Trigger Warnings – None
Spoiler Alert – May contain spoilers regarding the most recent series of Doctor Who and its finale
With Doctor Who now over and done with for another series, I felt this was a good as time as any to give my thoughts on Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Put simply, I love him so far, I think he’s brought something to the character that was well overdue and combines humour and darkness in a wonderful display of conflicting morality most fitting of a character like the Doctor, a man who saves the universe but not with sunshine and rainbows, there is almost always collateral damage in his line of work. I’ve had mixed reviews of the guy and even I myself wasn’t too keen on him at first in Deep Breath, he came off a bit skittish and frantic like his predecessor Matt Smith but when the regeneration illness wore off, he came into his element and so I’m going to share my thoughts
Now, don’t get me wrong, I liked Matt Smith as the Doctor but only at choice moments when his acting was actually being pushed, when he had to be the Doctor and not just a floppy haired ball of warm fuzzy feelings, like with the Space Whale and his anger with the humans for how they treated a peaceful sentient being that came to rescue them. Matt Smith had a rough entrance as the Doctor, a new Doctor and a new head writer made it hard for people to decipher who was actually shit, the actor or the man writing his script, and for me it felt like it was Moffat – a lot of episodes were squashed into shorter stories, too many plots revolved around ‘timey wimey’ (A phrase I do not miss from the show one iota) and Clara failed to catch my interest as a human being, instead seeming to be a cardboard cutout of a companion, with no offense to Jenna Coleman as an actress but characters like Clara and River Song felt like they existed to fulfill a fetish of spunky bossy women flirting with our awkward hero whilst being generally pretty and mischievous.
Doctor Who had been going down that path for some time, Christopher Eccleston was tasked with laying the foundations, teaching us the rules of the show and time travel and re-establishing old traditions whilst being the Doctor that bore the brunt of the internal grief about Gallifrey. After Eccleston left and Tennant came in, the show was romanticised with the Doctor falling for Rose, Rose leaving, Martha joining, Martha falling for the Doctor, Martha leaving, Donna joining, Doctor and Donna enjoy platonic best-friend relationship, Donna leaves, Doctor finds Rose again, Clone Doctor spends rest of his life with Rose, Doctor leaves and regenerates. We all embraced this, bar Martha who doesn’t quite sit well with the more hardcore fans, but we welcomed this romantic story across time and space and this was why Doctor Who became popular in the States, Tennant made the character sexy and exciting but after he left and the show still insisted on this sexy tongue-in-cheek every-companion-secretly-wants-the-doctors-babies stuff, it became a little bit tried and forced, thankfully that was remedied with Amy being finally paired off with Rory for good but then Clara came in and we had a series in which we watched Clara and the Doctor in this strange banter that we were all uncomfortable with.
People initially rejected Capaldi, they said he wasn’t sexy enough to be the Doctor, which is not a requirement really but even so, they said that about Patrick Stewart being a Captain and look how that went down, boy did those critics have egg on their faces when Stewart brought a suave civility to the character of a Captain on Star Trek that oozed such charm it made men wet. Capaldi, less sexy, instantly cut down the flirty back and forth as he made it clear from the very beginning there was to be no more of that nonsense and so the Doctor went back to where he was with Eccleston but with more battle scars to add to that pain inside. The series as a whole toyed with themes of morality and superiority – is the Doctor a good man? Is he pompous? Does he feel guilt for those that are sacrificed in his name? I liked Danny Pink for the chip on his shoulder with the Doctor, challenging him as being a blood-soaked warrior with a superiority complex who thinks himself above actually getting his hands dirty and Danny was a well-written character for me, breaking the boyfriend tradition of being a bumbling ninny brought along for the ride and instead a man who could stand up to the Doctor without anyone laughing at the poor silly human. Rory and Mickey were, for want of better words, wet blankets, at least for the most part, they left as men but journeyed as imbeciles. Danny, never travelled but was always there, always able to read the Doctor like a book and call him out on it, which was well needed for a character that has been the centre of his universe for far too long
The series is far from perfect and for me, Deep Breath and the Forest of the Night were a bit lack-lustre as episodes compared to the others but the finale topped it off well, bringing everything together in one last hurrah for things as they are, tying up a lot of loose ends, setting the Doctor on his new path and seeing a close to some arcs. Clara’s left us, long time coming, but who knows if she’ll return? I feel it’d be a bad move to bring her back, her story has ended as far as I can see, I’m far more interested in seeing what the Doctor does now and who his next companion will be. I’d like to see more of the Doctor being challenged by his companions though, not like Clara with the keys in the lava deal or bossing him about River Song style but someone who can see he is a flawed being trying to do the impossible and respects him but isn’t afraid to tell him he’s a fool. On an acting point, Capaldi is a brilliant actor, I’ve never seen him be bad at anything to be fair and he’s stepped into the role with grace and poise, plus it’s nice to see an actual fan become the Doctor, a boy who once wrote fan-mail is now driving the TARDIS, that can only be a good thing because Capaldi won’t let the show go down the drain whilst he’s the one holding the screwdriver
Capaldi, keep it up, I want more! More! More!
Side note – SANTA CLAUS?!