The other day I finally sat down and watched a couple Doctor Who specials that I had somehow missed the last two times I watched the series. These were “The Waters of Mars” and “The End of Time,” both parts.
The Eleventh Doctor is my favorite. I love David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, but Matt Smith’s childlike personality endeared me to him in ways that Tennant could not. They are two different people, really, even though they’re the same Doctor. But whereas Ten was a little deeper and a little darker, Eleven made you want to wrap your arms around him and tell him everything was going to be okay.
So even though “The End of Time Part 2” was that transition from Ten to Eleven, I definitely got teary-eyed. When he said, “But I don’t want to go,” something inside me broke, both for the character and the actor.
And that got me thinking. Doctor Who is an incredible show for so many reasons, but one in particular really stands out to me. Our favorite characters come and go — and that includes the Doctor. What other show sees the main cast change so frequently, and yet it still remains very much the same show?
There was Rose and Martha and Donna and Amy and Rory and Clara. All of them are gone now, save for the last. Maybe not permanently, but definitely on the whole they’re out. All those wonderful characters, the people we’ve fallen in love with, are gone.
And yet we’re still here, watching the show.
I think that’s a testament to the writers, to the actors, and to everyone else involved in the show. It’s such a high-class production that you can steal away character after character, and yet the show remains loved because it still has the same feel to it. When actors are replaced or characters are killed off — main characters, I mean — sometimes the show can flop right then and there.
But not Doctor Who. This show is in a category all by itself.
I wish I could explain it better. I wish I could put my finger on why it works so well, but instead I’m going to toss the question over to you, because I’d really love to know your thoughts.