When Matt Smith was cast as David Tennant's successor there was some initial uproar from fans. Only 26, and a relative unknown, many took this as a sign that the series under new show runner Steven Moffat would take the show in teeny-bopper direction. Moffat shot back that Smith's take on the Doctor would silence all critics, describing the Eleventh Doctor as "bonkers" and praising Smith's ability to play an old man in young man's body.
When Smith's Doctor debuted, Moffat was proven entirely right. Smith immediately nailed the Doctor, creating a performance summed up by his assertion that he truly was "a madman with a box." Smith took his physicality for the Doctor from his favourite predecessor, Patrick Troughton, and used his own gift for physical comedy to give the Doctor a wild energy. His youth was never a factor for an instant, and the Eleventh Doctor's seeming flakiness cover up his wealth of experience.
Moffat also took the series away from the bombast and emotional spectacle of the Russell T Davies era, choosing instead to actually centre his arcs around time travel and multi-layered plotting. While at times it made some stories seem too complex for their own good, it also made time travel and its logistics the focus of the series in ways it had never been before. But, this was still Doctor Who, and it was still full of monsters, thrills and adventure. In the clip below, the Doctor faces off against the Weeping Angels, the most enduring monsters of the new series, and explains to them why going up against him is never healthy:
Tomorrow, November 23, 2013, my favourite TV show of all time turns 50 years old. It'll celebrate this momentous day with a live simulcast of a special episode, broadcast all over the world. That's something usually reserved for Superbowls and Oscar Nights. We'll see the Eleventh and Tenth Doctors team up to battle old foes, face old demons and friends, and Moffat asserts we'll see the series set up for the next 50 years ahead.
Not bad for a little show that started out in an obsolete studio with a tiny budget and big ideas.