Monday, August 12, 2013

Doctor Who Now?

The time has come for Matt Smith to leave the TARDIS for a final time. Most fans are already aware that the Doctor will now be regenerating into Mr. Peter Capaldi. Personally I am not troubled with the choice, even though I was hoping they might do something more surprising, like when the Watcher became the 5th Doctor. Sadly my idea of River Song becoming the 12th are over, for now. Some are also saying Capaldi is a ruse, which I don't think is the case at all. Why? Well he is a respected actor and I don't think the BBC is into pulling peoples chains. Personally, I wish they had left it under their hats until the actual reveal in November for the 50th Anniversary special (Look at my face. Do I look bothered? Yes, a little), but my guess is that it is that between the rapid growth of the brand, especially in the USA (the land where spoilers and reveals abound), and the summer Who drought, they wanted to keep people engaged. The rapid growth of Doctor Who might not be the best thing though (It feels like a nerdy pre-crash housing market but, so instead of houses it's Time Lords, Super Heroes, and Internet Memes).

 It has taken a long time for the Doctor to sink it's claws into the greater American pop culture, unless everyone was screwing with me when I talked about Doctor Who during Tom Baker years as a kid.
Those years were great though. Crazy adventures, crazy aliens, crazy robot dog, crazy scarf. Watching that show was a blast. Mostly on account of the very refined story and fabulous high end effects, I kid, really the titular Doctor Who was truly the keystone to the series for me (I guess that's why he got top billing). At that point the only Doctor I knew was Tom Baker but, since then I have come to enjoy several of the others. All for their unique creations that embody the doctor. So I look forward to the new.

The choice of Capaldi is good. He is an older established performer like the majority of the Doctors (Matt Smith being the youngest Doctor at 26) which might lead to a more classic Who. Also with his experience I am assuming that the actions of the new Doctor will be more nuanced and less frantically polar. Yes, Matt Smith was playing a duality, but it never really worked for me (Not that he is totally to blame. More on that later). He came off as petulant rather than battling turmoil. Also the chance to pull away from the overly swoony aspect that the Doctor that has picked up recently. Not that Peter Capaldi isn't worth swooning over, but more that he is less of a young pretty boy than Smith.

The thing that bums me out is that Steven Moffat will still be head writer. He is the main reason I have not hung around for much of the Matt Smiths run. Smith just wasn't that interesting of a Doctor because of the weak material that Moffat brought to the series. "But Evan, Moffat wrote some the the coolest episodes like 'Blink'!" He did indeed but, that was before he was the lead writer, I just don't think he can cut the mustard when it comes to being in charge. Most of the man's best career work has been either co-written or under the supervision of a head writer. Some of the worst things he has done is dehumanize the Doctor and kinda shit on the companion character (Here is a fine post about that from the Idiot Box). Though the thing that really hurts is the loss of whimsy, which is beginning plague the series now, along with everything else in pop culture. Doctor Who was a kids show just so everyone knows. There is a reason that it had wacky stories, silly costumes, and such a strong following in spite of both. I recently tweeted that this is the same problem that DC Comics is having with their movie properties. Gritty does not equal good. In the case of DC, they need to embrace the fact the their origins are based in the four color Golden Age of the paper trades. The world of Who is steering in that same direction and I reject that. Remember, it is okay for the show to be silly and have fun because, that is what made you love it in the first place. We don't need to have damaged heroes to make them relate-able all the time. Cause shit, they are still aliens who travel through space and time. So do yourself a favor and watch some classic Who and feel the joy.
My Favorites.
So how do you feel about the new Doctor?
Also what properties did you enjoy as a kid do you think are being taken too gritty a direction?
Or am I a dumb-ass who needs to embrace all of this stuff?

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