The Doctor is such a great character – he has enough internal angst to keep a show going, and beloved, over 31 seasons. Pretty epic personal angst.
(For those of you who haven’t spent the last week sick in bed watching Doctor Who, he is the last of the Time Lords – and was pretty much responsible for his whole race, and home planet, being wiped out. This doesn’t only make him an orphan, it also makes him one of the only people as smart as himself in the universe.)
One of the many things I love about the show is how they keep him neutral. Most of the time, of course, he’s saving the day and looking pretty fantastic. But it’s a fine line he walks, and evil, all-powerful genius lies just on the other side.
They’re not afraid to use the darkness in him as a kind of spice in the dish of good.
A great example of this is the very last scene with David Tennant as the Doctor. You would assume, in farewelling the most popular doctor ever from a hugely popular family tv show, that the BBC would attempt to make it ok that he’s effectively dying. Not so.
Tennant looks right ahead, and his face kind of falls apart with feeling, and he says, “I don’t want to go.”
And then he goes. Regenerates. Becomes a different man.
The new Matt Smith Doctor is my favourite, but even so, even knowing who Tennant Doctor was making way for by dying, that one line made it very hard to see him go.
I applaud the bravery of it. It preserves the deeply flawed nature of the Doctor – the essence that keeps us watching.