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Saturday, December 28, 2013

FIGHTS: So long, Matt Smith!

Bowie V. Ibarra

I'll never forget the day when I joined a Doctor Who 'Meet Up' group at a place called Lion and the Rose in San Antonio, Texas, to watch the 50th Anniversary Special.  The Doctor Who group is pretty cool and I made my way to a table with available seating with a few fellow Doctor Who fan.

I immediately established that I'm ready for Matt Smith to spark discussion on why, I assumed, these three folks were big Matt Smith fans.  And, like the ass that I am, I discovered that the three of us shared the same feeling.

We appreciated Matt Smith's stay, but we were ready for him to go.

I dubbed Matt Smith the 'Peter Davidson' of this modern era.  Like Davidson, Smith had to fill the shoes of who was, at that time, the most popular Doctor since Tom Baker: David Tennant.  And I'll never forget how unhappy I was when he changed into Smith.  In fact, even before he shouted his first 'Geronimo', I was already wishing for another Doctor to take his place.

Why do I gripe about Smith?  For me, the guy just didn't have the emotional depth or skill of Tennant.  After watching episodes scored by Russell T. Davies that were filled with emotional depth, story, and great additions to the Doctor Who canon, I wasn't sure of the new guy.

My initial feelings were justified in the first few episodes.  The guy was 'pantomiming' a Doctor, if that makes any sense.  Like, he was acting whimsical and fun with no real motivation behind it.  Don't get me wrong, there were several episodes where a look or a gesture reached deeper than his actual acting.  I can acknowledge that.  But those moments felt few and far between for me.

And even though the script bolstered his profile, I think it also hindered his performance as well.  I imagine considering the way filming is done for shows, which are typically never linear (read: You might film the end of an episode before moments from the beginning), he might have lost track of how he should 'feel' or what moment came before.  Moffett's scripts can sometimes (okay, ALWAYS) be so overly clever or epic that even I lose track of what exactly is going on.  Perhaps being green, Smith had similar moments where he couldn't immerse himself in the moment because he wasn't exactly sure what that moment was or how he should feel.

Granted, he got better in subsequent seasons, but it always felt like a kind of 'on-the-job' training.  He got better as an actor because he was literally learning how to be a better actor as the program went on.  That's very different than growing the character and learning more about them as the program moved forward, which he did a pretty good job of.

In the end, however, I was still very excited to hear about him leaving and looked forward to that day.

Truth is, he did okay.  He was just alright, in my eyes.  True, you can never really compare apples to oranges when it comes to the unique position of this show.  In this case, I would have taken the orange over the apple, even though the apple could provide the same goodness as the orange.  I just prefer the orange.

Even though has been one of Smith's critics, I am thankful for the time he put in to the show to build the show's legend, and did enjoy his performances as a whole.  But once was enough for me.

So, naturally, when I heard Peter Capaldi was taking Smith's place, I was happy.  Here was an older guy who probably has a little more emotional depth, acting skill, and an obvious stronger presence and intensity that's been missing from the series for a while now, perhaps since Eccleston.

So long, Matt Smith. wishes you well in your future endeavors.  And here's wishing Peter Capaldi a long and successful run.

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Bowie V. Ibarra (1975- present) was born and raised in Uvalde, Texas, to a school principal and a book keeper. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and a Master of Arts in Theatre History.
Network with Bowie at his official website,

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