Big name actors need not apply.
Let’s face it, short of “John,” it doesn’t get anymore generic than Matt Smith. Yet that didn’t stop the BBC and the creative team behind DOCTOR WHO from handing over the reigns of what is arguably their country’s most recognizable export to an actor that would leave even the most ardent TV Addict asking, “Who?” And lucky for us, what Matt Smith lacks in name recognition he more than makes up for with acting talent, an energy that is almost hypnotic and chemistry with another relative unknown, sidekick Karen Gillan.
Unlike the US networks attempt to find the next LOST — which has led to a string of disappointing and confusing mythological driven shows that have all been, or are on the brink of cancelation — the first two episodes we’ve seen of DOCTOR WHO couldn’t have been more welcoming for the neophyte viewer. Oh sure, there are of course few things we’re scratching our head over — like what exactly the good doctor’s connection to earth is and why it seems he is the last of his kind — but overall it’s nice to be able to jump into a series without needing a PhD in WHOology to enjoy the ride.
It’s all about the story.
If the CW’s short-lived not-so-BEAUTIFUL LIFE taught us anything, it’s that good looking actors can only take a series so far. Thus, if you want us to stick around for more than an episode or two, you’re going to have to bring compelling stories and original ideas to the table. Take Saturday’s episode entitled “The Beast Below” for example, which told the story of a futuristic British society that was trapped on a spaceship in search of a new home. Turns out, what on the surface seemed like little more than a BATTLESTAR GALACTICA ripoff was a compelling and heartwarming tale that touched on the role of government, animal rights, and social justice. In other words, top notch storytelling that more than makes up for…
A total lack of a special effects budget.
Regardless of whether or not DOCTOR WHO’s cheestacular visuals are a creative choice or a budgetary one, it’s astounding what we’re willing to look past when we’re so caught up in the story. Seriously. Villainous “Smilers” that look as though they were left over from the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA circa 1978 are fine by us as long as the writers continue to deliver stories that pack the emotional wallop of Saturday’s ending that had us tearing up over a ridiculously constructed “Star Whale” that decided to sacrifice itself to save humanity.
British people just sound smarter.
And while we’re the first to admit that American networks can do very little about this last point, we for some reason or other simply feel the need to point out that British (and while we’re on the subject Australian) actors just sound cooler than us. Thus, if the foreign invasion of our small screen is going to continue (see: Joseph Fiennes, Alex O’Loughlin, Hugh Laurie and Sonya Walger to name a few), the least networks could do is allow them to keep their native accent. We’re just sayin’