A look at the new lead actor choice for Doctor Who, and how the fans react.
What is Doctor Who? (For those not familiar with the Who-niverse)
Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction television show...ever. The BBC series began in 1963 starring William Hartnell as The Doctor, a timelord who runs around having crazy adventures and saving lives with granddaughter Susan and two of her teachers Ian and Barbara as his travelling companions. It was introduced that the Doctor came with an amazing spaceship/time travel machine--the TARDIS, a ship able to shift into any possible shape to blend into any environment...and it was permanently stuck as a blue Police Box from the 1960s. This kind of adventurism and ironic humor would carry on throughout the show's lifetime.
When Hartnell's health became an issue, he and the showrunners made the bold decision to replace him. Patrick Troughton took on the lead, and a new idea was introduced into the series for the first time. The Time Lords, when faced with a potentially fatal outcome, could "regenerate" and essentially become someone new. Their outward appearance and personality would change, but the new regeneration would retain all of the Doctor's memories. And so the designation of "First Doctor, Second Doctor" marked to fans which incarnation of the Doctor they were talking about.
Doctor Who has a long and complicated history, went through the usual bumpy roads that all long lasting series suffer, and was eventually cancelled in 1989. It was finally brought back for a TV movie in 1996.
It took until 2005 for the "new series" starting wwith the 9th Doctor to take place. Christopher Eccleston had one season as the Doctor, and then was replaced by David Tennant for three more seasons and a set of specials. After Tennant, Matt Smith took the helm as Doctor #11, and after a 50th Anniversary special happening in November of this year, he'll be replaced by the new guy.
Now that you're caught up...
The new Doctor has just been announced, fans are having their opinions heard, plus they wasted no time at all doctoring-up photos (pun intended) of new guy Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.
Some fans are not pleased that Smith is almost done. Some fans are outright displeased with the new choice, calling Capaldi too old to play the Doctor. The Doctor, with all his regenerations, is between 900 and 1100 years old. Age of the actor shouldn't matter. And, as some point out, Capaldi is the same age that William Hartnell (1st Doctor) was when he began: 55.
Part of the reason for the age complaint was New Who's tendency to have younger and younger actors playing the part. Eccleston as 9th was 41, Tennant 34, and Matt Smith was 26. In fact, Matt Smith's announcement as the 11th Doctor years ago was mocked because he was too young! A few seasons later, most fans are tearfully anticipating his leave.
Another reason for the age complaint was another tendency of the new series putting emphasis on relationships and romance. But dear fans, romance isn't just for the young. The Doctor is suaver and smarter than Bond. The ladies will be interested no matter what.
Why the big deal?
Doctor Who is a unique series. Fans become attached to a particular Doctor. The internet is practically a battlefield between Who fans to point out which one is better. Ironic since they're all the same person. Don't even get me started on the debates over the companions who travel with the Doctor. That's a whole 'nother story.
What we can look forward to
There probably won't be as much emphasis on the romance angle with Peter Capaldi's Doctor, which could be a good thing. We've seen companions flinging themselves on him. We don't need it anymore. I've seen predictions that the show will become more hard science fiction, and I'm cool with that. We can also predict a more serious, worldlier Doctor compared to the young Matt Smith.
We'll see soon enough how it all pans out.