This column contains some mild spoilers for the “Doctor Who” episode “The Doctor’s Wife.”
Neil Gaiman first developed a love for the written word reading C.S. Lewis, and marveled over his use of brackets to create a direct connection with the reader.
While Gaiman may not necessarily take the same approach, he still knows how to reach right into the hearts and minds with his words, and it has made him a prolific author and scriptwriter.
So it was hard not to get excited about a Neil Gaiman “Doctor Who” episode. When it was first announced, Matt Smith was just starting to grow into his bowtie. And some — like me — wondered out loud why Gaiman couldn’t have been recruited for David Tennant instead.
But that’s what happens when Doctors change. You don’t want to let go of the old one, and it takes a while to warm up to the new guy. Audiences, however, have definitely warmed up to Matt Smith. In fact, he’s doing some amazing work bringing his own character elements to the “Doctor Who” mythology.
And so it was perfect that Gaiman not only gave us a little touch of what makes Smith special as The Doctor, but fed us a lot of nostalgia too. Whether it be the use of communication cubes, mentions of Time Lords of old, or even the Tardis control room from the Tennant era (a very nice surprise by the way), Gaiman knew how to make a direct connection with the audience, and show that he really does know The Doctor very well.
Believe it or not, Gaiman really did start writing this episode for Tennant. But he didn’t have to make too many adjustments for Smith in terms of dialogue. Luckily, while each actor does bring his own personality into The Doctor role, the character himself has still remained quite consistent.
Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the Tardis and breathe some fresh air. Even if it’s outside the universe. And for those of us who end up trapped in the Tardis, it’s even better to get a chance to finally explore the Tardis, even if it’s nothing more than a series of retro-looking hallways.
We have become so accustomed to great episodes of “Doctor Who” that we sometimes take the talent that goes into these stories for granted. We never want to do that, because these talents should be recognized and will be recognized.
At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to get a little boost in that thinking. And we can only thank Neil Gaiman for providing us probably the best “Doctor Who” episode yet of the Matt Smith era.