This is a question that you here all the time as a Whovian. It is almost a standard greeting when you meet another Whovian for the first time. I ran into a group of Mormon missionaries the other day at the airport, a common occurrence here in Salt Lake City, and one of them noticed my super cool Doctor Who shirt. When she saw the shirt, her first question was which Doctor was my favorite. Before I could think too hard about it, I blurted out that the 12th is my favorite Doctor. At first, I thought about retracting that statement, but then I didn’t. I felt justified in saying it, and hopefully this post will help explain why.
Growing up, I was not into Doctor Who. That’s the honest truth. I am not a lifelong fan. I openly admit that I am a recent convert to the Doctor Who mythos. That doesn’t mean that I am less passionate than others. I love the show and the mythos and everything about Doctor Who, and I have tried to study up, not just on current Who, but classic Who as well. None of that changes the fact that I am a latecomer to the game. As a child, all I knew about Doctor Who was that it was some old show that aired late on Saturday night on PBS. Somehow, I was convinced that if it was on PBS, it probably was either boring or educational, so I just wasn’t interested. I knew he had a big floppy hat and a really long scarf, but that was it. I didn’t even know that there were multiple Doctors. I just knew about Tom Baker.
I heard about the reboot of the Doctor Who series as it was being launched, but again, I wasn’t interested. This came at a time when I was trying to hide my inner geek. I am not proud of that, but there was a space of a few years where I tried to not be a geek for a while. My wife was the one who convinced me to let my inner geek out, so I did. And as i did, I kept hearing about this Doctor Who show, and I was intrigued. I felt like it was something I could maybe get into and throw myself into as I was embracing my inner geek.
I didn’t know where to start at first. I am usually someone who likes to start something at the beginning and watch everything or read everything sequentially. As I studied up on Doctor Who and the series, I began to realize that it would be quite a bit to get caught up on. So I decided that I would start with the reboot. I wasn’t sure how to start, but I had heard that the series was on Netflix. My love of Doctor Who is tied to Netflix. We didn’t have Netflix at the time that I was wanting to start watching the show, so I started a subscription for us. Doctor Who is the reason we have Netflix. I had a job at the time where I worked the graveyard shift, and because it was slow, we had the opportunity to catch up on our Netflix viewing. This is when and where I met the Doctor for the first time.
A lot of the people I knew who were familiar with the show told me to start with “Blink,” but I couldn’t do that. As I mentioned before, I like to start things at the beginning and work my way through sequentially. I had to start with “Rose.” I started with number 9. He was not what i was expecting at first. There he was, dressed all hip in his T-shirt and leather jacket. Where was the big hat and the scarf? And he was so cool. He was laid back and tough all at the same time. I’ll admit, though, it was hard to look past some of the special effects of that first season. i still felt like this was some kind of low budget SciFi, that wasn’t quite up to snuff. I had a hard time getting into as a result. I just wasn’t sure what I thought about this quirky little British show. Then I watched an episode called “The Empty Child,” and the follow-up “The Doctor Dances.” I was hooked. The very end of the story, when everyone is healed, and the Doctor is celebrating and saying, “Everybody lives, Rose, Everybody lives!” For me, that’s when I realized who the Doctor is. That’s when I was on board for the long haul. I really enjoyed the rest of the first series, and really loved the whole “Bad Wolf” storyline. And then, something cruel happened. My Doctor died. I really loved 9 and felt like he was my Doctor, and then he was gone. In his place was some lumpy, goofy looking guy who…wait a second, is that Barty Crouch, Jr.? This is too much. I don’t think I can keep watching.
That was exactly how I felt as I watched “The Christmas Invasion.” This new guy, he wasn’t the Doctor. I didn’t like him at all. At least Rose was on my side. I think we both wanted 9 back at that time. I stuck with it, though, hoping that maybe he would be alright. He would never take 9’s place, but maybe he would do ok. I can’t pinpoint the exact episode or moment he became “my Doctor,” but it happened. It might have been “Blink,” which was really not very Doctor-centric, as far as episodes go. Maybe it was when he met up again with Donna Noble and they battled the Adipose. He and Donna were great together, some great moments and classic episodes. It was definitely solidified in “Waters of Mars,” when he declared himself the Time Lord Victorious. In any case, at the end of his time as the Doctor, I was convinced he was the greatest Doctor ever. No one could take his place. Of course, his time came to an end, in the worst last episode ever, and he had to go, even thought he didn’t want to. And I had to prepare myself for another adjustment.
Enter number 11. And I thought 10 was goofy. Have you seen this guy? He spends the first 20 minutes ransacking this little girl’s house for food, and finally settle on fish fingers and custard. How ridiculous. Except, it wasn’t that ridiculous. Somehow it was endearing, as were his floppy hair and exaggerated movements. All of it together just seemed to work. The moment, though, for me came in the first episode, toward the end, when he stood up to the police force that was looking for the escaped prisoner. When they scanned him and went through all the faces of the previous Doctors, and he walks through and announces that he is the Doctor. He was the Doctor from that moment on. He holds a special place at our house, because he was the one my wife and kids really got into. He had so many classic stories and moments, and as it came down to the end, I was feeling the same thing I had felt when I got to the end of 10’s time. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t want it to come. How could 12 top what 11 had done?
I don’t have all those answers yet. I have hope that it will happen though. I know for a lot of folks, this transition has been a rough one, and I get it, but for me, this time, it hasn’t been bad. I have actually enjoyed. I think a part of it is that I know now that I have cone through this twice before, and each time it worked out. i have confidence this time will too. I think I have just been enjoying getting to know this Doctor. Discovering his quirks and what makes him tick. It has been a good ride, so far, and I think it will get better in Series 9. I don’t know if he has had his moment yet where he has become “my Doctor,” but I am sure it is coming. I take that back. He did have his moment, at the end of “The Mummy on the Orient Express,” when Clara thought he didn’t value lives of those around him, and he demonstrated that there were few things that mattered more. Maybe that was his moment for me.
So, when someone asks me who my favorite Doctor is, I don’t think it is wrong for me to say the current one. I know if he’s not right now, he will be. It is how it has worked before. I have enjoyed each of them almost equally. Now, I am enjoying getting to know some of the classic Doctors, like watching some classic 4 or 6, or listening to the audio adventures of 8. Each version of the Doctor is just great and adds something to the overall story and Mythos, so it is hard for me to pick just one. I guess picking the current one is maybe the easy answer, the easy way out, but it might just be true, for now at least.