Doctor Fate was never a character easy to like, aloof and inhuman by nature he may have had an additional barrier between him and the audience in the form of the helmet, a character with no face is never a good idea... but for me surprisingly the Fate I liked best was Hector Hall. To say the least I was surprised when the series launched and revealed Hector as the new Doctor Fate, Hector has two barriers hindering his chances for ressurection: 1] He was both very dead at the time with a fairly spiky personality, a spoiled rich kid who's resentment of his dad was projected onto the hapless Northwind in the form of verbal bullying. And 2] A very convoluted basis for an origin. The only child of two perpetual reincarnates who lived under an eternal curse with a temporary carreer as a Sandman (but let's not go there...)
Hector Hall though confounded expectations, he was a far more approachable and open Fate than Kent Nelson had ever been and his struggle against the hardline of Nabu's control would made him a stronger figure than Nelson had ever been. Hector had earned the title of Doctor Fate by resisting isolation and not forgetting to relate to the people around him, the decision to suddenly and forcibly retire him has never been elaborated on but it was definitly a stepback for the character.
It's a shame DC had to go back to the well to ressurect the Kent Nelson aspect, Nelson jr never had much of an identity as Fate and the same lack of empathy that characterised Doctor Fate historically has dogged his chances of success as well....
I disagree wholeheartedly. The Kent Nelson Dr. Fate is the only version I truly love. What you see as aloofness and isolation in Fate I see as the appropriate level of mastery of the self that a being with the godlike power of Fate SHOULD have, combined with the wisdom of the ages that any wizard worth his salt should have. Here's hoping the reboot brings back the original.