Two and two more (three more?) paragraphs about Doctor Who number Eleven

[Contact Me] | [FAQ]

[Some "Dougisms" Defined]

[About Dickens of a Blog]

[Jump to Site Links]

Summary: Matt Smith began his term as the Doctor tonight, and Sarah and I had a good time. This is my brief account about what I thought.

Sunday, 04 April 2010

(00:48:29 CDT)

Two and two more (three more?) paragraphs about Doctor Who number Eleven

Since I would be mortified to give too much away and have felt, for the past few days, dissatisfied with anything I put down to text, so I'll make this, by my standards, brief. Matt Smith, shown at the end of "The End of Time" back around Christmas, finally gets his first whole episode of Doctor Who: a pun-ful play on words called "The Eleventh Hour". That's a chronology joke, a regeneration joke, and a nick-of-time joke. All at once. Doctor Who and cleverness? Do tell!

The first thing you might notice is slapstick insertion as the Tardis darts across a moonlit cityscape. Is Matt Smith dangling from the Tardis a sign of action direction (a lot of previews have shown Amy Pond adrift in space, held by her ankles by a securely standing Doctor) or just a "get behind the couch!" moment for the kids? The first thing I noticed is the color scheme shift. The previews have hinted at a more "zeppelin-punk" feel overall, but the palette is more twilight hued, with even the browns catching a sunset, overcast tone. The third thing, is the absolutely meh opening sequence. The previous four seasons have had the Tardis jumping through Time and Space. This one is much more of the Tardis tumbling through a storm. And the updated tune is about as offensive to the original as Sylvester McCoy's was. Rather than aetherial and ambient, it comes across as wholly secular. At least Murray Gold's scoring of the episode continues to be awe inspiring.

The Doctor? I dig him. Matt Smith has taken tons of flack for not being David Tenant, and that was months ago. Now that he is out there, I wonder if he was shaped slightly by the outcry? His mannerisms, while not exactly Tenant, feel a little like someone trying to copy Tenant. Then again, Tenant's first season had one big drawback, and that was that he was trying to play almost like Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor, and not quite hitting. Hopefuly it won't take as long for Smith to get into the role, because he and the new production have a lot to offer. For those versed in Doctor lore, Smith rotates around the paradigm of the Second-Seventh Doctor: really friendly and avuncular but occasionally turning darker. Patrick Troughton's Doctor would appear bumbling and outgunned an entire episode, only to have cleverly tricked all of his enemies into killing each other by the end. McCoy's Doctor would be the spitting image of Bilbo Baggins until he let slip that he might have built and shaped entire star systems back before he went good.* The Second is the Doctor that set the bar for the Time Lord's propensity to run into trouble, so most of the follow-ups have held suit, but the Second also held a brokenhearted thoughtfulness that went missing (the Seventh, Eigth, and Ninth Doctors having it, back, some, with the Tenth regaining it towards "The End"). Eleventh might be the one to fully resurface it, but, and no pun intended, only time will tell.

The companion? I dig Amy. She is fitting into the now maybe too established motif of female obsessed with the Doctor. At least in her case they make it parodic of the Rose/Martha character: not only is she obsessed, but obsessed in the way the DSM-IV might appreciate. While the first episode returns the Doctor's reaction to his companion more firmly into the "friendly older gent" pattern, it will no doubt eventually repeat the pattern of him and her being a bit too close. I long for a proper male companion. Jack and Mickey both were excellent companions, and both got cameos compared to the women. The last male companion for any length in the primary canon was Adric. Not only was that nearly thirty years ago, but he was an annoying geek whose one real distinction is being one of the few companions to die on screen! We have Rory, a Mickie like return, but that's not enough. We need a strong male tie in. I am thinking an older male would be perfect (let's bring back Clive Swift from the "Voyage of the Damned" Christmas special) but it might be nice to get a Ian Chesterton back.

Overall? Thumbs up. I'm hooked. Of the new Doctors, I'm going to consider this possibly the strongest introduction. The humor and quirk is more stabilized ("I'm worse than an aunt, I'm the Doctor") and while I'll always adore Ninth's speech about the spinning of the universe, the end of this episode feels more, I don't know, powerful. I'm not going to hate on the sword fight at the end of "The Christmas Invasion", but this one seems more befitting for one of the most influential beings in the universe. I think you could sell more people on the series with this opener than with the previous two, but there are some die hard Tenth-lovers who will kill me for saying so. On to the next episode!

Si Vales, Valeo

*: There was the so-called Cartmel plan, where it was definitely hinted (the producer and writers at the time wanted to keep it only as hints, going so far to nix an episode that confirmed—the episode finally turning into a book called Lungbarrow—that the Doctor was the Other, the third member of the founding triumvirate of the Time Lords (the other two being Rassilon and Omega). The final season of the classic series basically comes out and says "When I was there at the beginning..." with one adversary complaining that the Doctor had spent so much time pretending to be younger and kinder than he was. Amongst other things, it solves a few hints of prior-to-First incarnations and the Doctor's conflicting discussion of his age: to wit, he is perpetually making up numbers about it because he in the thousands-of-years range. At any rate, it has hints in this episode as Smith stares down an enemy much bigger than himself and, with no weapons except his own will, he overcomes.


If you wish to comment, please contact me in some way and I'll add it as soon as possible. Thanks!

file under (Doctor Who)

Written by Doug Bolden

For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".

"The hidden is greater than the seen."