Day One, and straight to the heart of the matter! Who is my favorite Doctor Who?
Definitely not Christopher Eccleston. (no offense!)
I’m not really familiar with the first eight Doctors.
Peter Capaldi is nothing even beginning to remotely resemble being in the running in any way, shape, or form whatsoever.
John Hurt may have only been the Doctor for one special episode, but he gave a commanding and powerful performance that easily puts him in the competition, and far in the forward ranks.
But, really, if I am brutally honest with myself, the contest comes down to David Tenant vs Matt Smith.
Now, if that contest was just down to whose Doctor was stronger, the answer would absolutely be Tenant’s. Seriously, it’s no contest. Tenant’s Doctor was always, unquestionably, the man in charge. The way he carried himself, bearing the burden of everything he’s lost, his principled mercy, and especially his confidence. Quite nearly anyone he spoke to would automatically defer to him, be they civilian, soldier, or companion. He could hold his own easily against any power, staring down Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, and anything else. That scene, when Smith’s Doctor is facing an allied force of his enemies? Tenant’s Doctor would not have been screaming impotently, he’d be assuming command. Mind you, all things considered, Smith’s Doctor getting locked up like that was actually quite fortuitous, but that’s beside the point.
In fact, that overwhelming aura of Tenant’s Doctor is actually why he’s not a shoo-in for my favorite Doctor, when compared to Smith’s. Tenant’s Doctor was always proud and superior, lording it over the human race with his knowledge. He stood above everyone. Even his own companions were all a little struck with worship of him, their lives revolved around him, and their importance was only in relation to him. When he didn’t have those companions with him, he nearly became a menace to the universe, he needed them to ground him with their humanity. He almost never had any real equals among the cast during his tenure, and, as such, he was a very stagnant character, hardly ever developing or changing at all.
In contrast to this, we have Smith’s Doctor.
Was he as obviously strong as Tenant’s? No. Where Tenant could make his own case with only his confidence and maybe ten seconds of talking, there were a number of times when Smith or his companions had to state things plainly in order to get people to listen, and even then, they didn’t always. However, therein lies the appeal.: where Tenant’s Doctor was larger than life, Smith’s was more human-sized.
Smith left room for the Doctor’s companions to be his equals, and they were. Their importance wasn’t tied to the Doctor, they were important all on their own. They may have had faith in him, but they didn’t worship him. They traveled with him, but not all the time, they lived entire lives of their own, which, unlike Tenant’s Doctor, he did not become the center of those lives. This left him open to being challenged, and humbled, and developed. He began his tenure by treading loudly, and then he learned to walk softly. When he could have burned across the stars, he instead chose to live humbly, and, once, even quietly. He made one decision one day, and an opposing decision the next, and back again. He was not “above” humanity, he was humanity’s friend.
I think it’s that “equality” that Smith’s Doctor had with others that is what I like best about him, and it’s what nudges him a little bit ahead of Tenant’s Doctor.
And for all that he was not as “strong” as Tenant, Smith certainly had a number of badass moments. 🙂