Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Letting Go

Sometimes it's hard to let go.
Doctor Who, the long-running British sci-fi show, gets a new main actor once every three or four years. The fans don't take this change with good grace.
The stages of passing the baton in this iconic role are: disbelief ("What? Actor is leaving?! This can't be!"), grief ("Nooo, why would Actor want to leave? He loves playing the Doctor! All the fans love him! This is terrible!"), and acceptance ("We will miss him so much; he'll always be the best, no one could ever replace Actor."), anticipation ("Who are they going to get to fill his shoes? I hope it's not Other Actor, he could never be as good as Actor."), discovery ("They chose That One Actor?! He'll never measure up!"), comparison ("Ugh, I wish Actor had never left. That One Actor just isn't as good."), enjoyment ("Well, he'll never be Actor, but That One Actor is pretty good, I guess."), conversion ("I don't know why I ever doubted him; That One Actor is awesome... Maybe even better than Actor"). And then the cycle continues.
On Sunday, the BBC announced that Peter Capaldi will be assuming the role upon Matt Smith's departure. Fans have been oscillating between the first four stages ever since Smith's plans to leave were announced. Now that we've got a name, we're in the more complicated 'discovery' stage, where we exclaim excitedly or complain bitterly, and sometimes, we do both.
I'm not sure why we're always surprised when the man who plays The Doctor decides to move on with his career. It's not like he signed a contract to be our dancing monkey forever. Nothing we can do or say will make him stay, so why don't we just remember what happened last time an actor left the show and skip the negative parts? Honestly, we know we're eventually going to love the new guy, so why not be excited for the one who is departing (he's going on to bigger and better things! Things that are better than Doctor Who! That's something we should be excited about!), and get ready to be wowed by whoever takes over?
I'm sad that Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who. He played a deeply dark Doctor while managing to keep the character funny and lighthearted at the same time. I'm excited to see what he does next. And I'm ready for Peter Capaldi to step into Smith's shoes and make us love his Doctor.

Sometimes it's hard to let go. We know good times are up ahead; they may not be what we're used to, but we know we'll have fun.

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