The Doctor Is In!

The Doctors

It’s been a wait of almost a year (the last episode of season 8 aired in November 2014), but The Doctor is finally back! The best science fiction show ever on TV continues to deliver with a gripping and engaging cliffhanger first episode for season nine.

That is to say season nine of the new rebooted series (which began in 2005). The original run of the series began in 1963 and ran for 26 seasons until 1989. Which means it pre-dates the second-best SF series ever on television and outlived it by a considerable margin.

Martha Jones

Martha Jones

In fact, the last Star Trek episode aired in 2005, so the entire Doctor Who reboot post-dates that show. And after nine seasons still retains its quality (on the other hand, Star Trek: The Next Generation was good to the end).

In honor of the new season, seasons 2-8 have been available on OnDemand, so I’ve been binge-watching for over two days.

I have a feeling those will no longer be available after midnight tonight, so rather than spend a lot of time blogging I’m going to return to The Doctor.

I will say that all those episodes confirmed one thing: Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) is my favorite of The Doctor’s official companions. As a medical doctor, she’s the smartest and most capable.

River Song

River Song

Mind you, it’s a really close call. All the companions are grade A+ on personality and character. They’re all truly wonderful people! It’s almost a coin flip decision!

On the other hand, there’s River Song (Alex Kingston), The Doctor’s wife (and, as it turns out, the daughter of one of the companions). Also an extremely intelligent, capable, and independent woman. Very enticing. It would be neat to have her return to the series (always possible with time travel).

And while I’m on the subject of the women of Doctor Who, special honorable mention to Myanna Buring who played Scooti Manista in the season two episode, The Impossible Planet. Some faces just really grab you (which, unfortunately, says nothing about the character of the person behind the face).

Myanna Buring

Scooti Manista

The character, Scooti, gets killed off fairly quickly in the episode (let alone making it to part two of the two-parter), so you never really get to know what kind of person she is. But that face just sends me into heart palpitations (in a really good way).

I think part of it is that she reminds me a little of a college girlfriend I really loved. Something about the eyes and the corners of the mouth. That’s a face I’d enjoy seeing on the other side of the dinner table every night. [sigh]

A strange thing is that other pictures of the actress from other works, or from public appearances, don’t do a thing for me. There’s just something about that role in that episode. Go figure.

The Doctor

The Doctor

Which all raises a far more important question: Which is my favorite The Doctor? Again, it’s a close call, they’ve all been grand (and I’m coming to like Peter Capaldi more and more). But David Tennant is the clear winner. Matt Smith was a lot of fun, but Tennant was awesome.

Matt Smith is a close second, but his goofiness removes a few points for me (and I think Tennant is the more nuanced actor). Christopher Eccleston was really cool, and it would have been neat to seem him develop the character. But with only one season as The Doctor, he loses out.

Peter Capaldi is extremely good and a bit of a change (more like Eccleston in some regards). But (at least so far) Tennant still wins.

Speaking of Capaldi, today I re-watched the fourth season episode The Fires of Pompeii. As fans know, Capaldi plays Caecilius in that episode, which seems to create a weirdness. (It’s never really bothered me. There’s no reason two people can’t look very similar.)

Pair of Docs


And it’s not the first time a major character appeared as someone else. Freema Agyeman appears in a supporting role in the second season episode Army of Ghosts.

In the next season, when The Doctor meets Martha Jones (season three, Smith and Jones), she mentions a cousin (apparently a spitting image) who perished in the doings of that past episode.

The producers have mentioned that they have a way of also explaining Capaldi’s double appearance. We’ll see if they ever put it into play.

And on that note, back to The Doctor!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

5 responses to “The Doctor Is In!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Can’t believe it, but I actually set my alarm for 7:30 (A-frickin’-M) last Sunday to catch “Breakfast with Baker” on BBC America. They showed two old Tom Baker (fourth The Doctor) Doctor Who episodes.

    Most importantly, and the reason for getting up so early on a Sunday morning, Genesis of the Daleks (1975, twelfth season), which introduces Davros and explains how the Daleks were created in the first place. Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) is also in those early episodes, and seeing this one really informs her later appearance in The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End, the two-parter that ended the fourth (reboot) season (and, not incidentally, was the end of David Tennant’s run as The Doctor).

    BBC America also aired the 13th season episode, The Seeds of Doom. That one was typical Doctor Who, nothing hugely special. In fact, these two episodes required six hours of BBC America’s time — I wasn’t digging the 4:45 minute commercial breaks, I can tell you that! I fell asleep for about 45 minutes watching this (’cause I got up at 7:30 after watching other Doctor Who episodes until around 2 AM the night before). But when I woke up, I found I hadn’t really missed anything significant.

    I’m wondering if they’ll bring us any other of those old episodes! Considering: [A] their budget; [B] filming in studios using TV cameras; the general state of SF those days… what they did was pretty amazing. One really has to view it almost more as a play than as a usual TV show.

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Mostly during the binge I watched episodes from (reboot) seasons two, three, and four, but I did want to watch again the eighth season episode Kill the Moon. That episode had been singled out by some as particularly bad, and I wanted to see it again from the perspective of having recently watched a lot of Doctor Who (as in: three straight days).

    I don’t see the problem. The science is no more preposterous than usual (for all that it’s technically hard SF — no supernatural stuff — the science really stretches the definition of “hard SF” sometimes). The point of the story is pure Doctor Who. I just don’t see why this episode got singled out.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      As it turns out, BBC America is airing Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes M-F at 9:00 AM plus two on Sunday starting at 7:30 AM (it looks like they re-air those two during the week). I’ve managed to catch a bunch of them now, and am really enjoying them!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Looks like the Tom Baker “breakfasts” only ran for two weeks, but I did manage to see a bunch of those episodes. Lots of fun! But now I can stop having to get up before 9:00 AM!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    As the season developed, it turns out that The Doctor (comes to believe) he deliberately adopted the face of that old Roman he saved at Donna’s insistence as a reminder to himself (after so much pain and loss) to sometimes save people.

    No idea of that’s the idea they were originally batting around, but it works.

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