Did Doctor Who Betray Matt Smith?

Was Matt Smith let down by the writing during his time on Doctor Who? That’s the verdict of an opinion piece that has prompted a slew of heated online debates.

US writer Ted B. Kissell argues that Smith, although brilliant in the role, was prevented from becoming the very greatest Doctor by Steven Moffat’s handling of the show:

The problem was never with Smith’s performance. It was with Steven Moffat’s conception of the character… All incarnations of the Doctor have been at least a little bit arrogant, but they’ve also tempered that arrogance with varying degrees of humility, selflessness, and a sense of wonder.

Kessell argues that an over-reliance on cheap tricks left the viewer struggling to care what came next:

The entirety of Season Six is when Moffat’s fascination for plot twists and open-ended mysteries (in our house, we describe this unfortunate tendency as “plotty-wotty”) took over the show, and the whole product suffered.

Although full of praise for Smith himself – ‘a wonderful actor… perfectly cast as the Doctor’ – Kessell certainly doesn’t hold back in his criticism of the show-runner’s handling of the character or the series as a whole.

There’s no right or wrong answer to these arguments, of course, and the fact that articles like this generate such a response demonstrates the depth of commitment people feel to Doctor Who. The programme has undoubtedly reached new heights of popularity internationally in the Eleventh Doctor era, and the sheer numbers watching indicate people aren’t being turned off. But Kissell’s views will chime with those who hope the coming of a new Doctor and the resolution of so many of the central plot arcs of recent series will herald a different style of story-telling for the show.

You can read the full article at The Atlantic.

What do you think? Did Matt Smith deserve better? Or was his era a golden age?

Keep it clean.


Jonathan has followed the Doctor's adventures since the late Pertwee era, and he isn't about to stop now. A charity worker from Hull, he enjoys following Hull City's fortunes, listening to Bruce Springsteen and collecting all manner of Doctor Who ephemera. He blogs about Doctor Who merchandise at www.mydoctorwhostuff.co.uk.

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