After a surprisingly short amount of time, I have finished catching up on Doctor Who (post revival, that is), and just finished watching ‘The Wedding of River Song’. I will now try to recap my feelings on series 5 and 6.
Because I loved David Tennant so much, I was unsure of whether or not I would fully enjoy it when I started series 5. It seemed implausible to be able to appreciate a different actor in the role of the Doctor when I had grown so attached to David’s portrayal, so I had to take a short break in my binge watching before starting the new series. I wasn’t completely sold on Matt Smith to begin with; it felt in a way as if he was trying too hard to be the Doctor created by David Tennant, and not his own version.
As the series went on, though, he quickly became one of my favourites. I think Matt Smith brings a sort of quirkiness and physical comedy to the role that I didn’t see in David Tennant, but he also does a terrific job showing the darker sides of the character. He seems to encompass a lot of what I appreciated about David Tennant, but he underplays it where I sometimes felt that David Tennant overplayed it. Someone on a podcast I was listening to said they though he is in a way both the youngest and oldest actor to play the Doctor, and I agree, because Matt Smith manages to balance the young and energetic physique with an old soul.
In many ways it was easy to like this series because so much of the cast was replaced. Not only was there a new Doctor, but we met Amelia Pond and her boyfriend Rory Williams, and, with the exception of Rose perhaps, they are now my favourite companions. I think Karen Gillan and Matt Smith work really well together. Also, the way the story is so centred on one of the companions is interesting.
I liked the addition of the mystery that is River Song, but at times it gets very confusing trying to sort out when in time we meet her when she’s on. It was fun trying to figure out when one hers and the Doctor’s timeline they were meeting every time, but at some point I gave up figuring it out and decided to just enjoy the ride.
Series 6 was a lot more disjointed in my opinion, but I still love the chemistry between the Doctor, Amy and Rory. Although I loved the Doctor and Rose series, I do think the show has benefited from expanding the number of companions, and also by making them a married couple. I will be the first one to say that I loved the bond between Rose and the Doctor, but it was nice to see the romantic feelings be centred between the two companions. This is the reason why I always say that JK Rowling was smart in making Hermione fall for Ron, and I think it works better this way in Doctor Who too. I love their story so much that if the time comes when they get left behind for real, I will be very sad. I also appreciate that they let Rory go from the silly and slightly stupid boyfriend to the man who waited for 2000 years and stood up to the Doctor at multiple occasions.
Matt Smith has continued to make me love him as the Doctor, and I think this series he had the ability to show off even more of his strengths as an actor. Especially towards the end of the series when we see him play a huge range of emotions, changing from giddy and happy to self-deprecating and scared on more than one occasion. He plays it in such a subtle way, not overly sad all the time, but there’s always an undertone to his performance. Some of the saddest parts of this season was his realisations that he causes as much pain and suffering as he helps prevent.
Although there were some great episodes, most notably ‘When a good man goes to war’ and ‘The girl who waited’, I felt that the series was a little bit all over the place, and spent too much time on River Song. She quickly went from one of the more fascinating things in the show to a frequent point of frustration. I still think she is a great character, but she should have been used in moderation. I enjoyed learning that she was Rory and Amy’s daughter, but I felt that they completely skipped over the fact that Rory and Amy missed out on their child’s childhood way too quickly, and it took until the finale to see them have some sort of family interaction.
All in all though, I like that the series ended as it did. It was obvious that some trick would happen to save the Doctor, and I like that it forced him to move back into the shadows for the time being. I look forward to seeing next series revolve around the age-old question, ‘Doctor Who?’, and hope to have everyone back for another year.