So while browsing through some older topics (since the site is shutting down and all), I came across this thread, which gave me the urge to share a few thoughts on the show. Since I'm a fanboy and I didn't want to bump an old topic, I figured I'd make a new one for this dying site. SO, without further ado:
1. While I don't really like comparing the various actors who've played the role, Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor. I've gotten people telling me David Tennant is better without giving any real reasoning as to why, so I figured I'd just share why I prefer Smith. Tennant was very good (and, honestly, overall he might be a more talented actor than Matt by a small amount), but Smith plays the role itself better in just about every way imaginable, in my opinion. More emotive, compelling, funnier, less of a superheroic swashbuckler (something that really annoyed me about the Tenth-- though he still has some elements of this, it's toned down quite a lot) and above-all, he plays up the alien, nutty professor-esque card (similar to Tom Baker and Patrick Troughton, two of the best of the classic series).
Tennant was nothing like that - rather, he was one of the most human-like Doctors. Seriously, he pretty much acted 99% human, if a hyperactive, bubbly human. Tennant was the one who could walk into a crowd of normal people and have them loving him within five minutes 'cause he's just plain witty and fun. Basically, Tennant did not come across as an alien personality-wise. At all. Just a normal, slightly-eccentric, highly intelligent bloke.
With Smith, on the other hand, you can tell he's an alien-- as I said, cranks up the nutty professor aspect of the character. Thing is, though, while his eccentricity is more profound, his humanity isn't really any less so. He could also walk into a crowd of average people and have them loving him within five minutes (he pretty much did this in one of the episodes-- got a job in the shop, everybody working there knew and adored him by the end of his first day). He knows how to be funny, intelligent without coming across as condescending, and the eccentricity only adds to the likability factor.
Essentially, even objectively, I think Smith is a superior Doc simply because he captures the pure essence of the character. He IS the Doctor - a madman in a box, so very clever and so very kind, with the mystery and wisdom and sadness and anger of a thousand years behind his lively persona. Tennant was more like an extremely funny guy who got really pissed off occasionally.
Oh, and I've seen a few people complain Smith's portrayal is too childish, not intelligent or mature enough and the like-- that's not true. He's whimsical and eccentric, sure, but whimsicality and eccentricity do not equal stupidity. He's energetic, he's mad, and he enjoys what he does, but it's still made completely clear that he's an absolute genius, and he definitely knows what he's doing.
2. The premise of the topic I linked to (that Doctor Who has gone downhill since Matt Smith got the role) is one I wholeheartedly disagree with. Series 5 is my favorite of the revived series of DW-- it's nice and simple, honestly, I don't see where the confusion is coming from. Doctor regenerates, has a bunch of random adventures, Rory dies several times, cracks in time keep cropping up, turns out it's cause the TARDIS explodes, Doctor saves the multiverse by piloting a life support system of sorts into the heart of the exploding time machine and, well, Big Bang 2. It's not even proper sci-fi, it's just nice, silly, well-written fun.
I'll give you 6-- they put far too much focus on the frankly irritating River Song, and it all got a bit convoluted around halfway through. Still, it had some of the best individual episodes of the revived series-- The Doctor's Wife, anyone? One of my candidates for best Who episode... ever. The Girl Who Waited and Closing Time were pretty great too.
Series 7 was a return to form, in my opinion. They learned from the last season, dropping the overbearing plot arc (well, it was still there, it just built up to the final episode rather than having a lackluster climax halfway through the season then a more solid one six episodes later) and opting for more disconnected, individual episodes that stand perfectly on their own instead. 'Cause that's what Doctor Who is, really-- a madman and his companion(s) travelling around the universe in a box, having one random adventure after another. I honestly can't think of a single episode I didn't enjoy from this season, with the possible exception of the Rings of Akhaten (which was essentially a rehashing of series 5's second episode). Also, the Statue of Liberty being a Weeping Angel was stupid. Really stupid. Still, the episodes were well-written and the acting (as well as the chemistry between actors, particularly Smith and the new companion) was excellent. Plus... River Song only turned up in two episodes. Yay!