Two days since the announcement, and no tributes to MS and Eleven? I'm shocked.
The Doctor is an amazingly rich and complicated character to play. He's brilliant, ancient, alien, dedicated to the preservation of life, with a puckish sense of humor--and he's an eccentric, even by the standards of his own species.
Certain actors have embodied the various aspects of the Doctor better than others. I think Tom Baker was probably the most "alien" of the Doctors, Tennant had the "mad genius" vibe, and Davison had the kindest hearts. (YMMV.)
But Matt Smith brought something unique and refreshing to the role. Even though he was the youngest man ever to play the part, he conveyed the "ancient" part of the character phenomenally well. Yes, he did the dotty eccentric bits and the mile-a-minute-mind dialogue to perfection, but what made MS stand out was that I always believed I was watching a millennium-old creature walking around in a fresh, younger body.
It was all little things, the body language, the way he mumbled certain bits of dialogue the way an old codger would do it. There always seemed to be a bit more "sag" in his voice when he complained about his age, and I felt the weight of years whenever he felt tired and lost. He's had the big, showy "I've seen too much!" scenes (like in "Rings of Akhaten"), but I loved the quiet scenes more, like when he sits by Little Amy's bedside in "Big Bang" and tells her to "remember the old Doctor." (I swear, I'm tearing up just thinking about it.)
So it's no surprise that my favorite run of episodes in the Moffat era are the three episodes leading up to the Season Six finale: "The Girl Who Waited," "The God Complex," and "Closing Time." Here was something new for the series: the Doctor was going to die at Lake Silencio, and we saw him start to let go of life, put his affairs in order, break his companions' hero worship of the great and powerful Doctor, because he is mortal and all mortals have to go sometime. "Closing Time" was the saddest episode of the new series; he's fighting Original Recipe Cybermen, just like he did 50 years ago, and he wondered if it's all come round again, and if it's been worth the fight.
When he sacrificed old Amy, broke Amy's faith in him in God Complex, when he talked to Stormy about life as a citizen of Earth, when he soaked in the death of the Brig, Matt broke my heart. Even though he recovered his mojo (a little too quickly for my taste) in "Wedding of River Song," it was some of the most emotionally wrenching acting in the seven year run.
He's got two episodes to go. Tennant and John Hurt in the anniversary special and then the regeneration. Matt's going to bring it. Stock up on Kleenex, folks.
Edited by cjl, Jun 5, 2013 @ 12:34 PM.