THE NEXT DOCTOR
So on Sunday, the waiting was over.
No, not the start of the final season of “Breaking Bad”. That’s August 11.
No, not, the return of football season.
It was THE DAY THE TWELFTH DOCTOR WAS ANNOUNCED.!!!
Most of my readers will already know this. I don’t write about the fifty-year-old British sci-fi legend “Doctor Who” all the time, but I do often enough that, if you are a regular reader, you’re willing to put up with it and probably have some passing familarity with the show.
Side note here to say how absolutely cool it would be if they could keep the next Doctor’s identity a total secret until the regeneration actually occurs In the show, as if you’re right there experiencing it. That won’t ever happen of course in the modern world of myriad media and obsessed fans. They couldn’t keep the secret that long. *sigh* Oh well.
For Whovians, Sunday was a big deal. In a half-hour live broadcast from the UK beamed around the world in real time, a star-studded extravaganza lead to the unveiling of the newest actor due to play the part of The Doctor. A few old Doctors and companions talked about how exciting this all was. There were teasers about who they new person would be. There was the music designed to heighten the tension. There was even confetti and sort of a laser light show.
I sat down with my seven-year-old daughter to watch TV history in the making. I’ve never heard the announcement of a new Doctor in real time like this. We got settled a little bit before the main event. BBCAmerica was running the David Tennant 10th Doctor finale “The End of Time”. We caught the last twenty minutes or so.
“Watch this,” I said. “It’s gonna be cool.”
Ten went through his goodbyes to his old companions. “What’s cool about this?” my daughter asked.
“Just keep watching,” I said.
When it got to the regeneration part, though, Ten all bathed in golden light, an explosion of regenerative energy, a new face suddenly appearing in the old Doctor’s suit. This new Doctor, Eleven, shouting “Geronimo!” as the TARDIS spins out of control.
She had to admit that was, indeed, cool.
It was, admittedly, sort of difficult to explain the concept of regeneration to her (when The Doctor is fatally wounded he doesn’t die, just regenerates into a new body -and a new actor takes up the role) and I’m not sure she fully got it. Then I had a time explaining the announcement show wasn’t about Matt Smith, Doctor 11 who she’d just seen take over ten’s body, but rather an as yet unknown Twelfth Doctor.
So the announcement show lead off with cast interviews, a sort of exit interview with the outgoing Matt Smith and teasers as to the upcoming big announcement.
And then it was time.
The Twelfth Doctor is…
Except, wait. What’s this? I feel sort…let down?
Not disappointed. Definitely not. Frankly, I know little about Capaldi’s acting credits, but he seems to have a popular list of performances to his name. The little I’ve read on him says he is himself a huge life-long Doctor Who fan. I also really like that he’s older – in his fifties – than Nine, Ten or Eleven. The trend of hotter and younger and quirkier actors had to end sometime before it got out of control.
I still felt a little let down that…
The new Doctor isn’t a woman.
This is weird for me. I’ve said many times there are many actresses who could nail the role, and I would love a female Time Lord. But in reality it wouldn’t work because (1) after fifty years of the Doctor as a man with no real inkling that a gender flip is part of the Time Lord species (though a change in race change certainly seems plausible) this character is pretty well set as a man and (2) because of #1, doing a gender flip now would reek of TV stunt and there would lots of pressure on the writers and producers to write to the stunt, not to the character. I’ve thought it would be great to give a woman Time Lord a show, just not this one. I love this show too much to see it diminished, even for the best intentions.
BUT…there was so much arguing in the time since Matt Smith announced he was leaving, that I sort of came around a little. Why the hell not make the Doctor a woman? Still, my lingering doubts remained.
But then, when Capaldi came out, another white dude, I deflated a little.
That said, I’m only reading good things about Capaldi and a new Doctor, ANY new Doctor is exciting. What will this one’s personality be like? What will his costume be? Where will show runner Steven Moffat take him?
I’ll be all right. And so will the show.
But, in the back of my mind, here’s looking at big changes for Lucky Doctor 13…