Monday, April 12, 2010

The Eleventh Doctor

I wouldn't exactly say that I went into the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who prepared to dislike the new Doctor, but I had become so fond of David Tennant's portrayal of the Time Lord that I figured the new guy was really going to have to work hard to win me over. Amazingly he probably had me within the first fifteen minutes. I think I can see why the producers of DW picked Matt Smith to follow Tennant. Smith brings the same warmth to the character that his predecessor did. Watching Smith, I felt that his Doctor really cared about the people he was becoming involved with, especially in the scenes with the little girl who would grow up to be his new companion, Amy Pond.
Smith's doctor is also slightly nuts. Tennant was a bit zany, but Smith reminds me more of the Tom Baker Days. It's hard to tell when he's being serious. he often says things that appear not to make any sense, though later you learn there was some method in his madness.
My initial concern, when Smith was announced as Tennant's replacement, was that he was just too young. He's the first actor in his 20s to play the role. But he carries it off no problem. Within minutes I believed that this was the Doctor. I had similar concerns about the Doctor's new companion too. I was a little worried that the same youth centered sensibilities that have taken over so much of movies and TV were going to engulf the venerable series. I really didn't want Tardis 90210.
But Karen Gillian as Amy fits right in with Smith and in the two episodes I've seen so far, it's business as usual in the Tardis. Amy's character has been described as "feisty' and she is that. She seems a good match for the Doctor. She's also remarkably pretty, which doesn't hurt.
Anyway, the first episode, The Eleventh Hour, serves as an excellent introduction to the new Doctor. Stripped of his Tardis and his sonic screwdriver, and given only twenty minutes to save the Earth from destruction, he still manages to come through, basically saving the world with a borrowed laptop and a cell phone. Not bad for his first time out. The second episode, The Beast Below, gives us a chance to see the Doctor/Amy team in action and this time it's Amy's turn to shine. (I doubt that the Doctor really would have missed the clues Amy picks up on, especially given some Sherlock Holmes like deductions he makes earlier in the episode, but that's a small quibble.)
The series has already run for two weeks in the UK and premieres this Saturday, the 17th, on BBC America. Give it a go. I'm expecting big things from this new Doctor.

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