Accepting WHO I Am

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I’ve felt this change coming for a long time and “Let’s Kill Hitler” finally pushed me over the edge. Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor. It’s not JUST him, it’s the whole show really. I guess I should rephrase and say “Matt Smith’s episodes are my favorite Doctor Who episodes.” It’s the writing, the look of the show (it some how seems more expensive… better lighting? Better cameras?), the companions (Rory and Amy are amazing but RIVER… dear god, River. What a fascinating character arc.), the chances they are taking with the story, the stakes they just keep raising, the departure from the typical “A) Go to a planet B) Fix a problem” formula… the whole show is just orders of magnitude more captivating that it’s ever been. That’s a considerable achievement when you take into account how much I enjoyed Tennant’s run.

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I feel like the last two seasons of Doctor Who are proof that you can make satisfying, complicated genre fiction on TV IF YOU HAVE A PLAN. And if Steven Moffat DOESN’T have a plan, then he’s the best bullshitter on the planet. All of the little loose threads just keep weaving themselves back into the main story. It’s never boring, it’s never hack. It’s just purely entertaining, cohesive and rewarding story telling.

COMMENTERS: Come on! Who’s with me on this? Matt’s the best, right? Ok, so who‘s YOUR favorite doctor?

WARNING!!! THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR “Let’s Kill Hitler” IN THE COMMENTS.



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106 Comments

    • This is close to what I thought: that I'm not quite sure about Matt as my favorite, because I adore "Blink" and several other Tennant jaunts so much.

      But the River/Doctor sequence is much more interesting than I ever expected. The dynamics of a character like River, who lives outside the timeline of the main characters and who knows more about their futures (but has to lie to protect the timeline)? It puts us up-close-and-personal with the Doctor's own situation, ducking in and out of timelines. I expect that part of the hookup with River/Doctor is that it gives him someone to relax with: she won't die out from underneath him, and he's a little nervous about that at the moment. (And the casting for both characters is top-notch.)

      Tennant blew through three companions in as many seasons, without killing them off, without ignoring them, and even with them coming back – a bit much, in the case of Rose Tyler. His bright-eyed delivery, saying things like, "okay, then!" and "allons-y", were full of life. Matt's had longer plot-lines in play, but has played the Doctor as an older gentleman in a younger man's body.

      The reason people have shouting matches about the two, is that they are both such fine versions of the Doctor, with utterly different personalities.

      Oh, and the guy who drew this cartoon? He's a god. This is brilliant.

  1. River Song, is one of my favorite characters, but Eccleston is still my favorite of the new Doctors. I grew up watching Tom Baker, so he'll always be my favorite Doctor of all time.

  2. My only complaint about "Let's Kill Hitler" is it felt a bit rushed. Specifically the Mels character could have used a few eps of development before the big reveal. it seemed a bit forced to show a few childhood clips and suddenly she's their closest friend-that-they've-never-mentioned-before. I'd argue that Mels is evidence of a lack of planning on Moffat's part actually. Still loved the ep and am crazy about River Song though.

    • Matt Stone is meh. The writing for his episodes is out-fucking-standing, but Stone just doesn’t have any charisma. River steals the show when the two of them are on together. Compare that to David Tennant or Tom Baker: no one stole the show from those two. They had charisma, zest, charm–you knew they were having a good time. Matt Stone, even at his most fraught, looks like he’s more worried about whether he remembered to clean out the lint filter on the TARDIS’s dryer. And, really, a bow tie? What is he PeeWee Herman? Wally Cox? Pfeh. I’m glad he’s on his way out.

  3. Amy's still a Mary Sue to me. River I hated in the Tennant episodes, but has become a much stronger character. Matt Smith is pretty much on parallel with Tennant to me.

    Rory owns everything. Forever.

    • You are right! Amy IS a Mary Sue character! I don't know why I didn't see this earlier!

      That's why I hate her so often! She is not as bad as Claudia on Warehouse 13, but she is still a Mary Sue! It's so obvious in retrospect!

      • I don't think any Doctor Who companion can ever be called a Mary Sue so soon after Rose, Her Royal Highness, Queen of All Mary Sues (And Also The Universe and the Multiverse and whatever else she decides to be queen of).

        • I don't know – Rose was never this perfect at everything. She was more amazed at the things she encountered, and often lost in various situations. She was also not this bossy and annoying, and was also not this bitchy.

          I just rewatched Eleventh Hour, and was struck once again how annoying she was. For example, remember how she locked the Doctor's tie in the door of a car? Not only was that very bitchy, but she also kicked out the sweet old guy who owned that car. And told him to basically go away. It's his car!

          • Rose has:

            1) Been the only companion to make the Doctor fall in love with her
            2) Become an all-powerful being with power over space and time
            3) Crossed multiverses when that was supposed to be impossible, with vast amounts of impossible knowledge about happenings well beyond her kin
            4) Turned the Doctor human and lived happily ever after him.

            How much more perfect could she be?

            • I think one could argue that the Doctor was in love with Sarah Jane Smith (and vice versa.) It just wasn't presented in as up-front a way as the thing with Rose, so you had to sort of read between the lines. I think the idea was the Doctor knew better than to get involved in an affair with mortal, for all kinds of reasons, but the feelings were there, under the surface. I could be off-base, here, but that was always my take on Sarah Jane.

            • True, but… now we have River, who is an even worse Mary Sue. River tops Rose by:

              1) Not only making the Doctor fall in love with her, it´s implied she even marries him. And kills him. And sacrifices herself for him.
              2) Being a super special snowflake: child of the TARDIS with Time Lord DNA, legendary super fighter and most dangerous living weapon in the universe, archaeology professor, only one to speak/read/write Old High Gallifreyan (even the Doctor needs the TARDIS to translate), even scares a Dalek…
              3) Being the only one to make it through the reboot of the universe with her memory intact and being the one to enable Amy to remember the Doctor; with vast amounts of knowledge about happenings that she doesn´t reveal but is annoyingly smug about it ("Spoilers")

              I think she tops Rose, easily, both in Mary-Sue-ness and in being annoying.

              • River is the only one to speak/read/write Old High Gallifreyan? When did this happen? If you're referring to "A Good Man Goes to War," she was pointing him to the prayer leaf of the Gamma Forests, bearing her name. Or did I miss something?

                It's a mother-frackin' nerd-off.

  4. I'm really liking Matt, especially this season. And yeah, River is awesome (MEL!) But I think a LOT of it was Steven Moffatt's doing – I mean, he directed most of the best Eccleston/Tennant episodes too, and introduced River AND Jack Harkness, the Best Intermittent Companions. The main thing I love about Matt's Doctor, though, is that he's FALLIBLE. The Doctor shouldn't be a god, he shouldn't always have a Deus Ex Machina in his pocket. He's a really long-lived alien who goes on adventures through time, and sometimes he screws up. Tennant had a very small amount of that, but not enough in my opinion. Eleven is just easier to relate to.

  5. David Tennant will always be My Doctor and nothing will divest me of that affection, but Matt Smith is definitely a better Doctor. Smith is a masterful dervish of whimsy and idiosyncrasy.

  6. I'm going to be controversial and say while I like Matt Smith as the Doctor he's not my favourite, nor even in my top three. I like that Stephen Moffat has a plan but I get ticked off about how he goes about realising it. Let's Kill Hitler combined three seperate ideas (River, the Justice dept and, well, Hitler) but it didn't combine them well. I was left feeling like he could have stretched River's storyline out over the next 6 or 7 episodes, and that the other two storylines didn't get a fair treatment. The character of Melody was rushed through so fast there was very little development and I felt it was an opportunity squandered.

    Also the Ponds wind me up something chronic. There, rant over!

    All that being said, Mr Moffat does have some moments of genius – the three ideas above are all really GOOD ideas, I just think he has some difficulty realising them. Kind of like George Lucas, I think he maybe needs some better script writers. Nonetheless I did like the line "Shut up Hitler and get in the cupboard." But I'd prefer more lines like that and less Amelia Pond.

    My favourite Doctors were Tom Baker, Peter Davidson and David Tennant. My favourite recent episode was the one with Peter Kay and the Absorbaloft. I love the scene with Rose and the Doctor chasing the monster with various coloured buckets! Oh and Christopher Ecclestone was good too "What, lots of planets have a north!"

  7. I love Matt Smith! And you've hit on it perfectly; Steven Moffat is, one way or another, genius. Watching these last 1.5 seasons of Who feels like a seriously awesome roller coaster ride. And Matt Smith is just weird and wacky enough to be the perfect Doctor. (Besides, he's not nearly as distracting as eye candy god David Tennant. I can watch Matt Smith and enjoy him without wanting to do things to him that're illegal in most of the 50, and punishable by burning south of the Mason–Dixon Line.) The bow tie, the hats, that face that's so young while seeming so old, and his acting! He's just so…kooky! I love him!

  8. Am I a horrible person for not liking "Lets Kill Hitler"? I wound up fixating on the fact that if someone crashed into Hitler's office with a thing, be it a time machine, missile or banana cream pie SOMEONE WOULD COME AND INVESTIGATE.

    I sat there through the whole episode thinking "Stormtroopers? Hello? Right outside the door? Down the hall?"

    Let's not mention no one looking into a shooting at a restaurant full of SS officers and their dates.

    I also wanted the last LAST scene to be a cupboard door, shut, with Hitler saying "Hello? Hello?"

    • I believe the Killer Teselecta mentioned before he tried to kill Hitler that the room was "soundscreened", meaning I guess, soundproofed beforehand. There you go.

      Agreed with the last 2 paragraphs, though.

    • Yeah, I'm with you on that last shot. We are denied our shot of a sad frightened fhurer – which is the best kind of fuhrer.

    • I like the possibility that the Doctor fed the paranoia of both Nioxon and Hitler. That's some monumental fallibility in the part of this Doctor.

  9. Tennant was just a little too pretty, too human.

    Matt Smith's more odd looking, and he falls perfectly into that uncanny valley. He just looks a little more alien, and thus when he has to play the "don't forget I'm an alien and I'm dangerous" side of the Doctor, he seems more credible to me.

    The moment I knew I was … you know, that way… was the speech at the end of the first half of the Time of Angels.

    First:
    "Okay. The Angels have made their second mistake because I'm not going to let that pass. I'm sorry you're dead, Bob, but I swear to whatever is left of you they will be sorrier."

    Then:

    "Angel Bob: Sorry, can I ask again? You mentioned a mistake we've made.
    The Doctor: Oh big big mistake. Really huge. Didn't anyone ever tell you? There's one thing you never put in a trap—if you're smart, if you value your continued existence, if you have any plans about seeing tomorrow—there's one thing you never ever put in a trap.
    Angel Bob: And what would that be, sir?
    The Doctor: Me."

    I can't see Tennant pulling off either of those lines with the same determined menace.

    • Oh, sorry KyleJRM, but there is this Tennant voice in my head, that does that line just perfect. The very last part when he says, "Me", is much deeper, more pronounced than Smith's but definitely do-able.

      • Watch the Christmas episode with Tennant, where he introduces himself into a bad situation with the words, "did you miss me?" and proceeds to ignore the evil monstrous alien while he greets Rose, Mickey, and chats for a while. The Alien eventually breaks in, "if may I interrupt?"

        Keep watching. Watch Tennant challenge the Alien to a sword fights, watch Tennant lose a hand and grow it back, and then watch Tennant deliver the lines that show that he could do it. After winning the duel, he is double-crossed by the Alien. Saying the words, "no second chances," he kills the Alien.

        Then at the end of the episode, when Harriet Jones, the British Prime Minister ("we know who you are"), goes against the Doctor's intent and murders a spacecraft of those aliens, he takes Miss Jones down, also, ending her political career. He does not say the words, "no second chances," that time, but it's clear that was in play. In fact, he takes her down with six [seemingly innocuous] words.

        Watch Tennant in his bit-part in Harry Potter. It's only one scene, damn it, but it's very good.

  10. @Stephen I think there was a very good reason to keep that backstory short the way it was. Let's just assume for a moment that those of us who are big fans of the show like to play the guessing game as to what is going to happen next. I know I do. If all of a sudden this new character showed up named MELs, and was in multiple episodes relating to Amy/Rory would you not have been thinking "Oh hey, that's probably MELody!"?

    tl;dr : if Moffat dragged it on people would have caught onto the fact that Mels was Melody. A quick one episode character that seemingly never existed before but was apparently always there happens often enough that most won't catch on until Moffat wanted.

    • This is my favorite kind of tl;dr — one that is almost as long as the thing it is summarizing.

      tl;dr I'm an asshole but I'm also not joking — I love it when people do that.

  11. I'm still a Tennant fan. I think that he is a great actor in general and you can really feel his performance. You are right about Matt Smith's episodes though. Steven Moffat writes most of those now…and my favorite Tennant episodes were written by Moffat. (He wrote "Blink" for gods sakes) He tries to stay away from that "Go to a planet, Fix shit" mold that you were talking about.

  12. It's funny how controversial the old "favorite Doctor" conversation/argument/throw-down can be. Tennant was my favorite, with his crazy energy and comical motor-mouth combined with incredible emotion and gravitas. However, I'm not gonna lie. I definitely see him through Rose-colored glasses….which goes a long way in putting him at the top of the pile.
    So, even though Tennant is my favorite, I think Smith is actually a better Doctor. He's still a bit manic, very funny, and he's got the gravitas out the wazoo. But there is something distinctly unreachable about Smith's Eleven, something decidedly alien. And that is where he pulls ahead for me. There is an age and a depth to him that seems impossible for a foppish 29-year-old. He's fantastic.
    I'm still a bit in the closet myself. Speaking as one, Who fanatics can be a dangerous lot! 🙂

    • But you hit the nail on the head there Maggie. We all find our own Doctors to be both excellent and relate-able. That is the wonderful benefit of being a Doctor Who fan. No matter which Doctor you fell in love with, that is "your" Doctor, the same Doctor we all love, just a new spin. It's a great motivator for binding the community together.

  13. "Let's Kill Hitler" was probably my favorite episode this season, maybe just behind the "Doctor's Wife". The story Moffat is weaving is dazzling.

    But Let's face it – Rory decked Hitler. One of the best moments of the season.

    • Rory is sort of the opposite of Mickey. Rory always was significant in Amy's life, and there is a good argument to the notion that Rory isn't changing/maturing as an action-hero so much as showing that it was in him all along.

      It's instructive to see how much, or how little, actual screen-time was given to Rory being a centurion. It was, perhaps, a third of a single episode (plus a hint of time in a second in that two-parter). Not much time. Yet it was so significant, in their relationship ("the boy who waited 2000 years, good for you, mate") and how it showed who he was. He emerged from that, willing to fire a gun to protect her, willing to die for her (again and again), and willing to deck the Doctor (and Hitler and …) when needed. (All this, from a nice guy with great hair and a pointy nose. It's fine writing and terrific acting.)

      And yes, the moment (in Let's Kill Hitler) when the three of them are in a line, trying to wrestle with what they've just learned about Mel/River, is great:
      > Rory: Does anybody else find this day just a bit difficult? I'm getting a sort of banging in my head.
      > Amy: Yeah, I think that's Hitler in the cupboard.
      > Rory: That's not helping.

      The point about being miniaturized and put into his wife's head (or an automaton thereof), is wild. ("I'm trying not to see this as a metaphor.")

  14. Other than feeling like it was too obvious that Mels was River (obvious before she even got out of the car), I really liked the episode.

    River's pretty much been my favorite character from the moment she showed up — solidified, of course, the first time she blew herself out the airlock after telling the Doctor she needed a lift. That combination of complete badass-ness and complete trust in the Doctor…well, how could she not be a favorite character? (My second/other favorite companion is Jack; he's better as a companion than as leader of Torchwood and, despite your misgivings, I really like Torchwood.)

    As far as favorite doctor…I like Matt Smith a lot, but I think Tennant's still my favorite. Smith's character is much more…volatile. Which is good — it makes for good tv — but it also makes him feel…less mature. There's an air of dignity, of age, that Tennant manages to project whether he's wearing his tie on his head and waving a banana at a clockwork robot or standing solemnly in a long coat, nodding, and turning away; fun as he is, Matt Smith doesn't have that yet. And while I love the fun that Smith brings, I feel like the role of the Doctor — as an ancient and powerful entity responsible for the rise and fall of civilizations — needs a level of gravitas that Tennant brought to the table.

    • Exactly. Tennant brought that feeling of ancient power and knowledge that Smith seems to have ignored in favor of the lackadaisical fool. Granted, "Let's Kill Hitler" and how Smith dealt with The Silence both featured well though out and almost brutal plans for countering an adversaries plans, it almost feels like Smith's Doctor is a step back from Tennants. Anyone else notice how Smith's coat changed in the last episode…almost Tennant-coat like…

  15. It's an not-quite-universally accepted belief in long term (pre 2005) Doctor Who fandom that a person's favorite Doctor is the one they grew up wirth or was the star when they first discovered the show. However, my partner (who is a post 2005 fan but often has genius insights*) has a theory that people's favorite Doctor is actually the first one who is the first Doctor they see from the beginning. So he, for example, even though he started watching with Eccelston, he imprinted on Tennant. Sounds like the same thing is happening to you with young Mr. Smith.

    (This imprintation isn't really just about the actor or his performance as the Doctor, but is about feeling ownership of the show in a unique way.)

    This theory sorta goes to shit if you watched the show on PBS in the States as a kid, but if you don't consider that you have to have discovered the Doctor "in real time", it does fit with me and my love of Peter Davison (first Doctor who I saw from regeneration going forward) and Sylvester McCoy (my first "real time" Doctor)

    * – Your belief in his genius may vary. I am certainly biased because it comes with a hearty helping of "OMG, there's a dude I think is hot AND I can make him interested in my all time favorite TV show." That is a power that may certainly confuse things. And when he's enough of a fan that he starts spouting his own theories about fandom in general — that's what we call, ladies and gentleman, a gay geek boner giver.

    • Yea, I actually saw a lot of Dr. Who on PBS, but it was so cheesy that I just couldn't get into it. I watched it because nothing else was on, but I am not going to rewatch any of those episodes.

      For me the first Doctor I was really fascinated by was played by Christopher Eccleston. His Doctor was a fascinating and tragic figure. The mystery and depth given to him by the time war was palpable whenever the subject came up. And at the same time he could have fun, could be inspiring, and all around fantastic.

      That's not to say Tennant or Smith are not good Doctors, but they don't inspire the same sense of grandeur, age, intelligence, and worldliness as Eccleston.

  16. Tom Baker was always my favourite, but I'm with you in that this season solidified my love for Matt Smith. He is TOTALLY my Doctor now. And he's just as awesome in real life!! (I met him and Karen Gillan for all of five seconds at a DVD signing in London, but he was super nice).

    Oh, and, series 5 was the first to be shot in HD (except Tennant's specials), which is probably why it looks more "expensive."

  17. I guess if you like soap operas, Matt Smith would be your favorite Doctor. Because that's all that Doctor Who is now – a soap opera. Matt Smith seems like a nice guy, Karen Gillan seems like a nice, if somewhat vapid girl, but I'm quite sick of this entire thing. I'm about ready to give up on Doctor Who. Thank god I just started watching all the classic episodes, although it still annoys me when I see something and realize that it's something that Moffat references just because he wants to prove how much he loves Doctor Who. I hope we're past Moffat sticking Hartnell's photo in every other episode. It's SOOOO overdone.

    • Agreed. Moffat sucks at giving the various characters a stake in the plot. We know from the beginning that everything will turn out OK, so that takes away any depth from the excellent acting and emotion that the actors give us.

      We know the Doctor will not really die, so all the histrionics about him falling over go nowhere. We know that River will turn out OK. We know that Amy and Rory are not dying any time soon. So there is really nothing for us to care about.

      And besides those four, there are no other characters in any of Moffat's episodes. It's a sitcom with four characters total – and that doesn't make for drama or interesting stories.

      • For me the best part is how Moff gets there, not the spoilers he's already revealed. I don't know why you guys don't care about the characters but I do — they're very well written and the acting is good. One way I define a soap opera is "pathetic" and I wouldn't say that about DW. Maybe it's not enough like classic DW or not your taste in TV but that doesn't mean that it sucks. Your tastes are different than others. The world has changed since DW began and I think it reflects those changing times.

  18. Matt Smith is SOOOOOOOOO good. I love Tennant but I really didn't care for any of the in between season specials and I think his last episode was so drawn out that I was almost ready to be done with him. Matt is brilliant at combining the pathos of being the last of his kind with the positiveness of being the savior of the universe constantly. The whole madness=brilliance thing is perfect with him.

  19. Yes, I love Matt. He's got a face that is good-looking, yet he can look old, old, old and time-lordy when he's in pain, or crying, or mad. And visually, the opening scene of Let's Kill Hitler, driving though that field, I just loved it immensely. This show grabs you with laughs and tears and the heroic, ever faithful Rory. One of my biggest failures as a human is that I have not succeeded in turning the husband or any friends into fellow Whovians and must go to the internet and Craig Ferguson to share my delight and joy in this show.

  20. David was my first doctor, Matt solidified his place as my doctor with his extraordinary performance with his ganger (even though I found those episodes to be dumb), and River is my favorite character.

  21. When it was first announced that Matt Smith was going to be the new Doctor, and I saw him for the first time (not in costume yet), I thought he was way too young and would never live up to Tennant or Eccleston, and I would hate him.
    Then I saw The Eleventh Hour…
    By the time he was eating fish fingers and custard, I loved his Doctor more than I ever liked 10 (who was kinda sexy, but had some annoying habits and [apart from the Moffat-written ones] far worse story lines).
    Like Neil Gaiman said, Matt can play the 900 year-old alien and the 12 year-old kid at the same time – and make you believe both.

  22. You're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong, go and watch some Tom Baker episodes and then BEG FORGIVENESS.

    But seriously though, Matt Smith is great and I like the more arc-y, long game-ish nature of Moffat's episodes. Also Rory is fantastic in every way.

    But Donna Noble was the best companion THERE I SAID IT.

  23. Also: still my favorite Smith line

    "Trust me, Amy"
    "But you don't always tell the truth"
    "If I always told the truth I wouldn't need you to trust me"

    That to me is the quintessential doctor/companion exchange.

  24. Rory is the best. He's the cheesy geek hero all of us want to be. He's somewhat sidekick, he's smart and witty (It was a miniaturization ray…. because there was a ray and we were miniaturized..) HE also dies a LOT and yet never gives up in his determination to save the (totally hot) woman he loves and who loves him back. Plus he fathered a Timelord. That's cool.

    I think it's less that Matt Smith is the best (Though he's damn good) but that the show since Moffat took the full reigns is the best.

  25. I like Matt Smith, but I'm a Tennant girl. Him and John Sim as the Master? Sublime. I also have completely irrational love for Peter Davison and his stick of celery.

    Moffat, on the other hand… this is basically blasphemy, but I think the show is poorer now. Important plot points (such as Mels) just appear out of nowhere, and there doesn't seem to be an overall plan for the series. Compare that with Bad Wolf or Vote Saxon, which were built up pretty steadily before the reveal. Don't get me wrong, Moffat writes great stand-alone episodes, Let's Kill Hitler being one and Blink, which still scares the pants off me, but as a show-runner, I'm not that impressed.

  26. Yea, no, I am sorry but you are wrong. Matt Smith is an excellent actor, but Moffat just doesn't give him anything. Or rather he doesn't give him any structure to act against. None of the Moffat episodes have any deep stakes. Everything is wimpy and pointless. We get some great acting against a flat white background which leads us nowhere.

    We know the Doctor is not going to die – either in the season premier, in the Hitler episode, or in season finale. Therefore all the hand wringing about it, all the histrionics fall completely flat. There is zero suspense there. Same thing with River – we know she is going to be fine, so that doesn't go anywhere. And that's about it – there are no other interesting characters in the last couple of seasons (except for the TARDIS).

    Basically, Moffat's episodes all have 3-4 characters total. There's the Doctor, there's Amy, and there is Rory. Nobody else stands out in any of his episodes. The background characters that show up and that cause all the running are basically 2-dimensional cardboard cutouts. Why should we care if a cardboard cutout lives or dies? And since we don't give a damn about those characters, we are left with just the standard 3-4 people.

    Same thing with "Let's Kill Hitler". Who there had any depth? There were just four characters, we knew they would all turn out fine, which made everything rather boring. Moffat's Dr. Who is basically a sitcom. And I've seen Friends episodes with more suspense than this last episode.

  27. Generalizations:
    Tennant era: Darker Doctor (heartbroken, mopey, sad) with lighter episodes
    Smith era thus far: Lighter Doctor with way darker episodes

    PS.> Best/worst thing about nerds.. "YOUR OPINION IS WRONG!"

  28. My first time commenting here, but I confess to being a little confused by the "you never actually think the Doctor might die" complaints. When, mid-season of any series, did you REALLY think the Doctor or one of the companions was going to kick it? I mean, if you watch any episode and think to yourself "oh wait, this is only ep. 3 of 10…" (or if you're just watching the DVDs for the first time and you know there's another 2 seasons of that actor as the Doctor, like I did with Tennant) it takes some of the suspense out of it, doesn't it ? Or am I missing something in that complaint? (I feel like I must be missing something in that complaint) Anyway, I actually kind of liked how Moffat started the season out with killing the Doctor. It obviously wasn't permanent, but it made me go "huh, how's he going to get himself out of this?"

    Also, I'm not sure I can ever qualify to be a true Whovian. I've tried to watch some old episodes of the revered Tom Baker. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't get past the production values to appreciate any possible nuance of the acting or storytelling. I'm a simpleton heretic, I know.

    • Well, in many (most?) of the Dr. Who episodes the suspense comes not from whether he would die, but from whether he will be able to save the side characters. These side characters used to be interesting and often in peril. Sometimes the Doctor could save them – sometimes he couldn't. And since you cared about the background characters and knew that they could easily just drop dead, you cared about whether the Doctor would succeed or fail.

      Moffat seems to be trying to create suspense by putting the main characters in danger. However, as I said, that just doesn't work. The emotional bond is there, but it's just impossible to believe that something will happen to these people. Some of the dangers they are in are so standard compared to the situations the Doctor has been in that it's ridiculous. I mean, poison lipstick, really? At that point why doesn't the Doctor just whip out a reverse poison lip gloss, like Giligan did when he dreamed of evil secret agents?

      Compare that to even the most basic background character like the game girl from "The Parting of the Ways". She was fun, she was neat, she was scared and terrified, she wanted a better life, was brave, fought the Daleks, and then she died. She was three dimensional and exhibited all sorts of emotions. She acted like a human instead of like a one-note automaton.

      OTOH, Moffat almost never has background characters that we could give a damn about.

    • Agree on one part, weak acting for the whole "voice interface-poison lipstick" interaction on Matt Smith's part. I expected better.

  29. Pertwee all the way! I just got through watching "Inferno" again and I was reminded of how awesome he was. Plus the companions were better, esp. in the 7th season. They were tough and not just sheep following the Doctor's lead. Plus Evil Brig with the eyepatch beats a dozen Hitlers.

  30. You Smith guys are going to have to deal with a parent that says, "This is a TOM BAKER household!" Or, maybe they'll say Peter Davidson. If they're really progressive, they might even say David Tennant.

    Luckily, it's very unlikely that they would say Colin Baker.

  31. David Tennant will most likely always be my favorite, even though I started with Eccleston (and haven't watched Old Who yet, so I know I've got a lot of history I'm not taking into account).
    Matt Smith is doing much better than I thought he would, and he's definitely endearing, but I am so unimpressed with Moffat. I enjoyed most of the episodes he wrote for Ten, but… I hate River Song with a burning passion. I didn't mind her in the Library episodes, but now that Moffat has made her into such a big role, she keeps shoving her face into everything. I wish she would just go away, which is a shame, as I really like Alex Kingston.
    I *love* Rory though and I'm intrigued to see how Moffat deals with The Doctor 'dying' as Eleven. I also want Neil Gaiman to write for DW all the time. The Doctor's Wife is the only episode of the last two seasons that I've really loved, but that's a whole different conversation.

  32. Moffat has actually been famously quoted as saying "I would get bored if I knew how everything turned out." when asked about his writing methods. It's also pretty well evidenced that he doesn't have much of a plan just a few major points and figures the rest out as he goes when you look at everything close.
    Mels only shows up in 1 episode, River had way more emotion talking to the doctor than any interaction she's had with her parents, etc…
    But thankfully the rules of the Whoniverse means we can explain away any of the missteps in previous planning as "oh well something changed." When talking with someone else on the subject they brought up the multiple timelines can explain away Mels sudden existence.

  33. I have to say my favorite of the more recent Doctors is still Christopher Eccleston. I was very sad that he only did one season. He gave a darker, more modern feel to the Doctor that was new. On the other hand, I will always have a soft spot for the Tom Baker Doctor, in spite of the hokey production values, as he was my first Doctor, and I love the fourth Doctor's gentle eccentricity. I also enjoyed Peter Davidson as the Doctor, and I really enjoyed the Seventh Doctor episodes (Sylvester McCoy), as they were really freaky and surreal. OK, I admit it, I have loved all the Doctors from John Pertwee on, except for Colin Baker, who was kind of irritating and whiney. I do enjoy the fact that the newer series have story arcs, rather than being strictly episodic, as the old ones were. I also have to say I enjoy River a lot. She is a very fun character – kind of across between Cat Woman and a female James Bond.

  34. Matt's definitely my favourite doctor. I didn't like Eccelston (however it's spelled) because his version of the doctor was way too heroic, which i hate. That and i hated Rose. David Tennant's Doctor was alright, but no previous Doctor has come close to Matt's crazy, fallible, genius version. After that's probably the fifth Doctor, because of his subtlety. Other than that, it depends which episode i'm watching at the time. Irrelevant, yes, but i had to say it out loud(ish).

  35. Yeah, I'm with the people who think you're wrong. Matt Smith is an excellent Doctor, don't get me wrong-I like him a lot. But David Tennant was better. There was a sense of emotion that David's (And Eccelston's) Episodes have that Smith's just…don't.

    It's lost in all the ridiculous showmanship. I loved Moffat's episodes for Eccelston and Tennant, but his first full season run reminded me a LOT of the First Mission Impossible movie.

  36. Having only just watched 'Let's Kill Hitler', I am completely confused as to why everyone is raving about it. It is…frankly, terrible. Why don't they change the title of the Show to 'The River Song' hour, and be done with it?

    • You nailed exactly what I hate about the show since Moffat took over as head writer. It has become ALL about River Sue. Even episodes/arcs that seemed to have nothing to do with her at first are retconned in (such as The Lodger). I wouldn´t mind River so much if she was an occasional supporting character, but she is completely taking over the show, and I´d really rather watch "Doctor Who" than "The River Song Show".

      I do like Matt as a Doctor, as well as Amy and Rory as companions – I just don´t like the overall storyline of Moffat´s two seasons and I can´t warm up to River.

      While I´ve enjoyed every Doctor I´ve seen so far, my favourites are Tennant, Eccleston, Smith and Tom Baker.

  37. My husband has been trying to convince me that Matt Smith is the better Doctor for a long time. While I can't say I agree to that, yet, I LOVE the Eleventh Doctor as Moffat writes him. Series 6 is honestly my favorite ever, and I've seen pretty much all of the classic series, as well a the new run. Rarely has a brilliant madman been so adept at weaving so many tangled plotlines. He must be one of the most manipulative people ever! And so Eleven has Seven beat as most manipulative Doctor. If any of you have read the books with Seven and Eight, you can see the huge influence in how Moffat handles the series. Dark, mad, complicated, and full of intimate personal drama. Let's Kill Hitler was his masterpiece. And River Song might just be one of the best science fiction characters ever created.

    And she is so much hotter when she is evil. The bad, bad girl…

  38. I agree with every single thing said here, with the exception of the fact that I do love River despite her flaws. I find her funny. And yes, I do adore Rory, he makes me want to cuddle him. I love Matt Smith as the doctor, but I do agree that this season is not as good. Whatever goes on in Moffat's head, he comes up with things that under any other cirumstances would be unacceptable (introducing a character to explain away everything, etc) he does it in a way that actually works. It comes together fairly well and you can't complain too much. I'm hoping that the rest of the episodes for this season go back to being like the last season altogether.

  39. I could never get into Dr. Who until I happened to catch the premier of the series restart, or whatever it's being called. Eccleston grabbed me as the Doctor, and I couldn't imagine liking it as much when he left. Then I really enjoyed David Tennant, and couldn't imagine enjoying it when he was replaced by this young guy. Now I'm loving the show even more. Is Smith my favourite Doctor? I don't know. He's definitely living up to the role, though.

  40. Moffat is awesome — both for Dr. Who and for his part in re-inventing Sherlock, imho. As far as fave dr…well, Eccleston surprised me and broke my heart! I started watching him (and Rose) because it looked so awful but got drawn in and then they knocked the wind outta me with the (surprise to me, remember, we were 1+ year behind in the US) departure of my dear doctor! He was so wonderful, the way he'd go from being a bit clueless and condescending to the newbie Rose, to showing glimpses of his heart's fondness for both Rose and his lost civilization. The Doctor Dances resonates!

  41. Smith is good, but catch Tennant alongside Patrick Fucking Stewart Himself in the BBC version of Hamlet and you will never want another doctor. Smith episodes are good, no mistake, but Tennant is the better Doctor.

  42. I like Smith; I love Tennant, and Eccleston will always have a soft spot as my first Doctor (I keep hearing you never forget your first Doctor, and repeat viewings of Eccleston introducing new viewers to things like Psychic Paper and Daleks is always thrilling and triggers the short term nostalgia).

    However, "Let's Kill Hitler" pissed me off. There were some frakking amazing ideas that, if handled correctly (i.e. given time to be absorbed) probably could've turned around a lot of the River-hate, but because someone decided we needed to get from baby Melody to the grown-up River we've gotten to know since Silence in the Library all in 45 minutes, there just wasn't time to appreciate the brilliance of things like Melody being "parented" by growing up with her parents or her weird fixation on her "best friend"'s "imaginary friend". These are things that should not have been handled in montages. These are things that should have had the time to get flashbacks throughout the episode.

    I feel like if "Let's kill Hitler" could've been an excellent two-parter, even keeping in the massive infodump about Melody's whole damn life up to becoming Alex Kingston. Two episodes is the bare minimum for this much character development, especially with other potentially cool stuff going on (You poor justice department. If only you'd gotten to really shine, perhaps by dropping a replacement Hitler while shrinking the real one and giving him a chance to run from your Antibodies for all eternity. Now that would've been a good way to "Give 'em Hell")

    Also, in answer to Josh's question, I'm pretty sure they don't get coffee or tea, but rather fish fingers and custard.

  43. I think Smith is my favorite right now but there's a caveat here — I actually agree with LogopolisMike's assessment… I've seen Tennant and Eccleston episodes before but Smith's are the first set I'm actually sitting through as they air. It's just how everything is laid down and set in motion in addition to Smith's tone in "the moments" if you know what im sayin'.

    As for the "Let's Kill Hitler" I feel the title was probably just to get people interested in the episode since Hitler had not very much to do at all with the episode other than being a happy accident of time to meet up with the Tesselector. But it all played out so perfectly, I can actually excuse all the tropes getting thrown about.

  44. MATT SMITH is THE Doctor.

    "Let's Kill Hitler" had some great one-liners, but felt a little disjointed to me as an ep. It seemed more like the X-mas eps than a part II following "A Good Man Goes to War." But River was excellent, I thought Matt Smith's physical acting when he was dying was great. Fun stuff!!

  45. I actually had the almost exact same conversation with my group of friends. At first I couldn't believe that Matt Smith could be in the conversation with Tennant. Slowly, I thought they pulled even. Now it's not even a race. Smith is My Doctor.

    It really came down to this question: If you had one episode that you would put in to convince someone who isn't a fan to watch, which would it be? And "Blink" doesn't count because the Doctor is barely in it.

    For me it came down to Eleventh Hour.

  46. David Tennant for the hotness – even though I had to suffer through Rose for a bit. He was so much more… troubled. Unfortunately I like that in a guy.

    Moffat's episodes WERE the best episodes with ANY doctor. Hands down.

    River? I saw all this coming. I knew all of this before the episodes tell me it's so. I was actually thinking, "Does this mean we get to see less of her now?"

  47. I really enjoy Matt Smith as the new doctor..But im still in love with David Tennant ( sexy scottsman, with whom I would have many bastard babies with). I am pleased with the change up from Tennant to Smith. Smith has deffinetly proven himself to stroke the TARDIS. The "Lets Kill Hitler "episode made my head explode! The writting is deffinetly fantastic and it does look like they have increased budget. So In a way I absolutely Agree with you Joel, But I cant completly give out on Tennant (sex god, lots of babies).

  48. Matt is my favorite too! It really only took me until "The Lodger" to figure it out, because I think Matt's Doctor interacts with people and events the way a geeky alien should. 9 was… I really don't like 9, and I won't get into that now. 10 was too human, but until 11 I don't think I fully realized it. And about that whole thing with Moffat having a big master plot? So did RTD in Series 4 with Donna. I love Series 4, because it has a whole master plan not only within that one series, but with ALL of the Tennant episodes, bringing them to one great big crescendo at Journey's End. No, I don't know why I'm telling you all this.

    • Please do not use "crescendo" as a synonym for "apex, zenith, goal, target, peak". The word is about the climb, the growing, the aggrandissement, the journey that is increasing in intensity/volume.

      Imagine someone coming back from Mt. Everest and boasting that they "got to the climb." That's how you used the word.

      To a musician, this is a big deal. (It's like miswriting the contraction, it's, in front of an English teacher.)

  49. Matt Smith was actually my introduction to the series, but once I heard that very short exchange:
    "So you never interfere with the affairs of other people or planets, unless there's children crying?"
    "Precisely"
    I was hooked. I've seen Eccleston and Tenant now, and Smith just has it.

    As I am putting on a shirt for all the world to see…

    "My doctor is eleven…"

  50. Used to be Tom Baker (4th) until Tennant came along, now I live Tennant/Smith equally and then Tom Baker. Worst Doctor remains Colin Baker (6th) though. I like River song, but loathe Amy with the fire of a thousand Pyrovilles….

  51. I am too in love with David Tennant and the 10th Doctor to ever let anyone else be *my* Doctor. That being said, I was really unsure about Smith for a while, and I don't think it was until The Doctor's Wife that he fully won me over. He does bring a lot to the show, and I think he has all of the facets that the Doctor needs, but I loved Eccleston's war-torn Doctor and Tennant's angsty Doctor because I kind of feel like the Doctor needs some darkness to him. Smith pulls it out every once in a while, but sometimes I just feel like he's not *quite* edgy enough. I was also really upset when I found out that Russel T. Davies was done writing for the show, but Stephen Moffat is a friggin' genius. Nobody beat Neil Gaiman, though. When is he gonna do another guest episode? Does want.

  52. I wasn't going to, but I'm going to weigh in on this one, because if the subject of Doctor Who doesn't get me to post a comment, nothing will. Matt Smith is a decent Doctor, I will give you that. He's less human than Eccleston and Tennant, which is what the Doctor needs to be. Eccs was good enough to get me invested in the series, and Tennant just won me over.

    Admittedly, when I came on board, it was when Smith was about to take over. Knowing that kept me from continuing on with the series after "The End of Time." It was like being dumped, you want to move on, but are afraid of losing them forever.

    Eventually, I decided to start watching Smith episodes. And I won't lie, I did not go in with an open mind. I wanted to find any excuse to hate him. I picked apart everything; the new title sequence, the new TARDIS interior, whatever little thing I could. However, even then, it couldn't last. I have to admit, Matt Smith makes a pretty good Doctor. I'm finally moving on from Tennant and accepting him. My one thing now is that I haven't gotten far into the Smith episodes. My roommate, whom I introduced to the series, is dragging his feet even more than I am (and that's saying something) over the loss of Tennant and we've been making achingly slow progress. Plus, it doesn't help that we don't have cable.

    But, long story short, I am coming around. Tennant will always reign over my heart as the one true Doctor. As @LogopolisMike pointed out, he was the one that was "current" when I came into the series, so he's made his indelible mark. Tom Baker close second, but I imagine Smith can be tied for it, given time.

  53. I love Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys is one of my fav novels, a d
    Mr. Punch and so much if his other work with McKean is awesome… But Doctors Wide us one if the few episodes if the modern era Who that I’ve hated. The whole “700 years of traveling together” thing just ruins the mystery of how accurate the doctor’s claim to be 900ish is (which is far too young, especially since 7 was already 857!)

  54. OK, I'm finally getting all caught up with HE and then I hear that Matt Smith is your favorite Doctor. For shame… I'll cut you some slack because you made the Planetary Help For Free tee with Tennant. It's become a hit with my bar friends.

    If you (or anyone else) is in NYC, check out the steampunk/Doctor Who themed bar Way Station in Brooklyn. It's got a TARDIS and plays the latest Doctor Who on Sundays. Excellent place!

  55. My favorite (and first) Doctor, is still John Pertwee, though I did enjoy the few Tennant eps I had been able to catch before I quit watching TV.

  56. YyRrRoYou've only seen the new doctor whos (probably from christopher eccleston til now) so you've only had limited exposer and not a full who fan you be missing about 40 years of tardis adventures it is meant to have aired along side kirk and star trek

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