Smith is just 26, which will make him the youngest Doctor ever. He's three years younger than Peter Davison was when he got the part. That's a disappointment for me, because, let's be frank, I'm practically an anti-shipper. One of my greatest annoyances with fandom over the years has been the ever-increasing tendency to write fanfic as if the most important things about beloved characters are with how many people and in what configurations they can fuck. And, let's face it, a young and pretty Doctor is shipper candy. To which I say: yecch! and also: reanimate William Hartnell.
I'm not the only person who didn't get what I want. A lot of folks I know are disappointed because, to put it bluntly, Smith is white. There was a rumor swirling for months that Paterson Joseph was going to be the next Doctor. (Rich Johnston of the comics gossip column "Lying in the Gutters" has been the biggest "it's Joseph" guy, so it'll be interesting to see what he has to say about this.) The always-great Chiwetel Ejiofor was another rumored contender, although I'd never seriously thought there was even a chance that he'd do it -- the guy is in major demand in movies, so I wouldn't think he'd go do something as time-consuming as DOCTOR WHO. Both Joseph and Ejiofor are black, so progressive fans -- of whom I have many on my flist -- got their hopes up that we were going to have the first black Doctor Who. Smith's selection dashed those hopes, which means this may be the first time anyone has objected to a new Doctor's casting on ideological grounds. (Though I'm sure that if Joseph had gotten it, we'd be seeing the same thing from the folks who think that the Doctor should remain a white Englishman or at least somebody convincingly masquerading as such.)
I understand the hunger for diversity on television, particularly from people who feel underrepresented. When I was a little Jewish kid in North Carolina, I positively thirsted to see characters who were like me; as an adult, I've pretty much given up on seeing Jews on TV. (I can think of a total of three Jewish characters on all the television shows I've watched in the past ten years: 1) a fence on a recent episode of SCC, 2) Ari Gold, on HBO's ENTOURAGE, and 3) BTVS's Willow Rosenberg. Swear to God, we give Asian male characters a run for their money in terms of invisibility.) Maybe that's part of why I don't particularly care whether the next Doctor is black or white: I put on my helmet a long time ago. But I hope that the people who were disappointed, like me, that they didn't get what they wanted will give Smith a fair shake. While my initial inclination is to say, "Feh! A prettyboy!", watching the extended interview with him made me think Smith has a pretty good vibe. It'll be interesting to see how he does.
And hey, if nothing else, Paterson Joseph's at least gotten some good publicity out of this.
(All that said, one note for the new kid: get a haircut.)