I fear I’ve let this blog fall by the wayside in the last month or so, but a brand new Doctor is reason enough to do some reminiscing!
The fandom was huge by the time I joined it. I was part of a British TV show group on livejournal at the time and was always annoyed that “Doctor Who” posts flooded the group every Saturday. I wasn’t much of a sci-fi fan, but decided to watch an episode just to find out what all the fuss was about. Martha was the companion at the time, so I picked her first episode and… well, I was intrigued. It was all manic, and totally absurd in a truly wonderful way, and Ten was a vivacious ball of exploding energy (and cute) so… one episode turned into more, and within a couple of weeks I’d caught up on all of Ten’s episodes. I visited Nine as well, but Ten was “my Doctor.” I got so attached to him that I cried for a good hour after his final episode ended, and he regenerated into Eleven. That was it, I thought. No more Doctor, because this gangly Matt person can’t possibly be better than Tennant. Even so, I thought, I’ll give him a shot and one episode to win me over.
Naturally, he did, and in the several seasons since, Eleven has become my favorite Doctor. Don’t get me wrong; I still love Ten purely for his enthusiasm, his bombastic behavior, his general insanity, his tendency to kiss people, and the sheer fanboy enthusiasm that Tennant brings to the role… but Matt instills in Eleven that sheer “wonder” that most adults don’t have; he has an astounding ability to bring a childish sense of enthusiasm to an ancient soul. He’s both a little kid at heart, and an old and grumpy Time Lord. Minutes after he spit out beans into the sink, and then chucked his plate of toast out the door, I was won over. That stupid bow tie, his attraction to a red Fez, and his old man shoes wormed their way into my heart. His chemistry with River Song made me stop hating her. And, of course, there’s “Pond.” Is it a coincidence that my favorite Doctor spends most of his time with my favorite companion? I think not. I love Amy. I love Rory, too, but Amy most of all, and in a way that surpasses my love for Donna (my other “favorite” companion… I must like gingers! Or just loud, bossy, opinionated heroines!).
If you were to ask me why I like Amy so much, I’m not sure I would have a proper answer. I just do. I like her spunk. I like her courage. I like her compassion. Or maybe it’s just because we think alike and at times, act alike. No one tells Amy what to do (and lives to regret it). She is her own person, her own boss, and a nice foil for the Doctor. She’s bold and opinionated. She has a great sense of humor and is quick at discerning what is truly going on. I don’t pretend she’s perfect, because she isn’t. She’s bossy. She’s immature. She’s completely irrational at times. But that’s what makes her human. She also grows up as a companion. She starts out afraid of commitment and the end of her story is spending her entire life committed to Rory. Amy becomes who she does because of, and at times, in spite of, the Doctor. But in the end, he chooses nothing for her. She chooses everything for herself. I like that, and I like the dynamic a couple traveling with the Doctor brought to the table.
Moffat taking the writing helm was exciting for me, when Eleven appeared on the scene, because Moffat had written some of my favorite Ten episodes, including “Blink” (in which we meet the terrifying Weeping Angels), “The Silence in the Library” (where we first meet River Song), and “The Girl in the Fireplace,” arguably my favorite episode ever. It’s a story that foreshadows Amy Pond, in a child whose life is invaded briefly by the Doctor and then reunites with him as an adult (… both girls share the same personality type … mine… I might add). And I was not disappointed with what Moffat did with the show. Gone were the fart jokes of the earlier era, gone was the overly emotional Doctor (this one has feelings but doesn’t wear them on his sleeve), and Moffat showed no fear in juggling big plot arcs with epic payoffs.
I won’t pretend Moffat is the best writer on television, because he isn’t. Much as I love both Doctor Who and Sherlock, his grasp of logic leaves much to be desired. However, he has a gift for over-reaching arcs, and I enjoyed both the Crack in the Wall and the Silence Will Fall themes. He’s good at creating tangible and likable people; no one can deny that Amy, Eleven, River, and Rory all have personality… and Clara, too… I don’t agree that she lacks a personality; oodles of it drip off the screen in her first two episodes, but modern Clara isn’t as engaging as Oswin or Victorian Clara for some reason. (Frankly, I am sad Victorian Clara did not stick around. I think having a Victorian heroine with Victorian sensibilities traveling with the Doctor would bring a unique twist that a modern heroine might lack.) Moffat makes me laugh and then cry. His characters are all memorable to me; though our encounters with them are brief, I happen to love Vastra, Jenny, and Strax.
Over the years, I have pushed, pulled, and even dragged various friends into the fandom. Some have stayed for the long haul and others have gotten stuck in a rut with one particular Doctor. This morning, as I revisited Matt Smith’s final episodes again in preparation for meeting the “new” Doctor this evening, and cried all over again at his loss, I felt the same emotions as when David Tennant left. Part of me believes this is it… I’ve found my Doctor and now he’s gone. No one can ever replace him! But then I remember… he doesn’t have to be replaced. No Doctor replaces another. He is all of them at once. I can love them all without betraying any of them! So yes, Doctor… new Doctor, older Doctor, Doctor with the fierce eyebrows who doesn’t like the new color of his kidneys… let’s go on an adventure! I can’t wait to meet you!
What about you? Who was your first Doctor? Who is your favorite Doctor? Who is your favorite companion? What is your favorite episode? Are you excited about Twelve?