An Ode to Dr. Who's Matt Smith



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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He may be a fine actor but Ill pass till the doctor regenerates again lol
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I like Matt but David is still my FAV.. Matt is NOT good looking I am sorry but he is not..HE is however a very good actor. I laugh everytime he eats something and spits it out. ( the first scenes with little Amy Pond is the best comedy ) BUT I still miss David and saying that companions never fall in love with the DR have not watched Doctor and Rose.. that was a great love story!!
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"I was positive the next daughter would suck " thats just brilliant.... best typo ever.... rofl
btw. I loved David Tennant and saw some movies of him. What a great actor. Matt is not better but he is not worse either. He is something new and with Davids leaving, the tone of the show changed. Still one of the greatest Sci Fi shows ever
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I'm elated by Matt's Doctor! I loved Eccleston; he was the most human of the three new doctors. Of course, Tennant is a great actor, very well trained, but he made it so over the top, larger than life-- fun and dizzying to watch but less relatable that Eccleston. But Smith? SMITH IS AWESOME. He's like an acting animal! The acting choices he makes throughout an episode are so bold and creative! Plus, when he's upset- it's INTENSE. I never got that with Tennant- I felt sympathy when he was depressed or hurt, but I was never intimidated when he was angry...at all. There's a line in the Matt Smith season (the Vampires of Venice episode) during an intense tete a tete with the headmistress of the "vampire" school, when the Doctor is almost thrown out by her servant and the Doctor says "take your hands off me Carlo". Smith says it so softly, without taking his eyes off the headmistress...it sends chills every time. He reminds you of how dangerous the Doctor can be. AWEsome.
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safibwana, i heard that they recently did away with the 13 regeneration limit all together.
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I can't wait to watch the new season of Doctor Who. I just finished the "End of Time" the finale to Tennant's legendary run as the 10th doctor. I would like to ask the writer...Emily, are you joking about calling this guy pretty? I guess since I'm a straight man, my opinion might be moot on this, but this dude loooks more like he has what we call "mutant face" than "model face". Doesn't bother me as far as having him play the doctor goes (I mean the doc is alien, and this guy looks like he is wearing the skin of one), I just don't understand why this guy (and likewise those two Twi-hard cave dwellers) is considered 'good-looking.'
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Matt Smith is doing an ok job as the doctor but David Tennant was brilliant!
DT will always be my favorite doctor! Alons-y!
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Sorry, Matt has a LONG way to go in inventing his own doctor after the absolutely brilliant job David Tennant did. The best thing about the new series is the fantastic Amy Pond.
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Sarah Jane Adventures. Wrong Sarah. Oops.
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castelkid, 12 lives was a throwaway line that became part of the mythos. They will easily get around it if they want to. like... Maybe in the time war the doctor absorbed dying timelord energies and gained extra lives...? Or maybe 12 in the doctor's homeworld language means 48 in our language... By the way Matt smith played the Doctor on the Sarah Jane Adventures series this past month in a two part episode. All you fans should check it out! (S.J.A. is a good series as well and a spinoff of Dr Who)
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It was 12 regenerations, 13 lives, so there would have been one more after Smith, but they have already started weasling out of this limit. There was a line from Smith on The Sarah Jane chronicles that said 507, some rumors that said infinite, and an interview that implied since he's the last and there's no time lord council or whatever anymore, he could get around the rule (they had previously allowed The Master to get around the rule). The long and short of it is that they are not going to allow a little thing like the shows mythology stop them if the show is still viable.
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Tennant is THE doctor, but Matt is a worthy successor. he acts enough like Tennant's doctor to make me accept the change in actor and brings in a younger factor along with younger companion Amy Pond to make the new stories a fine addition to the past series. One of the best writers of the 2005+ shows is the new producer and main writer and so the quality continues. This series is always a must see for me!
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I've been a fan for a long time now although it took a while for the series to get to France i find that the new seasons are just great , they have chosen theyr Doctors really well . But just one thing : aren't the Timelords supposed to have 12 lives to lives in all ? or will they make something up because he is the last one left ? It would be too bad if the show ended because of that technicallity , because there would only be one more Doctor left .
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If you love Matt Smith, you might start stalking Dave Tennant. I really liked Eccelston too.
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*Doctor. Omg.
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I loved David Tennant with all my heart (Really, I did), and when he left I was positive the next daughter would suck and I would hate him, because he replaced my beloved Ten. So imagine my surprise when the new Doctor showed up and completely stole my heart within minutes.He was charming, witty, smart, and just so... Doctor-ey. While I do miss David Tennant, I don't believe he could have been succeeded by a better person. No one could be more perfect for this role than Matt Smith.
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My new favorite band: 3 Octopuses and an Otter! LOL Bravo to Craig Ferguson and the Late Late Show for bringing Matt Smith to regular broadcast American airwaves! It's about time the Doctor made some time, er, some new friends in the US and Matt is just the guy to do it!
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I know it's imposible to bring back a doctor, I was just saying ...
An episode With MS, DT and CE would be awesome ...
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there's no point saying bring back somebody, that'll never happen. i loved David Tennant as the Doctor but he was getting older, he needed to move on from the role. it took me a couple episodes to get used to Matt Smith, but now i like him as well. I started watching Doctor Who because of Matt Smith, i had heard that the Doctor regenerating basically meant it was a whole new thing (which is wasn't, it's still very much a continuation) but then I realized it wasn't so I watched season 1-4 before I started watching season 5.
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Dude, Better get David Tenant's DVD boxset Seasons 2-4 the show. I still like Matt, but Tenant will always be The Doctor to me. Matt is my second favorite though.
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Kill Matt Smith! Bring Back DT or CE.

I can't stand Matt Smith. I'm new in the Dr Who world, and I changed doctors 2 times in 2 weeks ( I watched season 1 to 5 in 2 weeks or so ). I loved CE, and I hated DT in the firsts episodes...I was "still in love" with CE performance. But DT stole my love for CE in a couple of episodes. MS had 1 season and I can't stand the guy. I really want to like him, but so far, I don't.
I'm sure many fans went trought the same deal, old fans or new fans.
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Huh. I think you'll find people who watch Who nearly uniformly prefer David Tennant's Doctor to Smith's. He doesn't really bring anything new; he's pretty much a pale imitation of Tennant, who, while I don't swing that way, even I can tell is way way hotter (I literally thought Smith was wearing a melting prosthetic on his face the first time I saw him). The new companion though, may be the best one yet. She's pretty much carrying the show at this point. I was actually hoping that the rumors Smith was leaving after two seasons were true so we could see her with a different Doctor.

For those worried about getting into the show late because of the old series, don't. The 2005 series is a good place to start. And if Eccleston's not your cup of tea, start with 2006, when Tennant starts.
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This article is going to make so many die hard, classic Whovians cringe, but besides some of the more obvious errors (which sci_fi40 pointed out), it's so great to see a new generation of fans falling in love with the current incarnation of the show. Everyone needs to watch this show!
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Matt Smith is the reason I finally managed to start watching Doctor Who, I tried watching it when the show first came back with Eccleton, but no dice, as it felt just a bit too odd, then again when Tennant started, and I just didn't really like him the first time around. When I finally came to Matt Smith, I instantly loved the show, and have since then seen the Eccleton and Tennant episodes, and enjoyed them as well.
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Yeah, the "Dr." Who thing irritates me too, as minor as it is. Matt Smith - pretty? Seriously? David Tennant was pretty. I know it boils down to personal preference but I don't think Matt Smith is attractive at all. Although, how could anyone compete with DT's hair?
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You mean he helped Van Gogh find his sanity, not Da Vinci.
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Nice article...but one little remark...he helped Vincent Van Gogh find his sanity not da vinci =)
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I completely agree about Matt Smith being a phenomenal Doctor. He does an amazing job, especially considering he follows David Tennant who was one of the best Doctors to date.

Your facts are absolute rubbish though. First off, in the second paragraph you call the character Dr. Who. This is wrong. The show is Doctor Who, the character is simply the Doctor. And the trusty female companions, isn't always the case. Over the years there have been many male companions/assistants. The "sexual tension" between the Doctor and his female companions is also something pretty much found only in the new series (2005).

Oh, and in the third paragraph it was Vincent van Gogh, not Da Vinci.
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I first started watching Dr. Who during David Tennant's run as the Doctor and quickly became a Who fanatic. It was hard to watch him go and was skeptical of him being replace, but Matt Smith won me over pretty quick. He had big shoes to fill, but he's been brilliant in the role.
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Great article! People definitely need to take notice of this under-appreciated show here in America. I thought I would hate Matt at first (I loved Eccleston and Tennant), but I think he's fantastic now and he's really come into his own recently. I do, however, find Karen Gillan a bit annoying. She seems to be sort of pouty and shouty. She has tremendous potential, though.
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