Doctor Who? That depends in this fourth Mogadorian Fighter Challenge matchup. Matt Smith, the eleventh actor to play the title character on the long-running British sci-fi show, takes on Fourth Doctor Tom Baker in front of our tough expert jury, authors Dan and Robison Wells.
Rob: This time we’re comparing one Doctor Who against another Doctor Who.
Dan: This is going to be the most controversial category we have.
Rob: We chose Tom Baker as the most well-known of the old Doctors, and Matt Smith because he’s the current Doctor, and probably the only Doctor the newest fans even know. So: Tom Baker was very whimsical at times, he was very playful—do a Google image search for Tom Baker and you’ll see some of the goofiest grins you’ve ever seen. He always seemed to love life. But on the other hand, he had this very dark undercurrent. You didn’t mess with him; you didn’t rub him the wrong way, or he would flip on you and you would be done for.
Dan: He could be a “don’t touch the rattlesnake” kind of a guy; very vindictive when you got up in his business.
Rob: Tennant had that, but he gave you a few second chances before he tore you apart. With Baker it was like flipping a switch: you crossed him, and he’d take you down.
Dan: Christopher Eccleston got like that at the end of his season, when he was fighting the Daleks, and he was ready to just burn the whole universe to the ground. Tom Baker was like that all the time.
Rob: Now, Matt Smith is much more of a frivolous, light-hearted guy. As with every Doctor, he always manages to pull out a win in the end. But Matt Smith is more how I was describing Bruce Willis in THE FIFTH ELEMENT—he wins, but it’s always by the skin of his teeth, and it seems like he’s kind of fumbling through things, and then it all works out, as if it were his plan all along. He’s always cheerful, and he doesn’t have the darkness or the attitude that Baker or Tennant have; with Matt Smith it’s always about getting pure enjoyment out of life, and his friends, and his companions, but in a bumbling way. Which isn’t a bad thing, I just like Baker better. And I know that people are going to disagree with my characterization of Smith.
Dan: I’m going to take it one step further and make the fans even angrier. Tom Baker was supremely confident and cool, and he was the root of Doctor Who’s popularity for years—for decades maybe—whereas with Matt Smith, as neat as he is, these days Amy Pond is pulling in almost as many viewers as he is. I’m going to vote for Tom Baker.
Rob: Right. I absolutely agree. But it’s hard to compare Doctor to Doctor because they always win.
Dan: So look at some of the shows where they have multiple Doctors, like the old “The Five Doctors” movie where they got them all together. In a situation like that, where they’re all doing different things, Tom Baker would be out solving the problem, and Matt Smith would be in the Peter Davison role playing piano in jail somewhere—he’d figure out an important piece of the puzzle, but without really trying or doing anything.
Rob: Peter Davison is a perfect comparison. I think we have to give this one to Tom Baker.
Dan: But I have to say, before we’re done, that the only reason Tom Baker wins is that he’s not up against Sylvester McCoy, because obviously he’s the best Doctor ever.
Rob: You’re wrong.
WINNER: Tom Baker
Previous Match: Fox Mulder (X-FILES) vs. Tommy Lee Jones (MEN IN BLACK)