Back on Sunday, like a lot of folks, I sat in front of the TV awaiting the news. In a live TV special broadcast around the world, the BBC was going to announce who will be replacing Matt Smith as the Doctor on Doctor Who.
(For those just joining us, Matt Smith, who currently plays the Doctor, announced a few months back that this year's Doctor Who Christmas special would be his last.)
After a half-hour as renowned British celebrities (whom I'd never heard of) weighed in with their thoughts and opinions, the man of the hour came out amid lasers and clouds of smoke, and we were introduced to the 12th Doctor....
And everyone outside the UK, including myself, promptly went, "Who the hell is that?"
Well, he does have some Doctor Who experience. In that one 10th Doctor episode where they go to Pompeii, he played the Roman merchant Caecilius. But to folks in the UK, he was best known as one of the stars of the comedy The Thick of It, where he played Malcolm Tucker, a very profane communications director for the British Prime Minister.
In fact, because his character swore so much, some are jokingly suggesting that the 12th Doctor's catchphrase will be some variation of the F-word.
Oh, and he was also in World War Z this summer, where he played a rather prophetic role. I think Wil Wheaton's tweet summed it up the best.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) August 4, 2013
So what do I think of Capaldi's casting as the next Doctor? Umm...I really have no opinion. I'm not familiar enough with his body of work to make a judgement. And let's be honest, the 12th Doctor is a character we haven't met yet. So I've got to wait for those first few episodes with him before I judge. I like that he's an older guy, though. The first few Doctors were older guys, so it's kind of like going back to their roots.
That being said, what do I think of the hype surrounding the announcement of the 12th Doctor? I was watching that whole special thinking, "When did Doctor Who get so big?" When we made the transition from #10 to #11, we didn't have any hype like this. I think it was one week before David Tennant's final episode that they announced Matt Smith as the next Doctor. And it wasn't some huge TV special. It was a picture and a news release.
Patton Oswalt wrote an editorial a few years ago, saying that being a geek is dead. He elaborated by saying that being a geek used to mean going to comic book stores and conventions to get information on your favourite franchise. But now, just a quick Google search, and you can become an expert in an afternoon. I forget if it was in that editorial or in one of the comments that someone said Doctor Who was the last one that was still a bit of a "geek property." But I think with this special, those days are dead. Doctor Who is starting to become another overhyped sci-fi franchise.
Maybe that's why I'm starting to feel a little let down by the franchise. It's got hype to live up to now, and it's not quite doing it. But still, I'll be watching this Christmas when #11 turns into #12, and we'll see where we go from here.