Tuesday, August 06, 2013


So, the announcement came out that Peter Capaldi will play the Twelfth Doctor.

I have to say, I'm looking forward to his run as the character. He's the same age now that William Hartnell was when he started in the role back in '63, and this makes me happy. I'm tired of the young guys. I was hoping against hope that we wouldn't have another Doctor in his twenties. I wanted a little more gravitas.

Though, again--and here's the beginning of a long aside--I have to stress that my seething annoyance with the current run of Doctor Who really isn't Matt Smith's fault. He's not the problem; he's mostly done a fine job with what they've given him. It's Steven Moffat's approach to the show I don't like.

Under Steven Moffat, the show has become a sort of fairybook fantasy with a running theme of people as the embodiment of stories and the Doctor himself as somehow the linchpin of the whole of existence. He's also played up the Doctor's worst character elements and turned him into someone so emotionally immature that he comes across like a giant 6 year-old. (I know, I've taught them.) He's become dumb about people and seems to not just like them very much.

So, if he doesn't much like people, why have companions? Because Moffat keeps throwing women at him who are sexually fascinated by him. They are also less companions than they are puzzles for him to solve. Amy is a mystery and--like River Song turned out to be--someone the Doctor took as a child and basically turned into a future obsessive helpmate. Clara is more or less the same; hell, she has to die twice onscreen, sacrificing herself for the Doctor, to get his attention. And they're both just mysteries; they don't even play an active role in what's mysterious about them, they just have the added benefit of being so in love with the Doctor and fascinated by his hapless first-grader demeanor that they have to be around him, eventually willing to give up their lives in order to serve this man, who once had compassion and now just murders Dalek mental patients without blinking.

I had an otherwise intelligent person try to explain that part of the Doctor's awkwardness is that he doesn't understand sexuality, which I found to be a ridiculous argument. 9 and 10 were hung up on Rose. 10 boffed Queen Elizabeth I. Hell, 11 dates River Song; apparently nearly the whole of their relationship occurs with 11, as Moffat couldn't resist taking an interesting character and making sure her whole existence revolved around the Doctor, too. She's just as boring as Amy and Clara for the exact same reasons. Sorry, the Doctor clearly knows all about sex. He has a granddaughter, for crying out loud, remember?

So, back to Peter Capaldi.

I've only seen him in a few things, but I'm excited they cast someone his age to play the character. I'm hoping for a different enough type of character that we can get out of Twilight mode for a while. I still don't know what to expect from Moffat, obviously. My faith in him is low. I think he's a rather defensive misogynist and something of a self-fascinated twit, and I really hate the way he and the BBC have handled this fiftieth anniversary celebration of Doctor Who. But, as a Doctor Who fan, I've no choice but to keep watching, overly romanticize the pieces I do like, and ignore the ones I don't.

That's what's so great about a show with such a long history: there's too much that's enjoyable to get hung up on the things that annoy me.


MC said...

Neil Gaiman said they offered the role to a black actor who turned it down.

Some people are speculating it may have been Idris Elba that was offered the role.

SamuraiFrog said...

I've been hearing Paterson Joseph or Keith David (though I doubt David, being American).

Bob Rutledge said...

I agree with every. single. word. of your post.

Spot fuckin' on. I'm incredibly excited to see how things change with an actual adult in the role of The Doctor.

Also, "Moff's" misogyny is the best reason (looking at it from both sides, actually) that I'm actually glad they didn't cast a woman this time. A woman Doctor would be a disaster with SM running the show, and would end up being fodder for MRAs and other troglodytes who continue to perpetuate the patriarchy.

Also, I thought Gaiman was referring to the last time around in the bit about the black actor turning down the role.

Bob Rutledge said...

More on the "black actor".

SamuraiFrog said...

Not to get all into it, but am I the only Doctor Who fan in the world who just doesn't think Chiwetel Ejiofor is that interesting/good an actor? Maybe I just haven't seen the right things. But his name is always brought up when it comes time for a new one.

I have no problem with the Doctor being played by a black actor (or any race, and frankly I'd love to see Jimi Mistry in the role), but I'm just not feeling Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Lots of people say Idris Elba, but I say only if Steven Moffat leaves and they bring in Neil Cross to run the show. They've already made the excellent Luther, and Cross's episodes of Doctor Who this season were among the more watchable.