There comes a time in anyone's life when they were first introduced to Doctor Who. I don't think there is anyone over the past 50 years who hasn't heard of at least something about our favourite Time Lord. It has seeped into our memories of a time when Sci-Fi was new, where crazy ideas of a Mad Man in a Blue Police Box that was bigger on the inside was such a crazy concept, but it worked.
I'm going to tell my story of how I got into Doctor Who, my thoughts and why to me Doctor Who is the best show on Television today, and of course why Matt Smith became my favourite Doctor.
Ready? Let's go!
YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST DOCTOR
For me it was 4 years ago when I first heard the call of the TARDIS. I actually remember hearing so much about Doctor Who from friends and in the podcasts I listened to that it was only a matter of time before I gave in and started watching. However, the turning point for me was when I saw in my podcast feed an episode of The Nerdist where they talked to Matt Smith. I knew he was about to become the next Doctor, but didn't know what it all meant. I did probably the most insane thing I could do. I gave in and I actually stopped listening to The Nerdist all together so that I could finally dive into the universe of Doctor Who, catch up and then listen to the Matt Smith episode.
I of course like many Whovians (a fan of Doctor Who) I started with the revised version of Doctor Who starting in 2005. There hadn't been a new series of episodes for the Doctor since 1996 (not counting the televised movie). I knew there was so much history of the show and I first I was worried that because of it's history I would get so lost in the back story. However, like some good reboots, you catch on quickly.
The phrase commonly uttered among fans of "You never forget your first Doctor" never rang more true when I saw Christopher Eccleston first appear on screen and hearing him say "Run!" I immediately began to run with him. I'll admit the first episode as a whole didn't get me on board, it was Eccleston as a weird alien with a Blue Box Space Ship that also was a Time Machine that had me sucked in. I loved it! As someone who loves stories I loved that every episode took a concept of a Sci-Fi "What if?" and turned a whole episode around it! Like "What if Mannequins could come to life?" or "What if I could see the moment where my parent dies?" or "What would reality shows in the future be like?" There are many great episodes like that in the entire post 2005 series that I just love!
The way that the Doctor was portrayed by Christopher as a fun loving crazy man but with a dark soul intrigued me. I wanted to know more about him and what made him this way. When I saw his regeneration into the Tenth Doctor, I was shocked and surprised. I knew David Tennant was the next actor to take the role, but I had no idea it was going to happen after only one season of Eccleston. I actually shed a tear when it happened and I was afraid I wouldn't like Tennant and my Doctor Who journey would be over.
Boy was I wrong.
WIBBLY WOBBLY TIMEY WIMEY
For the sake of your time reading this, I won't go into a lot of details about my time with the Tenth Doctor, but to say this. I liked him. A lot.
He was perfect casting for the show. I loved his sense of curiosity and intensity. He could be manic, dark, fun and passionate. He's had his run of companions though. Rose whom I loved in the first series, to me felt a bit out of place with Tennant. They were great together but something was off. Martha never really caught on with me as much I was hoping even after the most popular episode "Blink" but then again she isn't in it much so I think that may be the reason why. Donna at first was so annoying to me. I couldn't get into her as she was a bit too abrasive. However, after rewatching the episodes again, Donna quickly became one of my favourite companions.
Also as much as I shed tears when Eccleston regenerated, I bawled my eyes out when Tennant ended his run. The phrase "I don't want to go" never hurt more than any other phrase except for maybe "O Captain My Captain".
STILL NOT A GINGER BUT OH JUST AS GOOD
So suffice it to say I finally did get back to listening to The Nerdist and picking up where I left off with Matt Smith. I was excited to see what the youngest actor to play The Doctor would do. I knew the original showrunner and main actor was leaving and the 5th series of the show would be all brand new and kind of reset some of the story. So I was excited and nervous. I knew the fanbase was so in love with Tennant that I thought they wouldn't give Smith a chance. They did, even I did. However the consensus was "Smith was good, but definitely not Tennant good." I had the same reaction too. I liked him good enough and the adventures he had with Amy and Rory Pond were fun and for the first time I think I got to see what looked like a great friendship between the three actors that you could tell were mates outside of the show.
The "Girl Who Waited" storyline with the crack in the wall, The Silence and the fleshed out story of River Song (my favourite character from the Tennant era) was great. Hard to follow at times but still great.
The Impossible Girl storyline when Clara came onboard was good as well. I think it was harder to follow than Amy's story but still fun.
I finally caught up with the show by around the 6th season was about to start so I got to see all the episodes as they came out. I don't know if it was the time in between episodes but it was hard to get really excited for the show then have to stop being excited as we waited, at one point a full year, before we got to see anything new. I got to see the 50th Anniversary live which was fantastic. I actually think it's by far the best "episode" they've ever done. I have watched it now five times and I'm still learning new stuff and finding great moments in it. I watched the Christmas special where Matt Smith wore his bow tie for the last time and I was sad, but again not as emotional as I once did.
So as I waited until the next series where Peter Capaldi took over I thought it would be great to rewatch the show again as I had only technically watched all the episodes once.
That's when everything about Doctor Who changed for me.
I'LL ALWAYS REMEMBER WHEN THE DOCTOR WAS ME
Something happened as I started to rewatch the show again at the beginning of the summer. I was really excited to watch my first Doctor on screen again and was looking forward to feeling the same things I felt when I saw it the first time. I was wrong. There were some really tough moments to watch. I started to not enjoy Eccleston as I . I actually skipped over almost the entire first series because I just didn't want to watch some episodes.
However, I thought it's okay, Tennant is great and I could really enjoy him. For the most part he was great. There were episodes I enjoyed more the second time through. Even "Blink" was better the second time around. But, it didn't give me the same spark I had when I started watching the show. Don't get me wrong it wasn't a chore to watch the series again, my attitude was different. Maybe because I knew what was going to happen so that pressure was off, but it became apparent that although still my favourite TV show, it didn't hold that same spark as when I first saw it.
That was until I started watching the Matt Smith Episodes.
Series 5 started off with a bang and I hopped on the crazy train that I wasn't ready for. Smith's fast talking, hands flapping, raggidy man, "Bow ties are cool" acting blew me away. Even though he was young, he slowly began to portray a performance that showed there was an old man underneath that young exterior. Smith made the character his own and made him so much different than what his predecessors before made him. There were so many great moments in each episode that I thoroughly enjoyed that I got excited to watch each episode. As well the story lines that I got confused about was starting to make sense and more fun to see unfold. I cried when Amy and Rory left in "Angels Take Manhattan". I cheered when he stood on that rock at Stonehenge and gave that speech in "Pandorica Opens". I had goosebumps in "The Time of Angels" when he exclaims you never ever put him in a trap. I laughed when he becamecraig's roommate in "The Lodger". I felt all those same things in "A Good Man Goes To War". I repeated the line we're all thinking of in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". As a Western fan I shivered with glee as I watched "A Town Called Mercy". Even the Storytelling Muse in me fell in love with Neil Gaiman's episodes "The Doctor's Wife" and "Nightmare in Silver".
It could be argued that it could've been the storytelling improved as the series went on. However, I felt all those moments because of how Matt Smith participated in those moments. Sure I felt the same way in moments with Eccelston and Tennant but I never had more emotional ups and downs as I did with Smith. Even in the 50th Anniversary where he's acting alongside Tennant, he doesn't get lost in the shadow of David. He stands on his own. Smith proved he could play the Doctor and he played him well.
ELEVEN'S HOUR IS OVER NOW
I had a different theory as to the phrase "You Never Forget Your First Doctor" when I first starting writing this as I had always attributed that to my first time seeing Eccleston on screen. However, as I thought of how I came to the world of Doctor Who I began to think, well maybe Eccleston wasn't my first Doctor. In an indirect way if it wasn't for The Nerdist inviting Matt Smith on to talk Doctor Who I wouldn't have made the leap into the show. Unless I jumped into the TARDIS and hopped through the Void into another universe to see if I would eventually see the show. All that being said, all I know is right here in this universe if it wasn't for Matt Smith, I wouldn't have gotten into and enjoyed the hours of Sci-Fi goodness this show has given me.
So as I am about to watch the first episode of The 12th Doctor, I have to give a round of applause to Matt Smith. He may not have been everyone's favourite Doctor, but he was to me.
I'll miss you raggidy man.