Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who - Now With More Peter Capaldi

At some point in the next month or two, someone will say to me, "Hey Deesher, what do you think of the new Doctor?".  At which point, I could try to rant about my feelings, only to have someone interrupting me with their own running commentary as I speak, followed by me forgetting my train of thought because my train never runs on a schedule and makes way too many stops.  Or, I could just write a quicky blog and just give you the link to read... or at the very least, I could memorize everything here and repeat it verbatim. 

To be clear, when I say 'New Doctor', I am not talking about my new personal physician (although for the record, he does seem good and fairly competent, which is a wonderful change from my last doctor before he regenerated.  And by regenerated, I mean I looked through the list of other doctors available in my area who will take my insurance).  No, I am talking about the longest running series on television, Doctor Who, and the first appearance of Peter Capaldi as the newly regenerated Doctor.

Doctor Who began in 1963, and for the most part, kept a certain continuity since it began.  There have been some great episodes, and some not so great episodes over the years.  I have a lot of respect for the wonderful original sci-fi elements and some powerful acting contained in many episodes.  I wrote a whole thingy on how much I love this show, and you can read all about it here.

Last December 2013, we said farewell to Matt Smith's Doctor when he regenerated at the end of the episode The Time of the Doctor, (is that still considered a spoiler at this point?).  And after what felt like an overly extended hiatus, we finally get to see Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, in the first episode of the new season, Deep Breath.

So, the first thing you might notice... he's old.  For the record, I have no problem with an older Doctor, but after his appearance continued to get younger and more energetic in the last few Doctors, it does feel like there is a certain amount of grinding to a halt.  And for the record part deux, of course there have been older Doctors in the history of the show, starting with William Hartnell who was the very first Doctor in 1963.  But it is most definitely a different sort of dynamic having someone in their late 50's playing the lead in any series.

During the course of Deep Breath, The Doctor asked himself, why he would be older.  It seemed a big concern and it's possible there is a deeper purpose yet to be determined.  It also seems to indicate that his body knows more about his future than his mind.  Or maybe it was writer Steven Moffat making notes on the corner of the script that Capaldi read during filming, not knowing they were only notations. 

Whatever the reason for his older appearance, it seems our lovable goofy style of Doctor is gone for now, replaced by someone who is much more serious and dark.  The show still had moments of humor, but the overall tone of the new Doctor seems like he isn't here to sonic screw around much.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however traditionally, the more successful Doctors have been more fun to watch, (i.e. Tom Baker and my fav, David Tennant). 

Of course my initial feelings could be completely wrong, because he is still finding his place in the Who-niverse.  And, as with every regeneration, it takes a while for each Doctor to find their specific niche. 

The episode itself, (Deep Breath) was a good solid Steven Moffat written kick-off for the new season.  There was nothing that really overly wowed me, but it was a decent premiere after waiting... 8 PAINFUL MONTHS!!  We got to see the team of Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax, and I always love them.  I'm seriously very eager to see them in a spin-off series, but for now, it's fun to watch them do their thing with the Doctor... whoever he may be.

As an actor, Peter Capaldi was good and he'll definitely add something new to a long line of unique versions of the Doctor.  So of course I'll keep watching, because the BBC and Steven Moffat know how to write a decent sci-fi series.  But I do feel like we are in for a more serious version of the Doctor.  Which is too bad, because I love to laugh too.

And for now at least, we still have the sweet sexy Clara (Jenna Coleman) to help ease us through this transition period.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your post! Here is my comments on the show!

    I watched the new episode of Doctor Who with much apprehension. I just could not understand why they would select an older style Doctor for what seems to be a younger viewing audience. I also didn't understand why Moffat would keep Clara as his companion and just let the Doctor find a new “mature” companion. But as I watched, I slowly began to realize that Moffat was teaching me a lesson… And he did this brilliantly!

    Although the Doctor has many faces, he is still the Doctor. Moffat knew many viewers wouldn't understand, so what did he do? He made Clara the skeptic as well. It was like Clara was speaking out all the questions for me in the show. Like me, Clara was prepared to walk away from the Doctor because he was no longer the Doctor we knew and loved.

    Moffat binds together the story arch of the dinosaur, the clockwork droids and Clara with Lady Vastra (a Victorian lesbian lizard) into teaching us more about who this new doctor is. Much like the dinosaur, the doctor is old, alone in a strange world and afraid (as we hear him mumbling in his sleep). And like the clockwork droids, both the doctor and the droids have undergone changes throughout the centuries… are they still the same person? And Clara and Lady Vastra… “When did you stop wearing the veil?” That was the beginning point of Clara’s realization that the doctor is still whom she knows and loves. And of course my heartstrings were pulled when Matt Smith made his final cameo appearance on the phone… When the camera panned back to the new doctor, I realized I was a foolish person not to realize; this doctor is Eccleston, Tennant, Smith, and all the time lords before Capaldi. He closed the first episode answering and satisfying all the questions I had coming into this new season.

    Now the show pushes forward. For me, I accept this new doctor for who he is, and for me, I am looking forward to new episodes with great hope that is it going to be another incredible season! I hope you all do to!

    Richard Smith