctor was passionate, energetic and just plain fun. I’m not planning on getting into the politics of his departure (although I have found him to be very diplomatic on the issue), except to say it was far, far too soon for me. Just thinking of “The Parting of Ways” from Series 1 sends an unrelenting shiver of sadness through me.
I realize each Doctor has, and deserves, his day, but I know I’m not alone in wishing, Nine would step from the Tardis, extend his long arm, gaze intently into our soul with those piercing blue eyes and ask in his Northern accent, “Would you dance with me one more time?”
The Tenth Doctor: David Tennant
By Leia Calderon
Nine was charming and full of sass, a veritable well of quotable one-liners, but TEN. Ten was at once a puppy dog eyed man with perfectly floppy hair and a terrifying being, chock full of tumultuous feelings.
For me, Ten fully embraced the passion that came with loving Rose Tyler, despaired at yet again being alone in the universe with the fall of the Master, and broke the hearts of us all as he saved Donna.
Those final heart-wrenching moments with David Tennant tore my heart asunder and left me with bitterness that lasted for an entire season, a bitterness I directed at Matt Smith. Luckily, that dissipated, but Tennant’s three seasons are seasons I go to when I feel sick and I bask in their comfort; in fact, I may go watch New Earth right now”
The Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith
By Jen Schiller
I am an equal opportunity Doctor lover.
I don’t think one is inherently better than another. Also, if you’ve read any of the articles by Max here on IHoGeek, you’ll already know that I went into season five of the new series kicking and screaming. I was determined not to like Matt Smith — and that is exactly why I’m writing about him today.
When Matt was first cast as the doctor, I was mad for all manner of reasons — some logical and calculated, some bordering on tantrum level bullshit. I was hesitant to let David go, and I was convinced no one could ever take his place in my heart. While I’m still right about that part, that didn’t stop Matt from carving his own special place there, too.
See, Matt and Karen (and Moff, I guess) did something brand new and ancient with “Doctor Who”. They turned the show into a dark fairytale, with complex twists and turns and time jumps that you wouldn’t even notice until you get to the end of the season, and can see the whole picture.
As River Song says in “The Pandorica Opens”, Matt turns the Doctor into a wizard of sorts, on level (in my humble opinion) with greats like Gandalf and Dumbledore. The Eleventh Doctor is at once wise and child-like, all knowing and all-learning. He has an adorable streak a mile long, but Heaven help you if you get on his bad side.
Nine was born of the Time War, Ten was born saving Rose, and Eleven was born when it was time to die. He was a complete re-birth for the character, and he’s appropriately reinventing what it means to be The Doctor. From fish fingers and custard all the way to Mr. Clever, Matt has brought child-like wonder and complexity to a character that is never just one thing at once. And I will admit — I’m a Matt Smith convert.
The 50th Anniversary show of “Doctor Who” airs on BBC One Nov. 23, 2013 with Matt Smith’s final episode at the end of this year.