Thursday, July 25, 2013

TCA Summer 2013: Doctor Who

Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special premieres Saturday, November 23, 2013 (with the premiere of Atlantis to follow), with guest stars to include David Tennant, Billie Piper, Joanna Page, and John Hurt. With Matt Smith leaving the role of the Doctor at the end of the year, the special becomes even more important, as will the Christmas episode. If you've never seen the BBC iconic series, the basic idea is that Doctor Who is the last powerful time lord in an alien race, who uses a blue police box as a time machine. And, for those who aren't familiar with the series, the 50th anniversary special is still worth watching because it's a show about a man who is over 1,000 years old and can go anywhere in time, bringing "hot chicks" along. It's also a show "about hope, about adventure, about excitement."
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
On the panel were actors Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, plus producer Marcus Wilson. Smith didn't have his typical Doctor look, sporting a short haircut. However, he did mention that the coif will be seen "in some way, shape, or form" and that he trusted writer Steven Moffat to work it out. But, a haircut wouldn't have been enough to keep away the huge fan following at the recent Comic-Con, where Smith wore a Simpsons mask so that he would be able to experience part of Exhibit Hall.

Similar to the Bond franchise, other actors have been the Doctor and others will be the Doctor, but Smith feels "sort of proud to be part of such a legacy of actors,” and pointed out that “the thing about Doctor Who is that it always looks forward.”

Coleman has a couple of key moments as favorites, including “the tardis on a cloud sequence,” as there was “something quite fairy tale about the whole thing.” Another highlight would be “riding around a motorbike around London.” For Smith, it's definitely his first episode, as he "didn’t know what had hit (him).” For Wilson, the episode “The Eleventh Hour” stands out for “dumping Smith in red goo.”

Perhaps the most anticipated question is why Smith is leaving the role after only four years. He explained that "we shoot 9-10 months a year. I think the show has come to sort of a natural tipping point and it’s at the top of a cycle,” plus “it’s a good time for me and the show,” even though “it was a hard choice.” There were efforts made to change his mind a few times, but none prevailed. Regarding the process of looking for a new Doctor, Wilson explained that the search is ongoing, and “you just kind of cast the net wide and hope you find someone brilliant.”

Matt Smith isn't overly affected by the hype of his final episode, noting that “it’s kind of business as usually, really.” He knows that "it is going to be emotional" and said that "it’s quite a transformative experience.” 
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