With the 50th anniversary special of the hit British sci-fi show Doctor Who hot on the horizon, and a brand new companion just waiting to jump into action later this month, let's take this brief pause in the action to look at some of the chronic problems and potholes along the way for Matt Smith's Doctor the Eleventh and see if we can't come up with some helpful suggestions to smooth out his road to "The Fields of Trenzalore" and his rumoured fall. Up ahead, in honor of the massive struggles to maintain relevancy that Doctor the Eleventh is now engaged in, one fan asks the question: Can we save The Doctor this time around?
11. The Doctor Shouts
Do you know what I realized recently? Matt Smith's Doctor shouts A LOT. He routinely talks over people, he hardly ever engages in villainous repartee and when he wants to be scary, he just puffs out his bow-tie and hollers. It's a strange thing that isn't very obvious until a rereading of some scripts and the realization that the written dialogue is really good! So why the mixed reviews of the performance? It's hard to say for sure, but one thing is certain: The Doctor started having problems when he started routinely raising his voice. Why is that a problem? The problem is that shouting is what you do when you've lost control. Recent studies show that shouting releases high level of dopamine in the brain, a response which researchers believe suggests that shouting when angry is a way for humans to self-comfort themselves when they've lost control of a situation. Shouting is really good for resetting the brain chemistry. The problem is that the Doctor shouts at all his problems now. Which, sorry to burst your bubble Mr. Moffat, does not make him seem scary. It makes him seem petty, and small. And after 7 seasons of newly minted badass credentials for the character, the last thing we fans want to see is him losing it with every villain of the week. How can we fix the problem? Well, hopefully our new(ish) post-Pond Doctor will have become a little more subdued. Of course, we don't want him to become sullen (see problem 9). But what we really want is to see a return to the quiet fury of Tennant or Eccleston. Who can forget the Tenth's stopping the shadowy attack of the Vashta Nerada with the single word "Don't" during the climax of Forest of the Dead? Or the Ninth's awesomely intimidating response to the Dalek King's analysis of his fighting capabilities in "The Parting of the Ways"? These are classic and amazingly effective moments which rely upon subtlety and ambiance. In fact, the Eleventh started out pretty strong. In The Eleventh Hour, his cold question to the Atraxi is unforgettable: "Is (Earth) defended?" If you want to fix this problem, let the Doctor be quiet again. Let him be scary. Don't make him rage. Raging is weak. It is a chemical signal we all understand means someone has lost control.
DM Daniel is a novelist and blogger with a passion for the fantastic and the marvelous, and a soft spot for all things just a little bit queer. He is an advocate for LGBT representations in media, and information on his debut novel "The Marvelous Adventures of Sebastian Smith" can be found on his website www.dmdaniel.com.