Despite the title of my blog, I find I rarely get a chance to write about many of my geeky interests here. Japan and traveling are far and away my most common topics, and I’m not looking to change that anytime soon. That being said, I still love letting my geek flag fly with total abandon. Joining Mind Equals Blown in February has given me an opportunity return to writing about music on a regular basis, and I’m stoked to announce that I’m jumping onto the staff of its sister site, Dead Screen, which focuses more on television, film, and video games. The site doesn’t officially launch until July 15th, but you can still head over to check out the content that’s up so far.
As far as my role goes, I’ll mainly be writing about Doctor Who, which is enough to get every geek cell in my body fired up. This editorial was the first piece I wrote for Dead Screen, and it originally appears here.
When Matt Smith announced that he’d be leaving Doctor Who after this yearend’s Christmas special, you’d have thought someone had died, judging from my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Reactions ranged from “WHY, MATT SMITH, WHYYYYYY?!” to “The next Doctor will never fill his shoes” to the ever-so-slightly overdramatic “I don’t want to live in a world where Matt Smith isn’t The Doctor.” To put it lightly, people weren’t greeting the announcement that Smith had decided to move on, apparently of his own accord, with happy smiles and rainbows.
Maybe I’m totally alone in this, but I’m glad that Smith has decided to hang up his bowtie and fez and move on. That’s not to say that I didn’t like The Eleventh Doctor. True, it did take me an episode to warm up to his floppy hair, green-lighted sonic screwdriver, and penchant for proclaiming that so many of his sartorial choices were cool. But by and large, I’ve thought that Smith absolutely rocked it as The Doctor.
I loved how he could be completely goofy (see this gif) at times, only to turn dead serious and – dare I say it? – even a bit menacing at others, like during his “There’s one thing you never put in a trap” speech during one of the best episodes of his run, “The Time of Angels.” I loved the rapport he had with the Ponds and, more recently, Clara. I loved the way he’d say “Geronimo!” before jumping headlong into danger. I loved it all. (For the record though, when it comes to new Who, David Tennant will always be number one with a bullet in my heart. Yes, I am one of those stubborn fangirls.)
See, the reason I’m glad Matt Smith is leaving doesn’t really have to do with any disappointment or dislike I direct towards him. Instead, it’s because of the very nature of Doctor Who itself. There are so many things that set the show apart from anything else on the air, but I’d say the primary aspect is the fact that the main character has been played by eleven (twelve if you count John Hurt’s brief appearance in the last episode) different actors. The Doctor’s Gallifreyan ability to regenerate his physical form means that a character who has been around for almost fifty years has been constantly evolving and being reinvented with different quirks, personality traits, and styles, all whilst keeping the same core intact. The Doctor is possibly the only television character who is both the most consistently familiar and varied.
There have been so many different faces to this awesome character, and every single actor, from Tom Baker to Christopher Eccleston, has brought their A-game to make The Doctor their own. And I say it’s time for a new face, a new incarnation.
If The Doctor keeps the same face for an extended period of time, it negates the thing that makes show so fantastic. It would mean that The Doctor had become static, predictable, and even boring – and those are three things that Doctor Who is definitely not.
What it really comes down to is articles. William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith…they’d all played The Doctor. They’ve all jetted around the cosmos in the TARDIS and saved the world countless times.
But each of those eleven actors really only played a Doctor. They were just one facet of an eleven-sided die. None of them could be the Doctor, not permanently or definitively. Just as The Doctor constantly keeps cavorting across the universe, so do the actors continually enter and exit the Whoverse. Each of their stints has been awesome in its own way…and because of that, I don’t view Matt Smith’s departure with sadness. Instead, I’m excited to see who will be the twelfth face of The Doctor’s die.
To borrow one of The Eleventh Doctor’s catchphrases, “Geronimo!” Bring on The Twelfth.