Thursday, July 28, 2011

The New Doctor Who Trailer Is Here!

Filming for the episode "Let's Kill Hitler" featuring Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and, unsurprisingly, a Nazi soldier. Photo courtesy of scifipulse.net.

San Diego Comic-Con is just the gift that keeps on giving. At the convention the BBC premiered a trailer for the remainder of the sixth series, which comes back August 27 with an episode titled "Let's Kill Hitler." Let's take a look, shall we? (And yes, if you've been following this, I will address the very uncontroversial controversy that has accompanied the clip.)


The "controversy" here stems from the moment when the Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) are thanked by Hitler for saving his life. However, producer Piers Wenger was quick to debunk the rumor that the doctor would save Hitler to the Television Critics Association this morning, telling the assembled reporters, "we're not going to save Hitler," according to TheWrap.com. Of course, you probably already figured that out, given that Rory can be seen punching the Fuhrer at the 0:36 mark, and, of course, the fact that the episode is called "Let's Kill Hitler."

Now that we're done with that, let's talk about the rest of the trailer. The minute-long clip indicates that the main arc of the series' second half will revolve around the Doctor's death, as seen in the first episode, as well as dealing with the remifications of River Song's newly discovered identity. One thing I like about this season is the way that Steven Moffat has really foregrounded the overarching story. Too often during the Russell T. Davies years (and, to an extent, during Moffat's first season as showrunner), the bigger story that was concluded during the finale was seemingly ignored until the final three episodes, only to be retconned into the preceding season via the inclusion of some seemingly insignificant details. This was especially the case with the Torchwood storyline during series two and the Master storyline during series three. However, the current season has, to all appearances, solved this problem by making the mystery of the Doctor's death and Amy and Rory's daughter a major factor in well over half the episodes (the mediocre "Curse of the Black Spot" and phenomenal "The Doctor's Wife" notwithstanding). This could also explain why this season has been much less uneven than Doctor Who normally is.

There were some great visuals in the trailer as well. Spooky images are something at which Doctor Who has always excelled, and it appears that the second half of series six will be no exception. I'm extremely excited for the return of the terrifying Weeping Angels and the equally frightening, if much newer, Silence. I'm less enthusiastic about the return of the Cybermen, golden-age Doctor Who villains who are second only to the Daleks as a holdover from a different era. (On that note, however, I was very pleased to learn that Moffat is retiring the Daleks, at least for a little while. They never really worked for me as villains, and I'm glad to know that others agree with me.) The creepily aware dolls that make an appearance around 0:30 are also scary, and yet more proof that ventriloquist dummies are never cute. They are terrifying.

The trailer also includes some lovely non-spooky visuals. I'm particularly fond of the shot of Amy walking into some sort of Wonderland-looking topiary garden at 0:21. I can't wait to find out the context of that otherworldy image. I'm also intrigued by the shots (at 0:37 and 0:39) that show Amy and Rory battling their way through an all-white setting that brings to mind I, Robot (the movie, not the book), not least because I like it when they fight side-by-side, a couple against the universe.

The two most promising developments, however, are the return of James Corden's Craig (who first appeared in "The Lodger") and that shot of River Song (Alex Kingston) wearing an eyepatch. The crazy eyepatch lady's eyepatch, to be exact! (Yes, I realize her name is Madame Kovarian, but she will always be Crazy Eyepatch Lady to me.) I quite enjoyed Corden's character, even though I felt that "The Lodger" was a very tonally strange episode of Doctor Who, and I'm quite excited to see how he fits into the larger story of the season. Plus, their kissing joke at 0:18 is funny, despite the potential to be totally lame, largely because of the odd-couple chemistry between Corden and Smith.

The second promising development, however, is the one that I'm sure people will be talking about. Why is River wearing that eyepatch? Is she in league with Kovarian? Has she grown up warped and twisted because she was taken from her parents? Is there some sort of bizarre time-loop thing going on, where she can't be born unless her older self meets the Doctor, and therefore she must be kidnapped in order to preserve her own existence? Are we going to find out why she's in prison? I personally love River, and I can't wait to have all these questions answered.

Stray Thoughts:
  • That shot of a much older-looking Amy at 0:15, combined with the voiceover saying "something has happened to time," has to be significant. I just don't know how.
  • While the shots of the Silence and the Weeping Angels are genuinely creepy, the moving skulls are trying just a little too hard to be scary. Hopefully they'll be better in the context of an episode.
  • I've mentioned it before, but I really like when the show goes dark, and the Doctor's worries about his own death are definitely dark.
  • Rory on a motorcycle!
  • The Doctor in a top hat and tails!
  • I'm excited for the appearance of Atonement's Daniel Mays, playing a character named Alex. Which is the best name.
  • Less excited for the return of Ian McNeice's Winston Churchill, largely because he reminds me of "Victory of the Daleks," and I really prefer to pretend that episode doesn't exist.
  • Nice shout-out to the filming location of Monument Valley, UT, in the shot of information about the Doctor's death.
  • Who do you think the astronaut is?

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