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Dealing with a new Doctor

And so the cycle repeats, as it has always done and always will do. Doctor Who fans find themselves in a particularly awkward part of the show right now in that the current Doctor is leaving, and the new one has been announced. Before we get too deep into that, however, let me tell you the tale of the last time we found ourselves in this situation: when David Tennant was replaced by Matt Smith.

This change was arguably bigger than the one we face now, as Tennant was not only the first Doctor for so many people that tuned in to the new series, but he was also the most popular, in many polls beating even the previously untouchable Tom Baker. 

All the jelly babies in the world cannot fix my dissapoint.
His leaving the show cast even more uncertainty in that Russel T. Davis, who had been the lead writer since the show restarted, was also departing, leaving writing in the the hands of Steven Moffat. We knew Moffat could write fantastic stories, such as the “Silence in the Library” arc and “Blink”, but we didn't know how much that was Moffat himself, and how much came down to Davis looking over his shoulder. 
This is the face of the man who will make characters you love, then kill them in front of you.

So when Matt Smith was announced to be taking over the role, a lot of people moaned and groaned like Smith fans are now. “He's too young looking” we said (this being my main complaint) “he has emo hair”, “he can't pull off a role like this”, the list goes on and on. I admit that I too was skeptical of Smith being the Doctor, and still think Tennant was the superior person in the role, but that may well be my own rose-colored glasses for my first Doctor peeking through. The fact is that Smith came in, found his place and his character, and has by all accounts been a highly successful version of the Time Lord.

So why do I tell you all this? Because I'm seeing a lot of debate about Peter Capaldi being the Doctor. I'm seeing a lot of people complain that he's not young enough, that he's too different, or going the opposite direction and saying “only REAL fans of Doctor Who will stay with the show now, not these newbie posers.” Both of these sides are just silly.

Complainers I go easier on because I've been there. I've lost my first Doctor. In our mind nothing can touch the first person who invited us into the magic blue box to explore time and space, and most likely, in our eyes, nothing ever will. Frankly, there's nothing wrong with that, it just means that you were passionate about the show, and are sad to see the way you know it go. What I'm here to tell you now though, is that it will be fine. The first episode or two may be rocky, you may see all Capaldi's flaws right away and begin to nitpick, but you will soften up. He'll get a good line, and a good scene, and a great episode, and eventually you'll be able to let go of the past and accept him. Its like an entire cycle of grief for one fandom. 
I don't want A Doctor, I want MY Doctor!
People who are hating on the new viewers, just try to remember what you were like when your first Doctor regenerated. Deep down, were you really instantly accepting the new Doctor, or did he feel like your parents had gotten you a new puppy to replace the one that got hit by a car? What it comes down to is that everyone is new to a show at some point, and everyone has their first Doctor. I'm sure some people will stop watching now that Smith is gone, but it doesn't help to drive away other fans as well.

So that said, what do I think of the prospects for the new Doctor? Frankly, I'm excited. I think the older actor can bring out a side of the character that the younger guys are unable to explore. I think it opens up new kinds of relationships with his companions other than pining love interests. In short, I think that it will be a refreshing change. I don't really care that he's an actor that's been on the show before (hell, what British actor hasn't?) and its been established via Romana that Time Lords can take the faces of people they've met before.
Of course, all opinions are subject to change once we actually see the new Doctor in action. I'm just trying to stay as open as possible to the possibilities. Keep in mind, Capaldi will be someone's first Doctor. All I can say for sure right now is good luck Peter.