Tuesday, August 6, 2013

WHO Doctor Doctor Who

The casting of the 12th Doctor was announced on Sunday, via a live TV special shown at the same time on the BBC and BBC America, except of course for me because I don't pay for HD cable. As such, my BBC America feed is three hours delayed. Still, the twittersphere did not disappoint in conveying the news to me in real time. The new Doctor will be:

I've never seen The Thick of It, the show for which he is famous for playing the foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker. But a friend of mine on Facebook, who clearly has seen the show, was nearly peeing her pants with joy. More recently you might recognize him as the World Health Organization (WHO) Doctor in World War Z. (See how that works? He went from a WHO Doctor to Doctor Who...)

My first reaction to his casting was to have a moment of disappointment that they cast yet another white male in the role and passed up the opportunity to cast a minority, whether a woman or a person of color. Then that moment passed because as much as I would like to see that happen someday, I don't trust Steven Moffat to handle either of those things well. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of what he's done for the show since taking over for Russel T. Davies, but he tends to write in broad, stereotypical strokes that would not have gone well. He strikes me as one of those white males who doesn't understand that other people's life experience isn't identical to his own.

Otherwise I quite like the choice. Moving from the youngest Doctor, Matt Smith (27 when he debuted), to the second oldest in Capaldi (55 and second only to the first Doctor, William Hartnell) will provide a nice contrast, and maybe it will stop the companions from falling in love with him. Matt Smith also did a wonderful job of conveying through his performance how old the character is in spite of Smith's physical youth, which I think will allow the transition to Capaldi to be smoother. Smith's Doctor doesn't feel young at all. Now the Doctor will just look more his age.

It's interesting to note that Capaldi appeared in The Fires of Pompeii episode of Series 4 opposite David Tennant's Doctor. I wonder if they'll do some retconing and make his character in that episode the 12th Doctor in disguise. Actually, it would be pretty brilliant to bring back David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and show us that whole episode from the 12th Doctor's perspective pretending to be Caecilius.

In any case, Capaldi will make his debut at the end of this year's Christmas special, undoubtedly poking his face a lot, frowning at his bow tie, and being disappointed that after 11 regenerations, he still hasn't been a ginger.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.