I am a longtime Whovian, a devotee of the Doctor. I grew up watching Classic Doctor Who, and when Russell T Davies regenerated the show in 2005, I jumped on board the TARDIS with Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Doctor and never quite left. In April, I published my Master’s thesis, a 120+ page paper all about Doctor Who, complete with a personal interview with writer Robert Shearman and the signature of the Tenth Doctor himself, David Tennant. I’m a little bit obsessed is what I’m trying to say here. Despite my concerns (Tom, Lorien, and Tobias can all attest that they are many) with Who under Moffat’s leadership in general, and series 8 as a whole, I still haunt the internets in search of hints and promo pictures for anything leading up to the new series. When the teaser trailer for series 9 was released this weekend, I screamed like I’d seen a Weeping Angel, plugged in my headphones, and sat down to watch. So today, you’ll be treated to my review of the new Who trailer. The video is embedded below; if you haven’t seen it yet, watch, and then finish reading 🙂 Allons-y!
So, the first thing that comes to my attention is that they’re running a trailer without the Doctor Who theme music. I’m all for mixing things up, but making an entire 1 minute, 30 second trailer without even a hint of the music (particularly since the 12th Doctor’s music is so amazing), seems a little odd to me. We’ve also got some recognizable bad guys: Missy, the Daleks, the Zygons, and I could swear the grey hands coming out of the ground at the beginning are reminiscent of the Weeping Angels from Time of the Doctor. I could be wrong-and I probably am-but hey, that’s the first thought that came to mind. We also have what looks like the Doctor in an orange spacesuit, which has obvious flashbacks to the Tenth Doctor in The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. Several folks have commented that this trailer leans very heavily on connections and references to Classic Who/early New Who, particularly in regards to Peter Capaldi’s increasingly Pertwee-esque look, and I can agree with that assessment. Moffat brought in a lot of new stuff to series 8, but based on this trailer, I think we’re going to be falling back more on previous plots and monsters. The appearance of Maisie Williams, the young actress who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, reinforces this idea for me. Her one line, “What took you so long, old man?” instantly connotes a long familiarity with the Doctor, which has many, including yours truly, thinking that she’s a Time Lord. Earlier in the trailer, we see her jumping into the Doctor’s arms and he holds her tightly. Personally, I think that Williams’ character will be Susan Foreman, the First Doctor’s granddaughter. Moffat is linking New Who to Classic Who far tighter than Russell T Davies ever did – and considering the atrocity that was the reference to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in series 8, I’m not sure I like it.
The newer villains, locations, and other characters honestly don’t make that much of an impact on me. They barely blink in for half a second each, and the dark lighting makes them hard to see. Since they barely register, it’s hard to be interested in them.
Something I noted in the trailer was the Doctor’s line about “evil.” We don’t know what that evil is; it could be evil in a universal sense or speaking about some force in particular. However, the Doctor’s line “I want to kiss it [the evil] to death” comes directly after a shot of Missy applying her lipstick, which seems to me to indicate that Missy is the evil and will be our overarching villain again. I also noted that this line seems to contradict the last line: “I’m the Doctor, and I saves people’s lives.” The contrast between him wanting to cause the death of something followed directly by an announcement that he saves lives. I think we’re going to get more tension between the Doctor’s traditional heroism and his more recent tendency towards anti-heroism.
The best part of the whole trailer was the one second shot of the Doctor in sunglasses, rocking out with a guitar. Now THAT, I want to see. Other than that, this trailer overall left me colder than a Dalek Sphere in the Void. It wasn’t very different or interesting, and it was hard to stay engaged without the right music. It didn’t get me excited about the upcoming season, so I do hope that the next trailer will be more defined and exciting. Overall: 2/10. Thoughts, fellow Whovians?