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.

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