Trailer Dissection: Doctor Who Series 8

So all the promotional material for the new series of Doctor Who has been released ahead of the series starting on the 23rd August. The teaser trailers and the full trailer are now available to see on Youtube after being shown on television and preparations are being made for the “World Tour”. The world tour (or at least the Cardiff part of it) will premiere the first episode ‘Deep Breath‘ before its television transmission and there will also be question and answer sessions with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Louise Coleman and Steven Moffat.

As I predicted in my previous blog post about the world tour I didn’t get tickets. I didn’t even know they’d gone on sale and when I did find out, they had sold out! The Cardiff event is being held at the concert hall where I do front of house so my only hope to experience the Cardiff event is if I’m offered the shift – fingers crossed.

I thought I’d do this blog post for those fans like me who (probably) can’t attend the world tour events and are avoiding the leaked scripts/spoilers. I’m going to analyse the two teaser trailers and the full trailer to see what we can expect from the news series.

The first teaser trailer “Am I a good man?” was released at the end of June. Here it is:

It is a very short trailer lasting 20 seconds with only 12 of those being actual footage or filming. It is poorly lit which suggests that the series is going in a darker direction. This is supported by the flames and sparks in the Tardis which implies that there is trouble and danger ahead. It could also hint that the Doctor’s relationship with Clara is explosive and unstable. This can also be deduced from the dialogue and the way that the characters are positioned. The Doctor is standing in the centre of the Tardis looking down towards the camera which conveys a sense of power and hierarchy whilst Clara looks up and appears unsure. The Doctor asks “Clara, be my pal. Tell me, am I a good man?” which suggests that he is unsure of his character and could be unstable. Clara replies “I don’t think I know who the Doctor is anymore” which again shows uncertainty. Overall this suggests that this series is taking a fresh approach and changing the dynamics between the Doctor and the companion.

The second teaser trailer “I see into your soul Doctor” was released at the beginning of July. Take a look:

Again, as expected from a teaser trailer, it is very short and lasts 20 seconds. Like the first teaser trailer, it is very dark and features parts of the Tardis on fire. Maybe the fire and the flames will lead the way to a Tardis makeover? However, this trailer only features the Doctor. The Doctor does not speak in this trailer and is positioned on the phone in the Tardis. He is seen leaning back whilst holding the phone. In conjunction with the voiceover (which I’ll get to shortly) it positions the Doctor as weak as using the phone could symbolise a call for help and he is falling back which could suggest fear. The voiceover is observing  and analysing the Doctor’s character. The voiceover is a very familiar voice. It is obviously Nick Briggs as a Dalek (or perhaps even Davros or as some fans suggest the ‘Dalek Time Controller’) which indicates that the Daleks will appear as villains in the new series. The dialogue states “I see into your soul Doctor. I see beauty, divinity Doctor. HATRED”. This indicates that the Doctor, as we already know, is a complex character as he is the hero of the programme who wishes to save the world and fight for good yet also hates certain aliens and destroys them. The electric look at his skeleton (and his two hearts) also suggests that the Doctor is going to look at himself more as a character to decide who he really is.

Finally the full trailer was broadcast during half time of the World Cup Final – a brilliant marketing decision to gain exposure from a large audience. Here is the trailer:

The trailer begins with the BBC’s Original British Drama sting. This is a bone of contention amongst Welsh television producers, media academics and students. Since the programme’s revival in 2005 it has been produced in Cardiff and filmed mostly in Cardiff and the surrounding area of South Wales. Granted the filming commitments for Doctor Who were only part of the BBC’s strategy to produce more content in the nations and regions but it has created a new media sector in Cardiff. Before each episode in Wales, we get the sting Made in Wales by BBC Cymru Wales  but unfortunately this seems to be omitted from England and online broadcasts.

The likeliness of a return by the Daleks is confirmed in the full trailer as shots of the Tardis are alternated with the round Dalek eye, the Daleks have a small voiceover at the start of the trailer saying “Life returns, life prevails” and we even get a shot of the daleks en masse near the end of the trailer. I’m excited about this because the Daleks are my favourite Doctor Who aliens (if you hadn’t guessed from my blog’s name!) but also worried because it is difficult to get a dalek story right without them becoming a parody of themselves. There are also glimpses of the other villains/monsters/aliens appearing in the series including what looks to be some kind of robot and a giant dinosaur stomping over London. As implied by Peter Capaldi’s costume, which appears to be a throwback to some of John Pertwee’s costume, it looks as if this series may look to classic who for inspiration. The dinosaur looks like it could be a similar style narrative to the Jon Pertwee story ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ albeit with better CGI and special effects!

With regards to the Doctor and Clara’s characterisation, this trailer builds upon the traits displayed in the first teaser trailer. Clara appears scared and uncertain. Her dialogue reflects this, “I don’t think I know who the Doctor is anymore” and “I don’t know”. The Doctor is characterised as dark, emphasised by his dialogue that states that they are going to travel “into darkness”, and that he needs to find himself. This suggests that the regeneration process has affected him greatly as hinted in the Christmas special when he asked Clara if she knew how to fly the Tardis. The question “Am I a good man?” is also repeated at the end of this trailer which implies that the Doctor needs to work out who he is. The Doctor also says “I’m the Doctor. I’ve lived for over 2000 years. I’ve made many mistakes. It’s about time that I did something about that.” This suggests that the Doctor will delve into his past (another reference to classic who?) and will rectify his mistakes. This indicates that the Doctor is going to face darkness but will come out the other side as a hero.

To me the trailers suggest that this series has taken inspiration from the classic series but also will take a different approach to its narratives eg. a sudden change in dynamics between the Doctor and his companion. It’s going to be a big change from Matt Smith’s era.

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