I have to admit that there is a serious problem with this Doctor Who obsession I'm mired in right now: it's severely effecting my film watching. Luckily it's January, a.k.a. The Cinema Wasteland, so I'm not missing anything that I can't catch a few weeks after release or even on Netflix if need be.
So I just finished David Tennant's run as the 10th Doctor (and that of show runner Russell T. Davies) and I have to say that overall I was severely let down by the two-part special "The End of Time" that brought his era to a close. In fact, if it wasn't for a touching denouement which revisited those most important to him through his three seasons it would've possibly been the worst Doctor Who episodes of the reboot. Overbearing music, a convoluted plot, an abundance of over-acting, and misfired attempts at humor ran rampant. Timothy Dalton was wasted in a role that added up to nothing more than an overly glorified narrator and if I had a dollar for every time Bernard Cribbins teared up and quivered his lower lip as Wilfred Mott I could practically buy the entire series on Blu-ray. It was also bizarre how President Obama featured so prominently on the televisions and minds of the English.
It's also now official that I am not a fan of this latest version of The Master; particularly his incarnation in this story as he seemed like an insane reject from the video game InFamous. If only they had allowed Derek Jacobi to do more than just briefly embody the role at the end of the third series. In just a few minutes of screen time he was more menacing and intimidating than John Simm's absurd grinning, dancing, cackling routine ever was over several episodes.
Those episodes were thankfully not indicative of the majority of Tennant's stay and I would say he's my favorite version of the Doctor; aided by Rose who is far and away my favorite companion and whose relationship with the Doctor was a major reason the series was able to become a huge sensation after a 16 year layoff.
As of this writing, I'm now ten episodes into Matt Smith's initial series. I've just started to get used to him in the role over the last two stories. He's good. In fact, at times he's really good. I find it interesting that the youngest actor to ever tackle the role succeeds at it partly because his character's personality often mirrors that of an old man. The switch to him and Steven Moffat as show runner have brought many changes: new TARDIS, new opening credits sequence and music, and a much more cinematic look to everything. I can't help but feel that last one both helps and works against it in some ways. Compare, for example, the episodes from both eras featuring the Weeping Angels. I would argue that Tennant's episode "Blink" was far more terrifying than Smith's two-parter because the Angels are shown less and are in relatable Earth locations instead of an alien world. Less is sometimes more when it leaves your imagination to fill in the gaps. I do like that there is a common thread (the cracks in time) connecting most stories that I'm sure will culminate at this fifth series' end. In a sense this was starting all over again; much more jarring than the transition from Christopher Eccleston to David Tennant. It's practically another reboot so I'm willing to give it a full series to prove itself just like I had to when I started. After following the 9th and 10th Doctors for 4 series and all of their shared friends and companions it just doesn't seem quite the same. It makes it even harder that the majority of those were great characters who helped make the show so much fun and right now that's what's missing the most from this new series: that child-like sense of fun and adventure...even if it was sometimes really nerdy and silly.
So in several weeks I'll be in the unenviable position of stuck waiting for the 12th Doctor to start his first full series in August along with all the other Who fans. Procrastination and waiting to jump on the band wagon has its advantages when you're devouring several seasons of a television show, catching up on multiple books (like I did with Harry Potter, Frank Herbert's Dune saga and George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire), or doing a film marathon. When the table is cleared it's time to be stuck waiting week-to-week for the story to continue and occasionally more then a year in between seasons instead of a click of the remote. Maybe I'll stretch out series 6 and 7 as long as I can...yeah, that's not going to happen.