Why the New Doctor Who was Awesome if You're an Old Doctor Who Fan
(INB4 grammar complaints: I know that I didn't capitalize the name of the doctor despite the fact that since it's his name technically it's a proper noun and should be capitalized. Well this is my blog and I can do what I want so ner-ner-na-ner-ner)
So for anyone who isn't a Doctor Who fan you may not know that the newest series of the show started recently...okay scratch that even if you don't give two craps about Doctor Who you probably know that it started recently because both the media and the internet have a tendency to go on about it somewhat.
Either way the new series has now begun and the general consensus of the new doctor is practically non-existent. Half of the fans love him and half of the fans hate him, but examining it from my personal, somewhat interesting point of view has lead me to the conclusion that the new doctor at least is absolutely amazing.
Firstly I think I should explain why my own perspective on the series is a little odd. Partially it is due to the fact that my introduction to the doctor who series began not in 2005 with the release of the rebooted franchise but back when I was a young kid during conversations with my mother. Although she's not what you would call an avid fan of the old series she has seen every single episode of the Tom Baker series and a lot of the Sylvester McCoy series, and as such would often talk about it to me when I caught the name of the show in TV times while it was being re-run.
The conversation we had led me to seek out and watch a few episodes of the original series, finding nothing of particular interest to my then sugar fueled brain I promptly lost interest and forgot all about it. Fast forward to 2005 and the release of the new series being advertised in a gaming magazine led me to begin watching the show and attempting to watch through some of the older episodes.
With my newly matured (or at least less hyper) brain I really got into the series and once Eccleson was finished with his series I promptly sank a ridiculous amount of time into watching the original series. (for anyone interested I didn't watch tenant because at the time I was seeing how amazing some of the old doctors where and really if you've seen them you can understand why Tenant could not really compare)
With this new found interest in the series I managed to watch a lot of the old episode and read a lot of the books that had been released since the series cancellation, dipping in and out of the newer series when I caught it on TV. Eventually I decided to just bite the bullet and watch the new series as well, as this was just as Matt Smith was taking over the role I had a lot of back tracking to do in regard to the newer series, but in the end I was all caught up and could really get stuck into the series again.
So there is my perspective on Doctor Who explained, albeit in a bit of an obtuse manor, but either way it done now so I'm hoping that it will go someway to explain why I feel the way I do about the new doctor.
So to begin my explanation I will examine one of the early scenes in the episode. Somewhere near the start the character Vastra is talking to Clara and has some interesting things to say about the doctor and his regenerations. A few key things that popped up during the conversation now follow:
"You thought he was young?"
"He looked like your dashing young gentleman friend, your lover even"
"You might as well flirt with a mountain range"
"He looked young, who do you think that was for?"
"Everyone. I wore a veil as he wore a face, for the same reason"
"For the oldest reason there is. To be accepted"
(For anyone who cannot tell green is Vastra and red is Clara)
(Before this goes any further I find it necessary to defend the following with the qualifier that it is all of course my own opinion and I am not trying to say that the messages I got from the conversation are the messages intended to be imparted, it is simply how I interpreted what I saw)
So, why exactly have I brought up this conversation ? Well firstly because it become infinity more interesting if you imagine that they are talking about the show instead of the person, and if you imagine that Vastra is addressing the new wave of fans instead of Clara.
The first sentence could easily refer to the fact that most new fans either didn't know about the older series or didn't care, which is practically criminal. I'm not going to pretend that if you haven't seen the old series you shouldn't watch the new series, the new series was made specifically for new fans and will always be a separate entity. What I am saying is that to ignore the fact that there was 30 years of back story and character is only going to do a disservice to a character you're supposed to be a huge fan of.
The next sentence primarily seems to refer to the modern trend for younger and more physically attractive doctors. In the old series the doctors character was almost always played by older men who could give off the air of someone who was very old and very wise, in the newer series they just about manage to sound like a high school nerd hoped up on sugar. Again I am not saying that the newer method for casting doctors is at all wrong and it might be perfect for the new load of fans that are interested in the show these days, just saying that it is hugely different to the way the doctor always used to be.
The third sentence can pretty much be seen as pointing the finger at the almost rock star style adoration and sexual attraction that a lot of fans have towards the newer doctors. For the most parts his companions seem to have an attraction to the doctor, much like his fans, something that was never really a part of the older series. The doctors character was never supposed to be eye candy he was supposed to be your grandad, the wise old man who kept you safe and always seems to be saving the day. The idea of any of his companions being an object of attraction for the doctor was practically unthinkable, after all he was old enough to be their grandfather's, grandfather's grandfather.
This last section is perhaps the most telling, this is to be directed at both the newer fans and at the returners who stuck with the show from the old series. Firstly it points out that the younger doctor was supposed to be for the younger fans, the newer fans responded positively to a younger, physically attractive doctor, so the show makers gave them what they want.
The conversation also explains why this was done. The last sentence I copied above is aimed at the older fans, it is an attempt to explain to them that has they decided to not change the doctor, both the character and the physicality of him, then the series might not even be here for you to enjoy at all. Had they stuck rigidly to the old format then the show would possibly have dipped heavily in popularity and would have almost certainly been taken off the air again. I mean hell if that had happened it's possible they would have given up on trying to resurrect the show at all and we wouldn't have gotten any of the newer doctor who stuff we now have.
So what does all of that mean overall? Well from the way the first episode seems to have been put together it seems to me that the shows creators are attempting to gently reintroduce elements of the older Doctor Who to the new series so that the older fans will have something of the old doctor back but the newer fans won't be turned off by an overload of heavy changes.
A lot of people do not like the writing style of Steven Moffat, and honestly in places I can understand why, but whatever you think of how he writes the character it is apparent that he is at least trying to recapture the spirit that made the doctor such a hit in the first place.
As for the new series I cannot say that is definitely going to be amazing, I mean even this episode had moments that seemed pulled right out of Moffat's darkest regions, but what I can say is that if they keep the new doctor the way he is I wouldn't be surprised to see a resurgence of older whovians returning to the series, and I don't see how that could be a bad thing.