Austin Jackson is the New Doctor Who
Yesterday’s announcement of the latest actor to play the Doctor in Doctor Who bears an odd correlation to my Detroit Tigers fandom. When BBC announced that Peter Capaldi would assume the role of the Doctor after Matt Smith departs, I felt an emptiness and disappointment even though I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Capaldi.
For many years, the Detroit Tigers have had a, “Who’s Your Tiger,” marketing campaign (Who pun incidental, but still fun), and my answer was always Curtis Granderson. I adored our speedy, leadoff-hitting centerfielder, who brought back near-homeruns by leaping over the wall, scored an inside-the-park homerun, charmed the crowd with his great personality, and quite charitably gave back to the city of Detroit. And then the Tigers organization ripped out my heart by trading Grandy to the Yankees.
Many had a positive reaction to the trade—they would miss Granderson, but the Tigers were acquiring Austin Jackson, an excellent, young prospect, who would take over in centerfield. Jackson quickly impressed fans with both offense and defense, and though he’s still developing as a player, the Tigers have a promising future with Jackson.
Although a lifelong Tigers fan, I’m relatively new to the world of Doctor Who. I began watching on Netflix a year-and-a-half ago, and it was the series featuring the 9th Doctor, played by Christopher Eccelston. Eccelston played the Doctor for only 13 episodes, and it took me about this long to warm up to the series, and get a feel for its style. I quite enjoyed Eccelston’s performance, but having marathon-watched his few episodes over a weekend, I was not too attached to him when David Tennant assumed the role of the Doctor at the end of Eccelston’s 13th episode. I quickly fell in love with Tennant’s interpretation and his easy chemistry with the cast. He played this role for 3 seasons, and although I knew when Matt Smith would replace him, it was still very sad when I queued up Tennant’s final episode on Netflix…
…and then Matt Smith came into my life. Literally, it was minutes later. Thank you, Netflix. Smith stole my heart with the bowtie, crazy hair, and deft ability to balance childlike, giddy enthusiasm while still presenting the Doctor as an old soul. I had burned through all available Netflix episodes, and had to wait (impatiently) for new ones to air each Saturday night on BBC America. Fast forward to the present, and after 3 seasons, Smith is moving on with his career. This is a perfectly understandable choice, and just the nature of this show, but I am still crushed.
Smith’s final episodes do not air until later this fall, so in the meantime, I am left wondering if I will ever see Peter Capaldi as anything other than Austin Jackson in centerfield. Again, I am a big fan of Jackson, who as I type, just robbed a Cleveland Indian of a homerun with a beautiful web gem. It’s not about Jackson—it is the emptiness that I still feel from missing my favorite player. In summary, I take tv watching and sports far too seriously, and am a huge dork. QED.