I feel a bit like old Maurice Chevalier in "Gigi" singing "I’m glad I’m not young any more" – it is actually a relief to be less invested in Doctor Who than I used to be. I feel no great urge to create or consume icons or fic…just to turn up regularly and enjoy the ride.
I’ll put the rest under a cut in deference to law-abiding, spoiler-avoiding overseas readers…
Do I like Matt Smith? Yes, I think he’ll do a great job. He doesn’t rip out my heart and squeeze it like Ten did, and that’s probably for the best. I don’t think I could deal with another four years of that. The quality he seems to possess in abundance, unlike Ten, is authority. Ten could go all Oncoming Storm and scare the bejezus out of you but he never quite seemed to be in control of himself. That made him magnetic to watch, but even as early as TCI some of his moral decisions were left-field and questionable in the extreme. I stand by my previous comment, that he was a very human Doctor and ultimately that became unsustainable. Eleven, you feel, wants a companion along. Ten needed one.
Strangely, Eleven is both childlike and ancient, it seems to me. He is a Time Lord from the top of his hair to the tip of his boots – he’s got complete command of his situation, delegates mercilessly and doesn’t do vulnerable. Well, not so far, anyway. If he tells you to do something, no matter how ridiculous or impossible it might appear, you jolly well do it. It’s rather as if the most human-like, emotional parts of Ten have been burned off (I like to think he’s gone over to Pete’s World 100%) and we’re left with something much more old-school. Can you imagine this guy worrying about his girlfriend frowning at him for sticking his fingers in the jam? Me neither.
From what I’ve seen of him in the Confidential, I suspect Matt himself has similar qualities. He seemed very secure and confident about how to inhabit the role, and quietly resolute about doing things his way even if people protested. Tennant was more iikely to use his abundant charm and charisma to make an impact. But I may revise that assessment.
I loved the children’s story feel to the early sequences, the classic setup (rarely seen these days) of a child faced with the unexpected, no parents around to filter it. I’d love to see more of Young Amy. She was genuinely poignant without being sentimental. It’s nice to have people writing DW who actually have kids, and remembering it’s their show. The food-spitting scene was pure Roald Dahl and I expect to hear it referred to often and with relish when I get back to my job in a primary school next week. It also brought an interesting dynamic to the adult Amy/Eleven relationship in that he’s already broken her heart so she goes into the whole thing with her eyes open. That’s a bit like Donna, except that in Donna’s case it wasn’t the Doctor who’d hurt her. I like the way this arrangement precludes the possibility of romance between them. I do have some anxieties about Rory replicating Mickey’s role, however. I’d love to have a few stories with Amy and Rory both in the TARDIS – it looks like we get one, at least.
Would say more, but I’ve a nasty feeling my laptop is overheating. Anyway, a very promising start – I do miss Ten, but I have no problem imagining him (not 10.5 but him) happy with Rose in their own AU and that, I think, is helping a lot with making the transition for me.