Sunday, June 30, 2013

Is The Answer in the Question?: A Further Rundown of The Eleventh Prophesy

The Universe is cracked.  The Pandorica will open.  Silence will fall when the question is asked.  The first question. The oldest question in the universe. Hidden in plain sight.  On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely, or fail to answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered.  "Doctor who?"

Above is what I'm going to start calling The Eleventh Prophesy.  It is a combination of three interconnected prophesies given to the Doctor in the course of the three seasons, all of them copied verbatim, their only changes that were made were made to fit them together into one coherent paragraph.  The words have not been rearranged in a way that might cover up a second meaning that Moffat hid in the words.  The first comes from Prisoner Zero, the second from the Teselecta, the third from Dorium.  If you put them together, you kind of get one full prophesy about the entirety of the Eleventh Doctor era.  An entire religion was created with the sole mission of preventing the fulfillment of this prophesy.  Essentially, every single episode of the Eleventh Doctor era, from "The Eleventh Hour" to "The Name of the Doctor" is held together with this one, strong, overarching prophesy.

So let's start taking another look at that prophesy.  Because I thought it had come to a terribly unsatisfying conclusion in "The Name of the Doctor."  But it occurred to me that I might have something wrong.  Maybe the prophesy's fulfillment just hasn't ended yet.  What if we're not done yet?

My biggest problem with "The Name of the Doctor" was that it failed to fulfill The Eleventh Prophesy.  On the fields of Trenzalore, the Doctor was asked the question that must never be answered.  But, the prophesy said that "no living creature could speak falsely, or fail to answer."  As a matter of fact, the Doctor distinctly failed to answer.  I had a problem with that, because I took it from the prophesy that it meant that the fields of Trenzalore were a place that acted like truth serum and forced any person there to answer any question posed to them truthfully.  Clearly, this didn't happen in "The Name of the Doctor."

But there's one thing that can't be overlooked:  "the fall of the Eleventh."  The Doctor did not really "fall" in any way in "The Name of the Doctor."  He was attacked in every part of his timeline, but Clara saved him.  So it's hard to believe that the events in "The Name of the Doctor" were "the fall of the Eleventh."  But I think I was expecting this episode to be the fulfillment of the prophesy so badly that it ruined my enjoyment of it when it turned out not to be what I thought it was.

It became clear at the end of the episode that the title "The Name of the Doctor" was a mislead.  Moffat wanted us to think that we'd learn the Doctor's name in this episode, as that was assumed to be his greatest secret.  Instead, his greatest secret was True 9, who he said didn't deserve "the name of The Doctor."  Essentially, this explains the title of the episode, and Moffat's promise that the Doctor's greatest secret will be revealed, in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with what we thought he meant when he named and teased the episode.  I was pissed because I thought that this meant that he had chosen to just throw out entire sentences of the prophesy and pretend they weren't even there to begin with.  But now I've realized:  just because this was a mislead from Moffat doesn't mean that he's not going to do what we were expecting.  It just means it didn't happen in this episode.

Okay, hopefully I'm still making myself clear.  This is the simple of it:  We all thought that "The Name of the Doctor" was going to be the fulfillment of the prophesy.  It failed to fulfill the prophesy.  But that doesn't mean the prophesy won't be fulfilled.

Credit where credit is due, it was my friend Dawn Gabriel who helped me realize something I hadn't thought of:  just because the Doctor went to Trenzalore in "The Name of the Doctor," doesn't mean he can't go back.  It's possible that this planet does have such "truth serum" properties, but only at certain times of the day, or the week, or the year, or every few millenia.  The prophesy does not say "where no living creature could speak falsely, or fail to answer."  It says "when."  The situation in which no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer might not simply happen in a place, it might happen only at a particular time, most likely a particular time in a specific place.  That time has not come yet.

"The Fall of the Eleventh" is obviously meant to be the Eleventh Doctor's regeneration into the Twelfth.  This could be Moffat lying or misleading us, but remember that sometimes, when we think Moffat's being too obvious, it's because he actually is being obvious.  The best example was "The Impossible Astronaut" where many people guessed River was the astronaut, and many of us said "No, she can't be, because that's what Moffat wanted us to think."  I try to remember that now.  It's possible that, when he says "The Fall of the Eleventh," it really is the "Fall" of the Eleventh.

With Matt Smith's announcement that he's leaving after the Christmas special, it all makes sense now.  There are only 2 more episodes of the Eleventh Doctor era.  One will be the 50th Anniversary special.  We know that that will involve the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors teaming up to fight the Zygons and that somehow True 9 will become involved.  The Christmas Special will be Matt's farewell.  At the end of the Christmas special, the Doctor will probably face the moment on the fields of Trenzalore when he is asked the question and cannot fail to answer.  He will then somehow be rescued from having to say it aloud, but will then regenerate, possibly due to the effect of the answer itself, or from what he has to do to be able to keep from answering.  It's also fairly likely that there is a strong arc from "The Name of the Doctor" through both the 50th Anniversary special and The Christmas Special that will slowly bring us to the Fall of the Eleventh.

What I find fantastic about this is that, if I'm correct, then Moffat has engineered one entire story arc that covers the exact lifespan of one whole Doctor.  One whole Doctor played out one long plot that pretty much made up his entire era.  Season arcs have been tried before, but never has there been an arc that literally ran from a single Doctor's first to last episodes; from regeneration to regeneration.  The slow march towards the Eleventh Doctor's farewell literally started on the first day of the Doctor's life when he first encountered the cracks that were made (presumably) by The Silence to kill him, and heard the first third of the prophesy.  That is a huge and amazing accomplishment, with the one arc being separated into three, equally fascinating sub-arcs, each of which took up one season.  Everything has interconnected perfectly, from the Doctor meeting Amy, to Amy's daughter turning out to be created by The Silence, an Order of the Question.  It wove in and out of the story so much that we almost forgot it was there sometimes, or thought it was about to resolve itself.  And every time we learned that there was at least one more corner we had to go around to finally get to it.

This would mean that True 9 isn't the end of the story, although it's possible that the 50th Anniversary special is so tied in to the prophesy and the overarching plot of the Eleventh Doctor era that Moffat actually thought up the plot for this special before writing "The Eleventh Hour."  Somehow, I think True 9 is the first to last surprise Moffat has in store for us.  Will the last one wow us even more than True 9 did?

It's possible that my faith in Moffat is misplaced and he'll just come up with something that doesn't satisfy the prophesy at all.  But I take back some (not all) of my comments about "The Name of the Doctor" very tentatively, and will reaffirm my complaints if the later specials fail to fulfill the prophesy properly.  Perhaps "The Name of the Doctor" was actually only part 1 of a 3 part answer to the questions we've been asking since 2010.

Or perhaps Moffat just gave up on the prophesy and doesn't care anymore.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Have You Tried Turning it Off and On Again?: I Restart the Richard Ayoade for 12th Doctor Campaign

"I came here to drink milk and kick ass. And I've just finished my milk."

So, my original reason for halting my Richard Ayoade for 12th Doctor campaign was that Wil Wheton claimed to have known who the Doctor was for several week before Matt Smith announced his retirement.  Then Steven Moffat came out and said that the search had just begun.  Who is more likely to be lying?  Moffat or Wheaton?  Honestly, it's a coin flip on that one.  So I thought I might as well give it one more shot, just in case there's still a chance of the best choice for the Doctor being cast for the role.

My first exposure to Richard Ayoade was when Jackie, a member of my PhD cohort, introduced me to The I.T. Crowd one night after a really rough day of classes.  What I got to watch was one of the funniest, nerdiest shows in British television history.  And the entire thing was carried by one brilliantly comic actor who played such a brilliant nerd that he put Steve Urkel to shame.

I later came to love Ayoade in pretty much everything else he did.  He kind of works with a very specific crowd of actors and comedians, most of them in some way associated with the brilliant comedy duo, The Mighty Boosh.  Ayoade was actually a pretty main character in the Boosh's radio show, but when they got their own TV show, he was pretty busy with The I.T. Crowd.  Still, the two shows had a little crossover, with half of the Boosh (Noel Fielding) having a recurring role on The I.T. Crowd, Matt Berry appearing prominently in both shows, and Ayoade having a small but hilarious recurring role as the shaman Saboo.

Ayoade has done tons of other things, such as his short but hilarious cameo in The Bunny and The Bull, directing an Arctic Monkey's concert video, and three different films that he wrote himself.

I could sing Ayoade's praises for hours, but I thought I'd try to talk you into signing my petition by showing you some of the best of Ayoade.

First, The I.T. Crowd:

And now, The Mighty Boosh, as a true Doctor must know about the crunch:

And finally, the trailer for his own movie that he wrote and directed, Submarine (which, admittedly, I've yet to see):

What more evidence do you need?  Sign the petition today.  If a Facebook group can get Betty White to host SNL, I can make Richard Ayoade the motherflippin' Doctor.

And he would probably keep all of the swooning Doctor Who fangirls, too!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

YOLTT (You Only Live Thirteen Times)

So, I did an article for Network Awesome's Doctor Who week.  Network Awesome is a great blog that I've done a few articles for because I met one of their editors, Ben Gray, through poetry.  The article is called YOLTT (You Only Live Thirteen Times): Regeneration in Doctor Who.  I discuss the overall concept of regeneration in the show, and what it means for the upcoming 12th Doctor.
Check it out, as well as the rest of the site.  The site is a great place to check out some really old, obscure television.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

All I Know Is That I Don't Know Nothing: An Update On the Search for the 12th Doctor

Little known fact:  Socrates ghost wrote ska-punk songs in the early 90's.
So, where have I been with the blog?  Mostly busy.  I've been working on a guest blog for Network Awesome for their Doctor Who week (I'll be sure to let you know when that's up).  In the mean time, the rumors are flying around about who the 12th Doctor is going to be.  Why am I not digging into every single rumor and speculating on them?  This is, after all, an "overanalyzing" blog, isn't it?

The truth is, I don't believe any of the rumors.  You've got Wil Wheaton saying he's known who it's going to be for weeks, while Moffat is saying he's barely started looking.  You've got everyone from Helen Mirren to Stephen Fry being asked if they've been offered the role, and all of them are saying no.  I don't have the time or the mental energy to look into every rumor and dissect it before it's debunked.

So let me state one thing outright here:  None of you know anything.  Nobody.  All we have is a bunch of hyped up Whovians making wild speculation on the Internet.  At least I called my Richard Ayoade campaign what it was:  just a campaign.  Not a prediction.  Not something I have from inside information.  It's what I want to see happen.  That's all that anybody else is doing:  telling you what they want to see happen.  They just don't have the decency to call it wishful thinking.  They have to pretend they have something to back it up with.

When David Tennant stepped down, a million and one names were thrown around before Steven Moffat said "Hey, here's a small child I hired to play the role who you've never heard of before!"  Nobody guessed Matt Smith.  Nobody knew who the fuck he was.  Steven Moffat might as well have hired the guy who shined his shoes once at a train station.  There's a small group of people who have any idea who the next Doctor is going to be, and the one with the most say in that decision is a funny little Scottish man who likes to be secretive.  Skybet is basing their odds on nothing but pure speculation.  If they had a bet for "Nobody who's been mentioned yet," I'd put my life savings down on it.

I've considered restarting my Richard Ayoade for 12th Doctor campaign.  While I halted it because of Wil Wheaton's announcement that he knew who the 12th Doctor was going to be, Moffat now says that he's barely begun searching.  Nobody believes him (because of Rule 1), but when did Wil Wheaton become the honest little Boy Scout?  Wheaton has the ego of a Sontaran and I don't doubt for a second that he'd make shit up just because people aren't paying attention to him for five minutes.

"The screen still isn't big enough.  Everyone must be forced look at me!"

So, shut down the rumor mill already!  The only thing we know right now is that there's going to be a 12th Doctor.  You won't have a clue who it is until they announce him.  And when they do, it'll be nobody you had guessed.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Daleks are Sexy: A Report from the Denver Comic Con and How I Met My First Doctor

The glare fucked up my sign.  It's supposed to say "The Horror of Fan Blog loves Colin Baker (Whether you like it or not)."

It's been a busy week.  I know it doesn't seem that way since I posted a blog on almost every single day for the past 2 weeks, but most of those were written in advance and put on a timer to post when I was at work.  My job has become wicked busy, and I'm working 50-60 hour weeks.  But it's good money, lots of overtime, good tips, and I spend most of the time riding around in a dump truck.  So it took me a week to finish my write up of my experience at the Denver Comic Con last week.  I wanted to go into some detail of the non-Doctor Who related things I did there, too, but I feel like this post is long enough as it is.

I went to the Denver Comic Con primarily to see Colin Baker.  What I didn't expect was the plethora of incredibly hot girls in nerd costumes, including several sexy Daleks.  I have a new bucket list goal to sleep with a girl in a sexy Dalek costume.

This is not from Denver Comic Con, but rather a picture I found on a Google Image search.  However, this isn't far off from the really sexy Dalek outfits I saw.
By the end of the day, I felt nerded out, like I felt like I couldn't do a single thing nerdy for about a week.  I love being a nerd and I loved being around my fellow nerds.  I thought I was going to hyperventilate from joy.  But after a few hours, you hit a point where you see the obese guy with long hair and the black jean shorts, sneakers, and some sort of black Star Wars shirt (because black on black looks so good together) with some sort of slogan on it that he thinks is funny like "May I Force One In You" (Yes, I've actually seen that) and he's with his girlfriend who is also obese and is wearing too much make-up and a leather corset and she probably does Renaissance Fairs and you think to yourself "Please tell me I don't look like them to other people."  But, I've got just enough nerd in me to write about what happened.

I was one of the more half-assed cosplayers there, and only one of about a million 11th Doctors.  Doctor Who cosplayers were all 4th, 10th, and 11th Doctors, with one solitary 5th Doctor.  That's 7 Doctors being completely unrepresented, including the one who was there.  Although, admittedly, Colin Baker said, flat out, he didn't blame people for not wearing his costume because it's hideous and hard to do.  He said he envies Christopher Eccleston, because Eccleston got the costume that Baker had asked to be able to wear.  Even though he's one of my least favorites, I think next year I'm going to go as the 9th Doctor.  I'll put a sign around my neck that says "I know you can't tell, but I'm supposed to be the 9th Doctor."

Some teenage girls actually stopped me to ask me to take pictures with them, because they were happy that I thought to wear the cowboy hat with my 11th Doctor outfit instead of a fez.  I gave them my email to send me the pictures, but they never seem to have arrived.  Perhaps they thought I was creepy being a 29 year old man giving my email to teenage girls, but I swear I just wanted the pictures.

My favorite Doctor Who related costumes (other than Doctors) were:

-Complete Amy Pond kiss-a-gram outfit, that was impeccably made
-Two different Weeping Angels.  Not the most well done outfits (how could you do a realistic Weeping Angel and still see?), but a creative choice
-The sexy Daleks, obviously.
-Multiple girls in sexy TARDIS dresses, one with "Bad Wolf" written on her ass in chalk.
-A girl dressed as The Empty Child who, as I walked by, put her gas mask back on and said "Are you my mummy?"

The most hilariously irrelevant costumes at the Comic Con:

-Mr. T from The A-Team
-Ronald McDonald
-Oscar the Grouch
-The Mask (from the Jim Carrey movie The Mask)
-Belle from Beauty and the Beast
-The Mad Hatter (specifically from the stupid Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland)
-Natalie Portman in Black Swan
-A narwhal

Colin Baker was an interesting man to talk to.  I asked him a question, and avoided the obvious ones that I knew someone was going to ask because I knew I only got one question.  I knew plenty of people would ask him his opinion about the new series, as there were like 50 girls in the room who were just Tennant fangirls who came because they heard this guy was a Doctor back before they were born.  He was complementary about most of the new series and, even though he was very complementary about David Tennant, he spent a lot of time making fun of David Tennant for being so good looking and young.  He was especially complementary about Matt Smith, saying that, at first, he was afraid because they had "cast another child," but found that, although his body is young, Matt Smith had the mind of a 900 year old man.  His criticisms of the new series included the fact that they are only casting young Doctors (not that he was anything but nice about the actors themselves, just the fact that none of them are older), the revoking of Jonathan Nathan-Turner's old "No Hanky-Panky in the TARDIS" rule (he said he didn't think the Doctor and his companion should even notice that they are of different genders), John Simm's Master, and the fact that the Doctor never suggested keeping the Weeping Angels away by winking with alternating eyes.  Despite the quotations, the following is a paraphrase:  "If he had been a proper Doctor, he would have known how to keep the Angels away.  (Audience laughs)  That's not an insult.  Did I regenerate?  No!  I wasn't there.  So I never regenerated.  That means the 6th Doctor is still the Doctor and any others after him are just impostors."

A lot of people wanted to ask him about his opinion regarding the introduction of the John Hurt Doctor.  Even after he said that he had not seen the most recent season, some people, who either didn't hear him or walked in late, still tried to ask him about the John Hurt Doctor.  I got people to start yelling "Spoilers!" when this happened.  But I think he may have figured out what's happened, and that's a shame.  But he's a Doctor, and the introduction of a new Doctor is an unbelievably important change to his character, and he was pretty much the only person in the room and didn't know about it.

I showed up late to take a picture with him, but he was kind enough to set up a late picture with me.  Unfortunately, this meant that I had to wait near his booth until he was available, and caused me to miss out on William Shatner.  He was a little cold.  When I asked him if he would take a picture with my sign, he said "It's your photograph."  I was thrilled, so I tried to show him the sign, and he simply repeated "It's your photograph."  I could tell I had annoyed him a bit, but it might be because I fucked up and missed the photo taking times.  I was also stammering like a mad idiot because I was so happy about meeting a Doctor.

The other Doctor Who "celebrity" there was Daphne Ashbrook, who played the one and only televised companion to the 8th Doctor, Grace Holloway.  This woman pissed me off to no end.  Now, understand, she was on screen in this series for only 90 minutes in the 1996 Doctor Who made-for-TV movie.  So, really, she's not much of a get for this convention.  I could understand if this woman was only involved in one movie, but later fell in love with the series and wanted to talk with the fans about how proud she was of her one small achievement in this franchise.  Sadly, that was not the case.  This was a woman who was in the franchise for 90 minutes almost 20 years ago and does not care about Doctor Who.  She talked about recently starting to watch the Classic Series episodes.  This seems like basic character research work for someone before they start playing a companion.  She didn't know the franchise very well.  And this is the moment where she really lost me:  She said that she only realized, the day before, at that very same convention, sitting in on another panel, that The Master was from the same planet as The Doctor.

I.  Was.  Stunned.

Hey, Daphne, there was exactly one villain in your Doctor Who movie.  How did you miss a key plot point in your own movie?  Why would you have acted in a movie that you didn't fully understand the plot of?  Why wouldn't you ask as many questions as possible to figure out what you're getting yourself into.

And, while we're at it, why did you come to a convention for a franchise you clearly care so little about?  Oh, wait, I think I know what it is.  You're a 2-bit hack actress who couldn't act her way out of a shoebox to get into a shoe commercial.  But it turns out that science-fiction conventions are rife with fans so fucking in love with this wonderful franchise that, in their love of that franchise--crossed with a number of cases of unfortunately strong OCD--they would pay for an autograph from anyone who has ever touched anything Doctor Who, right down to the key grip on the 7th episode of K-9.  So you went to a convention, pretended you liked this one movie that you did that you clearly cared very little about, avoid the questions you don't know the answers to by somehow parlaying it into a barely related anecdote about your movie, and charged people $30 a pop to get your autograph and--maybe if they're really off of their rockers--a photograph with you.  Oh, and you put up a picture of yourself from your one episode of Deep Space Nine that you did just in case you reel in some of the equally enthusiastic Star Trek fan.
The fans are good people with a deep passion, not walking ATMs, Daphne.

I refused to be sucked in, and it made me think a little bit about my own fandomness.  There are some things I'm going to be interested in paying money to do just because of the way it's linked to the franchise I love.  I need to remember that, sometimes, these things are not an important part of being a fan.  If I'm ever paying money to buy a perfect replica of the 6th Doctor's blue variant costume from the expanded universe stories simply because I have to have an exact replica of every costume the Doctor ever wore, I want you to smack me in the head with my sonic screwdriver for the love of Christ!  I'm going to buy a lot of Doctor Who merchandise in my lifetime.  Perhaps more than some people would deem normal.  They're going to have to accept that about me.  But I need to realize that there are some limits, and that I don't have to have everything just to have everything.  From now on, when I'm looking into a Doctor Who item I want to purchase, I'm going to ask myself a very important question:  Is this really something I want, or is this Daphne Ashbrook's autograph.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Fall of the Eleventh: Some Thoughts on Matt Smith's Departure and the Search for the 12th Doctor

Sadly, it seems that my campaign to make Richard Ayoade the next Doctor is in vain, because Wil Wheaton claims to have known who the next Doctor is for weeks.  Perhaps I needed to start my Richard Ayoade campaign a year ago.  That's a shame.  Maybe I can get him in next time.  Unless Wil Wheaton is just the spitting image of his fictional portrayal of himself on The Big Bang Theory--which makes him look like a completely petty douche--then I think he's probably telling the truth.  Unless this falls into Rule 2:  Moffat gets other people to lie for him.  But why Wil Wheaton?  Certainly, Star Trek has always been a sister franchise to Doctor Who, as each started in approximately the same year and each one is about as popular in its own country as the other one is in it's country.  There's a long list of actors that have appeared in both franchises--such as Daphne Ashbrook and John de Lancie--but nobody has been a significantly important part of both franchises.  So why does Wil Wheaton, an American who is mostly known as an ironic, post-modern camp celebrity who has somehow reopened the door to his former popularity with his online presence know who the 12th Doctor is?  Why would he be privvy to this information?

My only guess is that, by coincidence, Wheaton happens to be friends with whoever is cast.  However, I wasn't aware that Wheaton had a lot of friends who are British actors.  When it comes to British actors that Wheaton is close to, there's only one name that pops up as glaringly obvious:  Patrick Stewart.  I put this as an unlikely option, though, but it would be an interesting and bold choice.  Stewart would not play the character with as much whimsy as the last few.  I can't imagine Stewart being whimsical.  Furthermore, he'd have the most epic science-fiction career ever, having played The Doctor, a Star Trek captain, and Professor Xavier.  He'd go down as the greatest science-fiction icon in history.  Still, I don't like this option.  The change from Matt Smith would be too abrupt and I don't think that the fans would follow.

The shirt isn't just a visual joke, it's also a statement about the infinite capacity of Wheaton's ego.
Colin Baker at Comic Con said last week that he really wants the next Doctor to be an older man, or black, or maybe even a woman.  Apparently a "Helen Mirren for Doctor" campaign started in Denver.  However, Moffat recently polled an audience at a comic con and more than half of the audience said that they'd stop watching if there was a female Doctor.  The thing is, we assume these were men who don't want to see a female Doctor, but the last few Doctors have become sex symbols.  Maybe the women don't want a female Doctor, either.  Regardless of my own mixed feelings on the subject, whether or not a female Doctor would be a progressive and positive thing to do is irrelevant:  It's such an unpopular concept that it would likely sink the show.  (Although, I don't doubt for a second that River would carry on her romance with a female Doctor.)

Skybet has started placing odds on who the 12th Doctor will be, allowing people with way too much money to actually bet on it.  If you look at the odds, you'll notice one thing:  they're fucking stupid.  What possible information could there be to predict this?  Sports have Vegas-style odds because you can analyze the strength of the teams and the players and estimate the likeliness of each team winning.  Horses are similar, you can judge them on their past performances.  Even the odds that are put out on the Oscars are based on some inside industry insight.  How can you possibly create odds based on zero clues?  Clues are being kept under very tight raps until the announcement (with the exception being that somehow the news has leaked to Leslie Crusher).  I feel like those that are being given good odds are given those because the odds makers want a certain Doctor to be cast.  It would be like a more underhanded version of my Richard Ayoade campaign.  If I put out that the odds were good that Richard Ayoade would be the Doctor, that might help me get him cast in the role.

Nothing about a website that offers you your first bet for free makes them sound like scam artists or drug dealers.  Nothing at all.
The biggest bullshit about these numbers is this:  Skybet put a fluctuating number on the possibility of David Tennant coming back to take over the role again, floating his odds between 15/1 and 50/1.  50 is a pretty low number in that situation.  If it were me making this list, that first number would have a lot more digits on it.  You could be hit by lightning in a submarine full of gay, black, Jewish rednecks before David Tennant came back to the role of the Doctor.  These people are making these up based on wishful thinking.  If they actually believe that the chance of David Tennant's return to the role is high enough that it might actually happen, then they fail to understand how Doctor Who works.

Of the actors that are being tossed around, there are three that usually fall near the top:  Ben Singer from Law and Order:  UKChiwetel Ejiofor who won a Lawrence Olivier award in 2008 for Othello, and Russel Tovey from Being Human.  I know nothing about Singer, but I love Being Human, and Russel Tovey was the main part of that.  The thing is, he's already appeared on Doctor Who twice playing the same role, Alonzo Frame, in "Voyage of the Damned" and "The End of Time (Part 2)."  However, there is precedent in the franchise to suggest that Time Lords do have (at least limited) control over how they're going to look when they regenerate, and some of them, such as Romana or, depending on how you interpret it, the 6th Doctor may have intentionally based his new image on Commander Maxil as that was Colin Baker's role before he became a Doctor.  Even River in "Let's Kill Hitler" said, as she regenerated from Mels into River, that she was "trying to focus on a dress size," but it seems mostly random.  You might even suggest that Time Ladies can do it and Time Lords can't

The problem is, Tovey pretty much always plays excruciatingly shy characters.  I can't imagine Tovey playing such an extroverted character as the Doctor.  A shy Doctor is an oxymoron.  I can't even imagine it.  And I simply can't imagine Tovey as an extrovert.

A real Doctor wouldn't need to hide anything.
I don't know much about Eijofor, other than that he was in Dirty Pretty Things, a movie that I watched for no other reason than the fact that it was Audrey Tautou's first English speaking movie (because I was in Emerson film school, and everyone on campus was all about Amelie that year).  I've been told he was also in Serenity, the film that wrapped up the plot of Joss Whedon's science-fiction franchise, Firefly.  While I've certainly seen Serenity (I am a Buffy nerd, too, after all), it's not a movie that I've watched more than once.  Personally, when it comes to post-Angel Whedon, I lean more towards Dollhouse than Firefly.

Even though I don't know much about him, Eijofor is my first choice of the names being batted around, simply because I think it is long past time for the Doctor to stop being a white man.  Of course I would prefer Ayoade, but I'd be happy to see a black Doctor.  I just hope that the first black Doctor is brilliant.  I don't want it to be a poor performance that can be used as some ridiculous excuse for all the future Doctors to be white.  Of all the dumb excuses I've heard as to why the Doctor shouldn't be a woman, one was someone citing the way a female captain screwed up the Star Trek franchise.  Which is bullshit because Kate Mulgrew should be considered a national treasure.

Yet, there's one important thing to remember:  When David Tennant stepped down, the Internet was filled with people speculating over who the next Doctor would be.  And wouldn't you know it, not only did they pull out an actor nobody had been speculating about, they pulled out someone nobody had ever heard of.  Apart from a supporting role on a show called Party Animals, Smith was primarily a stage actor when he was cast as the Doctor.  Neil Gaiman recently said that he thought the Doctor should be played by an unknown actor because he wanted the Doctor to be the Doctor and didn't want to think of all the famous work that this actor had done instead of thinking of him as the Doctor.  I totally understand that.  Most Doctors started as character actors, really.  It's actually a subset of the acting community that is uniquely suited to play the role of the Doctor.  And the Doctor is pretty much the only role that can give these actors such a high level of notoriety.

So what I'm saying is that, while I love the speculation, we have to acknowledge that all of our guesses are probably wrong.  I wonder how much money Skybet makes if nobody on their list is chosen?  Hmm...sounds suspicious to me.

And, with the introduction of the John Hurt Doctor--which technically makes Matt Smith the 12th Doctor, not the 11th--and the announcement that Matt Smith is leaving at the Christmas special, that means that the Doctor is actually going to have his final regeneration this Christmas.  Of course, there's going to be more regenerations in the future, I just hope there's an explanation why the Doctor gets more regenerations.

But my point is that, if this is his last natural regeneration...where is the Valeyard?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Order of Rassilon #1: Matt Smith, The Ancient Amateur

Hair, nose, chin.  I guess that everything on Matt is abnormally large...
When I started writing this list about 10 days ago, I had no idea that, when I got to number 1 on the list, that very Doctor would have already announced his retirement, leaving me to write an obituary for my favorite Doctor in the franchise.  When I first saw a picture of Matt Smith, I thought "This is going to be the ugliest Doctor of all time."  I was very wrong about that, as his pure charm and attractiveness shine through when he's moving around.  Matt Smith's Doctor was a truly excitable child with the wisdom of an ancient soul.  Something old, something new...

If you want to talk about big shoes to fill, Smith had his work cut out for him just as much as Peter Davison did, if not moreso.  Smith not only had to replace the most popular Doctor of his time, he had to replace Doctor Who's first real male sex icon, a man whose screaming fangirls could contend with the Beatles' concert at Shea Stadium.  But Steven Moffat said that, while he expected it to take about a season and a half for the audience to accept Matt Smith, he really felt that everyone fell in love with him the second he popped out of that TARDIS and said "Hello, I'm the Doctor."  His first landing on the ground showed his new trademark Doctor stance. The way that Matt Smith moves is simply unique.  The way he stands.  The way he moves his hands.  The way he jerks around exaggeratedly with his head flopping all around.  It just gives this lovably manic quality to him that is both endearing and exciting at the same time.

"My anger at the Daleks has turned me into a ferret!"

Where Tennant's Doctor was cool as a cucumber, Smith's was a little different.  He had an unshakable confidence when staring down a Dalek battle fleet, but fell into a bumbling mess when trying to talk to women.  His first kiss with River is hilariously awkward.  I feel like that's the appeal of the Eleventh Doctor to really awkward nerds:  It gives us this hope that, even though we're terrified of everyday social situations, if the chips were really down, we could be just as brave as the Eleventh Doctor.  All the Doctors have shown a striking confidence in themselves to be a primary trait (the Second Doctor appeared to be very terrified and/or stressed, but still knew that he was strong enough to handle the situation), but none have combined it with awkwardness the way Matt Smith did.  That's the brilliance of his performance:  he's awkward and confident, childish and ancient, silly and serious, handsome and gawky, sometimes all at the same time.

Smith was lucky, as well, as he was surrounded with some truly amazing people.  Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill were the first multi-companion pair since the 5th Doctor's outings with Tegan and Turlough, which was also the last time we saw a full-time male companion.  The "no hanky-panky in the TARDIS" rule that had been instituted in the classic series by Jonathan-Nathan Turner was violated once or twice with Amy, but for the most part hers was a love story that was going on inside the TARDIS, with the Doctor merely as a chaperone.  Traditionally, companions left the Doctor when it was time for them to get married.  Jo Grant, Leela, Peri, and even the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan, all left the Doctor because they fell in love a man they met during their adventure with the Doctor.  The Amy and Rory storyline taught us that that wasn't a coincidence.  The Doctor doesn't want to become too attached to someone.  "He hates endings" River tells us.  The Doctor ducked out on his companions that wanted to get married because he didn't want to see them grow old and die, or become too involved in their new life to stay with them.  Remember the end of the second Whinnie the Pooh book where Pooh just turned back into a stuffed animal because Christopher Robbin grew out of him?  The Doctor didn't want to turn back into the little, stuffed, raggedy Doctor puppet.  He got out first.

Amy was the first and only companion to convince him to stick around and bring her husband with her, allowing their relationship to grow and develop over a decade of their lives (and 300 years of the Doctor's).  It went into a deeper Doctor/Companion relationship than ever before, and not in a simple romance way like the Tenth Doctor/Rose relationship.  Colin Baker at Denver Comic Con last weekend said that he thought the Doctor and his companion should not even notice that they are of different genders, and that it should be a strictly paternal relationship.  The Doctor's relationship with Amy, despite her early on misinterpreting it as sexual, was actually extremely paternal.  Rory was, in some strange ways, a son-in-law to the Doctor, which made them both friends and, in some cases, rivals.

The Eleventh Doctor's awkwardness with women made you wonder how the First Doctor could possibly have had a granddaughter.  Thus, it only makes sense that the woman to win his heart would have to be someone assertive enough to be the pursuer.  Thankfully, Moffat had just such a character lying around ready to be used from an earlier episode he wrote in the David Tennant era:  the aggressive, and sexually aggressive, River Song, played brilliantly by Alex Kingston.  Moffat claims to have not had a plan for River when he wrote "Silence in the Library" (I'm not sure if I believe him), but it seems funny that a character who was created before the Eleventh Doctor had been cast actually turned out to be a better match for the Eleventh Doctor than for the Doctor she originally appeared with.  River became an important part of the Eleventh Doctor era.  The entire era is defined by the characters of Amy, Rory, and River.  Jenny, Vastra, Strax, and Clara, who are the primary supporting characters at the moment, really seem to be more of an entourage that's been made in preparation for the 12th Doctor.  The Pond family was the real focus of the entire effort:  Amy (mother), Rory (father), River (daughter), Doctor (son-in-law).  Yet, while these may have been the biological and legal labels for how they relate to each other, in a brilliant irony, the way they act towards each other completely flips these relationships around.  The daughter and the son-in-law end up actually being the experts, becoming parent figures for their own parents/in-laws.

This should be hanging over the fireplace in the TARDIS.
Alex Kingston and Matt Smith were a match made in heaven.  She was sexy and fiercely independent.  He was horrified of her sexually, and she was almost his equal intellectually.  While they may have disagreed about the neccesity of violence in battling evil, the Doctor always respected River's ability to get things done.  Moffat once said that he had an endgame planned for Amy, Rory, AND River.  I can't imagine how there could be an endgame for River, as her first appearance was her death.  It would be a tough way to write her out of the show at this point.  Hopefully, she'll stick around to annoy the 12th Doctor.

Most importantly, Matt Smith was backed up by the greatest writer in Doctor Who history:  Steven Moffat.  Those people who say that Moffat ruined Doctor Who and want Russel T. Davies back must be the kind of people who would wait in line for an opening night screening of Fast and Furious 6 and call The Godfather boring.  Moffat's writing is light years ahead of even the best of Davies's episodes.  He created fascinating stories that didn't just lean back on the classic villains for excitement.  With the exception of the Great Intelligence, most of the season-arcs were focused more on a new villain that Moffat invented, most notably The Silence.  Not seen until "The Impossible Astronaut," The Silence are implied to have also been secretly involved in the explosion of the TARDIS, meaning that they were the primary villain of the entire era, despite appearing in only 3 episodes.  In all of Moffat's season finales, classic series villains and races show up, but they are always side characters, added for flavor, who serve as extra menaces in an episode about something else.  A Dalek attacks the Doctor in a library, but while trying to repair the universe from a Silence plot.  Another Dalek gives the Doctor the information about trying to find the Silence.  A Silurian and a Sontaran appear in "The Name of the Doctor" but, unlike the classic series, they are exclusively protagonists of the stories.  Moffat took his own original, imaginative stories and sprinkled them with a little bit of familiar Doctor Who flavor by placing these iconic characters in the background.  It's distinctly Doctor Who, and distinctly Moffat.

Moffat's most unique talent is actually steeped in a Freudian concept called "the uncanny."*  While this isn't something Moffat has ever cited as an inspiration for his writing, the definition of "uncanny" sounds strikingly Moffatian:  "The uncanny is a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar" (from the Wikipedia page).  Moffat says he does just that:  he tries to make something strikingly unfamiliar, grotesque, and horrifying out of something that is commonplace and familiar.  He's done this with gas masks, clockwork toys, statues, dust in sunbeams, "the smilers," whispers in the darkness, and, most recently, wi-fi.

"Are you my mummy?"
The truly terrifying concepts behind Moffat's best episodes are emphasized perfectly by Matt Smith, whose Doctor is so optimistic and brave that the darkest moments of the Eleventh Doctor's era become less scary when you realize exactly who is standing in the way of these monsters:  A man who, unarmed, can taunt an entire fleet of ships, telling them to come and get him.  Matt Smith's Doctor is the man who stands firmly in the way of everything terrifying in the Universe.  He is what monsters have nightmares about.

Now, as he departs, he will leave behind a legacy of being in the shadow of what many will continue to call the greatest Doctor in the new series, or possibly in the whole franchise.  Few will give Smith the credit he deserves for being his own, unique, and brilliant version of this 50 year old character.

The age of the David Tennant vs. Tom Baker debate is over.  Long live the age of the Matt Smith vs. David Tennant debate!

It's a tie, guys!  You're both pretty!
*I owe this concept of linking Moffat to "the uncanny" to someone I saw at the Popular Culture Association conference.  I don't remember her name, but can look it up upon request.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Order of Rassilon #2: David Tennant, The Phoenix

Seriously, you try to go through Google Image search and decide from thousands of different pictures of David Tennant looking handsome.
Just as Patrick Troughton had to sell the whole idea of regeneration for the very first time, David Tennant had to sell the idea for a whole new generation who had just been introduced to this new version of Doctor Who and knew nothing about the classic series.  In the long run, it was probably for the best that Christopher Eccleston left after one season, as it allowed the show to reintroduce the concept of regeneration before the audience got really attached to a new Doctor.  But it certainly helped that the salesman for this concept truly believed in his product, because not a single Doctor in the history of the show has ever, ever loved Doctor Who as much as David Tennant, the man who is most responsible for raising Doctor Who from the ashes.

Tennant was an obsessive Doctor Who fan growing up and was said to be able to quote "chapter and verse" from the classic series.  If it looks like the Tenth Doctor is having a really fun time running around and being brilliant, it's because David Tennant really is having a fun time.  I don't think anyone had as much fun as Tennant.  When he left the show, he said it wasn't because he didn't ever want to reach the point where this became just a job.  He wanted to leave it while it was still the most amazing thing in his life and didn't want to spoil that memory by keeping at it until it stopped being fun.

Colin Baker, at this past weekend's Comic Con in Denver, said that he noticed that there were never many female Doctor Who fans in America before David Tennant.  He said there had been plenty in England, and there always had been, but David brought in the female audience from America for the first time because of his sex appeal.

"Oh my God, the way he makes his hair look ruffled, but in a careful way that clearly took a great deal of effort, makes him look so laid back and casual!  It's so sexy!
The only thing that really holds Tennant back from the #1 spot on this list is this man:

"What a sad little episode.  I know, I'll put a Dalek in it!  Did you care about this episode before?  I didn't.  Now there's a Dalek.  It's exterminating!  It's mean!"*

Russel T. Davies, as I've said before, was a fantastic show runner, but not a very good writer of individual episodes.  Davies engineered a perfect comeback for the series.  It really looks like he watched Philip Segal's failed attempt to pilot a revived Doctor Who series in 1996 with the made-for-TV movie.  However Davies had an annoying tendency to come up with good plots that he was unable to resolve with a satisfying ending.  His season finales lazily leaned on the Daleks way too much.  While sometimes a fun jaunt, there was little substance to Davies's stories, particularly his season finales.  The notable exceptions were Davies's much darker Season 3 3-part finale (the only one without Daleks) "Utopia"/"The Sound of the Drums"/"The Last of the Time Lords," Davies's brilliant, low-budget, last minute written episode, "Midnight," and the surprisingly intelligent "Turn Left."

Tennant might have made it to the top of my list if he hadn't been speaking the words of such a mediocre writer.  Tennant's best episodes were generally written by people other than Davies.  "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit," "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood," "School Reunion," and "The Planet of the Ood" were some of the finest examples of the Tenth Doctor era.  But, if you haven't guessed, I'm a pretty big fan of Steven Moffat, and I will obviously put up Moffat's 3 Tennant episodes as the absolute best of the Tenth Doctor era:  "The Girl in the Fireplace," "Blink," and "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead."  Had Tennant been working with Steven Moffat as show runner and head writer, he'd be on the top of this list as his immense acting skills would be combined with the intelligence of Moffat's scripts.

In fact, it was Moffat's writing that bumped a certain other Doctor up to the #1 spot on my list...

+10 nerd points if you can figure out what non-Who related show I'm parodying with this caption.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Order of Rassilon #3: Tom Baker, The Original Mad Man

COUNTESS: My dear, I don't think he's as stupid as he seems. 

SCARLIONI: My dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems. 

-"City of Death"

Tom Baker had the most companions of any Doctor who wasn't played by a senile old fool.
For a lot of people, Doctor Who begins and ends with Tom Baker.  He holds the record for lonest running Doctor.  He was the first to have his episodes broadcast in America.  He had the greatest companions of the series, from Sarah Jane, to Leela, to both Romanas, and, of course, K-9.  He made the role more fun than any of his predecessors.  It would take 6 more regenerations before anyone even started talking about someone else as the best Doctor in the franchise.  There wasn't much reason to even take a poll as to who was the most popular Doctor.  His image has become so associated with the franchise that he's been parodied and referenced in The Simpsons, Family Guy, and even Paris Hilton in a Saturday Night Live sketch:

I'm not sure Tom Baker should be proud of this, though.
I had a really hard time writing this one up, because what hasn't already been said about him in 32 years?  You don't explain to someone why Tom Baker was great.  He just...was!  A man lucky enough to become the Doctor while working as a brick hauler (his role as an evil sorcerer in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad may have won him the role, but he still wasn't rich yet) quickly won over the public with his portrayal of the Doctor as a whimsical mad man.  From his first appearance in "Robot," you could see that he was a very different kind of Doctor.  It's an interesting episode because, he seems to have gone off of his rocker in the regeneration, turning into a raving lunatic, but he later turns out to be fully in control of the situation.  That was usually his M.O. for the whole show.  He was a seemingly flighty, crazy person bouncing around the room like a curious child, but Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor was always way more in control of the situation than he let on. He rarely panicked.  He rarely raised his voice.  He didn't need to.  He was playing an elaborate chess game that nobody else knew they were playing with him.  He was, to paraphrase the Eleventh Doctor, the original madman with a box.

This is what it would look like if the Crypt-Keeper was given Buster's hand from Arrested Development
Reports from the set suggest that Tom Baker was a really love-him-or-hate-him kind of guy.  There were those who he truly loved, like Elizabeth Sladen, to the point where the writers left Baker and Sladen to write their own farewell scene together.  He married Lalla Ward, the actress to play his final companion (not counting the ones he really just picked up for the Davison era), making them the first--and, to date, only--Doctor and companion to marry on the show.

Take one look at this woman and realize that this is why Tom Baker is luckier than you've ever been.
Lalla Ward's marriage to Baker, however, lasted only 16 months.  When asked once what her favorite Doctor Who monster was, she answered "Tom Baker."  Whether this was real animosity or just a joke is hard to tell, but if it was true, it would make sense alongside so many other people's complaints about Tom Baker.  Amongst those that Tom Baker did not like were Anthony Ainsley (The Master), Jonathan-Nathan Turner (executive producer from the end of the Tom Baker era through the end of the classic series), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), and Janet Fielding (Tegan, who, admittedly, has been bitter towards the entire franchise since she left).  Thankfully, Baker got along very well with his co-stars (excluding his two final-days companions mentioned above) accounting for his exceptional chemistry with all of them, but he was known for yelling at the producers about how they wanted him to play the part, and yell at the cast members in ways that made him a sort of proto-Christian Bale.

Tom Baker was lucky in many ways, most notably for one season of the show he was lucky enough to have, at the head of the writer's table, the second best writer in the history of the franchise (after Moffat, of course) the late, great Douglas Adams.  While there, Douglas Adams wrote two and a half brilliant serials for the Fourth Doctor:  "The Pirate Planet," "City of Death," and "Shada."  The third was cut short because of a BBC strike and, for some reason, the BBC chose to punish the strikers by not letting them finish filming "Shada."  Two versions are now available, though.  One is a flash animation that swaps the Fourth Doctor out for the Eighth.  One uses the footage they did shoot from "Shada," and fills in the gaps with still photos as well as narration from a stoned/drunk Tom Baker in the 1990s.

I can see Daleks on the ceiling!

Some rumors also suggest that Adams secretly wrote "Destiny of the Daleks" and put Terry Nation's name on it as a courtesy to the creator of the Daleks (this is helped by the Hitchiker's Guide reference in the serial).  His third Hitchiker novel was actually a Doctor Who story he came up with but never got a chance to write, so he changed the characters.  If you've read the Hitchiker's novels (and if you haven't, stop reading this and start reading them), then you know that Adams is skilled at both humor and high-concept science fiction ideas.  His guidance made some of the best Doctor Who writing of the classic series.  The episodes Adams wrote himself are, without questions, the best of the classic series, and it's because of the dual talents of Tom Baker and Douglas Adams.

While Tom Baker played the role longer than anyone, he has been more reluctant to make return appearances than anyone else, with the notable exception of Eccleston.  He pulled out of "The Five Doctors" at the last minute, forcing them to use archival footage to replace him.  He refused to take part in any of the Doctor Who audios until 2009, even forcing them to have another actor impersonate him in one of the audio adventures in 2006 because of Tom Baker's refusals to return.  It's easy to understand why he would want to break out of the typecasting of his role.  I certainly get tired of being "The Guy Who Wrote the Hitchcock Poem."  But when you play one of the greatest science-fiction icons of all time for seven years, sooner or later, you have to realize that this is a great thing that you don't need to run from.  He's 79, and hopefully he's realizing that there's no point in spurning his Doctor Who legacy.  Now, if we could just get one guest appearance by him in the new series, many Whovians would be able to die happy.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Order of Rassilon #4: Colin Baker, The Wrongfully Accused

Haters gonna hate
As I write this right now, it's about one week before I go to the Denver Comic Con to meet Colin Baker himself.  I tried 4 times to ask the Denver Comic Con when Colin Baker would be appearing.  They only responded to me the third time, and that was because I was fucking furious with them.  Finally, I emailed Colin Baker's personal website, and got a response from Baker's webmaster within  hours (which he at least claimed he got from Colin himself) and told me to introduce myself as the guy who emailed him to ask when he would be there.  This exchange confirmed something I already knew deep down:  Colin Baker had to be moved up on my list.  Where Tom Baker was the most popular Doctor of the classic series and now avoids audio productions and conventions like they're the plague, Colin Baker, who has more reason than anyone to feel completely screwed over by the franchise, is more loyal to the show and his fans than almost any Doctor in the history of the show.

You can consult my book report on The Valeyard or the Topless Robot article I cited as one of my main sources to see how much I think Colin Baker got completely fucked over by the BBC.  Colin Baker did an excellent job of portraying the Doctor.  It just happened to be a Doctor that was the exact opposite of what the fans wanted to see.  The writing can't even be blamed, as many of Colin Baker's supporters have tried to claim.  The writing was actually excellent.  Colin Baker's acting was excellent.  What was wrong was the way in which the writers and producers read their own audience.  They went darker with the stories, and made the Doctor meaner, and both turned out to be choices that the audience sternly objected to.  They weren't bad plot choices, but they were a stark contrast from the Davison era.  Virtually no Doctor in the history of the show had to steer such a drastic change in tone, and, had the public been ready for it, he would have been praised for his masterful handling of that change.

Kill it!  Kill it with fire!
Some of the criticism can also be blamed on Baker's hideous outfit.  However, as has been pointed out repeatedly, Colin Baker himself objected to it.  The Doctor's outfits had become sillier and sillier, starting with Troughton's fur coat, and then getting weirder with Pertwee's dandy outfit (which he put on as a joke that the producers did not get), Tom Baker's ludicrous scarf (an accident on the behalf of the costuming department), and Davison's decorative celery.  For some reason, Jonathan Nathan-Turner (who I honestly think was trying to commit television suicide by sabotaging the show) thought the Doctor's outfit should be wild and crazy to highlight the Doctor's alien nature, and demonstrate how he failed to understand fashion.  Even if you buy that as a logical explanation, you have to wonder why every single person who met the 6th Doctor didn't shout "What the fuck are you wearing?  And why the fuck do you have a cat pin on your lapel?"  Baker wanted to wear black to highlight the fact that he was playing a darker Doctor, but, personally, I can't imagine Colin Baker in any black outfit that wouldn't make him look like the guy on the Quaker Oats box.  In some of the expanded universe media, mercifully, a different outfit was introduced for him called the "Blue Variant."  While it's much better looking, it doesn't change the fact that the Sixth Doctor, in his timeline, must have gone back to his hideous clown suit after the blue variant, because he died in it.  But at least someone said "Hey, the Sixth Doctor deserves better than this quilt from hell" and they gave him this:

Despite its unpopularity, though, the Sixth Doctor's obnoxious costume, probably because of its uniqueness, is one of the most common Doctor costumes at conventions.  It's hard to dress up as the Ninth Doctor because his costume isn't distinctive.  Nobody can say the same of the Sixth Doctor.

Personally, I love it when Doctor Who gets really dark.  The fun of the deep, dark, terrifying moments of the show is the moment when the Doctor stands up and says "No.  Not here.  Not this time.  Not while I'm here."  The darker it gets, the better it is when the Doctor brings the light.

Had Colin Baker been allowed to continue the role as he should have, he would have been playing an arc that would see the Doctor go from a brash and pompous regeneration to a much calmer and kindly version of the Doctor after the death of his companion, Peri.  It would have been a difficult arc to carry off, and a marvelous feat if done correctly, but I think Baker probably could have handled it.  Frankly, once the show was put on 18 month hiatus after the first Colin Baker season, they would probably have been better off just going back to what they were working on with this arc.  Instead, they did "The Trial of a Timelord," which is fascinating as a metaphor for what was happening to the show, but which made very little sense in the end.  The Colin Baker era might have lasted longer had they stuck to their guns.

As it is, we saw a very complex Doctor in the Sixth incarnation.  Even though, during his regeneration crisis in his first serial he attempted to strangle his companion and also cravenly tried to give her up to save his own life, this soon proved to be a temporary problem caused by a very difficult regeneration.  Once he got adjusted again, Colin Baker portrayed a character whose pompousness and brashness didn't completely conceal the Doctor's love for all living creatures and his generous nature and spirit.  Those who see the Sixth Doctor as nothing more than a blowhard are missing the point.  He was a blowhard on the outside, but Colin Baker made sure that, underneath the surface, the Sixth Doctor was still, without a doubt, a Doctor.

Hopefully, by the time this is published, I'll have met the man and be able to tell you about that experience.  Until then, know that The Horror of Fan Blog loves Colin Baker, whether you like it or not.