“The way I see it, every life has a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
As I post this, I am eagerly awaiting Peter Capaldi’s start as the 12th Doctor. Why has Doctor Who maintained popularity, despite a cancellation? I believe it’s because the premise has so much freedom. It’s also because, in my opinion, not one of the actors has done a bad job as the Doctor. So let’s conclude this with a spotlight on Matt Smith.
About Matt Smith
At 31 years, Matt Smith is the youngest actor to play the Doctor (before him, it was Peter Davison). He was born in Northampton, England. He initially wanted to be a football player, but that changed when he contracted spondylosis. (this was alluded to in “The Lodger”. ) He became an actor in 2003, starring in BBC productions based on works by Phillip Pullman (of The Golden Compass fame). His first major role was in Party Animals in 2007.
- Russell T. Davies stepped down as show-runner and handed over the role to Steven Moffat.
- The show went through four different openings, with the fourth bringing back the feature of the Doctor’s face. This is the most an opening has had.
- Beginning with Series 6, each season was cut in half.
Although Matt Smith isn’t my new #1 Doctor (he’s #5 for me), I’m sorry to see him go. I’ve enjoyed his child-like energy and the familial relationship he had with Amy, Rory, and River.
River Song (Alex Kingston)
With Matt Smith, River became even more interesting. We learned she has Time Lord DNA (in “A Good Man Goes to War” and “Let’s Kill Hitler”) and that her parents are Amy and Rory. She is also the Doctor’s wife and was conditioned by a conspiracy to kill the Doctor, but eventually overcame it.
Amy Pond and Rory Williams (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill)
First Appearance: “The Eleventh Hour” (note: Rory does not officially join until “Vampires in Venice”)
Last Appearance: “The Angels Take Manhattan”
Amy and Rory are the only married couple we’ve ever seen in the TARDIS. For this reason, I thought it best to spotlight them simulataneously. Amy’s determination makes her an excellent character and I love how she plays the Doctor’s moral compass. Rory was the companion time could not kill, though it tried several times (it finally caught up with him in “The Angels Take Manhattan”, sadly), and he had lots of awesome moments.
The Paternoster Gang [Madame Vastra, (Neve McIntosh), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart), and Commander Strax (Dan Starkey)
First Appearance: “A Good Man Goes to War”
Most Recent Appearance: “The Name of the Doctor”
These three characters are not companions in the traditional sense, but they are too important to skip over. They specialize in paranormal investigation and it’s hinted that Vastra and Flint were the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (note: Steven Moffat also controls Sherlock) and have aided him several times. Strax is my favorite of the three.
Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna Louise-Coleman)
First Appearance: “Asylum of the Daleks” (does not officially join until “The Snowmen”)
Most Recent Appearance: “The Name of the Doctor”
Clara is “the impossible girl”. She appeared to the Doctor in three different timelines before he finally acquired her in “The Bells of St. John”. She fought the Great Intelligence (an old enemy dating back to Troughton’s era in the missing episodes “The Abominable Snowman” and “The Web of Fear”) by spreading herself out throughout the Doctor’s timeline, eventually meeting all his incarnations.
“The Eleventh Hour”
This is an excellent introduction to Matt Smith’s character and the arc for series 5.
“The Beast Below”
This is a story that greatly imitates Classic Doctor Who while keeping things fresh. I thought the “space whale” was a neat idea.
“Time of the Angels/”Flesh and Stone”
The Weeping Angels are back and even creepier than before! We also learn much more about River Song.
“The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Bood”
This story reintroduces the Silurians, who haven’t been seen since “Warriors of the Deep”, during Peter Davison’s era.
“Vincent and the Doctor”
The Doctor meets one of my favorite painters, Vincent Van Gogh. I love the ending!
“The Pandorica Opens”/”The Big Bang”
The first finale of Matt Smith’s era resolves the arc of series 5 and shows the Doctor at his most methodological. He is a true guile hero.
“The Impossible Astronaut”/”Day of the Moon”
This story introduces the Silence and answers more questions about River Song.
“The Doctor’s Wife”
Neil Gaiman’s first story for Doctor Who proves he has what it takes to write for the show (was there ever any doubt?).
“Let’s Kill Hitler”
A story where Rory punches Hitler? YES, PLEASE!
“The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe”
Verity Lambert, the first producer of Doctor Who, described the Doctor as CS Lewis meets Father Christmas. So why not an episode that pays tribute to CS Lewis? It’s my favorite Christmas episode so far.
“A Town Called Mercy”
This was a great western-themed story.
“Bells of St. John”
Clara officially joins and we get reintroduced to The Great Intelligence. I should also note that “The Web of Fear” has mostly been restored with some animation.
“The Rings of Akhaten”
Clara learns the responsibility of being a companion in this beautiful story.
“Nightmare in Silver”
Gaiman’s second story brings in Warwick Davis of Willow and Return of the Jedi fame. It’s excellent! Please Mr. Gaiman, write more stories!
“The God Complex”
I’m not bothered by the fact that two atheists have run Doctor Who since its revival because, for the most part, both have treated Christianity with an air of respect. This is a hypocritical episode and I did not enjoy it at all.
“The Power of Three”
I wanted to like this one because it was introducing Kate Steward, the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Although I really hope we see more of her, the story was so slowly paced that I could not really enjoy it.