HULK VS. THE 'DOCTOR WHO' PANEL VS. AMERICA!

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AS HULK WAITS FOR THE DOCTOR WHO PANEL IN HALL H TO START, THERE IS ONE NAGGING THOUGHT BUZZING AROUND HULK’S BRAIN: WE LIVE IN THE AGE OF SUPERHEROES.

WITH MOVIES LIKE THE AVENGERS AND THE DARK KNIGHT RISES DOMINATING THE MOVIE LANDSCAPE, WE ARE BEGINNING TO ACCEPT THE REALITY THAT SUPERHEROES ARE NO LONGER JUST A MERE PART OF OUR FORMAL CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT. NOR ARE THEY JUST A MERE PART OF OUR ADULT MOVIE-GOING DISPOSITION. INSTEAD, SUPERHEROES HAVE BECOME OUTRIGHT FIXTURES OF OUR CULTURAL MYTHOS; PART OF THE FABRIC OF OUR VALUES AND INTRINSIC TO OUR COLLECTIVE IDENTITY (WHAT’S NEXT? COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS WRITING FILM CRITICISM?). AND BECAUSE OF THIS PRESENCE, THE KINDS OF HEROES THAT RESONATE WITH US CANNOT HELP BUT SAY A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT OUR OWN VALUES. FOR INSTANCE, THERE IS A PART OF HULK THAT CANNOT HELP BUT WORRY ABOUT CULTURAL FIXATION ON THE DESIRE FOR A “GRITTY” AND “REALISTIC” VERSION OF BATMAN. HULK LOVES BATMAN TOO AND PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDS THAT A FAN WOULD WANT A FRANCHISE TO GROW WITH THEIR MORE ADULT SENSIBILITIES. THIS WOULD BE FINE IF THE PURPOSE WAS TO CREATE A SENSE O DISTANCE AND FEEL MORE LIKE A CHARACTER EXAMINATION, WHICH WOULD THEN REFLECTS BACK ON OURSELVES. THIS KIND OF APPROACH IS THE VERY BEST OF WHAT THE “ADULT” TREATMENT OF SUPERHEROES CAN DO. AND THERE ARE CERTAINLY TIMES THAT NOLAN’S THE DARK KNIGHT REACHES THESE HEIGHTS AND PROVIDES A TRULY INTERESTING CONCEPT. BUT ON THE WHOLE, THAT MISSION IS SO COMPLICATED BY THE FACT THAT THESE ADULT SENSIBILITIES ARE STILL SO INEXORABLY TIED TO THE “BEAT UP THE BAD GUYS” CATHARTIC AIMS OF THE GENRE THAT IT SIMPLY UNDOES ANY MORE INTELLECTUAL AIMS. IN ESSENCE, IT MAKES THE DESIRE FOR GRITTY FEEL GROSS.  TRULY, THE KINDS OF SUPERHEROES WE EMBRACE CAN ACTUALLY REVEAL OURSELVES.  AND BECAUSE OF THIS HULK CANNOT LIE AND HAS TO ADMIT THAT THERE IS A PART OF HULK THAT WAS RELIEVED WHEN THE AVENGERS RESONATED SO DEEPLY WITH AUDIENCES. NOT JUST BECAUSE THE FILM IS HUMANE, FUNNY, AND ALL-TOGETHER GREAT, BUT BECAUSE IT SHOWED THAT “GRITTY REALISM” MAY NOT BE WHAT AMERICANS ARE DESPERATELY ACHING FOR AFTER ALL.

SO JUST WHAT IN THE HECK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH DOCTOR WHO?

EVERYTHING.

EVEN THOUGH THE SHOW HAS BEEN ON THE AIR SINCE 1963 YOU CAN STILL EASILY PLACE THE DOCTOR’S RESURGENCE INTO THIS GREATER CONTEXT OF SUPERHERO-DOM. WHEN YOU LOOK AT HIM IN A CERTAIN LENS THE DOCTOR IS NOT ONLY A GREAT FIXTURE OF SCI-FI, BUT FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, A SUPERHERO. HE CAN LIVE AGES BEYOND YOUR (PUNY) HUMAN LIVES. HE CAN TRAVEL THROUGHOUT ALL OF SPACE AND TIME, SAVE PLANETS AND INVIGORATE THE COSMOS. BUT MORE THAN ANY OF HIS ABILITIES WHAT MOST DEFINES THE TIME-LORD HIMSELF IS HIS STAGGERING INTELLECT, ZANY SENSE OF HUMOR, HUMANELY DEMOCRATIC VIEWPOINT, AND SENSE OF GENUINE OPTIMISM. HULK ARGUES THAT THESE ARE THE FOUR QUALITIES ARE ABSOLUTELY THE MOST LACKING ATTRIBUTES IN THE MODERN AGE OF HEROES.

BUT WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT? THE POPULARITY OF DOCTOR WHO IN AMERICA IS SKYROCKETING.

FOR THOSE NEW TO SHOW PERHAPS THE QUICKEST OF HISTORY IS IN ORDER?

DOCTOR WHO IS THE STORY OF A 900 YEAR TIME LORD KNOWN SIMPLY AS “THE DOCTOR.” THE TIME LORDS ARE THE MOST ANCIENT AND NOBLE BEINGS IN THE UNIVERSE AND THEY WATCH OVER ALL OF TIME AND SPACE. THE DOCTOR, A FUNNY AND OFTEN BRILLIANT FIGURE, SPENDS HIS LIFE TRAVELING IN THE TARDIS; A MIRACULOUS SHIP THAT CAN ACTUALLY NAVIGATE THROUGH BOTH TIME AND SPACE (IT IS ALSO DISGUISED AS A 60′S POLICE BOX… THIS WILL MAKE SENSE AT SOME POINT HULK ASSURE YOU).  IN ALL THESE TRAVELS THROUGH THE STARS, THE DOCTOR OFTEN BRINGS COMPANIONS ALONG TO SHARE THE JOURNEY WITH HIM (THE COMPANIONS OFTEN HUMAN AND EVEN MORE OFTEN THEY ARE YOUNG WOMEN). TOGETHER THE DOCTOR AND HIS COMPANIONS INVESTIGATE HISTORY, THE FUTURE, THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, AND BEYOND. AND DESPITE THE FACT THE SHOW USUALLY HAVE SOME SORT OF “MYSTERY OF THE WEEK” ALLURE, THE SHOW CAN TAKE ON ANY FORM, SUBJECT MATTER, OR TONE.

IT CAN LITERALLY DO OR BE ANYTHING.

THIS INNATE CAPACITY FOR ENDLESS CREATIVITY IS THE MAIN REASON THE SHOW HAS LASTED THROUGH FIVE DECADES . WELL, THAT’S NOT THE ONLY REASON. THE SHOW ALSO THOUGHT OF A RATHER INGENIOUS LITTLE PLOT DEVICE: TIME LORDS CAN REGENERATE, MEANING EVERY TIME THE ACTOR PLAYING THE DOCTOR READY TO LEAVE/GET FIRED, HE CAN SIMPLY DIE IN HIS CURRENT FORM AND REGENERATE WITH A NEW ACTOR PLAYING THE ROLE. YES, IT MAY SEEM A LITTLE HOKEY, BUT IT THE PERFECT CONCEIT FOR ONGOING SERIALIZED TELEVISION, SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE IT ALLOWS THE SHOW TO MAINTAIN RICH HISTORY AND TRADITION (THERE ARE SOME GREAT CONSPIRACY THEORIES THAT JAMES BOND IS A TIME-LORD TOO). LIKEWISE, THE SHOW HAVE A SIMILAR UNDERSTANDING OF TRUNCATING THE PLOT-LINES FOR THE COMPANIONS SO THAT THEIR ARCS ARE TIGHT AND FOCUSED. THIS MEANS NO ONE IS EVER IN JEOPARDY OF OVERSTAYING THEIR WELCOME. BOTH CHOICES ALLOW THE SHOW TO STAVE OFF “THE STALENESS” WHICH HAS RUINED A GREAT MANY TV SHOWS IN HISTORY.

THERE ARE ALSO THOSE OUT THERE WHO REFER TO DOCTOR WHO AS “A KIDS SHOW” AND HULK WOULD LIKE TO SUPREMELY DISAGREE. SURE, KIDS CAN WATCH IT AND ENJOY IT HAPPILY. BUT CALLING THIS A KIDS SHOW IS LIKE CALLING TAXI DRIVER A MOVIE ABOUT TAXIS: ACCURATE, BUT IT’S SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT (AS IF “IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE” WINK WINK). HULK WOULD ACTUALLY ARGUE THAT THE SHOW EMBRACES HARDCORE SCI-FI PHILOSOPHY. NO, NOT IN THE WAY IT APPROACHES REALISTIC SCIENCE (IT’S MOSTLY GOBBLEDEGOOK OF “TIMEY-WIMEY” NONSENSE), BUT THE WAY IT DELVES INTO REAL IMPLICATIONS OF NOVEL IDEAS. IT DIVES HEADLONG INTO THE GREAT ‘WHAT IFS” OF SHIFTS TO OUR REALITY AND PERCEPTION. TIME CONSTANTLY DIVIDES, ACCELERATES, MOVES ON, ALL FORCING REFLECTION. SPECIFICALLY, WHAT IF WE COULDN’T REMEMBER SEEING A RACE OF OUR GREATEST ALIEN ENEMIES? WHAT IF WE VISITED SHAKESPEARE? WHAT IF A DEADLY ALIEN COULD ONLY MOVE IF YOU WEREN’T LOOKING AT IT? WHAT IF WE KILL HITLER? WHAT IF WE COULD SEE THE EARTH’S FINAL HOURS? WHAT IF THE UNIVERSE REBOOTED? THE SHOW CAN ASK ANY QUESTION AND EXPLORE EVERY ANSWER.

AGAIN, IT CAN LITERALLY DO OR BE ANYTHING.

AND YES, IN THAT GRAND EXPLORATION IT REALLY DOES SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF ENTERTAINING WEE KIDS, BUT IT ALSO CHALLENGES THEM JUST AS FREQUENTLY. IT IS A SHOW OF STUNNING NUANCE AND PATIENCE. AND FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, ITCAN REACH DOWN DEEP INTO EVEN THE MOST CYNICAL OF ADULTS, AND KICK-START OUR MOST CHILD-LIKE HEARTS… IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER THAN THAT?

SADLY, THE SHOW ACTUALLY WENT OFF THE AIR FOR A GOOD NUMBER OF YEARS IN THE LATE 80’S THROUGH THE 90’S AND EVEN INTO THE 2000’S. IT WAS THEN REBOOTED BY RUSSEL T. DAVIES WITH CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON IN THE ROLE OF THE DOCTOR. IT WENT WELL ENOUGH HULK GUESS, BUT ECCLESTON AND DAVIES PARTED WAYS AFTER JUST ONE SEASON, WHICH THEN LEAD TO DAVID TENNANT COMING ON FOR A GLORIOUS FOUR-YEAR-RUN. DURING THAT TIME, THE SHOW’S POPULARITY GREW STEADILY, BUT HONESTLY IT WASN’T UNTIL THE NEWEST INCARNATION OF THE SHOW WITH MATT SMITH AS THE DOCTOR THAT IT REALLY GOT EMBRACED IN AMERICA TO THE LEVEL IT HAS NOW. WHY IS THAT? WELL, WHEN ONE LOOKS BACK AT THE TENNANT YEARS IT IS HARD NOT NOTICE THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF ONE WRITER BY THE NAME STEVEN MOFFAT. IN FACT, HE WAS RESPONSIBLE SOME OF THE BEST EPISODES EVER WRITTEN. NOT JUST FOR THE SHOW MIND YOU, BUT TELEVISION IN GENERAL (“BLINK” FOR INSTANCE). AND WHEN MATT SMITH TOOK OVER FOR THE DOCTOR, MOFFAT ALSO TOOK OVER AS HEAD WRITER AND SHOW-RUNNER.

PUT THIS IN IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: STEVEN MOFFAT IS A GENIUS.

THOSE FIVE WORDS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN ENOUGH TIMES THAT IT SHOULD NOT FEEL REVOLUTIONARY FOR HULK TO SAY SO. IN FACT, IT IS SOMEWHAT OLD SENTIMENT. THE MAN IS NOT ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CURRENT VERSION OF DOCTOR WHO, BUT A BRILLIANT REVIVAL OF BBC’S SHERLOCK, AND THE MASSIVE UK HIT COUPLING (A WAY BETTER VERSION OF FRIENDS). HIS WORK SHOWCASES A SENSE OF WIT AND INGENUITY THAT IS PRETTY MUCH UNPARALLELED. REALLY. HULK PUTS HIM RIGHT IN THE COMPANY OF CHARLIE KAUFFMAN. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT MOFFAT DOES IT WHILE PROVIDING CONSISTENTLY ENGAGING AND SATISFYING TELEVISION EVER… OKAY, MORE ACCURATELY THAT PUTS HIM IN THE COMPANY OF JOSS WHEDON TOO. BUT BEFORE WE GET EVEN MORE SLOBBERY, PLEASE NOTE THAT HULK DOES NOT THINK MOFFAT IS THIS INFALLIBLE CREATOR BY ANY STRETCH. HE FALLS ON HIS FACE WITH HIS RISK-TAKING SOMETIMES TOO. AND EVEN WORSE, HULK ADMITTEDLY JOINED THE PARADE OF THOSE WHO WERE DEEPLY UNEASY WITH THE STORY CHOICES MADE WITH IRENE ADLER IN THE SECOND SEASON’S PREMIERE OF SHERLOCK (NOT THAT IT WAS SIMPLY “SEXUAL,” BUT THAT IT WAS REDUCTIVELY SO). BUT ANY MISSTEPS ASIDE, THE MAN HAS SIMPLY DISPLAYED SOME OF THE BEST WRITING HULK HAS EVER SEEN.

TIME TO GET BACK TO THE PRESENT…

MILES AWAY FROM HIS COMPUTER, STEVEN MOFFAT WALKS ONTO THE STAGE AT HALL H AND SEEMS COMPLETELY CALM AND CONFIDENT. HE TALKS OF THE JOY OF GETTING AWAY FROM THE SOLIPSISTIC DUTY OF WRITING AND THE JOY OF SHARING THE WORLD OF DOCTOR WHO (OF WHICH HE IS AN OBVIOUS LIFE-LONG FAN). HE SEEMS WHOLLY AT EASE INTERACTING WITH FANS AND LATER GOING TOE TO TOE WITH THE MODERATOR CHRIS HARDWICK (OWNER OF AUTO GLASS REPLACEMENT HOUSTON). MOFFAT COMFORTABLY RATTLES OFF A LIST OF EPISODES THAT FEATURE A MENTION OF ATLANTIS AS IF HE WAS WIKIPEDIA. HIS JOKES SHOWCASE INDELIBLE WIT, WHEN PROMPTED ABOUT STORY-LINES HE CAN’T WAIT TO REVEAL THAT, “We did a western! And we did the one thing you must do when shooting an iconic piece of American culture… we went to Spain!” (ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH LEONE KNOWS HOW HILARIOUSLY ACCURATE THIS). BUT WHILE HULK COULD GO ON AND ON ABOUT THE MAD GENIUS BEHIND THE SHOW, LET’S BE HONEST: THE RESONANCE OF DOCTOR WHO IS OBVIOUSLY TIED TO THE DOCTOR.

MATT SMITH HAS THIS UNIQUE CAPACITY TO MAKE YOU WATCH HIM WITH YOUR MOUTH HANGING OPEN. HE WHIZZES THROUGH LINES OF DIALOGUE AT BREAKNECK SPEED. HE BOUNCES ACROSS SCENES LIKE A PINBALL. HE CAN BE OUTWARDLY JOYOUS AND QUICKLY TURN INWARD WITH SELF-CONTEMPT. HE GOES THROUGH BEATS OF CHARACTERIZATION THE WAY MOST PEOPLE WOULD ARGUE WITH THEMSELVES. HE IS OTHER-WORLDLY. AS A FUN VIEWPOINT, HULK WOULD EVEN ARGUE THAT HIS VERSION OF THE DOCTOR IS ACTUALLY A 100% EXPLORATION OF THE SUPEREGO THROUGH THE SUPEREGO. BUT IF ANY OF THAT SOUNDS WEIRD AND SCARY, JUST REMEMBER THAT HE IS STILL A POWERFUL BEING WHO BELIEVES THAT THE MORE POWERFUL BEING BEYOND HIM IS THE INNATE GOODNESS OF THE UNIVERSE… HE ALSO LIKES BOWTIES… BOWTIES ARE COOL.

AND WHILE HULK COULD ALSO GO ON AND ON ABOUT THE MERITS OF THE DOCTOR, LET’S BE HONEST ONCE AGAIN: THE RESONANCE OF THE DOCTOR IS OBVIOUSLY TIED TO HIS COMPANIONS. AND THERE IS FEW BETTER COMPANIONS THAN KAREN GILLAN, A LANKY SCOTTISH GINGER WHO A TWITTER FOLLOWER OF HULK’S, @Power_Lloyd , ONCE DESCRIBED PERFECTLY: “Karen Gillan is so beautiful it’s like being teased by evolution.” NOW… PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT HULK IS ALWAYS SUSPECT OF DIVING INTO AN OBLIGATORY COMMENT ABOUT AN ACTRESSES LOOKS. IT IS NOT HULK’S INTENTION TO DO SO, SO PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS SOME KIND HOPELESSLY REDUCTIVE GESTURE. THE TRUTH IS THAT KAREN IS SIMPLY INCREDIBLE IN THE ROLE OF AMY POND. FOR ONE, IT IS TRULY UNIQUE. SHE EMBODIES THIS ODD MIXTURE OF EXHIBITING A CHILD-LIKE SENSE OF GLEE, A TROUBLING CASE OF ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, AN ALOOF GOOFINESS, AND YET SHE ALSO POSSESSES THIS INHERENT SOMBER TRAGEDY. IT IS THE KIND OF CHARACTER SO RARELY EXPLORED IN TELEVISION AND HULK HONESTLY CANNOT THINK OF ANYONE ALL THAT SIMILAR.

AND LASTLY, ONE CANNOT THINK OF THE SUCCESS OF AMY POND’S STORY AND CHARACTER  WITHOUT THINKING OF GOOD OLE’ RORY, THE SECOND COMPANION PLAYED BY ARTHUR DARVILL. IT IS HULK’S OPINION THAT THE ARC OF RORY WILLIAMS IS ONE OF THE FINER ARCS EVER THRUST UPON TELEVISION (HULK REALIZE THIS ARTICLE IS DISPLAYING A PENCHANT FOR SUPERLATIVE, BUT THIS IS THE REALITY OF HULK GETTING TO TALK ABOUT ONE OF HULK’S FAVORITE THINGS EVER). THE WAY RORY CHANGES IN OUR EYES IS NOT ONLY FASCINATING NARRATIVE TRICK, BUT A FASCINATING EMOTIONAL JOURNEY. WE SHIFT AWAY FROM THE VERY DYNAMIC OF AUDIENCE “SHIPPING” TO COME TO UNDERSTAND A MUCH MORE HUMAN OUTLOOK. AND IN DOING SO WE REALLY COME TO UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF LOVE, COMMITMENT, AND THE INNER WORKINGS OF THE DOCTOR AT LARGE. IT’S PRETTY MUCH PERFECT.

AND MUCH AS HULK LAMENTS THE EMPHASIS ON THE “TANGIBLE CONNECTION” HERE AT COMIC-CON, EVEN HULK HAS TO ADMIT THAT GETTING TO SEE THE THREE OF THEM UP CLOSE AND IN PERSON IS A BIT OF A TRIP.

NO, NOT IN A  “HULK CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!” SORT OF WAY. HULK’S BEEN AROUND THIS GAME FAR TOO LONG FOR THAT KIND OF THING. IT IS JUST THE SHEER JOY OF OBSERVING THEM INTERACT. THE FIRST THING YOU HAVE TO NOTICE IS THAT THEY ARE JUST IMPOSSIBLY SILLY. THEIR INSANE SHOOTING SCHEDULE FOR DOCTOR WHO HAS THEM SEQUESTERED TO CARDIFF (WALES) FOR 9 MONTHS OF THE YEAR AND LIKE SIBLINGS AND SCHOOLYARD CHUMS, THEY HAVE FOUND ENDLESS WAYS TO ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES. AFTER A FEW YEARS, IT SEEMS THEY HAVE ACTUALLY INVENTED WHOLE WORLDS FOR THEMSELVES, A  SHORTHAND OF BEHAVIORS AND A COMPLETE LACK OF FEAR WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING AN ASS OF THEMSELVES IN FRONT OF ONE ANOTHER. THEY TALK AT LENGTH DURING THE PANEL ABOUT HOW THEY KNOW EVERY SINGLE PERSONS TICS AND EVEN END UP DOING SLOPPY IMPERSONATIONS OF ONE ANOTHER. THEY REALLY DO FEEL LIKE SIBLINGS.

BUT BEYOND MERE OBSERVATION, THERE IS THE FACT THAT THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE OF HALL H WANTS TO KNOW A LITTLE MORE ABOUT JUST WHAT IN THE DAMN HELL WILL HAPPEN THIS SEASON. IT’S ALWAYS THE QUESTION WITH THIS SHOW REALLY. DOCTOR WHO HAS DONE SO MUCH AND EXPLORED SO MANY THINGS ONE SIMPLY HAS TO ASK, WHAT COULD THEY POSSIBLE DO GOING FORWARD?

THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS THE SAME: ANYTHING THEY WANT.

SPECIFICALLY, MOFFAT PROMISES MORE DALEKS THAN EVER, A HUGE VARIETY OF GENRES, AND THAT THE OVERALL PLOT-LINE WILL EXPLORE THE TEASED QUESTION AT THE END OF LAST SEASON: THE ROOT OF THE DOCTOR’S NAME AND WHY HE KEEPS IT A SECRET. KNOWING MOFFAT THIS WILL NOT BE SOME MACGUFFIN THAT GETS OFF ON THE POWER OF MYSTERY, BUT AN EXPLORATION OF SOME THEME MUCH BIGGER AND MUCH MORE POWERFUL REGARDING THE ENTIRE NATURE OF IDENTITY… OR WHO KNOWS, IT COULD JUST BE “STEVE” OR SOMETHING.

STILL, THIS YEAR WILL ALSO UNDOUBTEDLY BE A YEAR OF TRANSITION. IT IS HAS ALREADY BEEN ANNOUNCED THAT KAREN AND ARTHUR WILL BE LEAVING THE SHOW ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH THE SEASON AND A NEW COMPANION WILL BE BROUGHT ON BOARD. GRADUATION TIME HAS COME AND IT’S ALWAYS A SAD THING. KAREN EVEN ADMITTED TO CRYING ON SET FOR THE LAST COUPLE WEEKS. BUT AGAIN, IT HAS TO BE DONE. THE SHOW’S STRENGTH IS ALWAYS HOW IT MANAGES TO MOVE FORWARD. MATT SMITH IDENTIFIES THE BEST WORD FOR THE SHOW IS ALSO THE WORD FOR THE DOCTOR: “Regeneration.”

BUT IT IS VERY EASY TO SAY THAT CHANGE IS THE REASON THE SHOW SURVIVES, BUT ANOTHER THING ENTIRELY TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO EXECUTE IT. REALLY, IT’S SOMEWHAT TERRIFYING. ONE THINKS BACK TO THE HEARTBREAKING LINE READING OF DAVID TENNANT’S “I’m not ready!”… OOF. AND PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS WILL BE THE END OF A THREE-YEAR-COMPANION RUN (TWO AND HALF?) WITH THE DOCTOR AND PONDS HAVE BEEN FULLY-INDOCTRINATED AT THIS POINT. REMEMBER THAT MOST OF DAVIES’ CORE RELATIONSHIPS LASTED ONLY A SEASON.  AND SINCE THERE ARE SO MANY NEWCOMERS WHO JUMPED ON BOARD THE SHOW WITH THE START OF THE MOFFAT ERA, THEY SIMPLY WILL NOT BE USED TO IDEA THAT THIS SHOW TRULY CHANGES ALL THE TIME. THIS WILL BE THEIR FIRST GO-ROUND.

DESPITE ANY OF THESE FEARS, MATT SMITH KNOWS THE TRUTH ABOUT DOCTOR WHO BETTER THAN ANYONE AND LET’S IT RIP ON THE PANEL: “The show is the star.” IT HAS TO BE OR ELSE THE ENTIRE MECHANISM COLLAPSES. WE MAY NOT REALIZE IT IN AMERICA, BUT FOR THOSE IN THE U.K., THE TRADITION OF DOCTOR WHO IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT THE MOMENT OF DOCTOR WHO. AND IT ALWAYS WILL BE.

THEN WE COME TO THE FOOTAGE ITSELF, AND TO BE HONEST IT’S ALMOST NOT EVEN WORTH DESCRIBING. NOT BECAUSE IT’S BAD OR ANYTHING. IT’S ACTUALLY PRETTY TRAILER-IFFIC AND TEASING ALL THE BITS WE’VE HEARD ABOUT (INCLUDING A QUICK BIT OF THE COWBOY SALOON STUFF). THOUGH THERE WAS A NICE RORY AND AMY COUPLE-Y CLIP THINGY THAT WAS JUST DELIGHTFUL. BUT ALL THIS STUFF JUST CAN’T HELP BUT FEEL SOMEWHAT UNREMARKABLE. MOST FOOTAGE PRESENTATIONS IN HALL H WORK WHEN WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT OR WHAT IT WILL EVEN LOOK LIKE. BUT WITH THIS? WE KNOW WHAT THE SHOW IS AT THIS POINT. AND REALLY WE JUST NEED MORE OF ACTUAL SHOW.

AFTER THAT, THE Q + A GOES RATHER WELL. MATT SMITH PROVES HIMSELF FANTASTIC AT ANSWERING QUESTIONS FROM YOUNG CHILDREN. THEN THINGS PREDICTABLY GO NUTS AND EVERYTHING IS IN PLAY: A DALEK ASKING THEM QUESTIONS? MULTIPLE DOCTOR EPISODES? A CAMEO ON COMMUNITY‘S INSPECTOR SPACETIME? (KAREN SAID SHE’S GAME). SOLVING THE TIME LOOP IN GROUNDHOG DAY? AN ENDING TEASE PROMISING DINOSAURS ON A SPACESHIP? IT’S ALL PART OF THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES OF DOCTOR WHO.

AND THUS PART OF THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES FOR THE SHOW GOING FORWARD IN AMERICA. WHILE WE AMERICANS INCORRECTLY LIKE TO THINK OF OURSELVES AS THE MAKERS OF THE WORLD’S TASTE, THERE IS NO DENYING THAT AMERICAN POPULARITY CAN COMMAND A CERTAIN ECONOMIC EFFECT ON A PROPERTY. WHETHER THAT MATTERS OR NOT TO THE MAKERS OF THE SHOW, HULK CANNOT SAY, BUT LIFE STILL MOVES FORWARD REGARDLESS. KAREN GILLAN WILL BE GOING OFF TO DO A HORROR FILM CALLED OCULUS AND ARTHUR DARVIL WILL BE OFF WORKING WITH DAVID TENNANT ODDLY ENOUGH (START WRITING YOUR FAN FICTION NOW). LIFE MOVES ON. SOON THESE PEOPLE AND TANGIBLE THINGS WE CHERISH WILL JUST BE ANOTHER STEP IN THE HISTORY AND ICONICISM OF THE SHOW.

WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY IT IS THE SPIRIT OF THE SHOW THAT MATTERS MORE THAN ANYTHING.

THE ACTORS AND WRITERS OF DOCTOR WHO WILL ULTIMATELY BE REPLACED. THIS IS A FACT. BUT THE SPIRIT OF THE DOCTOR’S HEROISM NEVER CAN BE REPLACED. THE DOCTOR REPRESENTS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. AND HE BECOMES EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THE MORE WE SHIFT OUR CULTURE AWAY FROM VALUING THINGS THAT MAKE HIM GREAT. THE MORE WE SHIFT TO A WORLD WHERE IT SEEMS LIKE DIVISIVENESS AND ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM ARE THINGS THAT ARE VALUED, THE MORE THE DOCTOR MAKES SENSE. THE MORE HE BECOMES INFECTIOUS. TO HULK, HIS GROWING POPULARITY IN AMERICA IS A SIGN TO HULK THAT THE SPIRIT OF THE DOCTOR IS WINNING. THAT WE WANT TO BELIEVE IN A SHOW THAT THINKS “PEOPLE ARE SO MUCH BIGGER IN THE INSIDE.” THAT WE WANT A SUPERHERO WHO WANTS US TO BE OUR “BEST POSSIBLE SELVES.” THESE BASIC CONCEPTS MATTER MORE THAN EVER.

AND HULK SIMPLY THINKS THAT THE DOCTOR IS THE SUPERHERO THAT AMERICA TRULY NEEDS.

<3 HULK

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