Goodbye Matt Smith

June 6, 2013 8:12 pm

BBC announced last Saturday that Matt Smith will leave Doctor Who in the 2013’s Christmas Special after three years in the role.

tennant-and-smith-50th-anniversary-filming-closeFor the record, I’ll state that I haven’t been a big fan of Matt Smith as the Doctor. It’s not to do with his talen:, he’s clearly a very good actor, having been the first Doctor nominated for a BAFTA as the enigmatic time-lord. But compared to the glory days of Tennant, I found Smith’s era disappointing. His first and main companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), became nothing more than a glorified damsel for the Doctor to save. And save. And save some more. Let us not speak of the unthinkably arbitrary addition of Rory (Arthur Darvill) who seemed to do nothing but die, and add light comic relief to otherwise tedious plots.

Even if you’re a self-professed Whovian and complete fanatic, when you compare Amy Pond to Tennant’s companions – Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) in particular – you have to admit there was a certain declension in quality. Nothing in Smith’s seasons has moved me to the point of tears like season 4’s episode, Planet of the Ood, or gave me such epic-scaled chills as The Fires of Pompeii. I’ll admit right here that I can’t even remember what conclusion Amy Pond left with, and it was last year. Donna Noble’s exit still depresses me, and Rose Tyler’s fills me with bitter adoration. Maybe this has nothing to do with Matt Smith at all, perhaps it was the change of writers from Davies to Moffat, or perhaps they tried to reach a new audience with the plots of Smith’s turn. Any which way, it didn’t thrill me in any sense, and the only reason I stuck with it was for River Song (Alex Kingston), until that storyline got a bit creepy.

River-and-the-11th-doctor-river-song-26507267-624-352

Adding Clara Oswald (Jenna Louise Coleman) only managed to keep me interested in this season for a brief amount of time. We get it, she’s plucky, and I appreciate the move from Pond’s passive role to Oswald’s independence. But the ridiculously dragged out mystery of who she was, and the repeated deaths of her characters, pushed me away from developing an emotional connection to her. In the first instance, she was a Dalek. In the second, a wonderfully thought out Victorian barmaid-come-governess. What did they do with both unique characters? Killed them, and in their place we got modern-day Oswald. By the third incarnation, I was exhausted at trying to force an emotional connection who I’d met twice before and then had viciously ripped away. I haven’t even seen the last three episodes of season 7. I doubt they’ll change my mind.

Hopefully, the 12th Doctor will bring back some the magic that has clearly been lost during the last three seasons. Front-runners for the position are Homeland‘s David Harewood, and the superbly talented Olivia Colman from The Iron Lady and Peep Show. Jenna Louise Coleman is confirmed to return.

 

 

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