The End of David Tennant’s Time
Doctor: “Worst. Rescue. Ever.”
Doctor to Master “It said someTHING is coming not someONE. Don’t you ever listen?”
Wilfi: Not bloody likely
Doctor: Don’t swear
Just some very small moments that I love from the last episode of David Tennant’s Doctor, the 2-part “End of Time.” I must say BBC America gave him a right proper send off, with a marathon of all his episodes starting on January 2 and ending with the final episodes.
David Tennant’s Doctor #10 is going into history as one of the greatest.
His acting is a joy to watch: he sparks and sparkles; he puts across wit and physical comedy beautifully and then menaces with frightening depth. There is a natural intelligence behind all his line readings and a conviction in what he’s staying. He is so naturally comfortable as the Doctor that the glee is never over the top, the anger isn’t forced. I love the way he conveys authority.
The last episode lacked in some logic and common sense, but it had the important beats right: the Doctor’s relationship with Donna’s grandfather Wilfi who becomes his final companion, his showdown with the Master and the Time Lord’s president, his victory lap visiting with all his friends. These were all satisfying plot points, beautifully written and executed.
One of the great things about Doctor Who is its own history. Its original run was 1963 to 1989, with eight different doctors. It was primarily a British cultural touchstone—-some Americans found it, but generations of Brits embraced it, and since the reboot looked forward to the annual Christmas Day special. It was relaunched in 2005 by BBC Wales in Cardiff, with Russell T. Davies at the helm. British actors of all stripes have guest starred over the years-—as an Avengers fan I would point particularly to Honor Blackman, Peter Wyngarde, and Michael Gough in the earlier years. Since the reboot we got to see Zoe Wannemaker, Kylie Minogue, Derek Jacobi, Simon Callow, Penelope Wilton, and Bernard Cribbins, John Simm, and Timothy Dalton. (The closest thing we have to a TV show that attracts American actors is 30 Rock, with Tina Fey attracting Alec Baldwin and some considerable film guest stars.)
Doctor 11 will be Matt Smith. Who? Nobody really knows. He’s very young, and he has very big shoes to fill.
Sherlock and Watson, Together Again
I have to say straight out that an American shouldn’t being playing Sherlock Holmes. It’s just not right. There are SO many British actors who would be excellent. It’s a DNA thing. It’s a national boasting rights thing. The Empire should see to its own for something as important as introducing Holmes to the next generation of fans.
Downey does a good job, but he’s coming back as Tony Stark in Iron-Man 2. I don’t want my Tony and my Sherlock to be the same man. It just isn’t right.
The real thrill of the new franchise anyway is Jude Law. His Watson is sharp and capable and talented. The two banter as well as Nick and Nora Charles, though it’s obviously chaste (whatever provocative pish-tosh Downey was dispensing on Letterman). And the whole made-up plot point of Sherlock trying to sabotage Watson’s engagement was straight out of Gunga Din, not some subversive reading of the Holmes canon.
I liked the stylized production. And the very surprise use of “The Rocky Road to Dublin” over the boxing fight scene, and the final credits. (I thought it was the Clancy Brothers version, but I’ve seen it attributed both to them and the Dubliners.) Very sporting for the London-centric Holmes to acknowledge Dublin.