Sunday, January 23, 2011

Doctor Who Series 5 is Near-Perfect: Part 4

Here we go. The fourth part in my four part blog about why I believe Series 5 of Doctor Who is Near-Perfect. It doesn't have completely to do with the fact that the Matt Smith Doctor-age is like a giant puzzle and it doesn't have completely to do with the fact that I think Matt Smith is a better Doctor than David Tennant, although it has to do with both.

...and half of you have stopped reading already.

Really? I think Matt Smith is a better Doctor than David Tennant?

What is this Whovian blasphemy? Let me explain.

Now, I loved David Tennant as The Doctor and as I said in Part 3, David Tennant is one of the most amazing actors I have ever had the pleasure of watching perform. He was great in his version of Hamelt (which I am 4/5ths of the way through. What? It's long.) and even wonderful in the, what, fourteen seconds he was in "Harry Potter". But as The Doctor, he was...human.

Tennant could play angry and he could play a heartbreaking sad attitude as well. Sure, he would always talk about the misfortunes and the wonders of humanity but at the same time, he held many of the ideas, thought pattens, and consciousness of a human. Albeit, a human genius, but a human nonetheless.

Smith's Doctor has the alien-like aura to him which he brings to the screen in an amazing way. He's youthful, bright, bubbly soul, and he's not as self-centered. He's clumsy and funny, and he even makes a lot of mistakes. Which, oddly enough, makes him a better Doctor.

In the very first episode of Series 5 where The Doctor needs to find Prisoner Zero, he's without a fully working TARDIS, his sonic screwdriver gets busted, and he's in a tiny town with nothing more than "a Post Office, which is closed!" All of the classic Doctor trademarks gone, and he has twenty minutes to ward off the destruction of the planet Earth. He tries something, it fails. He tries something else, it also fails. He seems to have no way out. And then he comes through when he notices tiny, tiny things wrong. With nothing more than a cellular phone, The Doctor comes through.

Now, the first time I watched that episode, something felt off and I didn't know why. I knew that I was beginning to like Smith's acting but I was firm to the belief that Tennant would always be my Doctor. And to an extent, he always will be, but something was different about Smith.

In "The Beast Below", Smith's Doctor showed anger towards the human, "Nobody human has anything to say to me today!" but he also showed selflessness. In "Victor y of the Daleks", he was able to keep his humor firm but still poignant by shouting at a Dalek, while brandishing a biscuit, “All right, it’s a Jammy Dodger, but I was promised tea!” And in each episode along the way, The Doctor shows a new side of himself. Sometimes completely alien, and sometimes compassionately overwhelmed with feelings of longing towards humans. Which, still, to be fair, is very alien.

And as I watched Smith's episodes, I realized what felt "off" to be about Matt Smith. He was alien. He made mistakes. He had a real sense of humor, to himself and others thought he was odd. He didn't aim to change the course of time "unless there were children crying", and he sure as heck didn't have a God-complex. His performance was much lighter than Tennant, with the ability to go just as dark. "Hello, I'm the Doctor," he warned the Atraxi in the premiere. ""

Ooh, still gives me chills.

Then, as I was watching Smith's Series 5 play out, I realized how each episode was a puzzle piece that fit together. In Eccleston's Series and the begging of Tennant's, Bad Wolf played a part in most of the episodes much like the Time Crack in Smith's episodes. But by the end, we find out that "Bad Wolf" was created by Rose to lead herself there. But there are a lot of inconsistencies and gaps in the story where the viewer forgets about Bad Wolf and then when it's explained, it's kind of a flash in the pan reaction. Like, that was it?

Smith's episodes are much more consistent. The Time Crack is shown in nearly every episode and even plays a large role in half of them. The viewer never forgets about the Time Crack and is constantly learning more about it. Each episode fits together like parts of a well-oiled machine. If you miss an episode, you miss important information. And even more-so, Series 5 and Series 6 will be linked together by "Silence will fall". Rather than rebooting a story-arc every Series, I think this continuous theme is something wonderful.

So, in closing, David Tennat will always be my first Doctor, but I believe Matt Smith is a better Doctor.

Now, please. Put your pitchforks away and talk amongst yourselves in the comments. I'm curious as to what you guys feel.

Go back and read: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3