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If This Goes Emo, Somebody's Getting Cut

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | February 23, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | February 23, 2010 |

I’ve tried really hard to keep an open mind about the casting of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan for the fifth series of “Doctor Who,” remembering quite well how much I loathed the idea of David Tennant replacing Christopher Eccleston after those introductory thirty seconds at the end of the first series. Martha? Donna? Same thing: distasteful skepticism followed by dawning appreciation. Smith is an easy target because of his age, something the interwebs have been rumbling about ever since his casting was announced. The thing is, it’s too obvious. Tossing the role to a kid in a misguided attempt to pull in the young whipper snappers with their hippity hop and wavy hair? That’s a classic American network move, but this is the BBC we’re talking about here. They’ve got standards and classy British accents and such, right?

Oh shit.

That’s just … I mean … it looks bad. Not “meh,” not “eh, a little rough here and there,” definitely not “well that’s cheesy, but it’s still the Doctor,” just plain flat out unadulterated disappointment. This doesn’t feel like “Doctor Who,” it feels like a cheaply made spin off made for kids, like those young adult book series spun off of genre paperbacks like Star Trek Academy and the like. Steven Moffat has written some of the greatest episodes of the relaunched show: “The Girl in the Fireplace,” “Blink,” “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead,” “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.” And so he’s been given a huge benefit of the doubt as casting news, logo changes, and teasers have come out. Maybe it’s just a lousy trailer, hell, even “Battlestar Galactica” had trailers with a Nickelback song.

But just to really screw with your minds, the BBC is doing the work for fan fic writers everywhere since Matt Smith had an appearance on “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” and his character slept with Billie Piper’s character.

Here’s my take: Doctor #11 goes back in time and sleeps with Rose before she met Doctor #9, and we find out what her job as “shop girl” really entailed. Feel free to add your own theoretical reconciliation of the timelines of the two shows in the comments.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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