Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Doctor Who, where I over-analyse each of the Doctors to find out which is best.
The way this is going to run is very simple: I take ten categories and give each Doctor points 1 to 10 along the way. Now some of this may seem familiar since I will be repeating myself, but I plan to have this be a be all and end all look at my favourite fictional character. So join me each week as work out which of the Doctors in my absolute favourite.
Matt Smith’s first season was great. It was fantastic. He had so much life and energy as he ran about. He was a joy to watch. But as the show went on the character got older. Some of that magic found at the very start was lost. He became tired in the role, much like Tom Baker. He was still good, but nothing can top that first season of his. He showed that a young actor can play the Doctor fantastically well, despite what the doubters say. He was good, but stayed for perhaps a little too long. 8/10.
Like the Ninth, when I first saw this costume in the photos… I hated it. Truly, honestly, loathed it greatly. To me it seemed like a huge mistake. It just looked so… tacky. And then I saw Matt Smith acting while wearing it and… it works. It just works so well. It’s great visual shorthand for the ‘old man in a young man body’ idea they’re trying to get at. He’s dressing like an old man despite looking like a young one. It works. It fits. It made bow-ties cool. Now I can’t say the same for the second costume which, to me, is more subdued and dull. Works well with where the character is… but ultimately is a bit dull. However the purple is a nice touch, since that splash of solid colour is what helped saved the Sixth Doctor’s costume. Still that original one just works so well and fits him to a T. 9/10
The Story: The Doctor has less than an hour to save the Earth and he’s still in the midst of his regeneration. That alone is great. The Doctor meets a young girl and promises to help her, only to find that she’s all grown up. That alone is great. The story ties all of these ideas together and makes it really work. That, by very definition, is great. Everything about this story works wonders, not a moment wasted. A very easy 10/10.
The Doctor’s Introduction: Matt Smith was the youngest actor to be cast the as the Doctor, at a mere 26 years old. Many thought he was going to fail and that The Eleventh Hour was going to be a disaster. He was following on from David Tennant, the man who finally took the weight of being The Doctor off the shoulders of Tom Baker. No one could hope to top it. And yet here he comes, full of youth and energy and just brilliance. Even his costume, which I hated when I saw the first pictures, works so well with him. Here is a madman with a box who saves the world so well. 10/10.
Overall: This is how you do a regeneration story people. You give the Doctor a challenge that he has to rise up and meet to prove that he is the Doctor. You don’t have him stuck in a bed, you don’t have him forgetting who he is, you have the actor come out and prove right off the bat why he’s going to be great in the role. I hope that they follow this with the Twelfth (though judging by the rumours I’ve seen, I fear we’re gonna get a repeat of Ten. Watch this space though). 10/10.
Final Verdict: 30/30 aka 10/10
Amy Pond: I’m torn on her. She’s good and bad at the same time. Good at that she’s capable, independent and fun to watch. Bad in that she’s a bit too headstrong and foolhardy. She’s not unbearable, but there are a few annoying moments. But having her husband on board the TARDIS is a very nice twist on the story. 8/10.
Rory Williams: He puts up with a lot, stays by his wife no matter what and waits 2000 years to protect her. That passes the ‘Ace Test’ by a high degree. A simply fantastic companion, husband and badass. 10/10.
River Song: â€¦ I don’t like her. I’m sorry, but I don’t. The more she was in the series, the less enthralled I became with her. It’s clear that this is what Moffat thinks a female Doctor should be like… and it’s not a good idea. It’s annoying, having a character so smug. I’m sorry River Song fans, but I just can’t get into the character. 2/10.
Clara Oswald: Again, a companion I’m somewhat torn on. She was meant to be a plot device more than a companion, which hindered her a little. Hopefully in the next series they fix this and allow her to be a proper companion, but in this series she’s meant to be a mystery that I fail to get into. Good character, bad story around her. 6/10.
Final Tally: 26/40 aka 6.5/10
Honourable Mentions: A Christmas Carol is probably the best Christmas special we’re ever gonna get, while The God Complex breaks down the concepts of Doctor Who while exploring a creepy location.
Story: On the surface, the story is rather bland. The Doctor and his companion meet artist Vincent Van Gogh and save him from a monster. And that’s a pretty bland thirty-five minutes. But then those last ten minutes… that’s when everything changes. That’s when Vincent and the Doctor becomes a rather boring episode to a rather fantastic masterpiece. And it tackles the hard questions that no other episode has dared tackled. The ideas of depression and suicide. It’s a shame the rest of the episode was so mediocre given how fantastic the rest of it was. 7/10.
Monster: It’s basically a giant chicken. That’s invisible half the time to save budget. Yeah it’s as bad as it sounds really. 3/10.
Nostalgia Factor: This is where I really warmed to the Eleventh Doctor and I realised that Matt Smith was the right choice. I often go back to this episode when I need picking up due to how fantastic that ending is. And how brilliant Matt Smith is in that final scene. It shows the struggle every artist goes through and always leaves me crying by the end. 10/10.
Best Moment: â€œThe way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donâ€™t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things donâ€™t always spoil the good things or make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things.â€ Is there a better outlook on life than that? While the scene before, where the Doctor shows Vincent that he will be remembered, is great this is where the tears really start to flow. This is what Doctor Who is all about. 10/10.
Ranking: If I had only twelve episodes of Doctor Who to watch, and I had to rank those twelve from best to worse, this would be number two, giving it a score of 9/10.
Final Verdict: 39/50 aka 7.8/10
The Eleventh Doctor â€“ Series 6/Season 32 (dishonourable mentions: Victory of the Daleks, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS).
Dishonourable Mentions: Victory of the Daleks created Daleks that looked like something you give babies to put in their mouths when they’re teething, while Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS is a waste of a good idea.
Story: Series 6/Season 32 is one of the worse seasons in Doctor Who’s history. The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon is good, but suffers because it’s ultimately a terrible cop-out. Curse of the Black Spot is the second worse episode of 11’s run, while The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People is only going to be remembered due to the cliffhanger at the end. A Good Man Goes to War and Let’s Kill Hitler aren’t terrible, but aren’t really going to be remembered that much either. Night Terrors is just as bad as Fear Her (I mean they’re practically the same), while Closing Time is an insult to the Cybermen. Finally The Wedding of River Song is one of the most confusing and underwhelming endings to a series we’ve had. The only good parts of this season are The Doctor’s Wife, The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex, so they get the points. 3/10.
Monster: The Silence are an interesting baddie… and that’s pretty much where it stops in terms of good monsters from this season. All the other monsters and bad guys are so forgettable that it’s not worth even mentioning them. 1/10.
Guilty Pleasure Factor: This is right on the cusp where people were starting to doubt Steven Moffat’s skills as a writer… and I can’t say I’m totally against them. A lot of this season is more bad than good. Matt Smith is great in his first year and is good in his last year… but this isn’t his best time. He swings wildly between being good and bad; and the writing doesn’t help in this regard. 3/10.
Worst Moment: The Doctor didn’t die, it was actually a robot like him… yeah it’s such a terrible cop-out that it feels like the biggest cheat I’ve ever seen. Surely they could have done something more clever than that? 0/10.
Ranking: Ranking these twelve episodes from favourite to less favourite, this one comes in at number eight, giving it a score of 3/10.
Final Verdict: 10/50 aka 2/10.
Best Speech/Moment (Television only)
From a Doctor that made no speeches to one that pretty much perfected them. Who can forget this great speech:
- â€œHello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica, takes the universe! But bad news, everyone, [jumps up from inside Stonehenge] ’cause guess who! Ha! Listen, you lot! You’re all whizzing about; it’s really very distracting. Could you all just stay still a minute, because I! Am! Talking! [The ships stop instantly] Now, the question of the hour is, “Who’s got the Pandorica?” Answer: I do. Next question: Who’s coming to take it from me? [Pause] Come on! Look at me! No plan, no back-up, no weapons worth a damn! Oh, and something else, I don’t have anything to lose! So, if you’re sitting up there in your silly, little spaceship with all your silly, little guns, and you’ve got any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who’s standing in your way! Remember every black day I ever stopped you, and then, and then, do the smart thing: Let somebody else try first. [The battleships all retreat to a much higher orbit. To Rory] That should keep them squabbling for half an hour.â€
- It shows why Matt Smith was perfect in the role. He’s a young man that brilliantly portrays the age of the character, the weariness of him, the assurance that he is the Doctor at the end of the day. It’s a good speech that shows off how old he is and how young. Speaking of great speeches though…
- â€œThe Doctor:[speaking to 7-year-old Amelia, sleeping in her bed, as his timeline unravels] That’s funny. I thought if you could hear me I could hang on somehow. Silly me. Silly old Doctor. When you wake up, you’ll have a mum and dad, and you won’t even remember me. Well, you’ll remember me a little. I’ll be a story in your head. But that’s OK. We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Cause it was, you know. It was the best. A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well, I borrowed it. I was always going to take it back. Oh, that box. Amy, you’ll dream about that box. It’ll never leave you. Big and little at the same time. Brand new and ancient and the bluest blue ever. And the times we had, eh? Would’ve had… Never had. In your dreams, they’ll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond, and the days that never came. The cracks are closing, but they can’t close properly until I’m on the other side. I don’t belong here anymore. I think I’ll skip the rest of the rewind. I hate repeats. Live well. Love Rory. Bye-bye, Pond.â€
- Again, it’s a small moment, but a nice one that highlights just who this Doctor was. Young and old at the same time, trying desperately to save himself at the last moment. But at the same time accepting of his death. But there’s one speech above all else that really made me like this Doctor. One from the least like episode of the recent series, featuring a Doctor talking down a giant star monster.
- â€œOkay, then. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ll do. Iâ€™ll tell you a story. Can you hear them? All these people who’ve lived in terror of you and your judgement. All these people whose ancestors devoted themselves, sacrificed themselves, to you. Can you hear them singing? Oh, you like to think you’re a god, but you’re not a god. You’re just a parasite eaten out with jealous and envy and longing for the lives of others. You feed on them. On the memory of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow. So…so come on, then. Take mine. Take my memories. But I hope you’ve got a big appetite, because I’ve lived a long life, and I’ve seen a few things. I walked away from the Last Great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe, and I watched as time ran out, moment by moment, until nothing remained. No time, no space â€“ just me. I’ve walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a madman. I’ve watched universes freeze and creations burn. I have seen things you wouldn’t believe. I have lost things you will never understand. And I know things. Secrets that must never be told, knowledge that must never be spoken, knowledge that will make parasite gods blaze! So, come on, then! Take it! Take it all, baby! Have it! You have it all!â€
- Again, it’s a simply fantastic moment showing both how young and old this Time Lord is. Showing how far he’s willing to go to help other people, even at the cost of his own life. It’s a terrible episode but a great moment from it. It helps show who the Doctor is. The music backing it doesn’t hurt either as well. 9/10.
Much of what I said about the Tenth Doctor last week can apply to this Doctor as well. Again, serviceable stories that suit the character well. None of them really challenge the character or anything, but the stories are still good enough that Eleven shines in them. However like my complaint with the Fourth Doctor the energy in them is lacking at times. While this works for some of the later stories, the earlier stories suffer a bit due to the Doctor being a bit… dull in them. Still they get the job done. 5/10.
The Story: To me, Time of the Doctor was a bit of a hit and miss. It hurriedly wrapped up loose ends and worked around the hole it dug for itself. Matt Smith does his best, but seeing an ancient Eleventh Doctor loses a lot of what made the young actor so special in a role. The idea of having all his enemies trying to kill him is neat, as is hinting at the Time Lord’s return… but at the end of the day it’s a very hit and miss story. 6/10.
The Final Moments: I was very worried that they were going to regenerate the Doctor as an old man, forcing us fans to forever use an asterisk when it comes to describe it. But fortunately for us that doesn’t happen and Matt Smith gets one last scene. And ultimately it works. It’s a great last moment by a great actor that really sells the sadness and the joy. It’s a shame that it’s over in such a flash that I got whiplash. 8/10.
Overall: This episode is mixed to me. A lot is done right, a lot of it falls flat on its face, ultimately I’m gonna have to say it’s somewhere down the middle of the road for me. It has more good than bad, but that doesn’t excuse the bad. 7/10.
Final Verdict: 21/30 aka 7/10
This story starts off good, falls really badly in the middle and finally finishes in a somewhat decent place at the end. It’s a very rocky road with many bumps in the road, but ultimately it’s not a total waste. Not the worst Doctor Who has done, not the best either. 7/10.
Final Verdict: 71.3/100
So there you have it. My look at this Doctor. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Tune in next week for my take on the next Doctor on the list. Till next time.