November 23rd is less than a week away, and in these 11 days leading to the Doctor Who 50th anniversary we here at Nerd Bastard’s want to share with you a few of our favorite Whovian things. We’re currently staring down that 50th anniversary as we’re only two days away! Last year, as we were approaching Season 7 of Doctor Who, we Bastards all got together and discussed our favorite Doctors. Picking a favorite Doctor is a defining moment for a Whovian. It’s when you finally commit to the fandom, make a choice, and label yourself as that kind of fan. Since we’re Patrick Troughton days away from “The Day of the Doctor” I’ll be making a case for why the Second Doctor is so fantastic, as well as sharing who my fellow Bastards picked as their favorites.
If the First Doctor, William Hartnell, provided the foundation then Patrick Troughton began The Doctor’s evolution towards the 1200+ year old Time Lord we follow today. The series owes much to Troughton. Imagine, had audiences not accepted him as The Doctor that would have been it, the end of Doctor Who! The BBC was already considering canceling the series once Hartnell left, but thankfully they had the ingenious idea to recast The Doctor and call it “regeneration.” Thus a staple of the Whoniverse was born and fans were treated to a Doctor ahead of his time.
A lot, and I mean a lot, of the characterization you see with Matt Smith’s Doctor comes from Troughton. That ability to be completely disarming, almost buffoonish, followed by an intense anger is all Troughton. Often described as a “cosmic hobo”, Troughton was more disheveled and far more likely to pull a yo-yo or banana from his pockets than his more proper predecessor, Hartnell. Fond of the recorder, he’d play when deep in thought and looking for an escape plan. Troughton’s Doctor is gleeful, and one I believe modern audiences would be find very familiar.
Unfortunately, the Second Doctor suffered the worst at the hands of the BBC’s infamous “junking” of master tapes, and quite a bit of his tenure has been lost. There was that miraculous discovery earlier this year of a few of Who‘s missing episodes, all which came from Troughton’s seasons. Now remastered, I definitely suggest checking out “The Web of Fear” and “Enemy of the World”. I also recommend the “Tomb of the Cyberman”. It was the Cybermen’s second appearance and still ranks as one of their best.
BBC has a collection of the best moments of the Second Doctor on their YouTube page, but here’s one my favorites. Doctor Who is very much about loss, and in this speech Troughton approaches loss and grief beautifully,
There’s my case for the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. Do try and check out some of his adventures as I know you’ll love him as much as I. Now, on to our other favorite Doctors!
Matt Smith. Look, I adore David Tennant, but the way he rolls his Rs and elongates the word “well” (sounding more like a “whell”) annoys me. Also, he acts like hip college professor. It’s fine but I prefer the manic, zany, brany antics of Matt Smith. He conveys a child-like wonder to everything. It’s really wonderful to have a character who is hundreds of years old, mind you, be so excited and awe-inspired. That resonates with me as a viewer. – Luke Gallagher
My favorite Doctor is Sylvester McCoy. Poor old Sylv often gets a bad rap from folk, but I think he’s perfect. Equal parts clown and pure alien. He injected a sense of mystery into the show that had been lacking for years. Season 26 is an almost perfect run of stories as you could wish for. He was the face of Who during the Dark Times. He kept fighting for the show long after most gave up hope. His Doctor featured in the New Adventures series of novels, which launched the Who careers of Gatiss, Roberts, Cornell, and Davies. His theme tune is my phone’s ringtone. I don’t think I need to go on from there! – Steven Sautter
The Tenth, aka David Tennant. The Tenth Doctor wasn’t as brusk as the Ninth, but he had a hard edge and a weariness sitting barely on top of a hidden thrill that came out when he was surrounded by danger and long odds like a feared old warrior excited only by a genuine challenge to his supremacy. This Doctor also seemed to be as enamored with humanity as he was with danger, amused by us whereas the Ninth Doctor seemed — at times — to be annoyed.
I took to this new version of the Doctor and I wanted to see how he had gotten to this point — the hurt that he had felt, the loss, and the joy — I wanted to see an evolution and I got exactly that with Tennant’s run. From romancing Madame de Pompadour to fighting Satin, suffering through heartbreaking losses, taking down the Racnoss Empress, the Master, and the Weeping Angels, and facing “The End of Time” — through it all Tennant grew as a performer and the character showed vulnerability, pain, and an incredible lightness among a carnival of torture. It is that growth, that dimension, and the fact that we went through something while watching that Doctor that will forever make Tennant’s Doctor my Doctor. Oh, and I love the way he says “Whell”… “Oh yes!” I do.
Not that anybody asked, but I’ll take Russell T. Davies as my Doctor Who showrunner as well for many reasons, but mostly because he had such a clear respect for the older series and the confidence to reach back into Who lore and let his creation stand beside the brilliant, brilliant past. Moffatt is nice, but it’s Davies take that made me want to go back and explore older episodes of the show as well — something that I’m still working on. – Jason Tabrys
Christopher Eccleston. Matt Smith’s Doctor may talk fast about how bow ties and fezes are cool, but Eccleston was a Doctor who genuinely came off as cool. The head to tow black suggested his Doctor was a little bit darker than past incarnations, but the leather jacket also said that this Doctor was a bad ass to boot. And why not? It is suggested that he’s now the last of the Time Lords and that the Doctor himself orchestrated it. It’s almost sad that Eccleston’s biker version of the Time Lord didn’t last more than one season (the actor didn’t want to be typecast after too long an engagement in the TARDIS), but I think the actor and his portrayal was the perfect bridge between bring a skeptical audience reared on cynical sci-fi like The X-Files and Battlestar Galactica back into the more ebullient world of Doctor Who. Tennant gets top marks for his more mad cap performance, but Eccleston deserves some credit for giving him the chance to make his mark. – Adam A. Donaldson
The Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. From the moment I watched Baker regenerate into the younger, blonder Davison I knew I was gonna like this guy. He’s the second youngest actor to play The Doctor – the youngest now being the current Doctor, Matt Smith, who’s battling David Tennant and Paul McGann for the spot of my second favorite Doctor – and I love the blend of youthful energy and incomprehensible wisdom a younger actor brings to the role. I love that the Fifth Doctor runs around in cricket gear, because only The Doctor would love a sport so British and weird. I love that he goes about sans-sonic screwdriver, he’s kind yet curmudgeonly, and even if he wasn’t blessed with the best crew of companions he cared for each one. And, as of now, Peter Davison is the only former Doctor to reprise his role and interact with a current Doctor [Editor’s Note: Now we can add McGann, though he didn’t get to interact with a current Doctor] . It was in the Children in Need Special, “Time Crash” where the Fifth Doctor and Tenth Doctor’s TARDIS-es collided giving them a brief moment together. Of course, it’s even more mind-warping when you consider that Tennant is married to Davison’s daughter making him the Tenth Doctor’s father-in-law! Yeah, timey-wimey indeed. – Sarah Moran
It’s a bit of a tough decision because every Doctor has their own merits and talents, but David Tennant is and always will be my Doctor. Seriously, how can you bet a Time Lord that brought back a stolen Earth from Davros, team with Spider-Man to defeat an army of pig-men and took on the Devil himself? My vote is swayed though by the fact that David does have a dead sexy accent, lucky bastard. – Nick Bungay
I’d have to say my favorite Doctor so far is definitely Matt Smith. In certain circles this seems like the unpopular choice, but I must defend my position. Matt Smith, to me, embodies a combination of characteristics taken from all the previous Doctors (at least the ones I am familiar with). He is light-hearted, despite the darker themes since Moffat took over as executive producer of the show. His chaotic nature is fun to watch and he still manages to be clever and focused when needed. To me, Matt Smith was genetically engineered from birth to play Doctor Who and I hope to see him stick around for many more seasons. – Jason McAnelly
I love David Tennant; he’s the best actor to play the Doctor, in my opinion. He had so much versatility and threw himself wholeheartedly into the role. He was phenomenal. The fact that he has a hawt Scottish accent also plays a big part in why I like him so much. But I will have to say that the Eleventh Doctor is my favorite Doctor… and for all intents and purposes, Matt Smith IS the Eleventh Doctor; he’s just so perfect for the role. I think that he’s the perfect mix of all the best qualities of the Doctor that we’ve come to love so far, he’s got this mad twinkle in his eye and all the whimsy and the genuine love for other beings. He’s literally an old man in a young body and I just love all of the little quirks he’s got. I swear he basically has stars trailing along behind him wherever he goes. His theme song is so much more whimsical and curious and light hearted and I enjoy seeing this side of the Doctor. While Ten was amazing, he definitely had more of a darkness and a sadness to him that he was still working through. By the time he becomes Eleven, he’s coming to terms with the past more and more and he’s all the more wiser for it. I’m a little confused about how he completely loses his social skills after that regeneration but I still love him nonetheless. He was also my first Doctor so I’m pretty biased. – Chris D.