An Ode to Dr. Who's Matt Smith

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I’ve never been a die-hard Dr. Who fan. I watched the long-running series on PBS when I was little, but even though it’s right up my geeky Anglophile alley, I felt like I’d be showing up late to the party, so I resisted joining the fan ranks as an adult. Then I saw a clip of the newest Dr. Who, with Matt Smith as The Doctor, and I was hooked. I've since become a Dr. Who fanatic, and now that the most recent season (the fifth of the show's modern incarnation, but the thirty-first overall) has been released on DVD in the States and Matt Smith has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson for a Dr. Who-themed episode, it's time for you to become a fanatic, too.

For the uninitiated, Dr. Who himself The Doctor (Sorry! New fan, remember?) is the only surviving member of a race of beings called “timelords,” and every few years, he changes physical form. (It's a brilliant way to keep the show fresh forever, no?) What the various Dr. Whos have had in common over the years is that they've all been infinitely wise geniuses who travel through space and time, solving mysteries while accompanied by trusty female companions. (Sexual tension can run high at times, but there’s no hooking up—it wouldn’t be right, since timelords aren't human.) Some Doctors have been old and wise, some bumbling and silly, but all were fearless.

What Matt Smith brings to the Dr. Who table is that he’s the youngest one ever, and he’s feistier, more whimsical, and more genuinely excited by danger than his previous counterparts. And let’s not mince words: He’s pretty. He's tall, all pale skin and angles, and has what could be referred to as “modelface.” Top that off with that perfectly tousled shock of hair and he looks like a aristocratic hipster who also fronts the coolest band you’ve never heard of. He plays the role like he’s too cool to be embroiled in time travel, but since he just so happens to be a time traveler, we might as well just dive in and go with it, right? In the most recent season of Dr. Who, he fought stone angels, helped Da Vinci Van Gogh (Sorry! Bad memory!) find his sanity, and confronted insane aliens—all using only his considerable wit and intellect.

On last night's Late Late Show, Smith charmed Craig Ferguson (and the crowd) with tales of being in America to film the upcoming season of the show, his deft playing of the harmonica (which those daffy British folk call a mouth organ), and the quirky socks he kept flashed in the interview chair.

Matt Smith is already an enormous celebrity across the pond, but the Brits aren't the only ones who're can appreciate well-told, action-packed stories and adorably nerdy heroes. If Matt Smith keeps playing The Doctor so wonderfully and keeps charming the pants off of us during his TV appearances, we'll all be (justifiably) Dr. Who-obsessed in no time.

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