Doctor Who: Matt Smith’s 11 Best Understated Moments

doctor who power of three Matt Smith was great for the crowning moment, the glorious defeat of the bad guys, the heroic save and the slightly-too-smug laugh. That stuff was important, and it was wonderful. But that alone didn€™t make him a great Doctor. No, what made Matt Smith great were the quiet moments. When things went unsaid, or when the few words spoken expressed far more than they said. With a twitch of his eyes, with a glance filled with emotion, or with an almost infinitesimal motion of his face or body, Matt Smith could convey more emotion than in any three-minute monologue. In every English class you ever take, your professors and teachers will tell you to minimize, to be concise. And with a part like the Doctor, overacting was easy. But every time the writing called for it, Smith rose to the challenge, imbuing tiny words with endless layers of meaning. And because these moments of understatement were so soft, so minimalist, they allowed interpretation. They allowed for wonder. These moments are easy to miss. But they were impossible to forget. They were the best kind of quiet, and the highest level of acting. What follows are Matt Smith€™s eleven best understated moments (in chronological order).

11. €œBasically, run.€

doctor who basically run Early days, this one was. We didn€™t know exactly who this new fellow was, and for that matter, neither did he. He was busy cooking, and what got cooked into those hearts was a little girl called Amelia Pond. That, and his status as defender of the Earth. Also, perhaps most importantly: fish fingers and custard. The aliens who wanted to blow up the planet went away, and then he called them back for a scolding (a plan that must only sound clever if you have 2 hearts and 27 brains). He spent the conversation with the Atraxi perfecting his outfit, of all things. Then he stepped through a sorrowful image of David Tennant€™s face, smiled, and said €œhello.€ Then he mildly told the aliens €œbasically, run.€ And, in direct contrast to his quiet demeanor and gentle almost-smile, they ran like the demons of hell were chasing them.

Rebecca Kulik lives in Iowa, reads an obsence amount, watches way too much television, and occasionally studies for her BA in History. Come by her personal pop culture blog at and her reading blog at