Last summer, Doctor Who fans were crushed to hear that Eleventh Doctor
and clumsy baby giraffe Matt Smith would be stepping down from the iconic role the following Christmas. Two months later, in a live, worldwide special, Smith’s successor was announced: Peter Capaldi, arguably the first veteran actor to assume the role and a household name in the UK for his many memorable TV characters, including spin doctor Malcolm Tucker on the BBC’s The Thick of It. The feedback was generally positive, with some scattered ageist comments that we’re going to pretend were never uttered, but it would be another year until Capaldi’s real debut, where fans would be able to see him in action.
Now halfway through Series 8, Capaldi appears to have breathed new life into Doctor Who. His version of the enigmatic time-traveler is the most alien in recent memory, and it’s making for some cracking good TV. Here’s a brief look at his tenure so far, broken down by episode.
MAJOR EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD.
I am writing this post from beyond the grave, because Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary special killed me dead.
Yeah, I’ll admit it: I was pessimistic during the build-up to this most auspicious occasion. I grumbled for months about the trailer for “The Day of the Doctor” being released late (still grumbling in fact), and despite the staggering celebration line-up announced in October, I felt the classic Doctors were being quietly nudged aside. I quelled my fangirl jitters on the grounds that the special just wouldn’t live up to my expectations.
I’m so happy to have been proven wrong.
“The Day of the Doctor” is one humdinger of an adventure, equal parts playful historical jaunt, sobering backstory, and squee-worthy fanservice. On the outside, it resembles any other madcap episode — the Doctor (Matt Smith) and companion Clara (Jenna Coleman) are enlisted to stop Earth from falling into the slimy, suction-y hands of the Zygons, a villainous race making its first appearance since the classic series. But weaved throughout that predictable A-plot is easily the darkest B-plot the show has tackled since its return: the Doctor’s involvement in the Time War, where he was forced to wipe out his home planet of Gallifrey to end the violence. Loaded with snappy dialogue and peppered with more than a few surprises for the devoted Whovian, this was an anniversary to end all anniversaries.
Urban Dictionary defines a fandom as “a kingdom of fans.” Fandom usually describes a group of people who are so obsessed with a TV show/Movie/book/etc. that they create various works of art to show their love. Most fandoms just write fan fiction and photoshop flower crowns on to characters, but one fandom seems to take this a bit further. Fans of Doctor Who, or Whovians, are some of the most devoted fans in the fandom universe.
Most YouTube videos made by a certain fandom have the same formula. Take a somewhat popular song and edit some clips from the show together. With Doctor Who, you can search pretty much any song and find a Doctor Who tribute video. This video takes Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” and focuses on Amy Pond. This video contains clips from series 5, 6 and 7.
Comic Relief is a charity that helps raise money for the poor. Every odd-numbered year in March, people in the UK celebrate Red Nose Day. This is a semi-holiday created by Comic Relief where people get a foam red nose in exchange for a donation. Most donations occur during the live telethon, which is famous for its hilarious comedy sketches.
Naturally, most people anticipated a Doctor Who sketch because it is pretty much a telethon staple. In 2011, Rowan Atkinson poked fun at classic Doctor Who in this clip.
Since 2005, the BBC’s Doctor Who has gained a legion of rabid fans, transitioning from a cult classic to a full-on mainstream hit. The eponymous Doctor is a time-travelling alien who regenerates his body when he’s close to death, meaning that sooner or later, a new actor takes over the part. Current Doctor Matt Smith revealed in June that he was hanging up his bow tie, and from there, speculation on the identity of Twelve has run rampant. As of Sunday, however, this particular rumor mill has ceased production.
Whovians, join me in welcoming Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor!
As a die hard Doctor Who fan I find the upcoming changes in the show to be both thrilling and absolutely terrifying. Between the new companion Clara joining the cast, the 50th anniversary special slated for the fall, and parting with the 11th doctor, Matt Smith, I’ve admittedly had several panic attacks comforted only by the fact that I have such faith in the creators of the show and how they handle change. After all, one of the most magnificent things about this particular show is that every couple seasons it reinvents itself. Without this very fact, the show arguably would have never reached the level of success it has.
So, with that said, I find myself saying I am ready for the new doctor. I am ready for the next brilliant artist (as they all have been brilliant haven’t they?) to take over and put their spin on this whacky character who I love so dearly. I’m even going to go as far to say that I’m downright excited! But this excitement and anticipation for changes leaves me wanting something else to change.
Steven Moffat needs to move on and Doctor Who needs a new show runner.
Despite being confirmed for the eighth series/season of Doctor Who, Matt Smith steps down as The Doctor. A lot of fans, like myself, are sad to see Smith go, but we are excited to see who is going to fill his gigantic shoes. (Not that I know Matt Smith’s shoe size, I’m saying it’s a big role) Since the announcement on June 1st, fans have been picking out their favorite actors to replace Smith. Big names such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Rupert Grint (The Doctor would finally be ginger!), and Martin Freeman have been suggested to replace Matt Smith. Past stars of Doctor Who have also been mentioned: David Morrissey (Jackson Lake from “The Next Doctor”), Russell Tovey (Allons-y Alonso, anyone?), Olivia Colman (“Mother” from The Eleventh Hour), and even Billie Piper.
This week we bring you stories from around the Internet that you might have missed.
Matt Smith leaves Doctor Who.
Jean Stapleton, who played Archie Bunker’s wife, Edith, on All in the Family, died on Friday.
Dan Harmon announces his return to Community.
The Sopranos tops the Writers Guild of America’s list of Best Written TV Series Ever.
John Oliver talks to The Hollywood Reporter about taking over The Daily Show for the summer. His first day is June 10.
In honor of Jean Stapleton, the All in the Family theme song is after the jump.
Warning: Today’s video is more like Creepy TV Video of the Day. Despite 25 years passing, The Max Headroom incident is still very unsettling.
In 1987, someone dressed as the 80s television character Max Headroom hijacked the signal of two Chicago television stations, WGN and WTTW. The first incident took place during the sports segment of WGN’s The Nine O’Clock News. WGN’s engineers were able to cut the hijacker’s broadcast short by switching the stations signal to a backup transmitter. A few hours later, the hijackers successfully took over WTTW’s signal for 90 seconds. The PBS affiliate’s engineers tried to stop the intrusion into the Doctor Who episode “Horror of Fang Rock,” but the hijacker’s broadcast was over by the time they started looking into it.
The video below is from the second hijacking.