By now, anyone who hasn’t been sleeping in the swimming pool of their TARDIS will have seen the various new trailers for the sixth season of Doctor Who. But what do they mean? Our staff had a brief crack at summing up what might be in store for the last of the Time Lords and his intrepid traveling companions.
We got two trailers over the past week, one from BBC itself (embedded further down in the post) and the following longer version from BBC America:
I have to start this off by saying that I have read almost none of the rumors or plot synopses for the upcoming episodes. What I knew going into these trailers was what I knew from the initial trailers after Christmas Day. And also that Lily Cole was in a pirate episode. So my focus wasn’t so much on whether each frame gave me a specific clue as to an exact episode, but rather what the overall tone of the new season was going to be like.
For me, there was something a little too goofy about the tone of the previous trailer, and I must be among the only person that doesn’t want the Doctor to be wearing that cowboy hat for longer than a couple seconds. Matt Smith does goofy very well, but I’d really like to see less “jammie dodger and a fez” quips and more intense “like me for instance!” lines of dramatic dialogue.
The BBC trailer gives me more of what I want. The moment where some creepy disembodied voice says, “Fear me, I’ve killed hundreds of time lords” and the Doctor retorts, “Fear me, I’ve killed them all!” was fantastically matter-of-fact and dark. This is the kind of pathos I’ve been craving from Matt Smith, a sort of numb anger only hinted at in episodes like “The Beast Below” and “Amy’s Choice.” This kind of hardcore sensibility is strengthened by the notion that both trailers tease at the notion that River Song is going to “reveal” who she really is and that revelation is going to be a betrayal. Also, am I the only one who thinks it looks like Amy is shooting the Doctor in the back? Why would she do such a thing? Are Amy and Rory going to even be told about regeneration? For the sake of dramatic tension, I hope not.
All in all if these new trailers are telling me that the Doctor is going to be hardcore ala “Waters of Mars” and River Song is going to develop in interesting and deadly ways; then count me in for season six!
I have to say, while this trailer is clearly designed to give you one solid minute of goosebumps (that may or may not crop up for the rest of the day at odd intervals), it does contain those standard cues that we come to expect when viewing previews for Who. There’s the obligatory “the Doctor will be very great and very terrible things will happen to him” bit, the “remember, I commited genocide on my own people and that makes more fearsome than you expect” bit, the “I’ve been running a lot, maybe I shouldn’t do that so much” (as if, Doctor) bit, and the “look at all the pretty monsters...whoa, scary clown” bit.
Which is to say—oh good, we’re all on task then. With some seriously epic choral soundtrack backing! J’approve.
As much as the identity of River Song has been driving me up the wall (because you all just know it’s not going to be something you heard on the internet), I’m more curious as to where Amy is headed this season. After all the hints we’ve been getting from Moffat about her importance, plus all the screaming at the end...well, I’m hoping we see some pretty big strides from the girl. The character certainly deserves it.
Of course, you know they’re trying to make us take this stuff apart. One minute is a very short period of time, and they seemed determined to jam pack that minute with half-seconds that had to be snipped into frame-by-frame breakdowns. I have my questions (particularly regarding coral), but I think I better just stop before I start gibbering in Gallifreyan.
Also... what’s up with the beard?
The BBC trailer has me pretty excited for the next season. It’s made me realize how accustomed I am to Eleven now, as well. Our boy has a season’s worth of adventure under his belt now and no longer lives under Tennant’s shadow.
That said, there’s some definite lessons Matt Smith could still stand to learn from that very shadow. The “Fear me, I’ve killed them all” line, while utterly utterly epic, still comes off a bit weak due to the daffy portrayal Smith imbues Eleven with. Tennant would have dropped the facade and really driven that line, unflinching, home to the audience. But then again, in a lot of ways I’m glad Smith hasn’t brought the Time War angst over from Nine and Ten.
The images in the BBC trailer are intense, too. I have a friend who likes to characterize season 5 as the show screaming “Did you know I’m a fairytale? I’m a fairytale! Do you see how I am a fairytaaale?!!!” and I can’t say this trailer doesn’t bear out a continuation of that. I don’t mind it, myself, and it looks a bit more balanced this year, ship graveyards, Nixons, Stetsons and all. (P.S. - Stetsons are indeed cool. Sorry, Ryan.) I will let slip a slight spoiler here in that I know the ship graveyard is from Gaiman’s episode, which makes me think that we’re getting Eleven’s version of “The Girl in the Fireplace” this season.
River Song. If this question isn’t answered before the half-season is out then I’m going to seriously question Moffat’s long game. I think we’ve been teased all that we can be here and it’s time to find out her identity and let the audience play with those implications.
All in all, color me very excited. This season is going to be here before we know it, then roll on Torchwood:
On Borrowed Time, then the next half of season 6!
Stubby the Rocket is the mascot and often Who-obsessed voice of Tor.com. It will talk about Doctor Who all day long if you let it. Distract it with food at all times.