Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth #DoctorWho – bravo for an older Doctor, here’s why

Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth Doctor
Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth Doctor

Earlier I had advocated Jason Isaacs for the role of the 12th Doctor, but the news that veteran actor Peter Capaldi will take up the role has me satisfied. The reason is because given all the turmoil of the Doctor’s 10th and 11th incarnations, an older age is more appropriate for the part. As I argued earlier,

It would also be nice to have a change of pace with an older Doctor for a change, one more weathered and reflecting the age and experiences, especially the multiple universe-saving, true-love losing (twice), companions-lost adventures of the past two youthful incarnations. As the Doctor once said, when he was very young, he acted very old, probably a reference to his first incarnation (William Hartnell as a grouchy grandpa). Isaacs would be a more honest reflection of the Doctor’s maturity, especially since more seems to have happened to him during his past two forms as during all the previous nine. And there’s also the appearance of his mysterious John Hurt incarnation, who may be 8.5. There’s plenty of reason for the Doctor to stop playacting at being a young man and let his wisdom and experience show.

Even at their most serious, Tennant and Smith could never stop looking at least somewhat like the young goofballs they are. Physical age lends gravitas that acting skill can’t match, only simulate.

Capaldi doesn’t have the same rugged physicality that Isaacs would have brought to the role, but he definitely will bring a different personality to the table, one more sarcastic and raw, if his other acting roles are any preview. I’m looking forward to the Capaldi era. The Smith era was deficient in plot and made up for it almost entirely on Smith’s manic shoulders. Hopefully the 12th regeneration will have both acting and plot. Given the change in age, I think that Moffat himself will be pushed out of his comfort zone and be forced to give his larger story arcs some more actual heft now. Otherwise, Capaldi will be just wasted in this role.

The Doctor is in

I am really, really enjoying the new Dr. Who series. I confess I’ve never seen the older versions but the new one hits all the right buttons. I’m about 3/4 through season 2 and it’s really hard to pick a favorite thus far, though The Girl in the Fireplace probably comes close.

One thing that especially appeals to me is the rigidity of the timeline. We see that t is possible to change events, but there are severe consequences for doing so – the universe “heals itself” by closing off paradoxes like an infectedd wound and then sending “antibodies” to excise it. And, alternate realities do exist but they are walled off in such a way that even the TARDIS can’t easily access them. Its not clear to me if this is how it always was or whether it’s a consequence of the Time War. In either case, though, it puts the show within a very specific (and unique, given the basic storyline features time travel so centrally) set of constraints. The exact mechanics of when the Doctor’s appearance makes him “part of events” and when he is outside those events are still mysterious to me but it’s good to have some unknowns.

The show just really, really rocks. The only problem is that it has obliterated whatever token anime watching I was still trying to do on the side (especially now that I’ve completed Bebop).

Also, I’m guessing that the Torchwood thing becomes more important later, since they’ve dropped a reference to it almost every episode since the Doctor regenerated.