Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Woohoo! for New "Who"

This weekend, unless you're not involved in social media at all (in which case, how are you seeing this?) or don't watch much TV, it was announced that veteran Scottish actor Peter Capaldi will be taking over the role of the Doctor in the long-running British sci-fi TV show "Doctor Who".  I join the numerous positive comments on this choice and congratulate Mr. Capaldi on landing the job.  To be honest, I've only ever seen him in two other roles before this was announced.  Funny enough, one of those was as the patriarch of a Pompeiian family in a previous season's episode of "Doctor Who" (before you consider that strange, check out Colin Baker, who played a Gallifreyan guard during the 5th Doctor's tenure, then went on to be the 6th Doctor).  The other was in the "Doctor Who" spinoff, "Torchwood", during their "Children of Earth" series of episodes.  His role was a very tortured, dark role, but well played.  I look forward to exploring his other works that have been mentioned online since then (especially one called "Local Hero", which looks great).

Besides being a choice of a great actor, I applaud this decision on another level.  When the original run of this show was televised starting in 1963 until the late 80's, it was all about the sci-fi entertainment.  While there were other plots and elements woven in, the main points were most assuredly about the time and space traveling, the scary monsters, the strange worlds, etc...  But with the kickoff of the new seasons in the 2000's, "Doctor Who" has inserted relevant issues of our day into the stories.  Not only are they entertaining, but they make us think.  The show does just about the best balance of this of any other show I've seen.  Of course at the center of it all has always been the Doctor, the mad "spaceman" in a blue box called the TARDIS, that travels in time and space.  Most assuredly he's the star of the show, but when someone else needs the spotlight, the Doctor just blends in for the sake of the story.  When it was announced earlier this year that 11th Doctor Matt Smith would be leaving, a whirlwind of controversy was stirred up.  Because the Doctor has the ability to regenerate and change his appearance instead of dying outright, many have left this open to interpretation about who could take over the prestigious acting role.  Questions about possibly having a woman become the 12th Doctor arose.  Quickly names like Emma Watson & Helen Mirren were thrown about for consideration.  There was also a suggestion about someone of a different race taking over (all previous incarnations of the Doctor have been white males).  I didn't disagree with anyone that was named as a possible replacement, including any of the women or guys of a different race, but in the end I think Peter Capaldi was just about the best choice of any...and here's why.

Like I said previously, the newer seasons of "Doctor Who" work so well because it has the ability to make points relevant to today's day and age (somewhat in the same way "Star Trek" did), with keeping a main character that could fade in and out for the sake of the story as needed.  Now imagine pressure from various groups to suddenly change the Doctor into, for example, a black male or a female, just because it's possible and "because they can".  Suddenly, with one of those changes, the Doctor becomes the focal point of every show.  It becomes a change for the sake of change, not for relevancy of the story.  Let's be honest:  those who will actually stop watching "Doctor Who" because they picked another "white guy" probably weren't fans in the first place.  Most, if not all, Whovians would want what's best for the show, what is most logical.  What makes most sense is to put someone in the Doctor's shoes who blends in to the part as if he had always been there.  To do anything else would interrupt what the new series has worked to build just to placate special interest groups that were only concerned about the publicity from a controversy.  Ultimately, I think head writer Steven Moffat did what he felt was best.  Ever since Russell T. Davies left has head writer at the end of the 10th Doctor David Tennant's tenure, Moffat has made decisions that have Whovians talking, blogging, tweeting, etc... and not always in a good way.  It was his idea, though, to consider Capaldi for the role of the Doctor.  In fact, according to the live announcement special, he had almost put him in as the 11th Doctor in place of Matt Smith, but decided against it, thinking the time was not exactly right.  It's that type of person that I like to see in charge of such a decision.  Moffat will not make a knee-jerk reaction just to ride the wind of political correctness or cave in to pressure of a select few.  Again, to draw another "Star Trek" parallel, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one".  The "many", in this case, are we Whovians who care deeply about this show.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait for a new "Who" episode until November, which will be the 50th anniversary episode & Matt Smith's penultimate.  The no-doubt emotional on-screen regeneration of Matt Smith's 11th Doctor into Peter Capaldi's 12th Doctor will come at Christmas, a time fans of the new series have come to look forward to because of the great special episodes released that day most every year since the Doctor reappeared on our televisions.  If this Christmas is anything like last year's, I will hopefully receive more cool "Who" merchandise, too! (Hint, hint!)  But first, I'll be patiently waiting for November to get here for the 50th.  Yeah...patiently waiting...  Does anyone have a spare TARDIS they're not using?  There's someWHEN I have to be  :)

(I hope you've enjoyed this blog, even if you're not a Whovian like me.  Any questions, comments, criticism or suggestions?  Post them here, hit me up on Facebook, or send me a tweet @nBoEnforcer)

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