I'll admit to some trepidation as we approached this, the fifth season of "Doctor Who" since its 2005 rejuvenation. I adore David Tennant. I really do. The prospect of exchanging him for a younger model left me a little...cold. My worry only increased when photos of Matt Smith began to emerge looking like the second coming of Edward Cullen (below). The last thing we need is Twilight creeping into the sacred bastion of Who-ville.
And Matt Smith does bear a certain resemblance to a human Frankenstein. He's just not very pretty!
However, I held my breath in expectation. After all Steven Moffat--the demented genius responsible for "Blink," "The Doctor Dances," and "The Girl in the Fireplace"--was in charge of casting. He wouldn't go with a new Doctor who didn't fit his genius-tinged vision for how the new season would proceed.
Any faith I had was justly rewarded. "The Eleventh Hour" gave us a taste of just how fantastic this combination of Moffat and Smith has proven. Aside from the small misstep with the jellybean-colored Daleks, this has been a tremendous season so far.
Smith plays the Doctor is a genuine alien, someone so out of touch with how human emotions work that he works on almost a childlike level. Instead of comforting Amy, at one point, he simply blurts out the truth that she's dying. His rationale is that lying to comfort her won't solve the problem. He's quick and twitchy, even a little bit dandy, and he comes across as particularly vacant--until the time comes to be utterly brilliant.
While my initial impression was that his take would be a little too close to that of David Tennant, I've since noticed more uniqueness to Smith's performances. His accent, for instance, drifts toward the Queen's English, which makes him sound very retro, almost old. He's a gentleman from the past, not a hardened Northerner (Eccleston) or a hip Londoner (Tennant). The bow tie and braces add to that old-time feel, as if Smith's relative youth was a mistake of genetics, not casting.
Karen Gillan as Amy Pond has also been incredible. She's sassy and funny, utterly down-to-earth, and just a little lost. Their chemistry is a joy to watch, and it never seems forced as it did between Tennant and Freema Agyeman's Martha.
Part of the success of this transition, to my thinking, is that everything changed. The lead actor, the producers, the sets, the companions--everything. I may always miss Eccleston and Tennant for different reasons, but this isn't their Who anymore. It doesn't have to be. The change of pace has been refreshing and so much fun.
To say I've been impressed and entertained is an understatement. I'm actively looking forward to each week's episode. Keven and I have amassed certain theories about Moffat's over-arching storyline, particularly with regard to the Two Doctors and the split in time, but I won't go into those here for fear of spoilers. This season has been so good that I don't want to ruin it for anyone. Just know that if you haven't yet met the Eleventh Doctor, you're in for a fantastic, brilliant treat.
What do you think? Where are you up to in your viewing? Have you been as impressed and entertained as I've been?