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.
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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!