Everyone was disappointed that Russell T. Davies had to drop out of the "Dr. Who" panel down at Comic-Con International and none more than me — I was moderating the panel and dreaded breaking the news to the audience. I was glad to get the gig, though; I adore the show’s wit and wonder and I continue to marvel at this golden age of sci-fi television underway in England.
In the end, the panel was still a great success because of the two "Dr. Who" stalwarts who did attend, show veteran and new head writer Steven Moffat (who is one of the funniest people you will ever meet) and executive producer Julie Gardner (one of the most dynamic people you’ll ever meet). They were just amazing. "Russell can’t make it because I tied him to his chair," Gardner explained the night before the panel when we met up in the lobby of the bayside Sheraton resort. "He’s busy writing and that’s the way it needs to be. I hope the fans don’t decide to rush the stage and kill us in anger." They didn’t; it was a big hit.
There are two must-read pieces on "Dr. Who" in today’s Los Angeles Times. One, written by Choire Sicha, is a run-down of the show’s future. The other is a marvelous piece by television critic Robert Lloyd, who reveals himself to be an ardent admirer of David Tennant’s Time Lord.
Joyous and dark, a kind of Peter Pan from space, he embodies both the wonder and the terror of the universe: Two things he says a lot and which define the parameters and perils of his world are, "That’s impossible," when an impossible thing has just happened, and "I’m sorry," when something bad is about to. Lean, sharp-featured and fox-quick, David Tennant catches perfectly the character’s mix of exuberance and anger — it’s no surprise that he’s spending the summer playing that most famous of complicated heroes, Hamlet, at Stratford-upon-Avon.
I am perhaps not the toughest critic of this show. I am not bothered by its myriad of internal contradictions, accept the less good episodes as a break from the great ones, and am happy to go where it takes me. I like the way the series changes in tone and even visual style from episode to episode to reflect the subject and setting and, like the Doctor himself, swings from light to dark, from nonsense to satire to something like profundity.
It’s a wonderful piece. Please do read the rest right here.
– Geoff Boucher
Photo of David Tennant as Dr. Who, courtesy of BBC/Sci Fi Channel