Saturday, June 1, 2013
So Long, Matt, And Thanks For All The Bow Ties
Being a Doctor Who fan in the 21st century must be very difficult. Just when you're settled in with a quirky Time Lord, he suddenly has to regenerate.
Chris Eccleston lasted one year, David Tennant four years, and now we hear Matt Smith is hopping off the TARDIS for good at the end of the Christmas special. I remember when I saw his first episode at Wondercon in the spring of 2010. Here's a link to that. I wasn't sure a Time Lord in his 20's could actually fill Tennant's shoes. Well, he could, and more. Having a sharp Scottish girl in Karen Gillan also helped.
Now, Smith has announced he's calling it a day. However, there's still the 50th anniversary special, which will include a clone of the 10th Doctor (remember him?), Rose Tyler from the days of Nine, and John Hurt as...The Doctor. That was what the end of "The Name of the Doctor" said, right?
After that, we start the long good-bye under the Christmas tree.
You know, when I was a boy, I didn't have to worry about the Doctor suddenly regenerating, or how girls would comment about how handsome he was. I started with Tom Baker, and he, his afro, and really long scarf lasted with me from puberty to adulthood.
Then, Peter Davison, who I knew from All Creatures Great and Small, suddenly took over. He was young and handsome, but still a Time Lord who had lived for centuries but had a lot to learn. His tenure was shorter compared to Baker, and then Colin Baker, a Technicolor nightmare, showed up. I liked him better in the Trial of a Time Lord season, but bad special effects and BBC labor disputes made his time shorter than it had to be.
Sylvester McCoy restored my faith in the show, despite a terrible soundtrack. At least it included the return of the Brigadier, who was wise to quit while he was ahead. McCoy could have lasted longer, but the BBC pulled the plug for a very long time.
This was back when we could see new episodes through local fan clubs, mostly by bootleg VHS tapes. We also met the cast through local conventions way before Comic-Con became what it is now. Back then, we didn't hear about a new Doctor Who three nanoseconds after the UK did, then discuss who'll take over two seconds after that. It usually took a week for that process to happen 30 years ago, but that's technology for you.
So, what's next? Will Matt Smith arrive for his farewell tour at Comic-Con, even if a few fans REALLY WISH he doesn't leave?
Of course! We let David Tennant wave goodbye when he announced he was leaving four years ago. Same thing for Karen Gillan.
There will be a few fans moaning what will they do with their bow ties now. Answer: keep dressing like Eleven if that's how you roll, as will Who cosplayers who dress like Three through Ten. Maybe someone who dresses like Eight will be spotted at Comic-Con.
Just cheer for Matt Smith, thank him for all the bow ties, and let him head off for other things, just as Tennant and Eccleston did.
Then we spend the summer asking, Who's Next? John Hurt would be a great idea, if he is "The Doctor" in the next episode in November. Have him make it official, while, for the first time since 2005, he'll be inheriting a companion in Clara. Maybe that's why she was let in on the fact that the Doctor changes bodies every once in a while.
Of course, some are lobbying for a female doctor. Amy Acker has been nominated, as has Olivia Williams of Dollhouse. Why not a black Doctor, like Chiwetel Ejiofor?
Technically, David Morrissey has been The Doctor. If not for The Walking Dead, that would be a good choice. For those who want an older Doctor, you can't lose with Anthony Stewart Head (even though he was a slick alien headmaster in a previous episode). A few have nominated Eddie Izzard.
I have an off-the-wall suggestion: Mads Mikkleson, who has been the scariest thing to come to TV in years in Hannibal. Imagine a guy like that as a Time Lord. Yes, we know Hannibal will be back next year, but a Time Lord who has Hannibal Lecter's clinical personality, but not...well...the creepier side. Even the Cybermen would know to turn around. So would the Weeping Angels.
It is going to a cruel summer for Who fans. They'll have to say so long to Eleven, and hope Twelve will work out. I'm guessing the BBC may hold off on a choice until Comic-Con. With thousands of fans at one spot ready to send Matt Smith off, what better time is there?