Every Dr. Who fan has his or her favorite Doctor. Its just part of loving something: choosing which parts you love best. (If you don’t yet love Dr. Who, start here). I’ve been a Dr. Who fan since I was a tiny nerd kid hanging out with my regular-sized nerd dad. At the time, Tom Baker was the Doctor—be-curled, be-scarved and be-dazzling. It didn’t hurt that my dad kind of looks like Tom Baker, or that I was an obscenely hardcore fan of robot dogs. Tom Baker will always be the original, held in the same esteem with which I hold the original Star Trek in all its rough-and-tumble, good ole’ boy glory. Not to compare Baker’s Doctor to Kirk—that would be like comparing crackers to crisps, or mitts to wits. But it’s the nostalgia—the love of my first guides through space and time mixed with grilled cheese and cozy Sunday T.V.—that’s the same.
Since the third grade, I’ve been holding tight to my original “I Heart Dr. Who” pin. When the show came back on the air with Christopher Eccleston at the helm, I was a kid in hysterics. Not only was he flamboyant, dark, unpredictable and brash, his companion was the incomparable Rose Tyler: with her dauntless Cockney valor and former Brit popstar good looks, by far the best companion there ever was or ever will be.
I was aghast when, after absorbing the energy of the time vortex, it became clear that Eccleston’s run would last but a single season. I might have given up there, if not for the return of Rose Tyler, whose luminous smile, quirk, and whimsy kept me on board for Doctor #10.
Thank you, Rose Tyler. Without you, I’d have never known the cheeky smarts, the technobabble, the complex extroversion masking a 900-year ache, the spectacles (on his face, and in space), the moodiness, the heartbreak, of David Tennant, Doctor #10. Pale but never wan and with a remarkable sense of taste, Tennant’s Doctor demonstrated what a doctor could be: the object of abject love and devotion, universe-wide and beyond the fourth wall.
It’s not just that Tennant nails the Doctor (which he does, firmly) but he nails my heart (also, um, firmly, ehem). Tennant is 100% dreamboat—tall, gangly, brainy—the perfect foil for John Barrowman’s brawny (and brawnily American) Jack Harkness. Tennant’s acting is also world-class—none of that tentative Matt Smith hipster fop— just confident, rumpled, wack-job Doctor in all his alien sexiness.
It’s no big thing for me to claim #10 as my favorite Doctor. I’m probably in the majority. He is so good, so natural… I wouldn’t be surprised if Dr. Who is a real Timelord who decided, on a lark ‘round about 2005, to play himself on T.V.: stage name, David Tennant.