Posts Tagged With: doctor who trailer

Have I Got Whos For You (Harvest Festival Edition)

Gosh. David’s really not having any fun up there, is he?

For weeks we’ve been hanging about for new footage. Or images. It’s sort of exploded over the last forty-eight hours, an oasis in the desert. Until recently we had to work with what we had, which wasn’t much. First there was the hood-in-the-forest. Then the standing-on-a-hill. The smiling-through-the-cafe-window. The cloaked-magical-elf-with-wand. And now, the glass ceiling – that winsome smile to camera, accompanied by “Whoops”.

“WHAT SORT OF ATTITUDE IS THAT?” complained one fan. “IT’S LIKE SHE JUST DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THE SHOW OR SOMETHING.” There is only one response to this sort of thing, but it’s sadly unprintable.

Anyway. Doctors: Assemble.

I made the mistake of asking what the collective term for Whittakers might be, and more than one person replied “An Agenda of Whittakers”. Sigh.

But look, while we’re at it –

You will have your own. Leave them in the comments box, along with your collective hatred.

And then earlier this week we had that new wallpaper, which you’ll have seen by now, and which looks lovely, although it doesn’t feature nearly enough people standing around gazing in wonder and alarm.

It was my old friend Rachel who pointed out that there are patterns to this sort of thing. “I’ve never noticed before how many of the Doctor Who promo photos involve crouching,” she said. “I hope the Tardis does knee replacements.” She’s right. They look like they’re examining a corpse or something. “Scully. C’mere and take a look at this.”

And then there was the trailer, which featured a lot of running, and wide stares, and a cryptic farewell kiss blown across a white room, as the Doctor goes to what looks like her death. People have dedicated reams to its deconstruction and we don’t have time this morning – besides there is nothing new to add. I sort of liked it, I suppose. Could have done without the music, but there is a nice ensemble feel to the whole thing, the concept of family. It’s been a while since we’ve had that vibe in the TARDIS – 1967, really, although the Pertwee years came close.

But Doctor Who hasn’t been the only enduring British franchise graced with a new trailer this week: Mary Poppins Returns got one as well. We all know that Mary Poppins is a Time Lord, of course, given her love of hats, umbrellas, her ability to speak dog and the bag that’s bigger on the inside, but an exclusive leaked scene shows the connections run right through to the core.

Gor bloimey.

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Have I Got Whos For You (July Edition)

Howdy, peeps. How are we all coping with the hot weather? Anyone fancy an ice cream?

What’s been happening? Well, there’s leaked footage doing the rounds – I’ve seen it, although you will not see a link to it in here – and it’s all very…generic, isn’t it? Whittaker still doesn’t seem to quite inhabit the part yet, at least based on what’s out there – but it is the moment she meets her companions, very much post-regeneration, so it’s all going to be a bit weird. It’s a strange clip to show, in a way, because it won’t silence the haters – although I suspect the only thing that will is gag-shaped.

Anyway, in the absence of a new Doctor Who trailer, I sort of made my own.

 

For some reason or another, news broke of Who North America, situated just outside Indianapolis, and catering to all your Doctor Who merchandising needs, large and small. (They also have a Voyager arcade game, joy of joys.)

They acquired the property back in 2016, but last week that photos began circulating in earnest round social media, so perhaps they’ve only just opened their doors. Of course, it wasn’t long before this happened.

Elsewhere: National Selfie Day came and went.

And finally, news emerges of a brand new spin-off.

Bounce!

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The Doctor Who Trailer Deconstruction (part three)

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Today, our little trailer recap draws to a close, as the Eleventh Doctor tries to figure out how the same girl can be in three places at once, before sneezing in the TARDIS and turning into Peter Capaldi. But before we get to that…

 

 

Series 7 (part one)

Yes, well. There were five episodes in this initial set, and only two of them were any good, so I am always going to look back at this period of Who with disdain. What comes across in this is a sense of scale: five stories, told grandly (although there is nothing – nothing – from ‘The Power of Three’). Amy is at her most irritating (her piggybacking of the Doctor’s catchphrase is almost as awkward as Tony Blair quoting Baddiel and Skinner) while Rory just sort of stands there, as per usual. The location work is impressive, even though the writing wasn’t: this series marks the Doctor’s ‘difficult, teenage phase’, the triceratops joyrides awkwardly juxtaposed with the moral angst he experiences when debating whether or not to turn Kahler Jex over to the Cyborg. Oh look, now he’s in his bedroom, and I think he’s smoking weed. I’m not angry, Doctor. I’m just disappointed.

Number of booms: 2

Fiery explosions: 3

The Doctor Runs: 3 (plus one horse ride and one dinosaur gallop)

Darkness factor: 6 (points lost for grinning at dinosaurs, gained for shouting at Amy)

It’s a mystery: Ooh, is Amy really dead?

Identifiable monster count: 6 (and Daleks count as one. You got me? One.)

 

 

Series 7 (part two)

The Cybermen are back! So is the Doctor, really, gaining a new sense of joie de vivre after the events of ‘The Snowmen’. There are numerous costume changes, impressive alien vistas (clearly the theme for this part of the series is ‘off-planet’) and shots of Dan Starkey running down a corridor. Interesting that the relationship between the Doctor and Coleman’s character, while a clear recurring theme in series 7, is established as being far more open in this trailer than it actually was – in reality Clara spends most of the eight episodes in the dark, her brief illumination almost immediately extinguished by the convenient plot device that is wibbly wobbly memory loss. (Curiously this happens at the end of  ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’, an episode which might be best experienced in the company of a big red button that’ll immediately erase your memory of the preceding forty-five minutes.)

Number of booms: 5

Fiery explosions: 1

The Doctor Runs: 1 (although Clara tells him to)

Darkness factor: 5

It’s a mystery: Clara, of course.

Identifiable monster count: 7

 

Series 8

Oy vey. This is the first of the ‘new breed’ of trailers, where things start to go downhill. Lots of jump cuts of briefly-seen monsters; nothing tangible, but enough for a quick screen grab and discussion on the forums. Capaldi looks sinister and ambiguous: this is a dark Doctor, who has traded ballet for moral indifference and acidic quips about rubbish humans. Coleman has the wide eyes of someone who’s just experienced regeneration for the first time, despite having travelled back and forth along the Doctor’s time stream and hanging out with both Bakers, as well as failing to get McCoy down from that ice wall in ‘Dragonfire’. One thing I will say for this (and for series 8 in general) is that the cinematography really started to pick up in Doctor Who once they reached ‘Asylum of the Daleks’, and it shows. And Murray Gold, for once, stays out of things. Which is more than we can say for the next time…

Number of booms: 4 and a half

Fiery explosions: 3

The Doctor Runs: “I don’t think I’m a running person now.”

Darkness factor: 9

It’s a mystery: Just WHO IS THE DOCTOR NOW? And do we really care?

Semi-identifiable monster count: 7

 

 

Series 9

Holy mackerel, TURN IT DOWN, MURRAY! IT’S TOO LOUD! THERE ARE PEOPLE TRYING TO SLEEP! We’ve now reached the stage where the trailers clearly have boxes to tick, and are arranged in order to make this happen. Moody lighting? Check. Dalek close-up? You betcha. Obvious mystery that’s going to have everyone talking past saturation point? Oh, yes yes and thrice yes. There are numerous things that could be monsters. The Doctor does look chirpier, mostly thanks to the hair, which is emulating Pertwee’s in the same way his clothes did last series. The rest of it seems to be a maelstrom of unconnected ambiguities that are about nothing at all, designed to keep the Tumblr feeds ticking over until September. Am I confused because this is the only trailer I’m not able to view with the benefit of hindsight, or is this stuff actively getting worse? Patrick Troughton’s trousers make a cameo, but about the only really appealing moment in this jumbled mess is the moment when the ‘lightened’ Doctor smiles at the camera, and shrugs, because all of a sudden we’re right back where we started.

Number of booms: 10

Fiery explosions: 3 and a bit

The Doctor Runs: Maybe. He sort of canters a bit.

Darkness factor: 7.8

It’s a mystery: “Who was that masked woman?”

Semi-identifiable monster count: 10? 11? I lost count, and I don’t care any more.

 

So what have we learned from all this? Well, I’ve learned I need to stop watching trailers, at least for a while. I’ve learned there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or re-invent the wheel, or flog a dead horse. I’ve learned that Doctor Who trailers often say more about the tone of the show they’re portraying than perhaps they intend. I’ve learned that Murray Gold really needs to rein it in, although that’s hardly headline news. But perhaps most of all I’ve learned that I still want to come with the Doctor, particularly if it isn’t safe – because however it’s presented it always is and always will be the trip of a lifetime.

I could just do with it being a little quieter…

Categories: New Who | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Doctor Who Trailer Deconstruction (part two)

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You remember the other day we were talking about progression? Well, I mean that in a literal sense. There’s an obvious gap between series 1-3 and the rest of the Doctor Who trailers, because after the departure of Martha, the Doctor stops talking to the camera. Perhaps he’s done showing off. Perhaps it’s an indication of the darkening of Tennant’s Doctor and the series in general – something that would continue under Moffat, however comically amusing Matt Smith turned out to be when he was throwing a plate across the lawn. Or perhaps, with three seasons under its belt, the revived Doctor Who no longer felt the need to prove itself.

But when we count up through the rest of the trailers, the line is much harder to draw. Yes, you can sort of do a rough squiggle in furry felt tip after the departure of Smith, but even before he regenerates you can spot stylistic shifts in the way these minute-long previews are produced and presented. So I have drawn the line mathematically, for the sake of easy reading. Four trailers today, and the remaining four next time. Most of the categories are self-explanatory, although I’d point out that this is where the tedious ‘mysteries’ begin to poke through (emerging with a vengeance later on). We open in 2008, with Bernard Cribbins sitting on a hill in a red woolly hat. That’s always a good way to begin.

 

Series 4

“It’s OK,” this one lets us know at the outset. “I know this is Donna, but look! She’s gone all sensible and calm! She’s taken up astronomy! SHE’S SPEAKING IN A REASONABLY PACED VOICE BELOW 95 DECIBELS!.” This embodiment of a grounded, mature Ms Noble is almost immediately followed by the memorable scene from ‘Partners in Crime’ in which the Doctor-Donna mug at each other through two panes of glass, unaware that Sarah Lancashire is watching, but it was an amusing moment, so we’ll let that one go. This is where the booming starts big time – you know, the big, heavily reverberated THUD that accompanies each fresh image; it is a contemporary harbinger of doom. A shame, in a way, that they drop in the massive spoiler that is The Rose Revived (sorry, that’s probably only funny if you live in Oxfordshire and know your pubs) but I suppose it had leaked already.

Number of booms: 10 1/2

Fiery explosions: 1 (finally!)

The Doctor Runs: 4

It’s a mystery: What the hell is Rose doing there?

Identifiable monster count: 5, if you count Clone Martha / 6 if you count Billie Piper’s teeth

 

 

Series 5

Oh look, Amy’s speaking through an open-air microphone. This isn’t a bad introduction to the Eleventh Doctor, although Rory is almost entirely absent, while there’s far too much of River. Several of the showcase shots from the series (most of which appear to involve characters floating just outside the TARDIS) are used to reasonable effect but what strikes you throughout is the use of colour – greens and blues dominate, at the expense of the reds and browns that dominated much of Tennant’s time. Loses marks for including those wretched Spitfires.

Number of booms: 5

Fiery explosions: 1/2

The Doctor Runs: 2

It’s a mystery: How does Mark Gatiss continue to get writing gigs?

Identifiable monster count: 8

 

 

Series 6 (part one)

Right, guys: this is where it gets tedious. This one is heavy on the first two stories (although it shows refreshingly little of the Silence). “Somewhere different,” muses the Doctor as the camera rolls over the Utah desert; “somewhere brand new” – coded language for HEY, AMERICA! WE SPENT SHIT LOADS OF MONEY TRYING TO MAKE YOU ENJOY THIS! A naked Alex Kingston is spotted, presumably resulting in complaints to OFCOM even as legion of fan-fiction writers are running for their laptops.

Number of booms: 4

Fiery explosions: None, although the TARDIS fizzes a little. Presumably the Doctor spilled some Tizer over it.

The Doctor Runs: He doesn’t. Everyone else is running to him.

It’s a mystery: Why has the Doctor been running, aside from the fact that he always does?

Identifiable monster count: 4

 

 

Series 6 (part two)

Also known as: the story arc so tedious the BBC procrastinated for four months while they figured out whether or not they ought to inflict it upon us. This is really where the mystery starts to monopolise things. There are numerous brief shots of things you can only just see (to call them ‘identifiable’, as I have done, is something of a stretch) and there is a lot of tedious exposition about the Doctor’s supposed death: clearly we are supposed to care more about what the series is actually about than its episodic contents. There is also an awful lot of that Stetson. Did it negotiate a union fee?

Number of booms: 1

Fiery explosions: None. Obviously all the pyrotechnic budget went on those CG pterodactyls.

The Doctor Runs: He doesn’t, but he does appear to leap through a window.

It’s a mystery: Why is the Doctor’s time running out? And couldn’t he just slip back an hour or so and put some more money in the parking meter?

Identifiable monster count: 7. Does Madame Kovarian count? Certainly that eye patch is a cosplay disaster.

 

Next time: Into darkness. Whether you like it or not.

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The Doctor Who Trailer Deconstruction (part one)

raining_david_tennant_nosedrip

I’m having a bad day. I’d really rather not tell you why. But bad days need to be flushed out with constructive creativity, otherwise they fester. So my response is to blog. (And Emily is buying bacon, because bacon is good.)

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ll have seen the series nine trailer. I’m not even going to link to it, because it’s all over the web, usually followed by tedious “permission to squee!” comments. I am at best ambivalent, for reasons we’ll get to. Suffice to say Doctor Who trailers stopped being interesting when they became formulaic. It’s like The X-Factor. Once you can see what’s going on and how they do it, much of the appeal is lost. But perhaps that’s trailers in general. Just the other day I watched a four minute preview of the Batman Vs. Superman film Warner have slated for 2016, and rarely have I been so bored – it’s a trailer I again choose not to link to, largely for fear of inducing narcolepsy. Perhaps it’s the relentless boom-boom-boom of shadowy figures, cracking pavements and ominous quotes: different films packaged in exactly the same way each time. Perhaps I just have superhero fatigue.

Have I ever experienced films in the cinema that were significantly worse than their trailers suggested? You bet. The Avengers (we’re talking the 1998 adaptation of the 60s classic, not the Marvel thing) is an obvious example. The trailer made it look quite promising, given that it revealed nothing of the nonsensical plot – or lack thereof – nor the ridiculous dialogue and excruciating acting, particularly from Thurman. Part of the problem, for example, was the scene in which Peel and Steed walk across the ocean towards August De Wynter’s base in what appear to be giant hamster balls – an impressive moment in the trailer, rendered inconsequentially ridiculous in the film when it is given absolutely no explanation. The trailer’s job is not to explain but to pique your curiosity: but if that’s as far as explanations go, you’re inevitably going to be disappointed.

Alien: Resurrection (coincidentally the same year as The Avengers) was another one. The trailer – or at least the one I saw – avoids most of the mistakes the film made by showing us very little of the alien (perhaps the biggest criticism of Alien: Resurrection is that we see Giger’s ghastly creatures far too much, and far too often). It also doesn’t allow Winona Ryder to speak. Curiously my biggest gripe with the film stems from a single moment, in which a doomed mercenary whispers “Who are you?” to the sinister Ripley clone, who’s just informed him that he’s got a monster growing inside him. In the trailer, her response is a grin, which would have been the perfect way to end the scene – and it was only when I finally saw the thing that I discovered they’d had her say “I’m the monster’s mommy”. Alien always worked best when it was holding back, something the writers would have done well to remember.

But I went back through the ten years of Doctor Who trailers that the BBC have used since the show’s 2005 revival, and there are patterns. More than this, there’s development. I noticed a marked progression, and it is for this reason that we compartmentalise them into three separate posts, showing the shift in styles that gradually darkens the tone, from warmth down to sub-zero. Today, we’ll look at the early years – because it was during those first three series that the Doctor chose to break the fourth wall.

 

Series 1 (2005)

Looking back on it now, it’s amazing to think how radical this was: the Ninth Doctor actively extending his invitation to Rose to the audience at large, in precisely the same words. The goal of this is primarily to hook an unsuspecting public, many of whom expected the show to fail – and the effect is rather like a telethon, in the way that its central character broke with the previously established convention of keeping the focus confined entirely within the set.* Amazingly, it works. The delay on Eccleston’s monologue is borderline irritating, but it sort of emphasises the time travel theme.

* ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ notwithstanding, of course.

Smugness factor: 4

Fiery explosions: 1 (although we see it three or four times)

Identifiable monster count: 1 (but it’s a Dalek)

 

Series 2

Meh. This seems to sum up many of the worst things about the Tenth-Rose series: the two of them against the world, armed only with a mortgage. It doesn’t help that only one of the first five episodes of series 2 was actually any good, and that’s the only one conspicuous in its absence. Tennant is sleeping on the floor of the TARDIS – the implication, surely, is post-regeneration – before inviting the audience along in much the same way Eccleston did, with twice the panache and none of the sincerity. Piper has one line, and even then she comes across as irritating, which more or less sets the tone for the series at large.  Some of the in-TARDIS visual effects are borderline 90s pop video, and I suppose in the grand scheme of things that isn’t too far out.

Smugness factor: 8

Fiery explosions: none (although watch out for the lightning)

Identifiable monster count: 4 (plus flying monks)

 

Series 3

If the Doctor spent most of 2006 fawning over Rose, he spent most of 2007 completely ignoring Martha, and the series-wide gap between them is manifest here in the split-screen effect that dominates the first half of the trailer. There’s an awful lot of Judoon, but I suppose they were the flagship monster that year. Tennant seems a little calmer this time, but the arrogance remains. “Anything you can do, I can do better…”

Smugness factor: 7

Fiery explosions: none (seriously, why did I make this a thing?)

Identifiable monster count: 4 (depending on how you count)

 

Coming soon: the girl who waited, the perils of travelling alone, and Billie Piper’s teeth.

Categories: New Who | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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