It took me awhile to get use to Matt Smith as The Doctor. At first I was really put off by the largeness of his facial features until I eventually found them adorable and endearing. Then I was constantly trying to look around River Song’s scene stealing and fangirling to figure out what he was up to. Finally, I settled in on Eleven being charming and fun and authoritative and just an enjoyable character.
I felt like this season was finally about Eleven, not Amy, Rory, or River so it’s both good and bad for him to exit on this leg of the tour.
That’s one of the staples of Doctor Who though, you’re not allowed to get too attached to any one actor in particular—not even “The Star”. The actor is always just one of many who can easily be swapped and replaced with another you’d never expect.
Personally, I like not knowing who’ll be the next Doctor until he (or she) crashed on screen and convinces me there’s nothing to fear because this is The Doctor. I like that I have to be reintroduced to the same character and then rebuild that rapport without rebuilding the world. Each Doctor can somehow be the same character with almost the same motivations. They manage to preserve and remove just enough that the disbelief suspension mechanism still works seamlessly.
Nine was angry and snarky, reckless and adventurous.
Ten was angry and loyal, strong and fed-up.
Eleven has been curious and reckless, adventurous and loyal.
Twelve will be someone new but still the same Doctor.
I don’t like to speculate1 because I want to give Eleven the time he’s earned to hold the stage then pass the torch to whoever comes next.
- But I really hope it’s not John Hurt. I have to agree with some folks that a young show about adventures and such calls for a younger leading man more than a grumpy professor-type. ↩