As throngs upon throngs of Doctor Who fans eagerly await the worldwide debut episode of the new Twelfth Doctor later today, I couldn’t be more nonchalant about the whole thing. Which is a damn shame, because I used to be a big fan of the seminal British sci-fi television programme (see, I even spelled “show” the way the Brits do).
What happened, you ask?
Clara and Peter Capaldi. In that order.
I’ve been faithfully following the good Doctor’s adventures since the British Broadcasting Corporation revived the long-dormant franchise in 2005. This adoration only intensified over the years since, culminating in the infallible combination of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor and his two perfect companions, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, respectively.
When Amy and Rory had to say goodbye and move on after the fifth episode in Series 7, I was devastated, but I kept an optimistic outlook. Maybe the new companion would be just as fun as they were.
Jenna Coleman is a lovely girl, bless her, but she has got to be one of the most, if not the most boring companion ever to have stepped into the Doctor Who universe. I realize this is not entirely her fault as she is merely delivering the lines and the performance cues given to her, but her portrayal is very one-note and tepid, and the onus falls on her nonetheless.
In any event, I stuck around for Series 7 even after the demise of my precious Amy and Rory because I wanted to give Clara a chance. Unfortunately, things didn’t get any better. In fact, it became even more apparent as the series wore on that the Eleventh Doctor and Clara had zero chemistry. Matt Smith, try as he might, couldn’t totally salvage the show for me, not with a companion that’s about as interesting as a sack of potatoes.
Imagine my utter devastation when I learned that Matt Smith had decided it was time to move on as well and make way for a new Doctor. It took some time because I really adored Matt as the Eleventh Doctor, but I eventually accepted that this is part of what makes the show interesting. I psyched myself up with anticipation over who the new Doctor might be. Maybe it would be another fun, hip actor. Like Tom Hiddleston, or Andrew Garfield. Or even my favorite Jamie Bell.
Enter Peter Capaldi.
When Capaldi was finally revealed as the Twelfth Doctor on August 4, 2013 via the BBC One special, Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, I heard the sound of fan enthusiasm collectively deflating all around the world. I was among the disenchanted. I guess the show’s runners are trying something different by choosing a much older gentleman to fill the Doctor’s shoes this time around. Maybe it’s a throwback to when the show originated in the 60s. I think Capaldi is roughly the same age as the First Doctor, William Hartnell, was when he made his debut in the role in 1963. Who knows, really, what the show runners are planning or intending to achieve with this odd choice?
Capaldi is a decent actor, and he seems like a nice guy, really, but I find him wholly unrelatable, and when I try to imagine the show with him and Clara together, nothing good comes up, just an explosion of utter and unrelenting boringness. Heaps and heaps of it. It was the final nail in the coffin for me, and my cue to get up from the couch and tune out.
Doctor Who can have a boring companion and I would still watch their adventures begrudgingly, but if the Doctor himself is uninteresting, bland and hard to relate to, I would rather spend my time doing something else entirely.