Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Doctor Who" Countdown: Dissecting the Trailer

Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Matt Smith as the Doctor

Who else is crazy excited for the premiere of the new series of Doctor Who this Saturday (which, coincidentally, will mark the first time that the show will air on the same night in the US, on BBC America, as it will in Britain). In honor of the Series 6 premiere, let's take a look at the trailer.

First of all, the moment when Amy asks the Doctor "Where are we?" and he responds "Where we've never, ever been" is a nice shout-out to the fact that, for the first time in the show's forty-year history, this season features a storyline set in America! That gorgeous red rock scenery glimpsed at the 42 second mark is Monument Valley, Utah, a place of spectacular natural beauty that has been previously seen in films like Stagecoach, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mission: Impossible II and Thelma and Louise. Who else is excited to see what the quintessential British series can do with an American setting?

I'm also excited by the return of Alex Kingston's River Song, and the promise of a greater role for her character in this series. I know that River has her haters, but I've enjoyed her presence since she first appeared with the Tenth Doctor in "Silence in the Library," and I'm excited to learn more about her relationship with the Doctor.

Another exciting moment in the trailer comes 30 seconds in, when the mysterious voice tells the Doctor, "Fear me. I've killed hundreds of Time Lords," and the Doctor responds in the most awesome way possible: "Fear me. I've killed all of them." I hope that this signals the return of the darker side of the Doctor, most memorably realized by David Tennant in episodes like "The Family of Blood," "The Sound of Drums," "Last of the Time Lords," and "The Waters of Mars." As much I love the goofy side of the Doctor - and goofy is something that both Tennant and Matt Smith do extremely well - my favorite episodes of Doctor Who are those that dig down deep into the tortured psyche of the man who exterminated two races, who has lived alone for hundreds of years, and who has never stopped running.

Other fun tidbits: it seems that Doctor Who is continuing its tradition of disturbing villains. I highly doubt any of this season's antagonists can reach the blood-chilling level of the Weeping Angels, but the quick shots of those frozen people were nicely creepy, and the beings with the doll-like masks reminded me in the best way possible of the frightening clockwork robots from "The Girl in the Fireplace." Smith wearing both the Stetson and an astronaut's helmet bodes extremely well for the Doctor who, last season, insisted that both bow ties and fezzes were "cool." While I do love the tormented Doctor, I also really enjoy seeing him in a silly hat. Go figure.

Who else is looking forward to the premiere? Are you as excited for the return of River Song as I am? Do you prefer your Doctor goofy or tortured? And, most importantly, which of the Doctor's silly hats is your favorite?

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