This week, in my house anyway, there was nearly as much buildup to the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special as there was to the arrival of the Christmas Dragon himself.  (Long story, but suffice to say not all children are sanguine with the idea of people seeing them when they are sleeping.)  Having now experienced the whole arc of Eleven’s character, I find myself looking back and re-analyzing his entire run with new eyes.  While I agree with those who say that, dramatically, the show-runner controlling the fate of Eleven wanted to have his cake and eat it too, undermining drama for the sake of a ‘happy ending’, it’s hard for me to ignore that Smith’s Doctor has had a great deal of character growth, on a scale unseen since at least his Seventh life.  This, in turn, begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds Whovians and Spoilerites alike to reserve judgement based on the 45 or so seconds we have of Peter Capaldi, instead asking:  On a scale of brilliant to bleah, what’s your overall assessment of Matt Smith’s tenure as The Doctor?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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11 Comments

  1. December 26, 2013 at 11:48 am — Reply

    Confusing at times and a wonderful trip in others. Sometimes I couldn’t make sense of the story, especially at the start of his second series. I was happy with his portrayal as a happy go lucky kind of guy that hid his intelligence until it was needed and his love for stated that things were cool. I also loved his energy when it was the quiet times and laughed quite a bit at his antics. I loved the episode “The Power of Three” for showing us what an immortal does when confronted with the boredom of real life.

  2. December 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm — Reply

    I Feel like prefacing this with the statement, I really Liked Doctor Matt… But…

    Matt Smith started from a more serious Doctor. in spite of David’s Silly moments, he was a more focused and stoic characterization of the Doctor. This left Matt with the alternative to go Silly and Irreverent more, to set himself apart. And that he did… more often than not too far. A good example, Why the Naked and Holo clothes? How did any of that benefit the story? Now granted Matt didn’t right the story, but his character bases a lot of these little story moments.

    I never wanted an ultra serious Doctor, or a depressingly stoic doctor, But I think Matt Smith often came off a lot more silly that he really needed to be.

  3. Doctor Dinosaur
    December 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm — Reply

    According to Peterson’s 3rd law of nerdo-dynamics; A person’s first Doctor is more often than not ones favourite Doctor. But Who was my first Doctor?

    The first Doctor I was aware of as some sort of character was the 4th doctor and his big scarf. I saw him referenced everywhere from The Simpsons to Where’s Waldo.

    The first I ever saw an episode with, subsequently followed and saw every episode of and then saw regenerate was Eccleston.

    The first Doctor I was ever aware of as “The Doctor, Timelord from the planet Gallifrey” from the BBC show “Doctor Who”, was Tennant. Or perhaps the other way around, the first time I was aware of the show, premise and the character was because of Tennant’s popularity. I might have started watching Eccleston because of him as well.

    Matt Smith’s Doctor was the current Doctor when I started watching Eccleston’s 9th. And through vigorous catching up. He was the first Doctor I ever followed while it was still his tenure, and no replacement was even on the horizon. He’s the one I’ve seen the most of and the only one still “alive” while I watched him. My favourite episode is also a Smith episode (Vincent and The Doctor).

    And Smith’s performance was brilliant. A performance that embodied all the best parts of the Doctor as I see him (Undoubtedly because he shaped how I see the Doctor). Someone silly, serious, clever, wise, young, old, hopeful and good. A humanist, cosmic-hobo and perhaps the greatest superhero ever created… maybe barring a young girl from Sunnydale and two dark haired, blue eyed gentlemen in capes and tights. (But who can rank them?)

    And Who can rank the Doctors? While I’m not sure I can say that Smith is undoubtedly my favourite Doctor. After all, they are all one. I do think the 11th will always be -my Doctor-, and mark a specific point in time for me. (As befits someone in a Tardis).

    So here’s to the 11th; Geronimo, dickiebow, fezzes are cool, fish in custard. Whether he was my first Doctor or not I think I’ll always miss him the most, the brilliant, raggedy madman with a box.

  4. December 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm — Reply

    Matt Smith was the first Doctor I really related to, and is thus my favorite. Some of his episodes were scattered, but overall I truly enjoyed his energy and his intelligence. An older, fierce-looking Doctor will put me back to pre-Smith levels of interest. Sigh.

  5. December 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm — Reply

    Matt Smith was the first doctor to me to truly play the Doctor as an alien outsider which I really appreciated. He was a very old soul in a young body, and I love the fact that we have now seen 500 plus years of him as the 11th Doctor. Everything about this Doctor was a fairy tale, something that I think all the children inside all of us can connect to. His tenure as the Doctor will be a high benchmark that will be tough to beat.

    • December 27, 2013 at 11:10 am — Reply

      I think you nailed it. Fairy Tale is the description I would use for the 11th Doctor. Amy Pond and her relationship with the Doctor was very much a fairy tale, the Raggedy Doctor and all that. The poetry of ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ ‘The Time of the Doctor’ and a few other episodes. I preferred Smith over Tennant, and I loved Eccleston, but I think Matt Smith is my favorite of the New Era Doctors. Certainly some of my favorite episodes of the show are Smith episodes. That being said, I think the 11th did what he needed to do, and I think the show and character are ready to move on.

  6. comicfan1974
    December 26, 2013 at 4:16 pm — Reply

    I agree with the essence of Ray’s comment above. I actually liked Matt Smith as the Doctor right away (which is unusual for me) but came to see his performance as, at its worst, far too over the top and hipsterish and just silly. But at its best, though, he was great, being able to convey vulnerability and enthusiasm and genuine heroism.

  7. Martin J
    December 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm — Reply

    Tom Baker was my Doctor.

    But Matt Smith with his introduction in the Eleventh Hour pretty much won me over with “Hello, I’m the Doctor. Basically. Run” and ever since then he has pretty much become my ideal doctor.

    When that bow tie hit the floor, I was a 39 year old crying in a roomful of people who don’t normally watch Dr Who.

  8. Arbor Day
    December 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm — Reply

    He did a good job of turning the manic, fairy-godfather aspect of the Doctor into a well rounded character. And he developed the character of the Doctor, as a whole, further along than 10 or 11, which is kind of a double-edged sword. But I think it will allow Peter Capaldi a lot more room to create his own doctor. I kind of wish Moffat would pass the torch too.

    That line about the kidneys is a bit overplayed.

  9. Kirby
    December 26, 2013 at 9:54 pm — Reply

    I think Matt Smith’s run on the whole was good, but it suffered in certain areas. Overabundance of River Song, and a very confused second season. But Matt Smith as the Doctor was an instant win, and the fact that he continued to grow as a character was always a welcome change. Maybe not as drastic as Seven (my favorite) but still a good growth, and probably the strongest companions of the revived series. I have Smith’s first two seasons, and plan to finish it up, I’m glad that it went out on a high note, and am interested to see where the old traveler in the blue box goes to next.

  10. December 27, 2013 at 2:36 am — Reply

    I thought he played a reasonably enjoyable Doctor. Not the best, but not the worst either (not that I really have a least favorite Doctor). He brought certain aspects to the character that worked and some that didn’t, but overall I thought he did a pretty decent job with the role.

    I wasn’t as sorry to see him go as I was with Troughton, Pertwee or Tennant, but I can’t say I was happy to see him leave either.

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