So apparently the Internet had already been speculating about this for a while, but the news officially broke this past Saturday that Matt Smith, the current star of Doctor Who and the youngest actor to portray the British television icon, is stepping down after the upcoming 50th Anniversary special and Christmas special.
It’s a bit sad, but inevitable. Like David Tennant before him, Smith had just wrapped up his third season in the role and since actors who break out on TV shows nowadays seem to have more opportunities ahead of them, the writing could have been on the wall. But I’m still a little disappointed.
See, I got into Who when a friend showed me the episode “Blink,” from the third season of the revived show (as opposed to the long-running half-hour series that made the Doctor an icon), which was written by current showrunner Steven Moffat. It’s a tightly constructed horror piece that barely features the Doctor at all, but it was so well done, I was drawn into the show. Concurrently, I got into it just as Tennant’s last full season was ending and before the series of specials that officially marked his exit, but I still got caught up because my local PBS affiliate began rerunning the revived series from the beginning around the same time.
To sum it up, Matt Smith is basically the only Doctor whose entire run I’ll have seen from beginning to end. I remember being ridiculously excited when he first showed up, and in my opinion, he’s just gotten better and better each episode.
While there are bits I haven’t liked about Smith’s run–Moffat’s insistence on a huge overarching conspiracy every season as well as shoving Alex Kingston’s mysterious character River Song down our throats to the point of irritation, the fact that a major mystery at the end of Smith’s first season still hasn’t been resolved and the multiple times we’ve been told the Doctor is awesome instead of seeing him being awesome–overall, it’s been a fun ride and one I’ve been happy to take.
Smith, for his part, seems to be doing all right; he’s set to star in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, How To Catch A Monster with Christina Hendricks and Eva Mendes, and there’s quite a bit of rumor floating around the Interwebs about him being the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. For now, though, I’ll just await his two final outings as the Doctor and wish him well with whatever comes next.
Thanks, Mr. Smith, for all the fun times. And for proving, once and for all, that bow ties are cool.