The first full season of Matt Smith as the Doctor finishes with a sequence of episodes called “The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang.” The Doctor, Amy, Rory, and River Song are in Europe during the peak of the Roman Empire; an extraterrestrial prison, also known as the Pandorica, has manifested through the manipulation of Amy’s childhood. The Pandorica intended to house the most dangerous being in the universe. The twist of the episode is that the prison is for the Doctor. This is the first time the Doctor is portrayed as the likeable villain.
The Doctors greatest enemies from throughout all of time have teamed up in order to stop the Doctor for the last time. The audience gets to see how dangerous the Doctor appears to his enemies; his enemies go to great lengths to stop him. I personally love the idea of the Doctor being an “anti-hero.” It adds a different dimension to the Time Lord; he now is seen as a villain in a sense. It also adds a new layer to the motives of his enemies. For example, in this episode the Daleks are much more interested in stopping the Doctor than they are in eliminating humanity and taking over the entire universe.
Another instance in which we see the way people fear the Doctor is in the episodes, “A Good Man Goes to War,” and “Let’s Kill Hitler.” A group of people steal Amy and Rory’s baby because there were traces of Time Lord in its DNA. They condition the baby to be a weapon, and everything comes to fruition in “Let’s Kill Hitler” when River Song, who is Rory and Amy’s baby, attempts to kill the Doctor, saying it’s her mission in life. Over the course of Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor, the fear in which the Doctor instills in people manifests in brutal attempts to stop him. The Doctor may not be a stereotypical anti-hero, but in the eyes of his enemies, he’s their most dangerous villain in all the universe.
Before I had watched an episode with the eleventh doctor, I had already decided that I was not going to like him because I was just starting to get used to the tenth doctor. It took me quite a while to get used to David Tennant as the Doctor, so I assumed it would also take me a while to like Matt Smith as the Doctor. However, I really enjoyed the Matt Smith as the Doctor from the first episode I watched with him in it. I found the bit with him trying to find food that he liked to be very funny and I liked the way he interacted with Amelia. From all the mixed opinions I had heard about Smith, I was happily surprised with his performance.
The main reason I think I like Smith from the very beginning was because I enjoyed the plot of the episode and how episodes after that continued to connect with the first episode of the season. The episode was interesting and kept me invested through the entirety of it. I liked the new characters, and I liked the new Doctor’s quirkiness.
I think a large reason why I did not like Tennant right away, like I did Smith, was because I did not at all like the first episode that Tennant was in. I found the plot to be somewhat silly and boring and I did not like how different his personality seemed to be from Eccleston’s, because I really enjoyed him as the Doctor.
If I had to choose, I would say that Smith is my favorite Doctor so far and a lot of this has to do with his supporting cast. Amy is a good companion and I really like that Rory comes along to travel with her and the Doctor. Rory is a great character and, in my opinion, is the perfect combination of silly, oblivious, and somewhat intelligent.
I will be the first to admit that I was not happy when the 10th Doctor regenerated into the 11th Doctor. I loved David Tennant and thought he did an excellent job at portraying his emotions. I think what also did not help is that no companion carried over, and they also rebooted the TARDIS. It felt like a completely new show. However, as it goes on, I start to like it more.
I think the episode Vincent and the Doctor was the episode that really convinced me that I really like the new Doctor. I think everyone knows Van Gough or has at least heard of him since his artwork is very popular today. I think because I am somewhat knowledgeable of it, it is why I really liked this episode as well. I thought it was also very unique that they went back in time to specifically help someone. I, as well really liked how they brought Vincent to the present day time to show him how important he will soon be. When the curator tells the Doctor that Van Gough “was the greatest painter of them all” and was “one of the greatest men who ever lived” like come on, after seeing Van Gough’s reaction to that, has to tear at your emotions a little. I also thought this was very unique since we have not seen this type of situation happen before. I felt more of an emotional tie to this episode that I have not experienced yet.
In one of David Tennant’s final adventures, a team of his most famed companions/allies is formed. The team consisting of Harriet Jones, Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith, and Martha Jones come together to aid the Doctor in stopping the end of the world. This gallery of characters were iconic during the adventures of previous incarnations of the Doctor and Tennant’s edition of the Time Lord. Their presence in “The Stolen Earth/ Journey’s End” helps provide a storybook ending to Tennant’s run as the Doctor, but is it’s unfair to the characters that the viewers grew to love during the tenth Doctor’s adventures.
Rose Tyler traveled with both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant’s version of the Doctor. She added continuity to a somewhat abrupt change to the iconic role. She anchored Tennant in the first few episodes of season two, and she also gave the viewer some continuity within the show. At the end of Tennant’s run, we are given closing points for Rose, Jack, Sarah Jane, Martha, and Donna. This bookend for the series was beneficial in that it gave the show a “mini-reboot,” but it hurt the show in that the eleventh Doctor didn’t have a continuity point from the tenth Doctor, and seemed very lost in his first adventure.
Rose was a dynamic character that the viewers already knew, and this made assimilating the new Doctor much simpler. In Matt Smith’s first episode, he acknowledges his former versions of himself, but not his former companions. This feels out of character for the Doctor, and it hurts the chance for these former companions to appear alongside the eleventh regeneration of the Doctor. Without watching ahead, I think this is a disservice to the characters that travelled with Ten, and it also hurts the mythology of the famous television show.