Matt Smith’s regeneration
I went back and forth about whether I should include two moments from the same series but I couldn’t bring myself to pick between this one and the Baker cameo. It’s always a major event when the Doctor regenerates into a new form. There will inevitably be fans who miss the old guy so much that the never give the new one a fair chance. And there’s always the possibility that you simply won’t like the new guy at all. Part of ringing in a new actor’s tenure is the regeneration itself, which, even though it’s cheating death, still feels quite a bit like death for the Doctor.
The Doctor’s past two regenerations had been whimsical (“You were fantastic!”) and downright heartbreaking (“I don’t want to go”). For Smith’s turn at bat, we got two regenerations for the price of one. The first was the most epic regeneration ever seen, with the Doctor granted an entire new cycle of lives, and using the massive energy coursing through him to wipe out the Dalek invades. But then we got a true goodbye where the dying Doctor wishes he could stay, but vows always to remember the time when “the Doctor was me.” Throw in a surprise appearance by the first face Eleven’s face ever saw and you’ve got one of the year’s most unforgettable science fiction moments. – David
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