Monday, 16 December 2013
What a difference a regeneration makes...
Is it just me, or is there something a wee bit underwhelming about the forthcoming departure of Matt Smith? I know that The Time of the Doctor has had a lot of popular monsters thrown at it, has explosions, and will have some sort of emotional impact, but when we consider Smith's popular appeal then publicity is certainly rather low key.
I have thought for some time that to leave so soon after the 50th Anniversary was a big mistake - especially only four weeks after, and with no further televised adventures. In a way, the Anniversary has hijacked Smith's departure. The general public is a bit Who'd out.
Compare with Tennant's departure. (Some would, of course, argue that went a little too far in the opposite direction).
Tennant's last year was the Specials Year - each one turned into an event. The viewers were starved and so avidly lapped them up. The finale was an epic two parter spread over Christmas and New Year. DT appeared everywhere. Chat shows, game shows, comedy specials, radio and TV interviews. He hosted as well as guested. I read somewhere recently that he appeared 70 times across TV and radio over the Christmas period. Plus, Doctor Who got the BBC idents.
Smith's last series was split in two - the second half (decidedly patchy) shown back in the Spring. The Day of the Doctor was as much about the other Doctors - Tennant and Hurt especially - and the legacy of Hartnell etc. as it was about Smith. In a way, I don't think he has been all that well served this year. Overall, he might have had 4 years, but there have only been 3 series. No Specials Year for him.
(Personally, I think the Ponds' arc should have been carried on, had they known Smith was going so soon after. Do you recall when ST: DS9 introduced a new, highly annoying, Dax in the final season? Almost wrecked the momentum of the final year and ruined the emotional impact of the original Dax's demise. Clara has always felt a little like that to me).
There's something a bit rushed about it all. Simply tying up loose ends. Story arcs. The tail wagging the dog. Smith was eager to move on, so Moffat is quickly getting things ready for the new guy. Seems a shame, somehow, that the Doctor gets a new purpose in life, and we get that wonderful ending we saw to TDOTD, then - suddenly - one quick, hour long, adventure and he's gone.
Anticlimax. That's the word I'm looking for...