Sunday, August 4, 2013

WHO Doctor?

Did you see the announcement? I'm sure you saw the announcement. You know, the Big Announcement. Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor in Doctor Who!

Capaldi has already appeared in the show, in The Fires of Pompeii. Interestingly, his character didn't die. He met the Doctor and Donna, and lived a successful life in the months following the destruction of Pompeii. His family treated the heroic duo in the TARDIS as gods.

There has been some criticism of the decision, because he's older, and he's well known, and he's not black or a woman, and he's appeared in both Doctor Who and Torchwood already. But what I want to focus on, for just a moment, is his casting in World War Z, notably that he's listed as W.H.O. Doctor.

You can't write that.

Now, only the really important stuff. Is he a good choice for Doctor? Some might argue right away that he is; River's Doctor was "older". If the good Professor Song is still alive - it's hard to keep up, but I believe she must be - then I imagine she'll be quite happy to meet the twelfth Doctor. It's just... well... isn't her first time meeting him the last time he'll meet her? And vice-versa? We know she dies in the Library. We don't know how she met him. (Feel free to correct me on that, but that's how I remember those details, and it's been a while since I might have heard them.)

They also have to get married still, which is kind of a big deal, and this might be why Capaldi has been chosen as the Doctor. He's old enough to not look out-of-place to viewers - or to audiences who don't watch the show and might suddenly see their picture everywhere, because I have no doubt it'll be the TV wedding of the year. Whichever year that might be.

But appearances aside, they need a new Doctor who isn't necessarily going to be Clara's type, and who can at least get along with her as a friend with a new personality and a new way of thinking, and travel with despite her knowing his entire life-story up to the point of his regeneration.

There's a lot to happen during Capaldi's time as the Doctor, and I think they need a new face to bring it all about neatly. But the actor has to be in command of the role. He has to be strong, he has been out-there. He doesn't necessarily have to put on such a physical show as Matt Smith did, but he has to hold the audience's attention just as much.

He won't appear in the 50th anniversary. We know that much. I think it'd be a bit much to have Ten-Two, Eleven and whatever the heck we call John Hurt's Doctor (8.5? Nine-with-an-Extra-Twist-of-Insanity?) all in the episode as well as the regeneration.

So, Christmas. And we don't necessarily know that Clara is going to be in it. We don't know anything about it. All the attention is on November 23rd (50th anniversary episode), with very little of it on the actual episode that will see Matt Smith leave the show.

Capaldi has Christmas; he has a wedding, maybe. If he does, he'll probably meet River for her first time. That could be awkward. All of this might reveal the name of the Doctor, for the first time, or they might keep it a secret. But if what I think is true for River and the Doctor, and Capaldi is the man who meets her first, she'll be leaving the show during his time as the Doctor. And won't that suck?

As for whether or not I'm happy with the casting...well, you'll have to wait and see how I react to him actually playing the role. In season 8. About three episodes in. Because I don't want to judge him based on his first appearance before I can even get used to him!

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