Welcome back! For today’s blog, I’d like to take a somber moment to pay tribute to the man behind the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith. My fiance has a blog up about this as well that you can read: http://richardsweeklyjournal.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/goodbye-my-doctor/). Let’s kick things off with how I first got into Doctor Who.
During a three month-long trip I had visiting my fiance back in 2011, I saw “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” with him and two friends. By this point, they were all into Doctor Who, whereas I was basically the newbie. The most I’d seen prior to that was “The Long Game” during the first New Who series, and I only did so to watch Simon Pegg. I didn’t connect with the Doctor or what was going on because it was midway through the season. Anyway, after the holidays were over, my fiance sat me down and got me started on Series 5, where he had also gotten into the show. We watched the entirety of it and I was hooked. We then went backwards and saw from Series 1-4. We also watched the TV movie with Paul McGann, and individually we’ve seen episodes from the 1st and 2nd Doctors, as well as the 7th Doctor’s run. But for me, my love of the show started with Matt Smith.
Even with the 2011 Christmas special, I felt a connection with the 11the Doctor from the start. He had so much boundless energy and excitement in everything he did. But it wasn’t until I watched his first series that I quickly grew to love and adore him. He was goofy, dorky, a bit scary when angered and seemed so old despite his youthful appearance. I felt that Matt Smith easily brought the versatility to the role that so many other Doctors had. He was able to be light and fun one minute, and immediately become serious and determined the next. No matter what the writing, whether solid or a bit flimsy, Matt always seemed to bring the best performance he could.
This Doctor’s also had many friends, and Matt has had great chemistry with all of them. Amy and Rory quickly became my favorite companions, and I loved the dynamic between them and the Doctor. I enjoyed his flirting with River Song and how well they played off each other. And, even though I still feel I have to warm up to her, I’ve grown to enjoy his playful interactions with Clara. It’s a shame they won’t get more after this Christmas. I especially enjoyed his appearance on “The Sarah Jane Adventures.” While Elisabeth Sladen was taken from us too soon, I’m glad she and Matt got screentime together. His Doctor fit right in with Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant, making for a lot of sentimental moments despite it being their first time meeting his incarnation.
Like I said before, one of the reasons I love this Doctor is because he’s such a dork. This is not just because of Matt’s lanky frame or boy-ish face, but also because of his fashion choice. This Doctor loved his hats (you already know about the fez) and bow ties, and he wore them with style (sorta). I also loved how in tune he was with modern things, such as his hatred for Twitter and apparent love for the Wii (high five on both accounts). This Doctor was also like a little kid, awkward teenager and old man rolled into one. When the Doctor had to convey his old age, you felt it in Matt’s performance. You could see the pure joy on his face when he played with gadgets or got into Christmas. And you could laugh at his awkward behavior when someone planted a (usually) unwanted kiss on him.
But one of my favorite things was when the Doctor would get serious or angry, even downright scarily so. I once read an article describing David Tennant’s 10th Doctor having a fiery anger and Matt Smith’s 11th having an icy anger, which I think is very appropriate. This Doctor was secretive, a bit manipulative and always banking on his cleverness when times got tough. That’s also why I loved the episode “Nightmare in Silver” solely for Matt’s performance. On one hand, you have him as the Doctor, being goofy but quickly devolving into seriousness when the stakes get raised. And on the other hand, you have his performance as Mr. Clever, the Cyberleader, which is pure villain hamminess at its best. It makes me happy he’s currently moved on to playing Patrick Bateman in the “American Psycho” musical. He plays darkness well, even in a character who we’re supposed to side with week after week.
At the end of the day, I’m going to miss Matt Smith and my Doctor. As I’ve said, I’m very excited to see what Capaldi brings to the role and my next blog will be a review of “Time of the Doctor.” Series 8 will feel ages away after that. Until then, I just want to say: Thank you, Matt. If it weren’t for you, I don’t think I’d be so obsessed with this silly sci-fi show you only recently were a part of. I wish you all the best with future projects and, for my sake, I will continue to love and cherish the 11th Doctor’s legacy even after the show eventually ends.