Why Eccleston Is My Favorite Doctor

Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor in Dr. Who.

Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor in Dr. Who.

If you had asked me who my favorite Doctor was in high school when I first started watching Dr. Who, I would have told you what any teenage girl first introduced to Dr. Who would have told you: David Tennant. I mean…what girl wasn’t taken in by 10’s adorable charm? Tennant was funny, cute, and an excellent actor. It was going to be hard to imagine Dr. Who without him.

But if you had asked me in college who my favorite Doctor was, I would have told you Matt Smith. I was not prepared to like the 11th doctor, based on my undying loyalty to Tennant, but Matt Smith completely won me over. His Doctor was, too, funny, cute, and adorable. And Smith is also an excellent actor. His performance was amazing, and he truly proved that his Doctor could be as good as Tennant’s.

But upon watching Dr. Who again–third time, I know, I have issue problems–my favorite Doctor is Eccleston.

Eccleston and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.

Eccleston and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.

Eccleston is often overlooked and even forgotten when people think about all of the Doctors since the reincarnation of the British television show, even though he was the first. People got so swept away by Tennant and Smith, and Eccleston was only the Doctor for one season while Tennant stayed for three, that it became easy to forget Eccleston. But I think the main reason Eccleston was forgotten was because Dr. Who became a “fandom”. It became part of the geek world, a world mostly run by fan girls who like their men handsome, British, and adorable.

Eccleston is indeed British, but few fangirls would classify him as handsome, at least traditionally. And even fewer would label him adorable. But that’s why I love him so much as the Doctor. Eccleston’s Doctor is not adorable. Yes, he’s fun and adventurous and has a quirky sense of humor, but he’s not adorable. At times he’s dangerous and angry and unpredictable. Eccleston is the one actor who shows us that the Doctor is capable of dark things. He shows us the pain and anger that comes from losing your entire planet, all the people you love, and the loneliness that can plague the Doctor.

Doctors 1-11

Doctors 1-11

Even though I love shows like Joss Whedon’s Firefly or J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek reboot, I’m not much of a sci-fi person. I can only handle so much of aliens and UFOs and campy British television. It’s why I can’t binge watch Doctor Who–eventually I need a break from BBC special effects. But I love Doctor Who so much because the show is built on deep, heavy, palatable emotions. I mean, the whole premise of the show reeks of painful feelings: a man who has lost everything he loves–his family, his home, his people, his planet–is doomed to travel throughout time and space alone. I mean, that alone gives me so many feels. Of course, there are good feelings–the love the Doctor has for Rose, his friendship with Donna, his happiness with Amy and Rory. But at the end of the day, the Doctor has to say goodbye to his companions and continue alone.

Eccleston, better than any of the Doctors, captures the raw emotions of the Doctor. He’s the only one who seems truly dangerous, who can show in his face the anger festering under the surface. He gave the Doctor a bit of a dark side, and he reminded viewers of everything the Doctor had lost. That is why I love him so much, and why 9 is my favorite Doctor.

(Also, you never forget your first Doctor.)

(And 9 loved Rose first.)

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Death Comes to Pemberly

Starring Matthew Rhys as Darcy, Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth, Matthew Goode as Wickham, and Jenna Coleman as Lydia.

Starring Matthew Rhys as Darcy, Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth, Matthew Goode as Wickham, and Jenna Coleman as Lydia.

Pride and Prejudice adaptations are a dime a dozen. There’s the 6 hour A & E version, the Kiera Knightley one, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, etc., etc. The never ending lists of Jane Austen adaptations either leave fans utterly joyous or quite done with it all. But slightly different than the adaptations of the novels, are the adaptations like Death Comes to Pemberly.

Based on the book by P.D. James, the BBC show Death Comes to Pemberly picks up Elizabeth and Darcy’s story after they have been married for some years. They have a young son, are happily married, and throwing a ball at Pemberly. Things get interesting pretty quickly, though, when someone is murdered on Pemberly property. When George Wickham becomes the prime suspect, many of the beloved Austen characters gather together as they try to unravel exactly what happened the night of the murder.

The purist Jane Austen fans out there will find something they don’t like about the interpretation of the characters, but I think everyone else should enjoy this short series. The characters are true to their nature in the original book, and their actions follow suit. It’s fun to see the characters in new circumstances—relationships are tested, secrets are uncovered. All three episodes are very engaging, the produces timing the climaxes and plot twists very well.

Matthew Rhys (right) and James Norton (left)

Matthew Rhys (right) and James Norton (left)

Personally, I like how all of the characters are represented. I think it’s true to the book, and the plot and events of the story seem true as well. The series is only three episodes, and I kind of wish there were more. It was so interesting to see Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship further down the road. They’re parents, no longer newlyweds, and have grown but also remain who they are. Darcy is loyal, reserved, but caring. Elizabeth is quick-witted and able to see things other people often miss. It was also fun to see some of Austen’s more lively characters—Mrs. Bennet and Lydia for example. Jane and Mr. Bennet also make appearances, and the new characters are interesting as well.

I think Death Comes to Pemberly is a good, fun reflection on Pride and Prejudice. I’m always curious to see what happens to characters after they achieve their “happily ever after”. After all, the story isn’t over at the wedding, but rather just beginning. Characters face new and different challenges are the author has written “the end”, and it’s fun to explore these times. I would love to see more adaptations like this, based on classic novels but pushed forward a few years passed the ending of the book. Hopefully the BBC will have more to offer soon!

Pemberly

Pemberly

A Thousand Hearts

ImageYears ago when I was a little girl (okay, not that long ago but still years and years ago), my dad (who feels his Irish blood very deeply) took me to a concert at the Lobero Theater here in Santa Barbara. It was called “A Woman’s Heart” and it was a concert celebrating female Irish singers and musicians. There were several headliners, women who had dominated the folk scene in Ireland for many years. But there was a newbie too, a young singer who was just starting out. She was much younger than the other women in the concert, and she sang with a certain reserve knowing that she was new and yet to prove herself while the women beside her had spent years establishing themselves as some of Ireland’s most loved voices. But now, years later, that reserved singer is one of Ireland (and the UK’s) most beloved voices. She is the established folk singer and she dominates the music scene. Her name is Cara Dillon.

That name means basically nothing in America, which breaks my heart. Her name should be shouted from rooftops. She has an angelic voice, the purest and loveliest voice you can ever here. Her music—written and arranged with her pianist/producer/husband/father of her three children—is the perfect balance of traditional Irish folk singing with a modern appeal. Her album always features covers of some of the most treasured Irish folk songs, like “She Moved Through the Fair” and “Black Is The Color” but she also writes new songs with her husband and producer Sam Lakeman.

At the concert oh-so many years ago, my dad bought me her first album, and ever since then I have bought all of her albums—now ffive total. Her music is the only music I still buy in CD form. Mostly because I order it straight from the UK so I don’t have to wait for iTunes to release her latest album in the US. (Don’t you hate the lag time between releases in the UK and releases in the US? *cough* BBC Sherlock…) And now, for her latest album released May 16, I am waiting for the precious CD to cross the Atlantic Ocean and most of the lower 48 to make its way to me and I am SO excited.

ImageEarlier this year Emily wrote about Nickel Creek, her favorite band that reunited this year to tour and release its own new album. She talked about how Nickel Creek is the music of her childhood, the music of her soul. It’s a band that’s part of her. Well, Cara Dillon is my Nickel Creek, so to speak. (Rhyme unintended.) She is the music of my childhood, the music of my relationship with my father, my most favorite singer ever, the best singer in my opinion, and a part of me that I can never lose. I am so excited to listen to her new album A Thousand Hearts, and I desperately wish she would tour in the US so I could see her in concert again. *cough, cough, wink, wink*

“Shotgun Down the Avalanche” from Cara Dillon’s new album A Thousand Hearts

BFFs

The Heat, a buddy cop movie starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, opened this past weekend to warm reviews. Despite the movie’s predictability, critics and moviegoers enjoyed the humor and chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy. No matter how many stars the movie received, The Heat is groundbreaking in the sense that it is the first “bromance” movie to feature two female characters. In light of this event, Emily and I thought we would recall some of our favorite buddy films. Here are my top 5 on screen bromances:

Image1. Tom Hanks and Geena Davis in A League of Their Own

I think this proves once and for all that a bromance doesn’t only exist between two men. Throughout this movie, Hanks’ character, the coach of an all girl’s major league baseball team, and Davis’ character, the star of that team, treat each other as equals. They share a deep love for the game of baseball, and they each help each other in difficult times. Their relationship also shows that not every male/female relationship has to be romantic. Instead, their relationship shows how important it is to have good and honest friends.

2. Cory Matthews and Shawn Hunter in Boy Meets World

ImageOkay, so this was a children’s TV show in the 90s, but I am confident that every other child of the 90s knows who I’m talking about. Though in middle school and high school for most of the show, these boys demonstrate a bond of friendship that helps them through years of getting into trouble, surviving school, figuring out relationships, and growing up. This bromance is unique because it traces the development of Cory and Shawn’s relationship from childhood to adulthood, and the show maps out how their friendships grows and changes as they get older. Plus, they had some pretty funny times.

Image3. Danny and Rusty in Ocean’s 11

So everybody loves this movie. It’s clever and quirky, just like its stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt. The repartee flows flawlessly and Clooney and Pitt deliver their lines so effortlessly sometimes it feels like only one person is speaking. They are just so synced. Besides, what is a better proof of friendship than robbing a casino just to help your BFF get his wife back?

4. Miguel and Tulio in The Road to El Dorado:

They may be animated, but that does not take away from the humor of these two. Their friendship transcends oceans and wild jungles and mountains of gold. I like their relationship because it isn’t always rock solid. At one point in the movie they almost part ways forever, but friendships calls them back to each other. Miguel and Tulio show that you can’t pull off your greatest adventure without your best friend by your side.

Image5. Arthur and Merlin in the BBC Television Series Merlin:

ImageThis show was a brilliantly refreshing take on the relationship between King Arthur and his “old” wise magician advisor Merlin. First of all, in this show Merlin is not old; he is a boy Arthur’s age. Second, Arthur is born a prince without having to unite any kingdoms to come into his throne. Arthur starts off as a spoiled brat and Merlin is his servant. Throughout five seasons Arthur develops into the noble king he is famed to be and Merlin comes to care for him deeply after saving his life many times. Merlin is perhaps the best example of a best friend on this list. He must hide his ability to use magic, which means he never gets credit for how many times he saves Arthur’s life. But he whole-heartedly believes in Arthur’s goodness and always supports and encourages him, especially when Arthur doubts himself. He does not seek recognition for his own abilities, but he work tirelessly to take care of his friend.