News Editorial: Doctor! Doctor!

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Doctor! Doctor!

editorial by Hans

Doctor Who, the long running monster of a series from BBC is once again getting a new face. This time, we're getting seasoned actor Peter Capaldi to play the friendly time-travelling alien from the planet Gallifrey. Now for those not in the know, Doctor Who is a science fiction series that has been running on and off since the 60's. One of the more brilliant ideas from the show creators is that of regeneration. Whenever the character of The Doctor dies, he regenerates into an entirely new body. Complete with a different face and often different quirky personality traits. This makes the team behind the series able to continue even if the star of the show should choose to leave for other career exploits. After the series died out in 1989, only surviving in the form of comic books and a failed attempt at a revival in the 90's the series returned in full force in 2005. Since then becoming the host of several spin-off series, and one of the most popular series currently running on TV.

Doctor Who is a fairly personal experience to each member of the audience, every fan has their first incarnation, favorite incarnation and favorite companion. Everyone has their own idea of "who" exactly The Doctor is. Lately, the character has been played by fairly young actors. Starting with David Tennant as the 10th Doctor, the character has been a very adventurous character and thus the series has been more action oriented than it's science fiction roots. Now we have Peter Capaldi, taking over for the youngest Doctor thus far - Matt Smith.

Capaldi has been connected to the series before, playing a part in the episode Pompejii during Tennants run and having a role in a four part story on the spin-off series Torchwood. Capaldi is 55, making him quite a bit older than his two predecessors. The announcement of this cast choice has been met with luke warm reactions from the fanbase. It seems that a lot of people have gotten used to the younger, more spry version of The Doctor. Some calling him "way too old" to play the part. This is of course ignoring the fact that the actor who originally portrayed the character was William Hartnell, who was well up in the years and silver haired by the time he took the role.

What I'm getting at is, Doctor Who has become very much an adventure show with a lot of romantic subplots. Not that Doctors before Tennant weren't romantically involved with any of their companions but I feel that with Tennant (being as young and spry as he was) came a lot more focus on romance. Smith's Doctor came closer to being an imaginary friend type character, yet he still had a romantic subplot almost shoehorned into his story. Well not shoehorned exactly, they did dedicate most of his run to his significant other's origin story but I digress.

After a few years of thinking "Will the next Doctor be someone even younger than Smith?" it's refreshing to me to see them go back to having a bit older actors cast in the role. Of course, The character himself can look like anything or anyone but it's still nice to see something else. My hopes is that the series will now focus more on writing better mysteries and dialogue rather than action sequences and the sonic screwdriver being used as a Deus Ex Machina magic wand. As fun as Tennant and Smith has been, they were more fantasy-like than science fiction.

The Facts:
  • Peter Capaldi has been cast as the twelth incarnation of the BBC character "The Doctor".
  • Doctor Who is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this November
  • Matt Smith, the 11th incarnation will take his leave of the series in the Christmas special this year
  • The supporting cast members will stay on the show; Jenny, Drax, Lady Vashtra and the current companion Clara
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